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on October 29, 2007
Knitspeak definition: "A combination of words, abbreviations, numbers, and punctuation that is unintelligible to the average human and - unfortunately - to the new knitter." - from Knitspeak

Like any group, culture or trade, knitting possesses its own languagee, one which can be is incomprehensible to the uninitiated. New knitters are often prohibited from stretching their knitting muscles by a pattern which makes as much sense as ancient Greek.

Andrea Berman Price rides to the rescue with her book Knitspeak: an A to Z guide to the language of knitting patterns, a handy volume which translates the symbols, abbreviations, and terms while explaining the logic and structure in which knitting patterns are written.

The first section of Knitspeak provides an overview "of how knitting patterns are organized and how to read them effectively." The second section is organized alphabetically beginning first with symbols. This section, which comprises most of the volume, is much more than just a dictionary. Scattered throughout are detailed illustrations, helpful tips such as choosing the correct decrease method, and longer entries on topics like measuring gauge or choosing a needle size.

The appendix is chock full of helpful information: fixing mistakes, estimating yardage requirements and an "abbreviations at a glance" table. Rounding out this handy volume are three worksheets which Price suggests photocopying and using to track knitting projects; for times so that when you put your knitting down, you have a record. A sound idea - especially for knitters like myself who have double digit UFOs (unfinished objects) that may, or may not, be stored with the required instructions.

Knitspeak's compact size means it easily fits into your knitting bag. The next time your pattern calls for LLI, grab knitspeak for a translation (LLI = left-lifted increase). As Price suggests: "Never stop knitting again because you don't understand your instructions!"

Armchair Interview says: Wonderful book for a beginner knitter.
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on September 29, 2008
I had a terrible time trying to decide between this and the Knitter's Companion (KC). I needed a handy little reference guide that would fit into my purse whenever I took my knitting somewhere. I'm not very familiar with reading patterns, but I'm also not new to knitting so all I really needed was a quick reference to remind me what "ssk" or "yo" means, or which cast on to use, etc., and keep me moving. My only other reference was Vogue Knitting: The Ultimate Knitting Handbook, and that wasn't going to fit in my purse. I ended up buying both copies to bring home and compare carefully. Both the KC and Knitspeak were designed to be a pocket reference and both covered similar topics. The KC had the added advantate of spiral binding, but the paper did not slide easily along the rings and I could see the pages quickly becoming weak and bent, and eventually falling off. They also squeaked unpleasantly. In the end, I returned the KC and kept Knitspeak because I found the illustrations clearer and preferred the organization, but it was a close call. Both are great products.
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on September 27, 2007
Great for when you are in the middle of a pattern and suddenly don't know what an abbreviation means.
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on September 27, 2007
This book is easy to understand, easy to use, and has valuable illustrations. It's the perfect size and book to have on hand.
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on August 20, 2008
This book is permanently in my knitting bag, and I've probably opened it for every project I've knitted. I have a horrible memory for remembering even basic stitches (like kitcheners) and the illustrations are super clear.
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on October 30, 2014
Knitspeak is a A to Z guide to the language of knitting patterns for knitters that gives them confidence to take on new projects. It is designed for quick reference and sized to fit in every knitting bag. Knitting language can be cryptic at time--a mix of abbreviations, numbers, jargon, punctuation marks, and other symbols—in which patterns are usually written. This book is a knitter's dictionary that translates it into plain English, helping knitters to easily transition from confused to confident. Andrea Berman Price’s essential guide—written in a friendly, reassuring tone and formatted for quick reference—begins with an overview of how knitting patterns are organized. It then offers a comprehensive alphabetical listing of all the abbreviations, words, phrases, and symbols typically encountered in patterns.

Knitspeak’s many easy-to-understand drawings clarify basic and not-so-basic needle techniques, and a series of sidebars deals with issues ranging from keeping track of simultaneous shaping to substituting yarns and reading a yarn label. The book’s appendix is filled with valuable tips, charts, and worksheets.
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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.
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on March 1, 2013
I can't say enough about this wonderful little book. I turn to it everytime i need a reminder or solution. And it's even got a handy dandy ruler on the foredge! It's tiny enough to carry around in my knitting bag. Diagrams are clear and instructions are clear and concise.
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on August 3, 2014
I am a self taught knitter who has been attempting progressively harder patterns and techniques for a handful of years now. Early on in this endeavor I was looking for a concise resource specifically small enough to always have in my project bag. This book fits the bill and then some! This is the BEST money I have spent on any of my knitting supplies/resources. This book is amazingly easy to use, extremely clear in explanation and very thorough in the breadth of information covered. It has gotten me out of numerous knitting jams! On more than one occasion I have read the explanation for something in a pattern I was using and thought, there is no way I am going to be able to figure out how to do this correctly. Then I have looked the same thing up in Knitspeak and thought, well why didn't they explain it that way in the pattern?!? Simple. If you are anything other than an uber experienced knitter, GET THIS BOOK!
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on July 5, 2009
Amazon keeps writing to me, asking me to review this. So instead, since I wrote it and think it's the next best thing to indoor plumbing, I'll just ask YOU if you ever find yourself needing a simple, clear explanation for a word you find in a pattern. If so, this is handy book to have around. Also, it has a nifty ruler on the back and a picture that shows you where a GUSSET is. Isn't that worth the cost of the book??
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