- 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: 59 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #601,230 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Knitting in the Old Way: Designs and Techniques from Ethnic Sweaters Hardcover – November 5, 2003
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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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My 2 cents: I think the book is well written. It's easy for me to understand what she's trying to say, even if it's beyond my skill repertoire. She doesn't "meander" as she writes, so I haven't gotten confused or lost.
As I'm sure you can imagine, given the book description, there are no patterns in the book, in the way we're usually accustomed. She gives "plans", as she calls them, based on the style of sweater/jumper you want to make. She DOES provide charts, which seem clear-and I'm not usually a chart knitter. She also provides information on ethnic styles of color stranded or textured styles.
The only thing I'm disappointed with is that there's no photos. Either b&w or in color. There are good illustrations, but not one photograph. It's really not a deal breaker for me though, as I think the book is still excellent. For my taste, they just would have been a nice addition.
I thought the lack of photographs would disable me, but now see that Priscilla's very clear drawings are more than enough, very descriptive. Her text really guides the reader. All you have to know is basic knitting skills, plus take the time to knit the all important gauge swatch before you charge in so the finished product will fit. A calculator is helpful, too, to perform some simple math to create custom-fitting sweaters for any size body, because all the hard numbers of stitches come from percentages based on the chest measurement. (Priscilla explains very clearly how to come up with stitches per round, etc.; fear not!) The book also explains some extra techniques that I have found helpful in my new sweater journey. As an aside, I'll also mention that owning a modular set of circular needles, particularly a set whose cables can be connected into longer ones, has been really useful.
While I find really fine hand-holding in working techniques new to my needles, the only hang-up I ran into was the discussion on ribbing armhole bands for vests. A little more guidance here would be helpful, but just know for now that you have permission to do whatever fits best on that part of the garment. My vest armholes required varying rates of pick up and knit, which worked out great.
I am eager to finish sweater #3 because I am already dreaming of sweater #4 and 5 and 6, which I would like to get started on. #4 may be a Cowichan sweater, or a Norwegian sweater involving the "ladder steeks" I want to try (somehow Priscilla has removed from me all fear of cutting my knitting to steek), or something else. A LOT of ethnic sweaters are represented and explained in this book, many with design charts for color-stranding, intarsia and the like.
There are three happy things I will say in closing about all the useful information this book offers:
1) I borrowed some other books that explain >kind of< the same concepts, but because this book explains How and Why so clearly, in straightforward writing, I quickly gave the other books back to their rightful owner! Everything I need is right here.
2) My yarn stash is now starting to move! The seven skeins of yarn I bought 17 years ago(!), and couldn't find a sweater pattern >I liked< because the suggested gauge was 3 sts/in., became a pullover, V-neck sweater in five days--with no pattern and no sewing! Once I knew that I could knit what I wanted in the gauge the yarn required, knitting that sweater was a snap. I am thrilled to know now what to do with my remaining ample amounts of yarn!
3) I >LOVE< knitting sweaters! It is incredibly rewarding and satisfying. Instead of negotiating pages of abbreviated words in a pattern, >I< have a part in the design process from the very beginning. I like that, because I get to conceptualize what will happen when. And because I look forward to the next step (those construction details are really attractive to me), the knitting goes faster, and I am fully engaged and fascinated in the process. (My third sweater puts the knitting diagonally. You won't find diagonal knitting in the book, but the information there provides the knowledge to free me to explore this avenue with confidence.)
Aside from being a knitter, I teach knitting, and am eager to get more knitters excited about these very simple concepts. Sweater knitting is NOT hard!
All in all, this is a worthwhile reference that sweater knitters will be sure to peruse again and again.
When I discovered for myself Elizabeth Zimmerman’s books, things started to clear up in my mind eyes, but “Knitting in the Old Way” literally produced another knitter. Now I am able to plan any design from scratch, and “growing” the garment (knitting it practically in one piece with possibility to try it on at any given time) became extremely exciting and rewarding process. My family (including myself) is absolutely enjoying my new found skill – it is so good to have knitted things that actually fit and are wearing comfortably during long chilly months.