New “Principles of Knitting” in November

Well, I'll be… something.

The rumors of years have finally given way to truth.  A new version of "The Principles of Knitting" — for years, one of the most thorough knitting reference books out there — will be published in November.  (Just in time for Xmas!  Coincidence?  I think not.)

According to Amazon,

A treasured guide beloved by knitters everywhere, the classic book The Principles of Knitting is finally available again in a fully revised and updated edition.

This is THE definitive book on knitting techniques, with valuable information for everyone from beginners to experienced knitters. June Hiatt presents not only a thorough, thoughtful approach to the craft, but also a passion for carrying on the art of knitting to future generations. She has repeatedly tested the various techniques and presents them with clear, easy-to-follow instructions—as well as an explanation of what each one can contribute to your knitting. Informed by decades of experience and thousands of hours of practice, this comprehensive resource offers a variety of ways to approach every skill and technique and offers solutions that can help solve the most challenging aspects of any knitting project.

The Principles of Knitting has been totally rewritten—new instructions, new illustrations, and new information. While the basics of knitting have not changed much, June’s understanding of the material has deepened over the last twenty-five years, and she’s eager to share what she has learned with the knitting world. In addition, the book has been reorganized to make it easier to use and has a gorgeous new design.

I will be quite interested to see what Ms. Hiatt says about Continental knitting (what she calls Left-Finger Knitting) this time around.  Last time, back in 1989, she dismissed it with a few paragraphs, saying it wasn't possible to get a nice, even fabric with this method unless you were an expert.  Hmmmm…  guess that makes me an expert.  And she also made a negative reference in this section that I am pretty sure is aimed at Elizabeth Zimmerman's well-known avoidance of purling and preference to knit in the round.  Not classy, I think.

As my students know, I have never liked to see knitting books that say there is only one right way to knit.  As far as I am concerned, if you are happy with your knitting, that's basically what matters.  After all, most of us are knitting for our own pleasure, not for production or to win the blue ribbon at the State Fair.

For a different reason, Ms. Hiatt and I also disagree a bit on what she calls Right-Hand knitting, which is more-or-less American-style knitting.  As I recall, she advocates controlling the yarn tension by holding it between right thumb and forefinger.  I happen to think this sets knitters up for fatigue problems even if done properly, i.e. loosely.  I think it sets knitters up for REAL problems when it is done the way beginners usually do it, i.e. with a death grip on that yarn so tight that it's almost impossible to get the new stitch through the old one.  (You know who you are, Rock Star.)  I believe it is far preferable to control the yarn by winding it through the fingers of the right hand, rather than pinching it — at least, if you plan to do any sizeable amount of knitting.

However — while the author and I may disagree on some of her knitting philosophy, the original book is absolutely an excellent technical reference.  It explains and illustrates more techniques than most people know exist, let alone know how to do.  I am hopeful that the new version will contain even more good stuff and of course, much better photos and illustrations.  Color, for a start!

You can pre-order at Amazon right now — and if you do it with the link above, I'll get a teeny little kickback.  🙂

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