- 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: 11 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,230,511 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Sweaters from Camp: 38 Color-Patterned Designs from Meg Swansen's Knitting Campers First Edition Edition
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"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.
As for the sweaters, there are 13 vests - one childs, 2 mens, and ten for women. Most are button fronts with a v-neck. The next section, entitled "Small Things" includes two children's pullovers, tams for children and adults and a teddy bear outfit. We're then treated to ten pullovers - mostly unisex looks. The book concludes with a nice selection of cardigans.
The "look" of the book is primarily traditional fair isle. Most of the sweaters use several colors. My favorites are probably the less conventional sweaters. There are several that only use two colors in all-over patterns. There's also a terrific block effect fair isle in a child's sweater that will need translation into an adult look someday.
All told, it's a stunning book. The photography is plentiful and a visual treat. The print is large and the patterns are detailed (averaging over four pages per pattern). Even if I never knit one of the sweaters as written, "Sweaters from Camp" will be a steady source of both pratical and inspirational ideas.
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.