Knitting Pattern Essentials (POTTER CRAFT, 2013)
I think of this book as my life's work.
Yes, I know that's a trite and over-used term. But in this case,
there's no other expression that captures what this book means to me.Consider the following.
So now, many years and classes and students later, I have honed that original material to this very comprehensive and beautiful book.
- In the eary 80's, I wrote a 100-page manual (on a 25-character memory type-writer!) called Advanced Knitting and Design.
taught classes from it, mostly locally, and from them the very large
and very successful Kitchener-Waterloo Knitters' Guild was formed.
- That guild brought in teachers who pushed me onto the international stage.
- From thence my career expanded and became the life I live!
How I'd want this book to be used
favourite knitting is most often from an existing, non-knit garment. I
measure it, find yarn, swatch, draft, and knit. And that's what I wish
So, with that in mind, the chapters are the following:
What you are meant to do is read chapter one, then from chapter 2 plus any following chapter that applies combine the shapes that fulfill your vision and produce your garment.
- preparing to draft (measurements, understanding ease, understanding shapes, swatching)
- basic shapes (drop shoulder, modified drop shoulder, set-in sleeve, raglan)
- shoulder and neck shaping
- hem alternatives
- side shaping
- sleeve alternatives
- fabrics, finishes, and fixes
- 8 patterns
More about that fabrics, finishes, and fixes chapter . . . . It's a very important chapter that helps you understand your knitting. (This is what I do in classes: this is what students most love: this is what we all need!)
When you draft your own patterns, you need to understand your fabrics (common stitch patterns and their selvedges) plus how they behave.
And then you'll want to know how to finish your pieces . . . with those bands for which there are truly terrible instructions in most knitting patterns: pick up and knit 101 stitches around the neck . . . evenly. In this section we completely liberate you from such unhelpful stuff. (Besides, you won't actually have a pattern to follow, will you?)
And then you might need to know how to fix things that don't turn out as expected. And, trust me, this can happen. It's all part of the process.
Sometimes this means ripping, sometimes it does not. Both are covered in the book. But please do not think that if you have to rip you have failed! Quite the contrary! We don't learn, and we don't suceed, if we don't rip a little. it's our knitting badge of honour to recognize a mistake and rip it out!
I rip! Truly, I do! And i don't mind it at all! (What I tell myself while doing so is After this project you were going to find more knitting: you just found it!)
To finish, there are 8 patterns in the book--mostly to show you the range you can achieve by combining shapes--even if you are only an intermediate knitter!
And speaking of skill level, I want this book to be for everyone! Drafting knitting patterns is not rocket science! Add, subtract, multiply, divide. Everyone can do this!
And you know what? Nothing could be better for you than to challenge yourself in this way. Your brain will thank you! Rudolph Steiner thought knitting the perfect human activity--and so insisted every 6-yr old in his Waldorf Schools learn how. And they don't use patterns! They learn basic math skills and spatial relations that will serve them their entire lives--and be a proven hedge against memory loss and Alzheimer's.
So, please, open this book with confidence and optimism, knowing that you can do it and that
I look forward to hearing from you as you discover your abilities, empower yourself, and produce great work.
- your closet will thank you (because you will knit stuff you'll actually and proudly wear
- your wallet will thank you (because you won't waste money on garments that are never worn)
- your brain will thank you (because you will love long and healthy)
- knitting will thank you (because you have honoured your craft)
Warm Knits, Cool Gifts (POTTER CRAFT, 2010)
book, also with Potter Craft and also with my daughter, has differences from other books I (we) have done.
override the latter (because I do think of myself as primarily a
teacher), a very clever editor suggest 'call outs'--which are boxes or
notes that occur in the patterns on the subjects of 1) INSPIRATION, 2)
FLATTER AND FIT, and 3) TECHNIQUE. (The latter are particularly
wonderful because a recommended technique is explained--the why and how
of it--right when you are using it. I thought that a terrific addition to the book, and it made my teacher's heart very happy!)
- It has the broadest focus of any book I've (we've) done.
- It has the broadest range of patterns of any book I've (we've) done.
does not have a direct teaching component (although the chapter intro's
call upon research and thoughts and years of experience).
So, what follows here discussions on the following subjects:
- the book's focus;
- alternative photos of some pieces;
alert to free patterns (on the PATTERNS page of this website) not
included in the book or developed after the book was sent to print;
- the inevitable errata.
The book's focus
I don't want to take too much away from the chapter intros here, so instead I'll tell you the back story of the book.
truth is that it was originally planned as a Christmas book--gifts and
decorations for that particular season. My publisher thought that focus
too narrow, so we broadened, we deleted, and we kept knitting. I most remember one car trip in which Caddy and I discussed the projects and she found the chapter headings: For the Wee Ones, For Family and Friends, Keeping Warm, and Feeling Festive. Such a clever girl!
The result of all this is a book that started with an idea too narrow and became a book with the broadest focus and range of projects
of, really, any book I've ever seen. Two responses I hear repeatedly
are the following.
- What a beautiful book!
- All of this stuff is included?!?!
Alternative views / photos
are always pieces in a book that aren't photographed as the designer
intended. This happened less often here than in other books I've done,
but there are still pieces I'd like you to see differently.
Kids' Sport Sweater (page 36)
photo on page 36 does not show the dark side panels (although you can
almost see one on page 41). The photo to left shows them.
Argyle Watchband (page 44)
called when we saw the galleys, to ask why the watchband was not shown
on a wrist. They explained that it was too small for the models. Caddy
explained that it wasn't: they just weren't willing to stretch it as
needed. So here, to left, it's shown on a real wrist. (It's meant to to
be tight, as most watchbands are!)
Baby Doll Dress and Petticoat (pages 71-78)
MATERIALS list for the Petticoat (page 77) explains that it requires a
slip, the instructions (page 78) explain how it is attached to the
slip, and the schema (page 78) gives the knitting's dimensions. But nowhere is
there a photo of just the
Petticoat--the slip with the lace panels attached. The publishers didn't think that showing a model in her
undies fit with the prettiness of the book (and considering the photos to left, you might agree), and they really hoped you'd
'get' it. In case you didn't, to left is a photo of the petticoat and a
close-up of the attachment.
Simple Felted Scarf (page 87)
people at the photo shoot got really creative with this piece, and I
understand styling it to keep the chest warm. But this was not how
Caddy intended it to be worn--at least not the only way--so her vision
is shown at left.
Architectural Shawl (page 98)
This is the only piece whose photo saddened me. The model standing with her arms wide in both photos does not show
you how the garment hangs. (In their defense, some pieces are just difficult to photograph. Do you show the knitting or the garment?) You also don't see is how pretty the piece
is--which you'll probably have to take on faith because the photo at
left might not do it justice either. I suppose you'll just have to see
the dark blue one on me or the stone colored one on my friend Mel. (I do
think the garment is better made in a more neutral colour.) Honestly, whenever we wear ours we are stopped, admired, and asked
for the pattern! I am really sorry that even my photo might not incline
you to make such a wonderful garment!
Easy Open Heart (page 135)
MATERIALS list for this calls for ribbon, but the photos never show it
with ribbon. I thought you might like to see how pretty it is with its
Mini Evergreen Wreath (page 137)
The MATERIALS list for this calls for ribbon, but the photos never show
it with ribbon. I thought you might like to see how pretty it is with
Leftover-Sock-Yarn Stocking (page 139)
originally intended this piece to be a riot-of-colour--like the
leftover sock yarn we all have in our stash! But my publishers wanted
something more controlled. So I made the piece you see in graded reds,
thinking all the while that it defeats the purpose originally
conceived. So here is a photo of the stocking they rejected--made as
suggested in the second note on page 143. (The yarn carried throughout
was a green: the yarns carried with it were whatever I put my hands
on.) And while I say in that note that you can come here and see both
alternatives, I haven't yet knit the second--a stocking with random
lengths of anything! If you make one, please send me a photo.)
The Nordic Stocking (page 151)
don't have a photo of the stocking here, but I did say in the pattern
that you could replace an area of the hearts with someone's name. On
the TIPS page of my website I tell you how to find and print an alphabet to knit.
is always stuff removed from a book, or adapted from a book, or that
evolves from a book. So here are results of all three, available as
free patterns on this website.
Adult verion of Ear Flap Baby Hat
My daughter showed up for a day of skiing in her adult version of this hat. I begged for one and thought you might like one too! It is on my PATTERNS page.
Woman's version of Groovy Pullover
This summer I delivered the man's version of this sweater to my son and was truly, truly amazed
at how handsome it was. And my next thought was "I want one!" But as I
was starting it, I remembered how attractive A-lines are on women, so I
changed the pattern to give it an A-line. And I also left out the
bottom section, which is what fills in the stitch pattern's natural
scallop. (Guys certainly don't want scalloped hems, but girls do!) The
necessary adjustments to the original pattern are quite minor, and they appear on my ADAPTS page.
know that the photo to left probably doesn't do it justice--in that you
cannot see the stitch pattern very well--but that's clearer in the
book. What you need to see here is the shape and the scalloped hem.)
Kinky Boot Stocking
always intended a third stocking for the book, but my publishers didn't
love the one I offered. I can see now that it's a little campy
for such a pretty book. But I've never shown this stocking to anyone
who didn't love it. So, its pattern is on my PATTERNS page also.
loved the technique of the Architectural Shawl (which was developed
long ago for, but not included in, THE KNIT STITCH) and made pillows
this book. But there just wasn't room in the book, or the publishers
didn't see the point, so you get them for free on my PATTERNS page.
(You'll note there that because the pillows were felted, the technique
is the sad part for me. Please believe me when I say that my stomach
takes a tumble every time I find something. And please understand that
I am as shocked as anyone when we find an error. How can this
happen--after 5 people reading through the book as many as 9 times?!?!?
But it does.
Vested Hoodie (page 25)
(By the way, the color numbers, the pattern itself, and the yarn information at the back of the book are all correct.)
- MATERIALS list, for Vest, color of yarn should be gray (not rust)
- MATERIALS LIST for Trim, Sleeves, Hood, color of yarn should be rust (not gray).
Kids' Sport Sweater (page 37)
Glasses Case (page 47)
- GAUGE, should read 21 stitches and 28 rows = 4" (10cm). (DUH!)
Sweater Sally Made Instead (page 69)
- Rows 4 and 6 With CC, p4, *sl 1 p-wise, p3, repeat from * to end--p3 instead of k3.
- There are 2 errant 'purl' dots, right in the center of the 26-stitch repeat
for the Front/Back, right above and below the \--4--\. I hope it's obvious
that they shouldn't be there.
Here are 2 errors, both on the same page.
The next part of this is not so much an error as a clarification.
- page 80, right column, 4th line under EDGING, should be p7, not k7.
- page 80, under LOWER CENTER SECTION SHORT ROWS, ROW 2 should read "Sl 1, k24" not k22.
that the previous instruction is for rows 1 and 2. On row 2, you will
slip the marker as you encounter it. This occurs again in the Sleeve
and Sleeve saddle.
- page 81, right column, last paragraph, WAVY RIDGE BODY. Further editions will carry the following note.
But this next is a bit of silliness that I cannot explain.
- Further occurences (referrred to in the note) are on page 82, right
column, last paragraph, WAVY RIDGE BODY, and on page 83, left column,
middle of page, under SADDLE.
- page 83, 4th line under SADDLE, should read "K6, pm" NOT "K1, pm, k5, pm."
- page 101 and 102, STRIPS 8 and 10: both should read End after working a WS row--not RS row--before the buttonhole.
wouldn't be wrong to
make the garment without the last correction (I think Caddy has even
done so): it just wouldn't look like the photo. But we hope that the
printer's odd changes to the row numbers don't confuse you: it really
is a 20-row repeat, and seeing row numbers on the left shouldn't
confuse RS and WS rows: odd numbered rows are RS and should be read
from right to left.
Center-Panlelled Vest/Sweater (page 107)
- p105, ribbed edging should end after 8 rows, not 9.
- p106, the row lines for the chart should be to the right of the chart: odd numbered rows are RS rows.
- the row numbers don't line up with the chart: but it really is a 20-row repeat!
- p106, stitches 13 and 14, for the duration of the chart, should be RS purl, WS knit (in other words, RSS).
- There should be a line, under SIZES, that reads S (M, L, 1X, 2X).
Sean's Fingerless Gloves (page 119)
don't understand how I could see a yarn label for LANG and print it as
LANA GROSSA. But the yarn is definitely Maxi Tosca by LANG (although I
had been told it's been discontinued). This means that the following
corrections should also be made.
Estelle Designs (for LANG yarns)
- page 170, should read LANG Maxi Tosca, not LANA GROSSA.
- page 172, MUENCH YARNS information should be replaced with the following:
2220 Midland Avenue, Unit 65
Scarborough, ON, Canada
Berroco, Inc. (for LANG yarns)
P.O. Box 367, 1
4 Elmdale Road,
Mother-Daughter Knits, 30 Designs that Flatter and Fit (POTTER CRAFT, 2009)To follows are 4 sections in which I discuss these subjects:
book is a joy and a wonder and more than a dream-come-true! It is not
only the unimaginable delight of a collaboration with my daughter, but
it is the culmination of years of work and what I consider my most
significant offering to our world. And it's a gorgeous book! Thanks to POTTER CRAFT!
- the collaboration,
- the book's special focus,
- the garments,
- the errata,
- some reviews.
First, the collaboration
Imagine this scenario. You do something you love, but your
daughter--despite your trying to teach her--does not share your
passion . . . until one day when you are teaching her boyfriend . . . and she takes his knitting from him . . . and she gets it . . . and then she takes off as if she had invented it!
The story could have ended there. But it didn't. Because then she started designing (and selling) amazing stuff! And then she started teaching! Oh my, what wonderful phone calls ensued!
And the story could have ended there. But it didn't. Because soon after, I was looking for a publisher. And I landed where I did because I happened to mention that my daughter was designing and knitting and teaching . . . and I was saying this to a woman who's dream had
been a two-generation knitting book! (Her offer to publish a
collaborative work with with my daughter was probably the main reason I settled with
Potter rather than other fine publishers.)
To speak practically for a moment--to put the obvious emotional resonance aside--why a two-generation knitting book?
my daughter and I represent the two demographics of the knitting world.
To speak in broad strokes, this would be the 60-yr olds and the 30-yr
olds. Are we different in what we design and we wear? Absolutely! But
I'll let the book provide evidence to that.
Second, the special focus of the book--knits to flatter and fit
the collaboration itself could have been enough, Rosy (the
aforementioned editor) asked about a focus to the book. She knew
that I was a teacher and wondered what I wanted to teach?
reminds me of a conversation with Cat Bordhi--in which I said that I
was a teacher, not a writer, and that I could not imagine writing a
book that didn't teach something. She then said "You should tell people that." So there: done deal.)
thought of all that I had learned, over the years, about sweater lengths
and styling. And, believe me, this hadn't always been a wonderful
I did the math, I did the research, and then I prepared to produce the
concrete evidence for what I suspected to be true--that there were
ideal lengths for each of us, that there were simple rules for
pairings bottoms with tops, and that knitters needed to learn to
- Sometimes I'd design a garment for a
publication, and the final photo (over which I'd little or no control)
would show the garment . . . badly. Why? What was wrong?
- I went to my own closet and experiemented: why did some sweaters work with some pants or skirts but not others?
- And why did a sweater I loved-once it had stretched out to an inch longer than intended--suddenly looked wrong?
I literally did this . . . on New
Year's Eve . . . with paper dolls. My excitement at the glaringly
obvious evidence kept me awake until 2am and had me up again at 6. Who
knew that paper dolls could be so instructive? And who knew that this material could be explained so easily?
the left, I show two of these original paper
dolls. (While the drawings are rough, I must admit that I envy her her hairdo!) The top drawing is a
short, unshaped sweater to ideal length; the lower is the same sweater
worn too long. Do you see how much heavier the lower figure looks? (Poor girl! All she did was follow the pattern!)
from this simple start, I expanded--with more dolls, some math, lots of
writing. The result--the first chapter of this book--explains the following:
In addition, every garment
in the book tells you what style it is, what modifications to make,
where to make them, and how to make them--by referring you back to the
relevant page in the first chapter! How cool is that!
- how to find your perfect length for our most common styles;
- what to wear with it;
- the (potentially 5 but often only 2 or 3) places you should never follow a pattern;
- how to adjust a pattern so the finished garment is perfect for you.
is lots more to say about this, but I'll stop here. I've probably said
it better in the book, so best that you look there.
said that, however, there was only so much room in the book: I could
only offer a limited and generic description of what I found. And we
couldn't take the space to show you all the ways things could be done wrong.
If you want more information on this subject, and if you need more personal attention, go to my Workshops page, look up the 3-hr class Knit to Flatter and Fit. Take the class with me sometime! Or, do the homework and play paper dolls on yourself!
Third, about the garments themselves
written stories about the pieces in the book itself, so here I'll only
talk about stuff that needs comment after the fact--about discontinued yarns, about photos that don't show something you need to know about, about adjustments you could make.
Fourth, the errata
- Tabbed Cuffs (28) These
are shown upside down. (The part without the buttons is meant to be
worn on the hand. I think you'll get it when you make them.)
- Camelot Coat (39) I
love this fabric after fulling (as directed). But it does pill a
little--at least for a while. (I don't know if this is because I fulled
it or not.) I don't mind: I just take my SUPER electric sweater shaver
to it every once in a while. And--after a month of
wearing--it seems to have stopped.
- Scarf-closing Cardigan (53) I
wish we had a larger photo of this garment--and one in which I could
have taken the time to make the lower edges line up. (You won't have
trouble lining the edges when you wear it.) Plus I hope you can imagine
it with a fuller scarf. (I have a larger, fluffy green scarf that
looks wonderful in this piece.) Truly, you change the scarf, you change
- Flirty Top (98) If
you make this and don't like the amount of 'poof' at the hips, just sew
a 2" fold into the flounce at each hip. (I"ve done this with mine, and
I wear it all the time!)
- Reversible Tank Top (123) This
company has closed, but that does not mean you can't still find the
yarn? It's a worsted weight, soft tape, knit to a looser gauge than the
label would suggest.
- Femme Tie (126) A word about the photo: this was meant to be tied as a man's
tie. (It's a wonderful thing when worn that way and with a shirt.)
Also, this used the same yarn as the previous piece, so please read
- Altered Austen Jacket (128) and Lace and Cable Jumper (134) Again, this company has closed, but this yarn is very similar to Katmandu Aran or to Tahki's Donegal Tweed--which comes in so very many wonderful colors!
- Crinkly Blouse Sweater (145) I
wish we had a photo of this piece with me standing: the garment has a
very full A-line shape, and it really hangs wonderfully on the body. But this
yarn--in worsted weight--has been discontinued. You can substitute
(with another worsted, and the Punta Yarns Montoya looks like a perfect choice), or you can use a DK weight (like the Classic Elite Soft Linen), or you can use the same yarn that is still
available in a sport weight.
- The worsted weight linen did stretch out to a very
large garment, so the garment works knit on a finer yarn. If I
used sport weight or DK weight, I did the whole garment on 4mm (size 6)
except that I used one size larger for the first few inches of the
sleeves. The garment might end up 10% smaller than the original
finished measurements, but the pattern has enough ease to suit a finer
- If you do use a worsted weight linen, I'm not sure I recommend washing it: it stretches out so very much!
The first change is based on something I have learned from teaching my Knit to Flatter and Fit class.
In the discussion of the shaped, mid-length (page 13),
I say that you have a choice whether to make it at your ideal short
length or your ideal mid-length. This is true. But what I have since
found out is that we probably look best wearing each of these choices
with different things. So I have changed the following.
There is one omission and one mistake in the Camelot Coat, sleeves.
- page 14, center column, If Your Garment is Mid-length and Shaped
The header should be changed to If Your Garment is Short or Mid-length and Shaped.
The first 2 sentences will read as
follows: "Knit it to
your ideal short or mid- length (page 17). If worn with an A-line
skirt, the short length might be a better choice because the
mid-length looks too long (diagram 10). If worn with
straight pants or skirt, the mid-length looks good (diagram 11)."'
- page 16, caption, drawing 16, should read slim pants, not straight pants.
- page 17, right column, 6th bullet, should read 2 1/2" (7.5cm), not 2" (5cm)).
There is one mistake in a written stitch pattern of the Sophisticated Hoodie, although the chart is correct. The written should read as follows:
- page 43, Left Front, second line, increase row should read "P3, *k2, p2: repeat" etc.
- page 43, Body, you should change to larger needles.
And I am saddened by my inability to get the one-row buttonhole directions correct! My profound apologies. (The correction is shown in italics in what follows.)
- page 70, rows 9, 11, 13: P5, k1, p1, k1, p1, k1; repeat from *.
- page 79, 11 lines from the bottom of the page, and again on page 117, right column, 8 lines from the bottom of the page should read "k5, wyif slip 1 purlwise, wyib, slip 1 purlwise, psso. (It's the second slipped stitch that I missed.)
There are two corrections to The Gray Cardigan.
There is a line that should be altered in the Mini Dress.
- page 108, SHAPE ARMHOLE, second line should read 86 (92, 100, 104, 112) stitches. And then, 3 lines below number of decreases should be 3 (6, 10, 12, 16).
- page 110, left columm, 4–5 lines above SHAPE NECK, should read "same length as Left Front to neck," not shoulder.
Finally, the Crinkly Blouse Sweater, should read as follows:
- page 142, SHAPE ARMHOLE, 5th line--about "1 stitch remaining"--should be changed to read as follows. Continue
decreases as written until only 1 stitch
remains in color B, then work decreases in MC.
In addition to this, there is an error on the yarn company page.
- page 148, right column, 8 lines from the bottom, 1X should be 77 stitches.
- page 148, right column, 7 lines from the bottom, the line should read as follows: Continuing
on larger needles, work mistake rib with sllp stitch at end of RS rows
and 1 stockinette stitch at beginning of WS rows until piece measures
- page 149, right column, 10 lines from the bottom, 1X should be 77 stitches.
- page 149, right column, 7 lines from the bottom, the line should read as follows: Continuing on larger needles, work mistake rib with sllp stitch at end of WS rows and and 1 stockinette stitch at beginning of WS rows, making buttonholes that match placement of buttons as follows. Next row (RS) make buttonholes K3, . . . then continue with line as written.
- the correct phone number for Classic Elite is 800-444-5648 or 978-453-2837
Finally, some comments from my peers
elegant and useful innovations are sometimes clear and simple. This book is
based on such an insight and has the potential to transform and re-energize
garment knitting.--Cat Bordhi (author of New Pathways for Sock Knitters and ATreasury of Magical Knitting)
The focus on molding a
pattern to ensure that a garment is flattering and comfortable is sure to carry
the delight of knitting these garments into the
delight of wearing them. And the mutual respect and affection that guided this
joint mother-daughter venture will no doubt make the garments feel warmer. --Debbie New (author of Unexpected Knitting)
you, Caddy and Sally, for creating this beautiful collection of
projects I can knit for my mom--and that she can knit for me! And thank
you even more for your crystal-clear explanation of how to create the
most flattering knitwear for any shape. It's a must-read for any
knitter!--Debbie Stoller (author of Stitch and Bitch books and editor of Bust magazine)
The knitting experience, book 1, THE KNIT
STITCH (XRX, 2002)
Years before Styles came out, my friend, Lee
Andersen, had encouraged me to think about doing a series of small
books . . . to teach the skills that I taught in workshops. That idea
sat on the back burner until Elaine Rowley asked me what I wanted to do
to follow Styles, and I answered “A
As I write in my blog, there was not a lot of
encouragement for this book. But then it appeared as the perfect book
for the perfect time—when all the ‘scarf knitters’
were wondering “What next?!”—and I had more
enthusiasm that anyone could have wished. Timing really is everything.
People ask which garment I love best, and I’d have
to say The Einstein Coat. (Mind you, patterns are like your
children: you love even the un-pretty ones!) But I will never forget
the experience of that pattern. . . .
I had seen a top in a ski shop—with opposing
stripes. It was interesting, and I knew it offered possibilities. (This
is often how designs evolve.) But the lower stripes of that top had
been horizontal, with the upper stripes then vertical, and that had
seemed backwards to me. If oriented that way, how would I—who
like to work my garments from bottom to top—attach the pieces? I
bought some periwinkle blue lopi, and I started knitting—turning
those ‘stripes’ (in garter stitch) so the lower were
vertical and the upper were horizontal. (At the time, I was teaching a
workshop for the Ottawa guild: as I knit the lower part of that first
coat in a very small version, they thought I was knitting a scarf.)
After the lower piece was knit, I sat
and worked through how the rest of the garment would go together. (One
yarn shop has called it ‘knitting origami,’ and
that’s how I felt as I sat in my hotel room and puzzled it out.)
The next morning I had it finished and showed it to my class. They were
impressed—because, remember, they had thought I was knitting a
scarf—but no-one (including me) was over-the-moon for it.
But then I went home and bought enough yarn (in a
neutral color) for a woman’s coat. As many of you know, lots of
knitting followed. When it was done, it wasn’t lovely, but I knew
it needed blocking. After washing in EUCALAN, and drying on my knitting
room floor, I tried it on, and it was the loveliest thing! It
was fabulous! I wore it to dinner with my girlfriends, and this
time everyone (including me) was suitably impressed.
I’ve said this many times before, but I am so
glad I had the wisdom to call it The Einstein Coat and
not something frivolous I would be forever living down!
For corrections or clarifications . . .
Go to www.knittinguniverse.com,
then to XRX books, then click on Corrections.
The knitting experience, book 2, THE PURL
STITCH (XRX, 2003)
As some of you know, most of The Purl Stitch was done before
The Knit Stitch was photographed. In fact, they
were intended to be one book . . . until I realized that it was too big
a book and needed to be two. Would anyone buy a book without purling,
without stockinette, without ribbing? What a joy it was that
everyone did! But then, a year later, the second book appeared.
The Purl Stitch didn’t make quite the
splash that The Knit Stitch did, and I understand why. There
are knitters who will never go to that level, plus there is no Einstein
Coat! And, besides, you can only make an ‘unexpected’
splash once! But I know that it’s a really really good book:
it’s the one I recommend to knitters who will go past garter
stitch, because it contains all the skills they’ll use in every
garment they make! I worked really hard to make this be so.
And my favourite piece in the book? If we judge by sheer
volume, it would be the Elegant Gauntlets! I’ve made
more pairs of them than socks, and that’s saying something! Plus
I love that they are shaped. (I designed them by laying my arm on a
sheet of paper, tracing its shape, then drafting a pattern to fit.)
With the current fashion of ¾ sleeves, these pieces are a
Otherwise, I’d say that the Cross-over Vest
is my favourite piece.
For corrections or clarifications . . .
Go to www.knittinguniverse.com.
then to XRX books, then click on Corrections.
The knitting experience, book 3, COLOR (XRX,
This was the book for which I just could not stop knitting! I wish it
were half the size, but what would we leave out? There are so many
skills available to us to express colour; stripes, bi-colour knitting
(which I call ‘stripes that aren’t’ and that are
probably my favourite knitting), two-color-stranded (or whatever
we are to call this technique!), intarsia, duplicate stitch, and
combinations of the above. Whew! That’s a lotta stuff!
There are things I wish could have been different for
this book, but none of them detract from the skills offered
in this book nor from the garments themselves. These are the
garments I reach into my closet to wear—the Faith Jacket,
the Collar-Closing Cardigan, both wraps in the Stripes
That Aren’t chapter, the KISS purses, the Panel
Party series, the Knitting Bag Jacket, and (probably the
one I wear most) Wobbly Stripes. I’ve seen knitters
who’ve made the pieces of this book and worn them with delight
and pride, and I know that we did good work together!
For corrections or clarifications . . .
Go to www.knittinguniverse.com,
then to XRX books, then click on Corrections.
STYLES: a unique and elegant approach to
your yarn collection (XRX, 1998)
If you read my blog (parts 3 and 4), you will hear the story of how
this book came about. It’s a cute story! But it doesn’t
tell you what the book itself is about. So here’s where I do that.
I approached the problem of how to use up a yarn stash
with the thought of ‘Granny Squares’ afghans or American
quilts—those beautiful pieces that hardly look like they are made
from bits and scraps and that have a heritage, a history, and an
integrity all their own. It didn’t seem to me that knitting had
anything like this . . . a body of work that taught us to use up our
leftover yarns to produce beautiful fabrics.
To write the book, I had the following problems to solve.
This book got great reviews when it came out. I sometimes
think it might be fun to do a sequel, because I’ve accumulated a whole
lot more yarn since then!
What yarns (weights, fibers, textures) go together?
What colours work together?
What to do with yarns that are too beautiful to use?
What to do with yarns that are too awful (the dog’s breakfast)
How do we arrange our stash so we know what we have and use it well?
Do we have enough? How much do we need?
What stitch patterns will integrate all these yarns and colors to
produce beautiful fabrics?
This book opens with my solutions to these problems. And then you are
offered garment patterns that put all this work together. And
then—because I wanted to give you all the skills you needed to go
off and find your own solutions—there is a Basic Pattern
Drafting chapter at the end of the book.
Go to my Contact page for
information on how to find any of these books.