Book Review: The Knowledgeable Knitter by Margaret Radcliffe. Storey Publishing, 2014,

knowledgable knitterThe Knowledgeable Knitter is an invaluable reference tool for knitters who have mastered the basics of knitting and  want to raise their skill levels and produce projects that look better, fit better, and wear better.

Radcliffe focuses on the steps of making a sweater, but much of the book would apply to any project. Starting with how to evaluate and choose a pattern, how to take measurements, how to choose yarn and needles through to finishing the garment, the author provides meticulous instruction at every step.

She anticipates questions, describes procedures and techniques thoroughly and clearly, and provides numerous examples and diagrams. The book is packed with appealing photographs, and the ones that illustrate a point she is making are clear and comprehensible, with yarn in a contrasting color demonstrating whatever technique she is showing. An appendix at the end further amplifies the text; its diagrams are among the clearest and most easily understood this reader, a visual learner, has ever seen.

Radcliffe writes with warmth and wit. The reader is drawn into the text from the beginning, and while a knitting reference book is usually not intended to be read like a novel, Radcliffe’s writing is engaging and entertaining enough to read whole sections at a sitting.

More than simply a reference source, The Knowledgeable Knitter invites the knitter to go beyond the execution of a pattern and think like a designer in order to adapt the project to suit her or him, not just replicate the pattern instructions. Knitters seeking to make the garments they create truly their own need to have this book not just on their shelves but close at hand.