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Sweaters from Camp: 38 Color-Patterned Designs from Meg Swansen's Knitting Campers First Edition Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0942018219
ISBN-10: 0942018214
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 246 pages
  • Publisher: Schoolhouse Pr; First Edition edition (August 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0942018214
  • ISBN-13: 978-0942018219
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 9 x 11.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,732,340 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

People chuckle when I talk about going to knitting camp. These days there are camps all over the country but the original (and quite possibly the most widely attended) is the camp started by Elizabeth Zimmermann several decades ago. Her daughter, Meg Swansen, now runs the camp which actually takes place in a hotel in Marshfield, Wisconsin. It's a fabulous experience filled with beautiful yarn and loads of knitting wisdom.
"Sweaters from Camp" might be better titled "Sweaters from the Campers." A couple of years ago Meg challenged all current and former campers to design sweaters using the extensive colors (160 plus) of fingering weight shetland wool in a fair isle style format. Campers, some who are professional designers and some who had never designed a sweater, responded. This book is the stunning result.
So what might you want to know about the book if you can't look at it before buying? Ironically, my favorite part of the book isn't the sweater patterns. Rather it's the 27 pages at the start of the book. This section includes 7 pages on how to design a sweater - ribbing choices, armhole options, neck shaping, sleeves from the top or bottom, and borders. There's a handy table of suggested numbers for stitches based on size and guage. The second half of the introduction section is an awesome collection of tips on technique. When I attended camp, these tricks were the most valuable part of my experience. The book lays them out in great detail. Virtually every tip on using i-cord is offered. Other goodies include the "jogless jog", "spit splicing", "knitting back backwards", "circular knitting on 2 circular needles", five options on steeks, swatching options, and two color knitting with two hands. This section is worth the price of the book alone.
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If you love Fairisle style knitting, this book is definitely for you. It is a compilation of sweaters knit by attendees of Meg Swansen's Knitting Camp, a famous knitting event held every year in Wisconsin.
These knitters are some of the most experienced and creative around, so it is interesting to see what they can, as a group, come up with when challenged to create a knitted garment using all-over patterning and the rainbow of colors available in 2 ply Shetland wool.
Of the 38 designs, my hands-down favorite was Ann Feielson's "Shirt-Tailed Fair Isle" with its complicated rounded hem and gorgeous colorway. A close second was Joyce Williams' Shaded Latvian Vest--she's able to create some amazingly complicated and lovely designs.
If you don't like Fair Isle (changing 2 colors on every row, with many color changes over the entire garment) this book will not be for you. Nor are these patterns all "traditional" Fair Isle, with the typical OXO and peerie designs (wider bands of large X's and O's alternated with narrower bands of tiny patterns with a short repeat of 4 to 6 stitches.) These patterns are done using Shetland yarns, with typical all-over patterning and 2-color changing per row, but they move far afield from the traditional Fair Isle as typified in Katherine Misegades' interpretation of the Prince of Wales Vest, modeled after the famous vest modeled by royalty and causing a resurgence of popularity of Fair Isles in the early-mid 20th Century.
The photos are lovely, showing the beautiful Wisconsin countryside and making you wish, perhaps, that you could attend Knitting Camp and see some of these wonderful knits as they fall off the needles. A pretty book, and useful to those who love colorwork and patterns.
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As a knitter who loves fair isle and stranded knitting, I am delighted to see 38 intricately patterned garments, but wow oh wow! the techniques section is worth the price of the book all by itself. Years of tips from the Knitting Campers plus Swansen's expertise make the book technique-rich. If I was just starting out as a two-color knitter, I would need this book. As an experienced knitter, I'm delighted to have all things pertaining to fair isle and stranded knitting in one handy book. Some Starmore fans, like the two-star reviewer, who need to have their knitting patterns and color schemes completely dictated to them, may find the designs exhibit less color mastery than Starmore's designs. However, all other knitters may rejoice in a book of techniques and designs by knitters for knitters. If you want to learn two-color knitting, I highly recommend Sweaters from Camp. If you already know how, I bet you'll still find brilliant techniques that are new to you, and that you'll wonder how you ever did without. The techniques section really is that good!
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Verified Purchase
It's unfortunate that this book is out of print. Find one if you can, because the patterns are wonderful and range from small projects such tams, to marvelous vests, children's' and adults' sweaters. However, even if the patterns weren't as wonderful as they are, the instruction is probably the best on EZ's percentage system, gauging accurately, start to finishing in multiple ways and, of course, stranded color work. All techniques are thoroughly covered with ample pictures or graphics. This book is at home with Alice Starmore's and it's easier to use. The other books I'd recommend is Knitting with Two Colors, Alice Starmore's Book of Fair Isle Knitting (Dover Knitting, Crochet, Tatting, Lace) and The Art of Fair Isle Knitting: History, Technique, Color & Patterns if you are interested in learning more about the how-to of stranded color work and the history of this beautiful knitted fabric.
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