For beginners, this could be the next-best-thing to having a patient, experienced knitter next door. Every term, every process, and the spacial-know-how needed to make each kind of garment is set forth with utmost simplicity and clarity (and, where called for, helpful illustrations). The alphabetical arrangement makes sense: in knitting, you do need to know just one thing at a time--how to cast on, or how to make a raglan sleeve, or how to judge your gauge. The book is also encyclopedic in another useful way: under ""Yam,"" for instance, comes information on the several aspects of that multi-faceted subject. But it's not encyclopedic in the sense of trying to cover every last refinement. Undaunting, then, and eminently practical.