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Knitting Off the Axis: Projects and Techniques for Sideways Knitting Paperback – November 15, 2011

3.6 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Named one of the Best Craft Books of 2011 by Amazon.

"Fall always bring a surprising book or two and this is the one for me, it's a book of directional knitting, with the direction being mostly sideways, but not always. The garments in this book are more sculptural than most knitted garments both in the silhouette side to side knitting takes on, and in the surface texture that knitting in multiple directions gives. The book starts with a short introduction to directional knitting, tips that Matthew Gnagy has learned through experience - row gauge, blocking, increasing and decreasing and assembling your garment. The sweaters are striking in their unusual look and shape, modern with clean slim-fitting lines. They are knit mostly from worsted weight yarn, giving an added visual weight and structure. My favorites are in the last two chapters, where the knitting is in multiple directions, and any of the sweaters with cables. Cables going in multiple directions, with the added swoop of an interesting and unique way of increasing and decreasing, appeal to my knitter's hands and brain. Spinners take note: these sweaters would be a great way to showcase handspun yarns." - Jillian Moreno, Knitty.com

"It's an ingenious collection." - Yarn Market News

"Recommended for experienced knitters with a taste for modern design." - Austin-American Statesman

"Top-down, bottom-up, been there, done that. If you want to get a new angle on sweater design, you've got to go sideways. Learn how to knit sideways, diagonally and every which way to create unique and stunning designs." - Crafter's Choice Book Club Sneak Peek

"Sideways knitting is not that uncommon, but Mathew has managed to use imagination and needles to come at knitting from every angle." - Karen Platt's Book of Reviews & Crafts

"If you'd like to take your knitting in a different direction, Knitting Off the Axis is an intriguing and fun book with lots of different options for turning your knitting on its side and beyond. The techniques used to shape these garments take a bit of patience and attention to get right, but the lovely results are well worth the effort of twisting your brain to work in a new and different way." – About.com Guide to Knitting

"This is the coolest book. Talk about knitting outside the box, well this box is sideways!" - CraftGossip.com

"Each of the patterns is designed in a one-of-a-kind way, focusing on knitting sideways or in an untraditional direction." - JimmyBeansWool.com

"It shouldn't surprise you that the designs in this book are unique. The designer is literally looking at the concept of knitting a sweater from a completely new angle. These sweaters are full of creative design elements, but they are beautiful, wearable sweaters, not the kind of wearable art you see on high fashion runways." - KnittingScholar.com

"The sweaters are striking in their unusual look and shape, modern with clean slim-fitting lines. They are knit mostly from worsted weight yarn, giving an added visual weight and structure. My favorites are the in the last two chapters, where the knitting is in multiple directions, and any of the sweaters with cables. Cables going in multiple directions with the added swoop of an interesting and unique way of increasing and decreasing appeal to my knitter's hands and brain." - Knitty.com

About the Author

Mathew Gagny is an accomplished costume designer and pattern maker. His knitwear designs have been published in Knitscene and by Lion Brand Yarns. He has also made knitwear samples for a variety of fashion designers for runway shows. Mathew resides in New York City with his partner and their two cats.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Interweave (November 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596683112
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596683112
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 8.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #638,139 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Lynne E. TOP 500 REVIEWER on November 8, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book belongs on every serious knitter's technical bookshelf, because author Mathew Gnagy has given so much thought to what can be accomplished with sideways knitting. As experienced knitters know, sideways knitting has one major, built-in problem: it aligns the greatest stretch of the knitted fabric horizontally across the body rather than vertically, so that the finished fabric sags and/or lengthens when worn.

So why knit sideways at all? In the Introduction, Gnagy explains: "I like to knit sideways because there are interesting variations on shapes that are easier to create with sideways knitting."

To achieve good shaping and fit while knitting sideways, Gnagy plays around with the "commonly accepted modes of shaping" used in standard top-to-bottom or bottom-to-top knitting, always keeping in mind that "shaping can occur anywhere in the knitting." For example, in shaping a sleeve, he may use increases centered over a few stitches in the interior of the sleeve--which "forces the active knitting edge into a curve, . . . resulting in better fit and more streamlined finishing." This is heady stuff, if you're as fascinated by advanced knitting techniques as I am.

Unfortunately, Gnagy's collection of sideways-knit designs failed to convert me to sideways knitting. Although I can see that the designs would be interesting and fun to knit, there isn't a single one that I would want to knit and wear. I'm impressed by "Talia", with its lattice of cables all over the body--but I'm not fond of Dolman-sleeve pullovers. I very much like the elegant, textured "Dani", with its graceful V-neck, cable hem, and knitted-in darts--but I wonder whether the neckline will stretch and allow the pullover to slip off the shoulders.
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I started one of the projects and thought I was the one making the errors. After three tries at starting a capelet, I looked more carefully at the pattern. It's badly laid out. Also, the capelet as pictured is not the same as in the pattern. The collar is completely different.

Making things even more difficult, the typeface for the instructions is very light and hard to see. You need bright light (or a magnifying glass) to read them. Not good.

This book is full of pattern mistakes on overly long lists of instructions that make the completion of these garments nearly impossible without tying yourself in knots. And in a book about side-to-side knitting, the sweaters have ugly, obvious seams at the back and sides. Very disappointed in this publication.
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I was very excited to receive this book since I'm an avid fan of sideways, side to side, or on the bias knit garments and have been making them myself for over 15 years professionally. It was my intention to gift it to one of my finishers, who had the desire to learn what I do not currently have the time to teach.

The patterns in this book, to me, are very costume like and unattractive for everyday wear. Not to mention less than flattering to a majority of figures. The cables feel like they've been put in to give the pieces a "designer feel" without the benefit of any apparent actual design. There are more stitches than cables available to enhance sideways knit pieces.

The mistakes, however, in the patterns are main reason I returned the book. While the technical aspects of the book might be boasted of by other reviewers, the unprofessional and hard to follow length of the patterns and mistakes that are not easily overcome by less experienced knitters are this book's major downfall.

I am sad to say it is unlikely that I will purchase from this author again, since it seems he is unable or unwilling to polish his work before he sends it out to the world for purchase. If I am to spend my hard earned money, the least he could do is make sure the patterns contain no mistakes.
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I returned this book! This was full of obvious mistakes and very poor finishing for these garments. The garments themselves are not that inspiring and bordering on ridiculous! Some of the cabled and lace designs in the sweaters were interesting but nothing new. Seams for these garments were so obviously done that it makes the entire garment look cheap and poorly made. I was very disappointed in this book! Would not recommend.
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I couldn't wait to get this book. When I finally received it I was very very disappointed. It seems that the author can only "play one song". It is cable after cable after cable, just different versions of one pattern. The instructions are long, long, long, much too long. Somehow the author cannot write a simple, easy to understand, sideways pattern. Don't waste your money buying this book.
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Knitting Off the Axis: Projects and Techniques for Sideways Knitting by Mathew Gnagy is a new knitting book that explores "knitting sideways or in a direction other than traditional top-down or bottom-up patterns". The designs are angle-inspired and "offer new and exciting interest in shaping pattern, and fashion-forward silhouettes". The book is divided into three primary sections: Truly Sideways, Mostly Sideways and Every Which Way.

The book also contains an introduction which explains the designer's interest in knitting sideways. For instance, he is able to use cables horizontally and vertically. He has also "tinkered with commonly accepted modes of shaping". He states that "sideways knitting aligns the greater stretch of the fabric vertically along the body when worn. Gravity and wear will lengthen the garment." He tells the knitter to trust in the pattern even if it seems odd - to just go with it.

His "inspiration for the form and shape of sweaters most often comes from the fashion metropolis of New York City. He looks at what people are wearing and gains inspiration from "unique and unusual clothing". 'Cecilia' is a beautiful textured sweater in a rich green with unusual cabling and ribbing. Gnagy states that it is "unique in the unusual way the sleeve begins on the bias. It reflects one of my favorite aspects of knitting - shaping can take place anywhere in the fabric." It calls for a worsted weight yarn and size 7 (4.5) needles. The mock turtleneck is very attractive.

"Deille" is a beautiful cardigan in lovely ivories, off-white, and light beige.
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