Last week I was sent a review copy of Vogue Knitting Knitopedia: The Ultimate A to Z for Knitters.
This is a hardcover book, 240 pages, and states a publication date of today.
Here is the product description, shamelessly lifted from Amazon.com:
If knitters could own just one guide to their craft, Knitopedia™ would be their book of choice! Created by the trusted experts at Vogue® Knitting, this beautifully designed encyclopedia is an A-to-Z of knitting techniques, history, and lore that’s filled with more than 400 individual articles and lavishly illustrated with color photos, technical illustrations, charts, patterns, and maps. It’s an ideal reference for both beginning and advanced knitters, who will treasure it for years to come.
It certainly is a beautifully designed book, nicely laid out, with full-color drawings and photos. And it is an interesting mix of “stuff.” There are some techniques documented step-by-step, for example, decreases.
There are a number of essays written by knitting designers on a variety of topics. And there are encyclopedic entries on all sorts of things, including knitting history, different styles and types of knitting, knitting magazines, people, events, etc. The book is laid out alphabetically, as an encyclopedia should be, and is nicely cross-referenced and indexed.
But . . .
I have a few beefs with this book. For something that calls itself the “Ultimate A to Z for Knitters” there is a lot missing. The content of the book seems rather arbitrary. There is a section on Bohus Knitting, yet neither Wendy Keele (author of the great book Poems of Color) nor Solveig Gustafsson (who has meticulously recreated patterns and yarns from the original Bohus designs) are mentioned. There’s quite a bit about knitting history in it, but two authors who wrote histories of knitting (Richard Rutt and Anne L. Macdonald) do not get a mention, yet individuals involved in the “guerilla knitting” movement do.
Some yarn companies are mentioned, some are not. (Manos del Uruguay is, Malabrigo isn’t.) Some designers are mentioned, some are not. (Cookie A. is, I am not.) Least you think I am just in a snit at being excluded (okay, I am a little), I hasten to point out that there are quite a few designers listed I’ve never heard of, while many widely-known, very popular, designers do not get a mention. Kathy Zimmerman, Jared Flood, and Ysolda Teague, to name a few, are all absent from the book.
While I realize that it is unrealistic to expect inclusion of every yarn company in the world and everyone who calls him/herself a designer, I do wonder what the criteria were for what/who got an entry.
I have a beef with the entry on socks. The first sentence states that you can knit socks top down or toe up. Following is more than a page on top-down construction, complete with a photo, but nothing about toe-up.
I could go on, but the point of this review is not to list all the problems with this book. I think this book is better described as a subjective sampling of topics for knitters, not an ultimate one.
Still, it is a very pretty book with a lot of fascinating information in it. (But be forewarned — I’ve found some inaccuracies in the information presented.) Just don’t expect it to be the only knitting reference book you’ll ever need. Caveat emptor.
Meanwhile in my own little world, I am finishing up the shoulder strap on my first Twisty sleeve.