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Review: The Knitter’s Book of Finishing Techniques


First, the facts:

Title: The Knitter’s Book of Finishing Techniques

Author: Nancie M. Wiseman

Published by: Martingale & Company, 2002

Pages: 144

Type: How-to


1. Nancie’s Finishing Secrets
2. Cast Ons
3. Increases
4. Decreases
5. Selvages
6. Bind Offs
7. Seams
8. Picking Up Stitches
9. Borders, Bands, and Finishes
10. Buttonholes
11. Odds and Ends
12. Worksheet I
13. Worksheet II


Pattern Size Range: N/A

The In-Depth Look:

Starting at the very beginning, we get a page full of finishing “secrets” like, “Never trim an end until you’re sure you’re not going to use it somewhere for a seam.” Then, we move to cast-ons …

Um. Okay. This could take forever. Just looking at the Table of Contents should pretty much reinforce that this book on finishing techniques is covering pretty much everything you could hope for. I can’t honestly say that I can think of something obvious that was left out. There are some other ways of casting-on, for example, but the 7 most common are here (Long-tail, Knitted-on, Cable, Picot, Chained, Tubular, and Provisional). So, instead of giving you a page-by-page recap of what’s included, how about a nice overview?

With each tip or technique, the author provides the following:

  • A brief description
  • A photo of the technique. These are consistently clear, with contrasting colors when necessary to make it easier to see–like, white yarn to illustrate the picked-up stitches around a red neckline.
  • A contrasting list of “Benefits” and “Drawbacks” for the technique. I like an author who gives you all the reasons you might or might not want to use something, rather than just saying something like “This is the best one, use this.”
  • “To Work”–the step-by step instructions on how to put the technique into action.

That all sounds pretty thorough, doesn’t it? Well, it IS. Barring some magical way to embed video into a paper book, it seems hard to imagine a book full of instructions that would be clearer. The author explains things clearly and is fair about expressing opinions about “this technique is better for this problem, but that one would be better for that.”

I particularly liked that the how-to illustrations are color-matched to the photographs heading each technique–so, if the photo was of a white pocket sewn onto a purple sweater, the drawing illustrating additional details is also of a white pocket and a purple background. It’s just a nice little touch that shows the attention to detail that makes this book work.

There is no index, but the Table of Contents list every technique in the book, under its correct heading, so if you’re looking on instructions for sew in a zipper, it’s easy to find that it’s on page 100. You know that I love books that are not only well-organized but which make sure you can find things!

Also a nice touch? It’s a hardcover book (or at least mine is), but inside those covers, it’s spiral-bound, which means it opens and stays open on a given page, so that you can put both hands on your knitting needles to use the techniques without having to figure out how to hold the book open.

What don’t I like? Um … not much, really. It is an excellent book of its kind, with good, helpful detail, logically laid out and clearly expressed. Being hardcover means that it will stand up to abuse, but it does make it a little more unwieldy for stashing in your knitting bag, but, well…

All in all? So very worth the $16.47 it’s selling for over at Amazon.

Want to see bigger pictures? Click here.

My Gush: Basically, that if you’re looking for a finishing technique, this is the place to come. It’s great and a fabulous reference.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • CindyS September 6, 2008, 12:46 pm

    Thanks for the review! This is going on my holiday wish list now.

  • Susan September 7, 2008, 8:43 am

    This is my utmost favorite resource for all technique questions. My only complaint is that it’s misnamed. It’s not all about finishing; there’s so much more in there. I think every knitter should own this.

  • Lorette September 9, 2008, 6:03 pm

    This book has a permanent place in my knitting bag. Despite the over-100 books I own about knitting, and the vastness of the internet as a knitting reference, I use this one regularly. Great review!

    Lorette’s last blog post..Project Roundup, Part 2

  • Carrie K September 10, 2008, 6:50 pm

    This is one of my favorite reference books. It’s portable, it stays open and if it doesn’t cover everything finishing, I haven’t found it yet.

    Great review of a fabulous book.

    Carrie K’s last blog post..We Are Not Amused

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