Never in the 320 blog entries Sarah and I have written have we ever written a negative post. I’m afraid I have to break that streak in the interest of preventing anyone else from buying this book and wasting your money like I did. I should have trusted the other knitter’s reviews on Amazon, but no, I a lover of all knitting books and collector of all Stitchionaries thought I just couldn’t go wrong with a book based on the Harmony Guides and with such a pretty cover. So wrong. Let’s see, where to start….
Most complaints had to do with the lack of charts, a draw back but not a crime. The authors seemed confused, who was the target audience for this lace book. They must have decided that first time, “I’ve never held a knitting needle in my hand” knitters-to-be were a target market since they included instructions on how cast on and ‘the knit stitch’ in the beginning. Really? They also included inane knitting “tips” like “stitch markers are your friends”. I guess they needed to fill up the tons of white space on the page. All of these, while annoying, are still not that criminal. But I’m not done yet.
Let us now move on to the total lack of consistency. Want to yarn over? You will have to read through instructions that say yf, yb, yfon, yfrn, yo, yon, yrn with a glossary hidden in the back after the graph paper (huh?). They must have used multiple photographers as well. Some photos are so close you can not tell what the pattern will look like and there are shadows under the eyelets that make some of the patterns extremely difficult to see.
But wait there’s more! There are instructions to wrap the yarn (why with seven different yarn over instructions do I now need to wrap yarn too?! Then there's knit and purl "twisted" as opposed to "KB1" which means knit into back of next stitch, as opposed to tbl. And don't forget to "draw sl st over". Confusing but I do understand this is an update of a classic, and so there is more.
Imagine my surprise when I started to look at the pattern for Lacy Diagonals on page 145 and the pattern is for the WRONG stitch altogether. That's right the photo and the directions do NOT match. I decided to look online to see if it was listed in their errata. This was the final shocker (and the thing that made me decide to post) there are two compact pages of errors! egad!! They list almost 200 pages of incorrect use of yarn over vs. yarn forward (quell surprise) and 16 patterns will multiple errors - not including the one I found where the entire pattern is mismatched.
I could go on (OK, I will I just have to vent!)
• the difficulty seeing some of the dark colors and the washed out look of the lighter flesh colors
• the total lack of organization so that similar stitches are spread through out the book,
• missing instructions (Vertical Slit Cables; rows 6 to 13 have no stitch instructions at all and certainly could use a how to with such an unusual method to work. Is this the same book that thought we needed instructions on how to cast on?)
• Similar stitch patterns (Mesh and Staggered Eyelets, and a few of the zig zags) that just fill space
While I like Erika Knight she let this one get by her and so did Interweave. I really think they owe us an apology.
OK, I feel better now. Thanks. I think I'll go look at some Barbara Walker then I will be at peace with the knitting universe. But I must leave you with this last bit of wisdom from page 166:
"As a beginner, avoid working with novelty and fuzzy yarns as they can make stitches difficult to see." What, do experienced knitters some how suddenly decide to use fuzzy yarn when knitting lace? I may need a glass of wine after that one.
Follow up below ...
p.s. I did write a note to the editors at Interweave Press detailing the issues I found with the book with emphasis on the need for error free patterns. It was a more constructive note than my rant above since I had not yet seen the errata pages. I did get a note back today from one of the VPs expressing her disappointment with all the problems in the book as well as a commitment to higher quality in future books in this series.
I think a bit of quality control up front would have been better but it is a start and I appreciated the personal note back.