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Knitting in the Old Way: Designs and Techniques from Ethnic Sweaters Hardcover – November 5, 2003

52 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Knitting In The Old Way is a "hot-to" book of instruction and example of the fine tradition of knitting without recourse to a line-by-line printed pattern. Knitting In The Old Way shares the simple fundamentals of design and construction allowing the knitter to draft their own styles, chart their own patterns, create their own heirlooms. Brilliant multi-colored patterns of the Scandinavian countries, intriguing motifs of the Shetland Islands, and rich sculptural knits of northern Europe are covered in detail -- th history as well as the how-to. Profuse and illustrative photos and drawings guide the knitter through the basic steps and special tricks of the trade that knitters all over the world have developed down through the years. Pricilla Gibson-Roberts' own interpretations of classic styles are shown in full color, as well. Knitting In The Old Way is an essential addition to any personal or community library's needlecraft collection! -- Midwest Book Review --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Nomad Press; Expanded edition (November 5, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0966828925
  • ISBN-13: 978-0966828924
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 1.2 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #551,545 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

110 of 111 people found the following review helpful By Rosemary on October 19, 2002
Format: Paperback
For years and years I've returned to my copy of Knitting in the Old Way by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts. It's a terrific book and explains how to knit the sweater _you_ want as opposed to a cookbook approach to replicate the sweater in a magazine.
Priscilla explains how to modify your pattern for the yarn you have, how to make it fit _you_, and then teaches you the tricks you need to successfully knit the sweater. She teaches you how to make sweaters from all over the world: Irish fisherman sweaters, Fair Isles, Norwegian, ... As a hand spinner, I love that she often works with handspun yarn, but her sweaters work just fine with commercial yarns too.
So, the bad news is that this wonderful, marvelous book is out-of-print. The really good news is that she's currently working with Deb Menz (previous editor of Interweave Press's SpinOff magazine) to revamp the book and will release it in the Spring'03. I understand that they're adding new bits and it looks quite exciting.
This means that I'll be able to get a copy to loan to friends and won't have to worry about my copy disappearing.
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70 of 71 people found the following review helpful By Paula on July 5, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Knitting in the old way" is not just great patterns for ethnic sweaters, but is an excellent reference for knitting free from dependence upon a particular pattern with its precise numbers and gauge to be matched and counted. It is perfect for all of us who have a sweater pictured in our minds that we would love to design, knit, and wear; but are afraid to try because of our dependence on "knit a swatch until you have the exact gauge," etc.

The "old way" is to use the percentage system, a method whereby YOU pick the yarn YOU want (there are suggestions for which type of yarn goes best with the type of sweater you want to knit), and which size needles go best with that yarn. Then pick out a sweater or sweatshirt that you love wearing - that one you reach for most - your "comfort sweater." Measure its circumference. Then knit your 4" - 6" swatch and determine YOUR gauge. Now comes the fun. With the circumference you want, do the simple math of how many of YOUR OWN stitches it will take to get that measurement. Voila! You are now ready to figure out the rest of your sweater. No more bondage to someone else's gauge.

That basic circumference is 100%. You are now given a percentage of that number for other parts of the sweater: neck, armholes, gussets, saddles, wrists, etc. Use simple math. For example,let's say the plan shows the armhole at the shoulder being 40% of the 100% circumference. If the body has 120 stitches, then you will pick up and knit 48 stitches at the armhole. (You could also start at the cuff - and there are percentages for that, too.) There are 12 basic sweater styles to plan from, each with its own fine-tuned percentages. For length of the arms and the body, you simply use your own arms and the lengths from that favorite sweater.
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83 of 86 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 18, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"And it's amazing what YOU can do with a loop of yarn, if you take one loop, one idea, one technique at a time. Start where you are--beginner or adept--and add one new possibility at a time." This is a quote from the beginning of "Knitting in the Old Way."
Regardless of a knitter's experience or expertise, this book has a lot to offer. I have been knitting for 59 years and am thrilled to find authors who teach from the standpoint of common sense. No "Knitting Bullies" here but rather a validation of all that I have learned, along with scores of methods and techniques to make my knitting even better. The organization of material is outstanding!
I really feel that the author's approach takes all of the "mystery and scariness" out of knitting. One can plan and knit any kind of sweater whether it is very basic or adorned with beautiful color stranding, intarsia, or any number of classic ethnic designs, without being overwhelmed by complicated Patterns. You determine the size, the shape, the style, the texture and become your own designer.
It's the way Elizabeth Zimmermann taught knitting; it's the way my mother and grandmothers learned to knit; it's the way they taught me to knit; it's the way I teach others to knit. This book deserves a special place in every knitters reference library.
Having said all of that I will share one more quote from this wonderful "tome." This one is credited to a 'Nineteenth-century rhyme.'
"Life is a stocking," grandma says,"And yours has just begun. But I am knitting the toe of mine, And my work is almost done."
Every knitter deserves to have this book!
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47 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Joanna Daneman #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 19, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Priscilla Gibson-Roberts is a top-notch knitter, spinner and scholar as well. Her classic spiral-bound volume "Knitting in the Old Way" was a coveted book on knitters' shelves.
Thankfully, it's been reissued and revised in print so that new generations of knitters can take advantage of her knowledge and skill. Here is where you can learn all about the traditional method of Norwegian knitting, where you knit a multicolor tube and essentially cut and sew, and then knit in sleeves and neck finishing. Traditional Scandinavian patterns and Eastern European techniques are featured but there is a lot more. If you like the craft of knitting mixed with ethnic history and lore, this is unparalleled. Fun to read, and yet useful as a guide to designing and knitting your own garments.
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