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74 Reviews
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399 of 401 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous book
I grew up watching my Russian grandmother knit everything from the top down. In fact, like many Russians, she's never even considered knitting from the bottom up. I myself have always been too scared and lazy to bother with calculations, so I followed printed patterns. I don't find grafting and weaving difficult, but at the same time I found that adding seams to babies'...
Published on January 23, 2002

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55 of 65 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not for novice knitter; way too vague
I guess I am a advanced beginner knitter who also sewed extensively when younger. The sewing experience probably led to my tremendous frustration with sweater patterns - you use their size yarn, needles, etc., make a back-and-front that's necessary to seam up, etc. So, I thought Walker's book would be an answer to my prayers.

It isn't.

Walker's book...
Published on July 10, 2007 by Amazon Customer


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stop using written instructions and make sweaters that fit, July 3, 2007
By 
ilex (United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Knitting from the Top (Paperback)
Don't let the uncool font and even more uncool sweater on the cover fool you- the top-down technique in this book is amazing. The book is not for complete beginners; it assumes probably an intermediate knowledge level. It also assumes that you learn by reading and not by pictures- the illustrations are very simple and not terribly instructive just by themselves. But if her teaching style suits you, it will change the way you knit and the way you think about knitting. If you want to make sweaters by looking at the garment as you knit it, and not someone else's byzantine instructions, definately get this book. I will never knit a sweater from the bottom up again!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wish I culd give this book 6 stars, March 23, 2010
By 
vigb (West Virginia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Knitting from the Top (Paperback)
This is the best knitting book I own or have ever seen.
Still, it is not for everyone.
It is not for knitters who like to knit row-by-row patterns. It does not have projects in it with type and amount of yarn and needle sizes.
It is not for knitters who like to knit panels and then sew them together.
It is not for knitters who do not like to shape garments to the body as they knit.

This book has no photos of finished projects because there is no need for those. The book is a manual. It tells you how to knit most styles of sweaters from the top down, to your own measurements, and in your own choice of yarn, color, and pattern stitch. Design your own, or pick a style from an illustrated knitting magazine or book. Then follow the very clear and cogent directions in this book to produce the design in your chosen size, knitting from the top down. You can adapt these directions easily to almost any pattern you buy, eliminating seams that the original might have.

If you are a beginner knitter, with little experience in clothing construction, you might find the instructions hard to comprehend, and may have to work at understanding something about how clothing fits the human body before it all makes sense.

The hat instructions, though, are simple even for a beginner. You can also knit leggings with the directions in the book. These would be simple projects.

Knitting a sweater from the top down is a liberating experience. It is easier to shape than kitting from the bottom up. As the book points out, you can try it on as it progresses. You can make it shorter if you find you are running out of yarn. You can knit & attach the sleeves early on in the knitting. And you avoid the tedious sewing of the seams when you are finished.

If you are a magic loop knitter, you can cast on using that method for some of the sweater styles.

I found the book to be well-written and easy to read and the instructions completely comprehensible. If you are used to following patterns, you might not, judging from the negative reviews here.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Knitting From the Top, August 3, 2008
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This review is from: Knitting from the Top (Paperback)
Knitting from the Top
I bought this book after reading the Amazon reviews on it. I would usually check a book out of my local library before purchasing, but this one was not available that way and the reviews were explicit enough that I felt it was worth the slight risk. I'm not disappointed! I prefer knitting sweaters from the top down. This book shows how to do that, but it goes into much more! With what I've learned in this book I have been able to design and knit clothing - including pants, skirts, dresses, socks, jackets... - that fit perfectly from the moment they come off my needles; no matter who I'm knitting for! I've enjoyed free-form crochet for years. Now I'm enjoying the same creative freedom in my knitting!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book if you want to get into your own designs, April 11, 2008
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This review is from: Knitting from the Top (Paperback)
This is a wonderful book, do not let the layout or colors slow you donw. Don't worry if you do not like the projects either. This is not a book you buy to do the projects in it. This is a a book you buy to learn to design and do your own projects in a manner that allows you make adjustments as you go. If you ever liked the Stitch Diva patterns and wondered how to do that yourself, here is a book that will get you started. It is on my nightstand and just reading it makes my mind spin with colors and ideas.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Knitting's Grand Dames of the 70s!, December 31, 2011
This review is from: Knitting from the Top (Paperback)
These strongly innovative women from the last century didn't have the harvest of wealth from which today's American knitters are able to indulge their increasingly discriminating appetites ... or the "Idiot's Guide" series, either. These "ladies" preached against dogma set by yarn manufacturers and publishers who resisted innovation. They used typewriters, not computers, and digital drafting didn't become available until long after their trail-blazing works were published. Criticizing their folksy style seems a bit harsh since they were trying to appeal to a spectrum of knitters who ranged from Gloria Steinem types on one side to Ma Bee and June Cleaver on the other. They were trying to be heard during a time when many folks just wanted them to shut up, go home, snap their stockings to their girdles and "knit the right way" in their living rooms wearing a dress and pearls. Their concerns were more focused on getting something like "equal pay" or avoiding pregnancy (no birth control, folks: times have changed) than feeding holy writ to audiences in the 21st century. I greatly admire their courage and the ability to plough ahead doing something they knew and enjoyed and wanted to share. They were cheerful and practical enough to lead some willing knitters like me down the trail, too. I really cherish my copy.

I'm not suggesting that you need to read Pythagoras in Greek to use his formula to compute the armhole scythe of a fitted sweater sleeve, but Ms. Walker was one of the first to document her top-down route for all those who followed her. I absolutely adore the book as well as her stitch treasuries. She "wrote the book" that many others have adopted. I think her work is fine, but I also really like some German knitting books that explain invisible casting on in a much more coherent fashion than any I've seen. They also have lovely illustrations for the verbally impaired. However, if you don't care for Ms. Walker's language, the German is probably beyond you. Don't fault the Wright Brothers for not building an Airbus 380.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The one knitting book I would take with me to a deserted island., May 28, 2010
This review is from: Knitting from the Top (Paperback)
This book changed the whole way I think about knitting. It taught me how to understand the structure of knitted garments, so now I can knit just about anything without following a pattern. What's more, everything I knit fits perfectly because I can try on as I go. Best of all, garments are knitted in one piece. Once I bind off the last stitch, all I have to do is weave in the yarn ends and I can wear my new creation (although it's usually best to block large garments before wearing.). A must-have for anyone who wants to progress past knitting scarves!
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It'a a little daunting, August 13, 2007
This review is from: Knitting from the Top (Paperback)
This is a great book, but there are a few things that give me some trouble. Everything I've done has been from a pattern. I don't want to do this anymore. All the "increase here and decrease there" according to measurements I'm sure works really well, but I'm not ready for this. I purchased Cathy Carron's "Knitting Sweaters from the Top Down." This is a GREAT beginners book. Everything is done using a pattern, just like we're all used to, but it's still top down and seamless. I'm planning on doing a few projects from this book just to get my feed wet, then I'll come back to 'Knitting from the top' p.s., Carron's book also tells you how much yarn to buy for a project; something else I need to get a handle on.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wish I had known about this sooner!!, January 8, 2012
This review is from: Knitting from the Top (Paperback)
I am 66 and have been knitting since the age of 4. I never followed patterns except as a source of inspiration. I buy yarns I like without knowing what I will knit. I often recycle yarns but it's always a guess as to what I can knit with what's available. Now I can do the top and sleeves; then the length, possible pockets, collars, hoods and finishes are determined by how much is left. Wonderful!!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very useful technique and inspiring, October 26, 2007
This review is from: Knitting from the Top (Paperback)
As someone that likes hand sewing, I've no problem with seams in knitted fabric. Yet I still find this book very interesting, most of the techniques I've never heard before. The technique I find the most interesting is the simultaneous set-in sleeve. Knitting in the round and from the top marries so well with knitting. The instructions are clear and succinct.

This book is thin, but it worths every penny. I'm really surprised by the quality of the information, especially considering how many craft books nowadays are sold by their glossy photos and beautiful typesetting instead of their contents. I seldom buy books without previewing first, but I'm glad that I did this time.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Knttting from the top is great, January 5, 2007
This review is from: Knitting from the Top (Paperback)
This book really helped me expand my idea of knitting sweaters. It does take some math figuring, but is well worth it.
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Knitting from the Top
Knitting from the Top by Barbara G. Walker (Paperback - Feb. 1996)
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