Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Back to the Books

Well just one book, really. I said I would get back to this after I had a chance to dig into it.

Aran Sweater Design by Janet Szabo: Big Sky Knitting Designs, Kalispell, MT, 2006

It's not eye candy (most of the illustrations are black and white), but it is clearly and liberally illustrated with photos, schematics, charts and graphs.

It's not a cable stitch dictionary.

It is not a collection of sweater designs - though there are three complete patterns at the end.

It is a very through, informative discussion of the elements that go into designing and constructing cabled sweaters based on the traditional Aran style; and I like it a lot.

Szabo has distilled years of her own knitting and design experience. Reading through it was like sitting next to a friendly and entirely unpretentious expert, who not only says "Here's what works", but also "Here's why it works, oh and by the way, here's a tip for......"

The first section of the book is focused around the process of putting together cable stitch combinations. There is no stitch dictionary, but one chapter is devoted to an examination of different types of cables and other stitch patterns used in Aran sweaters, and suggestions about how different types are most effectively used. The next chapter goes on to combining stitch patterns, both from an aesthetic and a technical point of view. She then moves to swatching, choosing body style and sleeve styles, and deciding edge treatments.

The second section is devoted to sweater construction: flat, in the round, bottom up, top down, with or without saddles. Szabo offers her view of the strengths/limitations of each method and proceeds to give directions for working all of them. Shoulder/yoke treatments covered include: dropped shoulder, peasant sleeve, set in sleeve, shallow set in sleeve, raglan, vests (sleeveless), tee-sleeve and wide saddle. There are clear schematics for each variation, hints about fitting, more hints about planning the stitch pattern to fit the garment shaping....

The book does not include information on shaping a round yoke, if you should be so inclined, or for designing a closely fitted garment (that is, with bust/waist/hip shaping), but the information she offers would be extremely helpful in moving on to incorporating cable work into other design styles.

I'm glad I've got this one.

1 comment:

hege said...

It sounds like a very useful book! Thank you for reviewing it. Now, are you planning a new sweater? You should do it :)