Saturday, April 26, 2008

Book review

I haven't done in a while, so why not today?
Knitting Sweaters From the Top Down by Cathy Carron

Since the title is so similar to Barbara Walker's classic Knitting From The Top book, I was curious to see if the Carron's book was an updated version or what.

If all you're interested in is making raglan sweaters, Carron's book has you covered. She has a lot of good info about calculating size, stitch counts, etc. Lots of good pics of different necklines, tips for waist shaping, and general sweater design. Her calculations explained simply and with enough detail that you know why the calculations are needed. She does use a few knitting abbreviations that I haven't seen in other places implying that they're common for top-down knitting, when it's most likely just for this book. But that's a minor point.

There's 2 dozen sweater patterns, 6 each of 4 different yarn weights - the patterns are written in 4 sizes each (most with finished measurements of 36-48") but with calculation details from earlier in the book, you could re-size them if the size you want isn't pre-figured. Each pattern has a schematic with the measurements. And there's template patterns in the back if you want a 'plain vanilla' sweater pattern to start playing around with.

So, is this an update to Walker's book? Sort of - if you want raglans only, I guess. The information is similar, the language more up-to-date. But Walker's book has 10 different raglan increases, Carron only has 2. Walker explains how to calculate, if necessary, different increase rates for the body vs the sleeves. Walker also explains how to modify the raglan yoke style to a round-yoke style.

And, for me, most importantly, Walker explains how to make sweaters top-down that are not raglans. And vests, hats, pants, skirts, and even a drawstring bag.

Yes, Carron's book has 24+ patterns. Yes, it has lovely color photographs. But, no thanks. I'm keeping my Barbara Walker Knitting From The Top black& white, patternless book. It's a more interesting book.

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