As I detour back to knitting, I remind you that my giveaway for The Tree of Mindala is running through Sunday. You still have time to enter!
The Knitter’s Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters by Ann Budd.
Ann Budd is famous for her “Knitter’s Handy Book” series, all of which have patterns for basic knitted garments in a range of sizes and gauges, from lace weight to bulky yarn, babies to large men. In the past, these books have been practical, especially if you are a would-be knitting designer who needs a place to start before adding your own details. However, tables of how many stitches to knit or decrease are not so interesting just for browsing, at least not for me. This book adds a couple of nifty features that make it really stand out above her other books, as truly useful as they are. First, these are all top-down sweaters. I love top-down sweaters (Ok, I’ve only ever knit one, but still) because of the minimal finishing. Usually you knit down the body, leaving room for the sleeves, then add on the sleeves. Much better than knitting all those pieces flat – with lots of slow purling back if you want stockinette – and then spending hours sewing the flat pieces into tubes. Next, she includes fully designed sweaters with photographs – three or four patterns for each of the four basic construction methods. One of each style is designed by a different Famous Knitting Designer. This instantly ups the browsing appeal of the book and shows how the plain, basic sweater patterns can be turned into something really cool. I thought I might have loved the circular yoked Fibonacci Rings sweater in a different color scheme, and definitely liked the Quince-Essential Fair Isle sweater by Pam Allen. Other interesting designs included the Alpine Tweed Cardi by Jared Flood (the runaway favorite from the book on Ravelry) and the Cable Love Henley with a cable running all the way from neck to wrist down the saddle shoulder. The last section of the book wraps everything up beautifully with neck variations and lots of tips for finishing the sweater and making sure your sweater comes out looking handmade, not homemade. This is a great choice for knitters, and will accommodate either those just starting who want simple patterns or those branching out into designing.