Saturday, September 06, 2008

I've been reading...

instead of knitting - which explains no blogging recently. I had signed up to do my sort-of-Thora sweater for the UFOlympics but only did one buttonband. True, that's one buttonband more than I had before the Olymics started, so some progress was made.

My biggest downfall, knitting-wise, this last month or so? I found books online. Don't get me wrong, I knew books were online before last month. I just never really looked, I didn't think I'd like reading that much on the computer - even stuff at work, if it's more than a few screens long I print it out. Um, well, I know now if it's interesting, and it's not available in hardcopy, I will - and have - spend plenty of time reading on line. So.

I have read a few knitting books in paper form recently though - Custom Knits by Wendy Bernard , Knit So Fine by Lisa Myers, and Twisted Sisters Knit Sweaters book.

They are very different books, the only thing they really have in common is sweaters and the half pattern/half techniques style. (um, no, I didn't count pages, it may not be truly half & half, but it's the idea)

I've been trying to come up with something to say, beyond "if you like the patterns, buy the book." That's certainly a valid reason to get the books, but it makes for a really short blog post.

Twisted Sisters is bottom-up, knit in pieces sweaters
Knit So Fine is a mix of styles, the common element is they're all lighter than worsted weight.
Custom Knits is mostly top-down (I think there's 2 bottom up sweaters)

The techniques sections cover what you need to know to knit the sweaters in the book. And all three seem to be well written for that. Knit So Fine discusses the advantages of knitting sweaters with lighter-weight yarns (since it's taken me a good 3 yrs at least, to knit a worsted weight sweater, I'm not sure I'd try a sweater with thinner yarn, but that's not
her fault.)

It's taken me a while to work out why the books don't grab me as 'must buy'

The pattern sections have some sweaters I'd consider, but even so, there's not so many in each book that I felt compelled to buy the book.

The technique sections seem to be well written (since I haven't tried to actually knit anything using these instructions, I may be wrong, but they really did seem good) but they only talk about styles in the book - and even then just the methods used in the patterns. And they seem like 'stripped down' versions of Knitting From The Top (Barbara Walker) or Knitting In The Old Way (Priscilla Gibson Robert). I don't mean that they copied the instructions from those two books, not at all. But in Knitting From The Top, there's instructions for three ways of attaching set-in sleeves knit from the top down. Custom Knits has one.

The writing styles are different, if Custom Knits' style makes more sense that Knitting From The Top, then that's reason enough to get one book over the other. Same with the other books.

If you're looking for a sweater pattern book and you like the patterns in these books, go for it. The sweaters are nice, the patterns look well written (won't hurt to double check for errata though, typos happen)

If you're looking for a how-to-knit sweater book, these will give you the info for that too. But it looks like it's only for the styles (not necessarily the patterns specifically) in the book.

If you want a general how-to-knit any style of sweater book, these won't be the end-all and be-all. I don't know if Knitting From The Top and/or Knitting In The Old Way are, but for me, these two are enough. No patterns in the first, and some in the second, these are definitely more technique-reference book than pattern book.

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