hmmm... I wonder what this could be?

I’ve been busy-busy today, working on stock for the Shoppe update next Monday! Most of what I’ve been making is under wraps for now (just to heighten the anticipation!. lol!) So as to not bore you all with little snippets and sneak peeks at what is being made, here are a couple reviews of books I’ve mentioned in the past week. I have a few others I’d like to go over as well, but I’m saving those for later…

Teach Yourself Visually: Knitting Design
Sharon Turner, Wiley Publishing Inc., 2007

knitwear design book

I mentioned this book last week, as a possible solution to trying to learn about knitting pattern design. I learn either by doing or looking at pictures, so the fact that this book is part of a series called Teach Yourself Visually was a big appeal! The book covers just about any garment or accessory you’d want to knit: scarves, gloves, mitts, sweaters, vests, socks, hats… Each section is set up with a “master pattern”, basically a pattern that is a base (much like a body block in sewing). You can match up your yarn gauge to the master pattern (it offers lots of options based on sts/inch), and it tells you how to many to cast on, decrease, increase, etc. The designs are very basic, so making them your own is easier I suppose (having not tried any of this, I can only speculate!).

I’m mostly interested in the sweater section, especially after Anthropologie’s Stitch catalog arrived in my mailbox. The sweater master pattern is just a basic, boxy sweater with various sleeve head options and two neckline options. It looks easy enough, but I am a little put-off by the fact that the sweaters are unisex; so sizing is a little wonky. Although the concept of a basic pattern you can adapt and change yourself is very nice, the book doesn’t offer much in the way of how to make pattern changes. So it would have to be used in conjunction with another book, or by someone who had a lot more knitting experience (or was just crazy enough to jump into a project, like *cough*me*cough*).

I feel that perhaps the assertion of the book teaching you visually is a bit misleading. Although there are a lot of diagrams and pictures, there is a lot of text, which made minimal sense to me. But then again, I do have to read knitting patterns over at least three times before I “get” them. (And even then, frogging rows isn’t that uncommon for me! lol) So I think although it is more visual than other knit pattern design books I’ve seen, it still has a bit of a technical tone that can be a little daunting.

That being said, I did put it on my Amazon wish list. I think used with a couple other reference books, I could learn how to make my own knit wear designs!

Metric Pattern Cutting
Winifred Aldrich, Unwin Hyman Ltd., 1987

pattern cutting book 01

This is one of the books that I was lent recently. Although I haven’t had a chance to read it thoroughly, I have given it a few glances and did read several sections. This book is really quite good; its British, so the style of body block it shows how to draft is quite different from the American style sloper. American bodice slopers end at the waist, and are attached to a separate skirt. European blocks, however, continue from the waist over the hip (this is also known in fashion as a French sloper). That means it covers the entire torso, which I’ve heard allows for a lot more flexibility and accuracy of fit.

The book shows how to draft a sloper, based on either standard British measurements, or for one person. The section on measuring for the block and then fitting the muslin are quite good, though no terribly extensive. I found the tone a lot more realistic about working with the figure variations that come with drafting blocks for individuals. One topic I was glad to see covered was fitting for curved backs; I’ve had to fit a very curved spine before and its tough. The instructions seemed very clear though.

pattern cutting book 03

Also covered is the usual one and two piece sleeves, separate skirts, loose fitting block, one-piece dress block, etc. What I really love (aside from the block drafting chapters!), is the diagrams on pattern cutting. There is a good balance of both diagrams and text, which means that I think people with different learning styles can benefit (I tend to be visual). The styles depicted are similar to the ones in most of the big, pattern cutting textbooks (I’ve got two huge textbooks that have so many variations its overwhelming!), but there were a couple that I hadn’t really seen covered in other places.

The copy I’m borrowing is older, but happily this text has been reprinted! Apparently several sections have been updated, including computer-aided drafting (which in the 1987 edition is very quaint by modern technology standards! lol), and an expanded section on drafting for knits. I’m hoping to be able to buy this one sometime soon, because its not an unreasonable price for a good, pattern drafting text.

lady lumberjack

Is anyone planning anything special for Halloween tomorrow? I know I’m going to dress up, but as who I haven’t decided! I’ll probably just cobble together some costume from all the bits and pieces I’ve got lying about. I have no where to go, but I think it’ll be fun just because! Have a lovely evening!!

Cheers & Creativity,
Casey [ email me ]

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