In 1972, the world of knitting acquired a book that approached knitting in a new way. Dave Fougner, a knitter, wrote a book about the Manly Art of Knitting. An amusing, practical guide and an attempt to encourage men to take up knitting as well as to be embraced by the veterans of the craft.
The book is only 65 pages and covers the basis of knitting. In 4 chapters, it covers techniques such as, how to cast on/off, increase/decrease, the most basic stitch patterns, 6 projects and a section on how to deal with problems.
I have been wanting to get this book for quite some time, so I was really thrilled to discover that it was reprinted in 2014. Previously, it was out of print for decades. Thankfully my expectations of reading something different and interesting were rewarded.
The book is quite minimal and laconic in it’s wording. I will be borrowing that style and presenting the details I liked in bullets:
- the book is small. Everything is explained simply and clearly – just the absolutely necessary information is included.
- each technique is presented with a combination of pictures of hand movements and drawn line art.
- stitch patterns span two pages: one for the written instructions and one for a full page photograph of the worked stitches.
- the inclusion of bibliography (!) and the section on how to deal with problems. The whole approach is very engineering-like and addresses issues beginners are most likely to face.
It is a great book for beginners. I would have totally liked to have it as my first knitting book when starting out. Because it is so simple and practical, a beginner does not get lost between different kinds of techniques or styles that many how-to-knit books include. Of course, once one wants to expand their skills beyond the absolute basics, this book is not enough, but I think that it helps a beginner to start out with a very good knowledge basis.
Maybe this style of explaining things was in the 1970’s considered manly, but today, 4 decades later, I would associate it with explaining things as an engineer, not as a man. The engineering ‘way’ would be to include just the necessary information, nothing more, nothing less.
I would totally recommend this book to absolute beginners, and most importantly, to knitting book writers. It incorporates elements that are not often seen in knitting books and I personally would like to see them be used a lot more often.
Also, who doesn’t love a cover of person knitting on a horse?! Awesomeness.