A few years ago, when I was a newbie knitter and Knit Picks was pretty much the only online knitting store I knew about, I ordered a few books from them. The three books, of varying sizes, arrived in a large box with absolutely no packing materials inside. ALL of the books were horribly damaged--spines were crushed, pages bent in half, and covers horribly mangled. To their credit, Knit Picks sent replacement books (with packing materials!) but I vowed I would never order books from them again. Amazon is always cheaper (and with much faster shipping, too!).
But...I needed to order a Lucy Neatby DVD for my mom, new knitter that she is. And Knit Picks is having their book sale. And one of the books I wanted to get was $10 cheaper than on Amazon, so...I caved and ordered another book. Two, in fact, but more on that later.
I have had my eye on the book Seven Things that can "Make or Break" a Sweater, by Margaret E. Fisher for a while now. I like technique and reference books, and I figured that if there was one book that could show me the most common "mistakes" in sweater knitting and guide me to the "correct" way to do things, it would be worth a read. You know, bump my sweater knitting up a notch. So I was quite pleased to have this book in my hands and I settled onto my couch to read the first chapter...
And then I read the whole book. In about 15 minutes.
This book is definitely written for the newbie knitter. I mean, a whole chapter devoted to "k2tog" and "ssk"? Certainly not the fine technical skills I was hoping to refine with this book. So...I flew through it, didn't learn anything, and decided to include it in my mother's birthday package.
However, while this book is not for me, I did find several things about it that were very nice. First of all, if I had been a newbie knitter, it would have been nice to have all of these techniques in one place. Instead, I picked them up here and there over the first few years of knitting. Secondly, the book is written very clearly and almost sparingly. There are no overly-long explanations of the whys and hows of these techniques, which is very nice if you're just trying to learn these things. Thirdly, the full-color photos are very clear and make it very easy to understand exactly what she's trying to teach. And finally, she includes a pattern for a baby sweater which you knit bit by bit using the techniques you just learned in each chapter. This immediate reinforcement of the lessons would help new sweater knitters learn, I'm sure. In addition to the baby sweater, Fisher includes 6 more patterns for adult-sized sweaters that are simple yet allow the new knitter to practice their techniques further.
Final verdict? For me--waste of money. For a new sweater knitter--a good reference filled with lots of guidance. I hope my mother likes it. :)