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Custom Knits: Unleash Your Inner Designer with Top-Down and Improvisational Techniques Hardcover – September 1, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Stewart, Tabori and Chang (September 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1584797134
  • ISBN-13: 978-1584797135
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #160,983 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Wendy Bernard’s work has been featured in the online pages of Knitty and Stitch Diva Studios, in the book No Sheep for You, and in Interweave Knits and Knitscene magazines. She lives in Thousand Oaks, California.

 

Kimball Hall is a Los Angeles–based photographer with 25 years of editorial and advertising experience. Among his clients are Four Seasons Hotel, American Express, and Bank of America.


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Customer Reviews

Most of the book is women's sweater patterns.
D. Boyken
It explains the how and why, then gives clear easy to follow instructions.
D. Heinz
The designer also gives you alternative styles of the same basic design.
Mary Smith

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

174 of 176 people found the following review helpful By D. Boyken on August 22, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Most of the book is women's sweater patterns. All of them are knit in one piece, most of them from the top down, which is by far one of my favorite methods-it makes it so much easier to try on for size, not to mention not needing seaming later.

One of my favorite things is that each design comes with suggestions for things you can do to personalize it, and, the designs themselves? I think they're lovely. In fact, there's not a single one that I did NOT like, even if I'm not itching to pick up my needles and knit every single one of them.

The final chapter is one of my favorites. It's titled "Unleash Your Inner Designer" and then breaks down the structure of the different top-down designs ... what you need to do a raglan for top down, what you do to do a set-in sleeve from top down-all the math and the schematics necessary. Not to mention a very nice section of instructions on what to do to change a neckline, or the depth of an armhole, to make a design more personal.

This, I think, is my favorite part of this book-that it not only has nice designs, but that the author thoughtfully spells out what you need to do to make the sweaters more "you." She gives you good designs, and then gives you the tools you need to take them to another level-tacit permission to PLAY, instead of trying to make sure you never vary from the designs she gave you.

Really, about the only thing I DIDN'T like was that there was no index or listing of patterns, making it tricky to find a specific one later on.
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59 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Brandy Fortune on August 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have read Wendy's blog for years now and I had great expectations for this book. I was not let down. I adore this book. It is full of loads of patterns any women or young adult would want to knit. The best part is how each pattern has a "make it your own" section explaining how to modify the neck line, sleeve length or length. The book is separated into sections so you have several raglan top down sweaters, a few yoke, set-in sleeve and even a saddle neck sweater. The very back of the book explains how to modify and design your very own knits using existing patterns or just designing on the fly using your inspiration and creativity. This book would very easily pass as a "knitting designer" primer. I adore it, it's going to sit right next to all my favorite knitting books by Elizabeth Zimmerman and Nancy Bush. Oh and I nearly forgot to mention the wonderful section on how to create your own duct tape mannequin for your bust. I had first seen this on the craftster.org a while ago and other various website, and it's wonderful to see a very nice tutorial that I can keep in my book collection and not have to worry about a link disappearing.

Great job Wendy!! I can't wait for more.
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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful By anon-new-yorker on September 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I am absolutely IN LOVE with this book and have ordered yarn for a bunch of projects. It is the most stylish seamless knitting book I have ever seen. I hate to sew in sleeves, and this book uses all the classic Elizabeth Zimmerman techniques (raglan, etc.) to make the most beautiful, luxurious women's sweaters. My favorite patterns are the classic tank, the lacy beach coverup, the lion's neck cardigan, the retro pullover and the cute little ruffled short-sleeved top. I'M IN LOVE, I tell you.

Also, as some other readers have written, there's a wonderful section at the end of the book for creating your own projects to your specifications. Maybe I will be brave and set my own sleeves in the round into some of those Interweave Knits patterns.
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101 of 117 people found the following review helpful By Genevieve Katz on July 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book because of all the five-star reviews. If I knew before I bought the book that the author had a blog, I would've taken the reviews with a grain of salt and found a way to look at the book in person before buying, because I have seen instances of a blogger requesting her readers to head over to amazon.com to leave a nice review (not saying this author did, but I have seen it before).

Anyway, I love top-down knitting, and I'm always looking for inspiration. The book has a couple of things to really recommend it. One is the section on how to make your own dress form. That was great. And the back of the book where the author explains how to design your own sweaters is almost worth the price of the book.

My main problem with the book was the designs. I don't really have the desire to knit any of them. They look ill-fitting on the models. Now, the author mentions in the beginning of the book that they were knit without knowing what size the models were. I've seen other authors make the same claim. Well, sorry, but that doesn't fly. It's your book, and I know I don't know much about publishing, but the pictures make or break the book. I would hope that authors would be able to have more input. Because knitters have been taught by Maggie Righetti to look suspiciously at pictures in which the model is standing funny, trying to hide parts of the sweater, etc. And a word from the designer saying that the models weren't the size intended for the sweaters doesn't help.

Some of the sweaters looked OK on the models, but just were not my cup of tea. But most of the set-in sleeve sweaters had this weird bulging under the arms.
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