Reader's Digest isn't exactly the first publisher I think about when I want crafting advice, but the Complete Guide to Needlework is very useful and well organized.
While I still doubt that I will ever need the other nine sections of the book, the 88 pages of knitting information is so packed to the gills with good information, that I think the book is very worth it.
I had this book in college, so it's possible that straight-out nostalgia colors my thinking of it, but it really is well-laid-out and well illustrated. There are several projects, but most of them are truly out of date in both style and construction methods.
The real value in this book comes from the techniques it describes.
The "looped cast on" in this book, is an invisible cast on. It's the one I learned in my dorm room and it's still the way I do it, even though I know there are other ways to do it. A lot of people prefer the crochet-chain start for this cast on, but I think this is more elegant. Plus, I don't have to find a crochet hook to work it.
As an aside, Jacqueline Fee credits Barbara Walker with inventing the cast on I prefer in her book, The Sweater Workshop. I think that's pretty cool, but I've never seen anyone else say it is Walker's. Just goes to show that her brilliance has just sunk right in and we all take the different things she gave us for granted as inevitable.
Other cool things in this book:
- 6 different side selvadges, explained and photographed, including how to add them to a project.
- 3 different versions of smocking.
- How to determine how much yarn you will need.
- How to design a sweater using a chart.
- Shapes for necklines, collars, armholes, sleeves, borders, hems, facings, pockets and buttonholes.
- How to join sections, block pieces, insert zippers (although it's not as cool as this way to insert zippers), and adjust fit.