Reader's Digest Knitter's Handbook - Book

"The Reader's Digest Knitter's Handbook - A comprehensive guide to the principles and techniques of handknitting" by Montse Stanley; 1986,2001; softcover; 318 pages.

This book has been mentioned at times by other MWK members. I am always looking for good technical books and I am very pleased with the purchase of this book. I was a bit put-off when I saw it was produced by Reader's Digest but believe me, this is anything but a "condensed" version. When I first looked through the book, I kept thinking it looked European and sure enough, it was originally published in Great Britain. I don't know if others find a huge difference between the knitting books published in the US and those published in Europe which I prefer (but that's for another discussion). This book is so complete that it could easily stand as the only knitting book in a person's library. There are hundreds of techniques, all illustrated. I was delighted to see a section on Scottish knitting (fixed with belt, holder or armpit), yarn around the neck, cutting & sewing (but nothing about steeks!) and other little-mentioned techniques. The 2 pages called "How to use this book" are so practical they're humourous! Contents headings: Basics, Get clicking, Final Touches, Pattern Instructions, Help!, Gauge Charts. I learn more quickly by watching (DVD's) but I keep picking up this book just to read a bit more and try to absorb all the information contained in it.

I can unreservedly recommend this reference book. It easily can stand with pride next to your volume of "The Big Book of Knitting"!


Kerry's picture

I saw it in my local library the other, must get it out.

Asbjörn's picture

I'm going to have to track this book down. Reader's Digest really has a bad reputation because of those dreaded "condensed" books, but I have their "How to Do Just About Anything" as well as a vegetarian cookbook and a book on herbs that they published and they're all really well-written, informative books. This knitting book also got some great reviews on except for one who thought it read more like a military technical manual.


kiwiknitter's picture

I know what you mean about those condensed books. I didn't know it was by Reader's Digest until I opened the box on it's arrival here. I've never read a military manual but I will say this book is very technical. But then, that's what it's all about: knitting craft technique. It really is a great book.

Never trust a man who, when left alone in a room with a tea cozy, doesn't try it on.  ~Billy Connolly

I had the original British Version. It got left behind in a major move from New York City. [grrr]. The local library has the Reader's Digest Version. Except for the cover (and stockinette vs stocking stitch), it is the same book.

I really like the book. I may get another copy.

She doesn't give just one way to do things. She has done a lot of research and it shows. There are several pages on the different was to cast on and bind off, for example.

Jaxom's picture

Here in the UK most people grow up with Readers Digest. I would say that they are a bit like the curates egg; good in part.
The monthly magazine type book is great. I defy one single person to pick up a copy and not find one article that draws them in. Each article is no longer than three or four sides of A5.
The abridged novels are only good for wet weekends in strange places where you are cut off from the outside world under protest. I would liken them to a chicken carcass, no hearty meals left on it but it will make a nourishing thin soup for four people.
The Readers Digest non-fiction guides however shine out with their information and deserve a place on many home shelves. I would recommend the UK tour guides and road maps as well as the DIY repair guides that they bring out.
On a side note: Thanks for taking the time to photograph your books and writing a report on each. I stumbled upon them quite by accident when I spotted a photo flick up in the view window at the top right hand part of the web page.