My latest favorite knitting book is Cap Sease’s Cast On, Bind Off: 211 Ways to Begin and End Your Knitting. It’s brilliant!
I’ve recently had two reasons to put the book to the test. I was making socks with K2P2 ribbing on the leg, and wanted an attractive, stretchy cast-on. I have lots of reference books that include sections about casting on, but I’d have to dig through a lot of techniques just to find the one with the qualities I was looking for. This is where Cast On, Bind Off really shines. Right in the beginning of the book, Sease provides grids which show the purpose of the various techniques. In the case of my sock, all I had to do was look under the column called “Purpose” in the grid for cast-ons to find the section called “Elastic”; it lists seventeen cast-ons that will produce an elastic edge. Further down was the section labeled “Socks”, which was even more specific. Flipping to the section of the book for sock cast-ons (yes, there’s a whole section devoted to socks!), I found the perfect technique – the “Rolled-Edge Cast On for K2, P2 Rib”.
The next situation I needed to use the book for was binding off my Color Affection shawl. Before looking at the Cast On book – and kind of ignoring some warnings from Ravelry users – I figured I could just go up a needle size or two and bind off in the usual manner. Big mistake. The bind-off was too tight, and I had to take the whole thing out. Aarg! What I really needed was an elastic bind-off that would be neither too tight nor too loose for the shawl’s curved edge. Voila! Cast On‘s fabulous tables in the front of the book list a whole slew of bind-offs which can be used for elastic edges. I tried one or two, and settled on the “Suspended Bind Off Variation.”
Not only does this book provide an incredible array of techniques, it’s just so intelligently laid out! In addition to tables which organize cast-ons and bind-offs by purpose (elastic, firm, lace, etc), there’s a table which shows which cast-ons to pair with which bind-offs to create matching edges. Those of you who regularly read my blog or scarf book can just imagine how happy this grid makes me! I love for the beginnings and endings of my projects to mirror each other.
That Cap Sease has been knitting since childhood may explain the variety of cast-ons and bind-offs she’s gathered for this book. Her experience as a teacher shines through in the concise yet thorough instructions for each technique. The illustrations are thorough and very helpful. I would highly recommend this book to any knitter who wants to go beyond the basics and use cast-ons and bind-offs to exercise more control over the appearance and usefulness of the projects they knit.
Keep looking here for a special giveaway of this book. The winner will receive a copy personalized and signed by Cap Sease! (A hint – the giveaway will commence on a practically unheard-of day of celebration in June…anybody care to venture a guess?)