Freelance knitting designer Lam takes a different approach to knitting instruction in her first book. Rather than the traditional method of introducing a skill or technique followed by a project, she uses sampler squares to teach an array of stitch patterns, techniques, and skills. The two-page spread for each square contains a wealth of information, including a photo-based, step-by-step tutorial, a close-up picture of the square, a chart (even for simple patterns such as garter stitch or stockinette), and a written pattern. New stitches or techniques are clearly explained. The consistency is ideal for building beginners' confidence, and Lam expands upon the basics slowly but effectively, taking the intimidation out of skills such as lace and cable knitting, colorwork, and chart reading. Sampler squares are not a new concept—the Knitting Guild Association uses them as the core of their Master Knitter Program, and there are numerous sampler afghan books available—but the use of sampler squares to teach knitting is a novel approach that will appeal to knitters who want to try out techniques without committing to a larger project that may go unused. VERDICT Knitters looking to move on from basic knit and purl will find a wealth of information here—and they'll end up with enough squares for a nice-sized blanket if they work their way through the book.