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Mama, wife, knitter, blogger, spinner, wannabe something or other. That's enough, right?

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Book Review #3: The Cool Girl's Guide to Knitting

I'm back again! Twice in a week with something that isn't WIP Wednesday, FO Friday, or my Self-Imposed Year of Projects that some kind of record? Don't answer that.

Today we're here for Book Review #3! The book(s) in question are books that I have purchased (or someone bought me for a Christmas and/or birthday present) for my own fibery library. I have been given no money or other non-monetary forms of payment for my book reviews. The reviews are based on my own experience(s) and opinion(s) and may not necessarily coincide with the thoughts and opinions of other fiber enthusiasts (though they certainly may). I may also throw in some other fun information. We'll see where we go...

And there, my friends, is my disclaimer.

Today's book:

Photo from Amazon

The Basics
Author: Nicki Trench (website, Ravelry)
Publisher: Parragon Publishing (May 2006)
Hardcover: 96 pages
Language: English
Cover Price:Unknown but it's listed on Amazon for $1.35 right now

Let's talk about Nicki Trench and how I came to her. Way back in 2008, I got engaged to Husband. We had a vague idea of who would be in the wedding party. One weekend, we went camping with two friends (and a few more showed up throughout that weekend). The two that definitely came with us were Megan and Andy. Megan had just quit her job as a substance abuse counselor and drove up for an extended weekend. We talked wedding and a few other things and one of Megan's big hangups about being in weddings was that the groomsmen needed to be taller than her...which can be difficult because she's almost 6' tall. That pretty much ensured she'd walk with Andy because Andy was the only one that we knew was taller than her. Anyway, we'll get back to those two in a mo. Megan brought up her newly-found hobby: knitting. She had picked up this wonderful book, some yarn, and some needles and was working away. I had dabbled in knitting a few years prior and had a vague idea of what I was supposed to be doing...and Megan made it look so damn easy. So, during that extended weekend, Megan and I went to Michael's in Madison (Wisconsin) and I picked up some yarn and needles and set out to make the beanie hat (which is knit flat and seamed). I think I made a couple of those hats and some matching scarves and the knitting bug had bitten me. Megan moved up to Wisconsin in January 2009, Andy helped her move in (as he was helping us move out - she rented my condo for awhile). Megan and Andy started dating in October 2009 (about a month after Husband and I got married). They got married in September 2011. 

So, this book and Megan are the reason I began knitting for real. 

But, back to Nicki Trench. From what I can tell, she's mostly a crocheter. Most of her publications are for crocheted items. However, she does have a couple knitting publications which leads me to believe she can do both but prefers crochet. Also, she can sew. She's from the UK but I'm unsure of where exactly. I know she's doing workshops in Hertfordshire but that doesn't mean she lives there. She has items in 18 books and magazines (including 11 of her own books). Other than that, there's not much I know about her. 

And now, let's talk about the book!

This book is broken up into four sections. The first section covers some of the historical aspects of knitting including modern knitting. There's also a list of basic knitting and dating rules (the first one being that you never knit your boyfriend a sweater unless you want to break up). The second section covers tools: yarn, needles, notions, etc...and what to do with them (translation: basic knitting techniques, blocking, washing, etc). There are lots of photos to help you place your needles correctly, what the "right" and "wrong" sides look like, etc. The third section is the patterns (20). The last section covers some loose ends including the index, suppliers, and mistakes that every knitter should make.

What drew me to this book was how easy the patterns seemed while still being something I could want and use. I think the biggest problem I've found with beginning knitter books is that the patterns are either easy and something I wouldn't want or use or they're too difficult but things I'd want and use. Sooo...this book has the best of both worlds. Also, the photos are really helpful because you can actually see what you're supposed to be doing. 

Unfortunately, I didn't take any photos of any of the beanie hats I made from this book. I made probably three of them and they were all given away (this was before I knew the mantra of selfish knitting). There were a couple other things I'd like to make for myself but the sizing isn't right (and I'm not quite good enough to figure out how to do it on my own yet). So, for now, I keep it and use it as reference and occasionally make a beanie. 

Do I have anything bad to say about this book? Not really. I wish the sizing on the garments went up a bit larger (because I'm no pixie) but it's okay that it doesn't. I do have a love of this book and I think everyone should try it, if only for one pattern :)

I hope you've enjoyed. I'll be back tomorrow with my Self-Imposed Year of Projects update :)


  1. I haven't seen this book. It is so fun to buy new, shiny books, yeah? I have to stop myself from buying them and taking a visit to the used bookstore.

    1. I actually bought this one used from Half-Price Books in Madison. I know it's super crazy cheap on Amazon right now, though.