Friday, 10 August 2007

Oooh, a book rec!

For the kind reader of this blog, I'm sure that you have digested my musings on knitting and pattern designs (or at least, skimmed through stuff) and you know that I'm in the midst of doing a topdown jumper.

I have always thought that it takes a certain skill to be able to weild art and technical details together to create a knit garment, and then to add your own stamp on it is nothing short of magical. I still think this of design, I really do. But it hasn't stopped me from wanting to know the ins and outs of the design process myself. Not because I'm clever enough to design (uhhh.... no), but because I'm inquistive enough to want to know how the process works.

There are books out there for us inquistive knitters: those of us who are content with buying pattern books and working from them - but want to be savvy enough to know when their tech writers were wrong, or when the devil's printer is acting up. I've come across Elizabeth Zimmerman - and perhaps I'm from the generation that grew up on instructions from Japan - where they had loads of easy to follow diagrams because not many people in the 1980's knew Japanese. Also, in the age of digital, where one is taught that a clean, linear writing style is one to be aspired to, the free wheeling, contrary style of Ms. Zimmerman confunds me. Or perhaps, I'm not inspired enough to search through the dense prose for the truth.

I promise myself I'll give the book a try one day. Just not today.

For today, I'm trying Sweater Design in Plain English by Maggie Righetti.

For starters, Righetti writes in plain English. The book is over 400 pages long, and I didn't even find myself glazing over her chapter of knitting math.

Righetti speaks about different types of bodies, and how to knit for said body (I'm a pear shape, so it was helpful to me). She also speaks about how to do set in sleeves so that you can knit them downward from the armhole instead of from bottom up. That's brilliant, because it saves on error in terms of sleeve length. She also discusses shortrows and darts, and how to do different necklines for jumpers. She discusses the drawbacks of various stitches, and gives you pointers for finding the colours which are best for you (I'm currently contemplating a soft knit jumper, and this is coming from a woman who couldn't abide the colour and concept of pink).

In addition, the principles in the book are aptly illustrated by black and white diagrams. Joy.

The only drawback with the book are the patterns included. They are very dated, but it's good to see how she approaches the pattern process.

I might not design a jumper for myself, but I can see the book being a great help in terms of the patterns I pick in the future.

1 comment:

JayJay said...

Interesting! I may check out this book once I get a little more skilled. I have the EZ Knitting Without Tears and have learned some nuggets of good info. I don't think I'm advanced enough yet to benefit as much as others.