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474 of 478 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Could Be The Best Book on Finishing Techniques Ever -- Certainly The Best in My Library!
When author Deborah Newton subtitled this volume "A Master Class for Knitters," she was right on the mark. Here's a book for knitters who already know the basics of knitting and are ready to advance to more challenging skills. While I am far from being a novice knitter, she presents techniques I did not know, and she has also given me confidence that some of the skills...
Published on September 26, 2011 by Phyllis Staff

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89 of 90 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lots of anecdote, short on techniques
I should have remembered that a master class, in many fields, means a seminar in which students learn the personal experience of one artist. This book is that kind of lesson. You'll learn what Ms. Newton does, her preferences and practices, what she thinks is important and not necessary. Her experience is particularly geared toward knitwear designers, and focuses a lot on...
Published 22 months ago by Emma Bull


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474 of 478 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Could Be The Best Book on Finishing Techniques Ever -- Certainly The Best in My Library!, September 26, 2011
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This review is from: Finishing School: A Master Class for Knitters (Hardcover)
When author Deborah Newton subtitled this volume "A Master Class for Knitters," she was right on the mark. Here's a book for knitters who already know the basics of knitting and are ready to advance to more challenging skills. While I am far from being a novice knitter, she presents techniques I did not know, and she has also given me confidence that some of the skills I learned from my grandmother are still spot on.

Here's my take on "Finishing School - a master class for knitters:"

PROS:

1. The book itself is heavy and hardbound, but produced in such a way that it opens fully and stays open at any page you may be studying. Paper is also heavy and feels great.

2. The book is packed with illustrations. Most are photographs, but there are also line drawings to simplify the technique and help you understand clearly how to proceed.

3. Newton tackles sticky problems, like how to block lace without skewing or messing up your lovely pattern in other ways. Steaming and patting can go a long way! And if you ever thought to skip the hated step of knitting a gauge swatch, you'll be ashamed to do it again.

4. Ever wonder how to seam your new sweater so that it comes out looking professional? You'll learn a number of techniques here, including my least favorite -- grafting. And you'll feel better knowing that seams do not necessarily need to be hidden. Whew, that's a relief.

5. Newton devotes a big section to knitted edgings. You may already have seen a widely read book on knitted edges, but Newton makes it clear how to attach these fancy edgings to a garment. There's more than one way to kiss that pig.

6. Another large section addresses issues like buttons and pockets, along with felting, making easy linings, and more. I still have not conquered my fear of steeks, but with these instructions I may yet.

7. Newton has included workshops in most sections to help you apply the techniques you've just learned.

8. Finally, there are patterns -- gorgeous patterns for scarves, sweaters, bags. There are some real knockouts here.

CONS:

Absolutely none, but there are caveats -- this is not a beginners knitting book. Enjoy the text and illustrations now, but shelve this book in your library until you've finally created something you need to finish!

Overall:

I'm delighted, and I can't wait to finish my current project to get started on some of the patterns Newton presents. I cannot imagine any seriously addicted knitter who would not enjoy this book. How about as a present for a special occasion?
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193 of 196 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars NO MORE TOADS--best finishing book EVER, October 13, 2011
This review is from: Finishing School: A Master Class for Knitters (Hardcover)
As a lifelong knitter, I can tell anyone reading this, that your end product will really ONLY be as good as your finishing techniques. Minor pattern goofs can be overlooked, sizing can be adjusted with blocking, but bad finishing will just make your finished garment or project look sub-par.

Deborah Newton, the author, is a noted knit designer, and she is particularly known for tailoring, garment structure, texture and well, yes, a goodly number of her designs require the dreaded sewing-up. But she reveals a lot of her techniques and tricks here, and if you employ them, you will be so much happier with your hard work put into a wonderful knitted project. Her long experience as a designer and costume-maker make this book chock-full of valuable hints, tips and advice.

Here are some of the examples of what Newton teaches us in this book:

Blocking: how to flatten, stretch, shape and otherwise tame a lump of knitting into the proper shape. Blocking is in my book, numero uno of a must-learn. I do a lot of lace and lace is not LACE until you block it. And if you knit cardigans or jackets flat-style (pieces like a sewn garment) you MUST BLOCK. And it will let you fit that garment to a nicety.

Seaming: Mattress stitch, other methods to get the flat pieces joined. This is one of the most frustrating parts of constructing a cardigan, for example, from flat pieces. If you seam correctly, it will look and fit well. If you don't, it will look like a bad school project.

Edgings: these are finishing techniques knitted on and in some cases crocheted on or even sewn on and they make your garment looked finished at hem, cuff, placket and other areas.

Closures: such things as zippers, buttons, frogs, other ideas to close or fasten a garment.

The chapters have sections that go into the trouble spots for each type of technique and give you a how-to on fixing those issues, as well as a list of cheats to quickly refer to when doing a finishing technique (I'd like to see those pulled out into a book of laminated cards that are held by a spiral spine to flip through--hint hint, Deborah!)

Some people hate finishing so much, they hand it off to a pro to take care of. When I did production knitting for a designer in St. Louis years ago, the finishing was what that designer was most concerned about; if you didn't get your seams right or the loose ends properly fastened and hidden on the back of the garment, she'd throw it right back to you and reject it.

This book will really help you to love, well if not love, at least get good at finishing. And that will be the difference between a successful knitted project and prevent those FROGS (rip-it, rip-it, rip-it out and do over) and worse yet, TOADs (Trashed Object Abandoned in Disgust ...)
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210 of 214 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVE, love this book, October 7, 2011
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This review is from: Finishing School: A Master Class for Knitters (Hardcover)
This is exactly what I've been looking for, a finishing book that talks about preparing and planning your knitting pattern BEFORE you pick up a needle. As someone who is struggling through "Milanese Shower Bolero" from "Loop-d-Loop Lace"(3 errors and counting, totally crappy directions, the "d" must stand for 'dumb knitters') I especially loved it when Deborah Newton said, "The first thing you should consider when reviewing a pattern is whether to attempt it at all". Some patterns just aren't worth knitting because they lack any inherent possibilities for good finishing. She went on to say that if a pattern author can't be bothered to clean up their pattern, why knit it?
We've all spent a tour in Knitting Hell because the pattern author hired people to knit for them. Deborah shows us exactly what a good pattern should read like, and gives us little clues to let us know when the pattern author is clueless or if the pattern is simply a poor fit for our figure. I so love it when she empowers knitters by in effect saying; it's your time. You've spent a lot of money on yarn.
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89 of 90 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lots of anecdote, short on techniques, February 10, 2013
By 
Emma Bull (Minneapolis, MN) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Finishing School: A Master Class for Knitters (Hardcover)
I should have remembered that a master class, in many fields, means a seminar in which students learn the personal experience of one artist. This book is that kind of lesson. You'll learn what Ms. Newton does, her preferences and practices, what she thinks is important and not necessary. Her experience is particularly geared toward knitwear designers, and focuses a lot on swatching as a kind of three-dimensional sketchbook for details.

But if you're hoping for advice on all your finishing challenges, and want to make your knitting projects as professional-looking as possible, this isn't the book you're looking for. Weaving in ends? There's one tip for weaving in very short ends. But ways to weave ends in invisibly on different surfaces and fibers, so the finished project looks its best? Nothing. Blocking? Newton roughly describes how she steam-blocks, but doesn't go into detail about ways to make the most of the technique on a variety of projects, or how best to block or wash different fibers. She mentions wet blocking, but since it's not her preferred method, she doesn't give instructions. She notes that blocking wires exist, but says she's never used them, so doesn't offer any help with them. She often says something must be done "carefully," but doesn't go into what kind of care she means or what to be sure you don't do, or what will happen if you do it badly. And you'll look in vain for tips on making button bands and collars lie smooth and even, or knitting a neat, flat hem, or sewing in pocket linings so they don't show--all of which seem like finishing essentials to me.

This is also not a knitting pattern book. I didn't expect it to be, but it was a bit frustrating to find that many of the garments photographed to illustrated Newton's points were available...in other books and magazines for sale. The example patterns included in the book seemed perfunctory; I would rather have had that space filled with techniques and how-tos and step-by-step photos.

I did find some of the information I was looking for when I bought this book: on verypink.com, where you'll find many good on-line videos of finishing techniques for free. But this book, which I'd been looking forward to buying for many months, turned out to be a disappointment.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just What I Needed, February 10, 2012
By 
RM "Book Lover" (Wildwood, Missouri, United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Finishing School: A Master Class for Knitters (Hardcover)
I am an avid knitter. I have been knitting for more than 40 years and consider myself an expert. Yet, I found this book very helpful. Like many knitters, I love the knitting itself, but hate the finishing. Often, I take the easy way out and end up with a nice garment that I know in my heart could be better. The author of this book demonstrates a variety of ways to do a really professional job of blocking. I also love the many ways I can make a garment unique. I highly recommend this book for an experienced knitter who wants to take their projects to the next level.

Update 3/12
I find myself reading and rereading parts of this book. I just finished a very intricate sweater with raglan sleeves. There is raised stitches along the edges and I wasn't sure what was the best way to sew the pieces together to take advantage of this. Again this book came to the rescue with clear suggestions that helped me make a beautiful seam that now looks like an integral part of the sweater. What a terrific book.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lots of good info, a little disappointing, October 9, 2012
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This review is from: Finishing School: A Master Class for Knitters (Hardcover)
I needed a lot of help with finishing techniques for the sweaters that I'm knitting, which is why I ordered this book. It's well-laid out and clearly written, which is great.

I was a little disappointed to see her recommending that people steam-block rather than wet-block their garments unless they are lace. I understand that she is a designer but worry about new knitters being caught by this. The nature of many yarns changes when you get them wet and steam-blocking is fine as long as you never plan to wash the garment. However, if you do plan to wash your garment (and who of us doesn't eventually), then it may change shape again when you wash it and you will have problems.

This, along with a few other items in the book made me feel as though the author was speaking more from personal opinion and her own point of view rather than providing information about all the options that are available and when they would be best suited. I'll still get some use out of the book, but am wondering whether it was worth the investment, since it was a pretty expensive hardcover edition.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every Knitter Should Own This Book!, April 25, 2012
By 
A. Brookes (West Hills, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Finishing School: A Master Class for Knitters (Hardcover)
First of all I knit beautifully, and I love knitting, but I am terrible at finishing. I have baby sweaters I knit when I was expecting my first child, where the knitting was completed and I never sewed them together. This child is 41. So, I bought this book after I attempted to finish a sweater vest I had knit for my husband. I learned so much about what I had been doing wrong, I screwed up my courage and followed her tips and started the side seams. The book is written in a manner that is like having the author sitting with you encouraging you on. By the time I got to the bottom of the armhole, my seam was smooth and flat. Wow, I then did the second seam, I had a bit of difference in length and because I had read the book I was able to ease it in and you can't tell there was an issue. Another review commented on the patterns as not being useful, on the contrary I found the information extremely helpful in understanding pattern construction and garment design. The author's information on understanding your pattern and not skipping things like sample swatches and schematics proved invaluable in the next garment I started. Good yarn is expensive and knitting is now a luxury, this lovely and simple to follow book took my knitting to the next level. The author Deborah Newton has my gratitude for achieving the impossible, showing me how to FINISH my beautifully knit items.
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finishing is now longer a chore!, October 27, 2011
This review is from: Finishing School: A Master Class for Knitters (Hardcover)
Like most knitters, I do not like to finish garments and almost dread the moment when I have knitted the last piece and realize the next step is to put it all together. Finishing to me is a chore and one that I do not like. However, after reviewing Deborah's new look, I might find that finishing really doesn't have to be a chore after all!

Deborah has done a fantastic job by discussing five of the most basic finishing concepts that most knitters truly do not like, and ends with a chapter discussing how to further your finishing techniques. Each chapter is full of tutorials, tips, tricks and techniques that are followed by photographs to depict what is being covered.

This book is well worth adding to your library and if you have started knitting garments, this comprehensive guide is a must. Each chapter is very well written, full of information and I truly love the use of photographs for each technique being discussed, for me having a visual photograph helps me to understand the method easier.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book on Finishing, November 6, 2011
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This review is from: Finishing School: A Master Class for Knitters (Hardcover)
This is one of the best books on finishing that I have seen! The book covers everything from seaming to making pockets to adding embellishments. Each technique is described in clear detail with beautiful pictures. A must have for serious knitters.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Never too old to learn, December 12, 2011
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This review is from: Finishing School: A Master Class for Knitters (Hardcover)
I have been knitting for almost 60 years and learn something new every time I pick up this beautiful book. It is so clear and easy to understand, I recommend it even to the most experienced knitters.
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Finishing School: A Master Class for Knitters
Finishing School: A Master Class for Knitters by Deborah Newton (Hardcover - October 4, 2011)
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