Knitters know that when they finish a sweater, they’re going to wind up with a bunch of pieces that will have to be put together. That’s where top-down knitting comes in: a method of garment construction that doesn’t require much finishing and can be slipped over one’s head during the knitting process to allow for adjustment. Still, it’s a different way to think about knitting, and for many years author McGowan didn’t want to think about it. Then she got a job at a knit shop and began to study the works of Barbara Walker, who was one of top-down knitting’s gurus. After initiating a Julie & Julia relationship (though they met and liked each other), McGowan decided to dedicate herself to the top-down method, and here she provides some marvelous patterns for both the newcomer and the more experienced, including hats, skirts and dresses, and one very impressive jacket. Although the instructions seem clear, they assume knowledge of such techniques as short rows and picking up stitches. Crisp photos make the projects enticing. --Ilene Cooper
About the Author
Kristina McGowan is a New York City–based knitwear designer.