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Finishing School: A Master Class for Knitters Hardcover – October 4, 2011

4.6 out of 5 stars 101 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Deborah Newton has been a knitwear designer for more than 25 years, and her designs have appeared in numerous publications including Vogue Knitting, Threads, Knitter's Magazine, and McCalls. She also teaches around the country, most recently for Vogue Knitting's annual VK Live Event in New York City. Her first book, the bestselling Designing Knitwear, has been in print for more than 15 years.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 164 pages
  • Publisher: Sixth&Spring Books; 1 edition (October 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1936096196
  • ISBN-13: 978-1936096190
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 9.8 x 11.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #266,134 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Phyllis Staff TOP 1000 REVIEWER on September 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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:"


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.

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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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Format: 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.
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Format: 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...
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