Andrea Berman Price coined the term “Knitspeak” for the language of knitters, a language comprised of knitting terms and the mysterious (to beginners) abbreviations used in knitting patterns. As Price herself remarks, knitters who have learned the basics of cast-on, knit, and purl are often baffled when they try to knit something more complicated than, say, a scarf. What does k1f&b mean? Or M1R? How do you read a pattern chart? And what’s a provisional cast-on?
Realizing that knitting books are usually aimed either at rank beginners or at experienced knitters, but rarely at the knitter-in-between, Price set out to remedy this lack. Knitspeak: An A to Z Guide to the Language of Knitting Patterns is exactly what its title implies, and more. The introductory section discusses how to read a pattern (including conventions such as directions for different sizes, and common assumptions), tips on how to keep track of where you are, and even copyright rules as applied to knitting patterns. The main portion of the book is an alphabetical glossary/dictionary of common knitting terms, symbols, and abbreviations. In this section you will find explanations, instructions, and diagrams for everything from pattern abbreviations (k1f&b) to cast-on methods to a variety of knitting tools. The appendix includes helpful information about yarn (substitution guidelines, reading labels, estimating how much you need), tips on dealing with mistakes (picking up dropped stitches, ripping back), charts for needle sizes and metric/imperial conversions, and some useful sample worksheets.
As an intermediate knitter who is firmly in the target audience, I love this book, and only wish I had discovered it sooner. It would have saved me a great deal of frustration! In short, it’s like having a knitting tutor or mentor you can stash in your project bag and take wherever you go. I highly recommend Knitspeak to all knitters of advanced-beginner to advanced-intermediate experience.
(Full disclosure: Andrea Berman Price is a new friend. She sent me her book after she discovered that I enjoy knitting. Many thanks, Andrea!)