To tell you the truth, I have had this book in my possession for a couple of weeks now, although it was released yesterday. As you know, bloggers are often asked by a publisher to review a book and when I was asked to review this one, I thought "why not"?
The thing is, this book, The Principles of Knitting, is totally overwhelming to someone like me.
To give you an example, just the other day I was in a yarn store and I asked a few people about interchangeable needles since I've never used them let alone touched them too much. The room went quiet and three pair of mouths formed "O's" and the owner whispered: "You don't have any?" as if I had five eyes.
Nope. I don't have interchangeables. I don't seem to have proper scissors, either. I don't even have half of the things that other knitters seem to have, want or need. Like a fleshed-out library of how-to books or reference materials beyond several stitch pattern books. To me, knitting is just a lot of fun and has happened to become a business. I knit continentally and I don't use straight needles ever (don't have any; I just have circs and some dpn's). I don't have a blocking board although I just received blocking needles from a friend as a gift. I use two types of cast on's: Long Tail and Cable (but only if I need to) and once in awhile I'll use Long Tail Provisional. And if I need a cable needle in a pinch, I'll go find a skewer and break it. I do own cable needles; friends, things aren't that bad, but I never have one handy and for some reason, there are loads of skewers in this joint. And we don't eat kabobs.
I'm a simple girl. I just cast on and see where it takes me. I don't need fancy cast on's or stretchy ones, well maybe I do need a stretchy cast on or bind off, but it never occurred to me so why should I?
So, this Principles of Knitting book is a big book to take on. But I did.
Did you know that there are things called Axis Cables? These cables are made with three sets of stitches rather than your usual two and the center section of stitches remain in position while the ones on each sides cross. You use two cable needles for these and in my case, should I work an Axis Cable, I would need two broken skewers.
Intarsia, probably my least favorite thing to do, has an entire section. And I guess it should if you are going to be thorough. She covers Basic Intarsia, Intarsia with Stranded Patterns, Small Scale Intarsia, Slip-Stranded Intarsia (slip-stranded?), Woven Intarsia, Circular Intarsia Worked in Rows (huh?), you get the idea.
June Hemmons Hiatt is a force to be reckoned with, let me tell you. This book is so meaty, so detailed, that my guess is you could--just like asking your iPhone Siri a random question and getting a pithy answer--come up with some left-toenail and random subject that just *might* be related to knitting and totally find the answer in this giant tome (a whopping 712 pages).
Except for being a little afraid of its contents (do I really need to know any more than three or so types of cast ons? What about swatching? Do I need to "dress it" as she says or is it okay to just block it any old way?), I think people who love reference materials and want something super comprehensive, will love this book. If you do, you won't need anything else reference-wise except maybe some supplementary books like Knitting From the Top by Barbara Walker and a couple stitch pattern books. It really is that comprehensive.
I will warn you, however, she does have some knitting handles of her own. For example, she calls continental knitting the "Left-Handed Method," and writes/insinuates that people who knit top-down and in the round do so to avoid purling, which could be marginally true in some people's cases but, hello. It's just knitting and if you want to avoid purling I'm not going to point fingers or anything else at you. Heck, I use skewers to hold stitches. Who am I to talk?
In the end, however; I am sure, in spite of my tendency to shut down when confronted with too much at one time, that I will get a ton of use out of this book.
Note that this is a follow-up and re-vamped version of an earlier edition. I don't have access to it so I can't tell you how it has changed, but from other people's comments I think the tone is a bit lighter than the first and she addresses circular knitting and top-down knitting a little bit more than before.