Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne's first book was a revelation for knitters regardless of their skill and experience level. Beginning knitters found courage and support in the authors' humor and encouragement to experiment. Experienced knitters loved the "back to basics" approach, one that freed them from patterns and encouraged them to make seemingly simple approaches their own.

With Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines, popular bloggers Gardiner and Shayne offer readers more of their conversational style and unconventional approach while also pushing knitters to explore shapes beyond the rectangle that formed the basis of so much of their first volume. Here knitters will find patterns for cardigans, stoles, pullovers and kids' clothing, as well as creative, tasteful housewares: throws, Christmas decorations, table runners and more. Several of these items are designed by others, many of whom (like the authors) have gained fame in the online knitting community.

Throughout, Gardiner and Shayne preserve their emphasis on education (by providing a clinic on cables in the guise of a sock pattern, for example) and on encouraging individuality (by providing several examples of knitted coats, at least one of which is sure to match any reader's personal style). They provide one of the best introductions I've seen on Fair Isle knitting—complete with decidedly untraditional, even modern patterns utilizing this traditional technique, much as they did with log cabin techniques in the previous volume.

And, of course, the authors weave all these patterns, tidbits and lessons together with the trademark blend of irreverent humor and practicality that has drawn so many people to their blog, with sections like: "Oh Crap! I've Overfelted the Bag! Should I Consider Suicide?" and "How to Overcome Gravity and Look Great, Too!" Once again, this dynamic Mason-Dixon knitting duo will appeal to knitters of all stripes - and Fair Isle, too.


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