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Custom Knits: 25 Projects (Plus Variations) and Techniques for Customizing to Fit Your Style and Your Body [Hardcover]

Wendy Bernard
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Sep 2008
Along with being pleasurable and satisfying, knitting can sometimes be frustrating: the turtleneck that looked so fabulous on the model is too bulky for your body, or the cardigan you spent countless hours on just doesn't fit right. Herein lies the beauty of "Custom Knits," which teaches knitters how to use improvisational techniques to achieve spectacular results--and to unleash their inner designers. Wendy Bernard, creator of the popular blog Knit and Tonic, provides 25 original designs for sweaters of nearly every type, plus variations, most knitted in one piece starting at the top, a method that allows you to try on as you go, alter as desired, and essentially design on the fly. "Make It Your Own" prompts in each pattern suggest easy alterations to suit your style and body type. And an in-depth reference section teaches how to alter key sweater elements, for example, change a crewneck to a V-neck, add sleeves to a vest, and much more. For the truly adventurous, the book concludes with guidelines for knitting sweaters with no pattern at all. Bernard's friendly writing style and photographer Kimball Hall's lively images create an inviting book of beautiful designs and key techniques that a knitter can use to customize nearly every garment she knits from now on.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Stewart, Tabori & Chang (1 Sep 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1584797134
  • ISBN-13: 978-1584797135
  • Product Dimensions: 24.5 x 22.3 x 2.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 315,518 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Wendy Bernard's work has been featured in the online pages of Knitty and Stitch Diva Studios, in the book "No Sheep for You," and in "Interweave Knits" and "Knitscene" magazines. She lives in Thousand Oaks, California. Kimball Hall is a Los Angeles-based photographer with 25 years of editorial and advertising experience. Among his clients are Four Seasons Hotel, American Express, and Bank of America.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good book to have in your library. 8 Sep 2008
By jazzy pom VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Some of you might know the author from her popular blog, knit and tonic. Ms Bernard is a student of Elizabeth Zimmerman and Barbara Walker, so all her designs are top down, with either raglans or set-in sleeves. For those of you (like me) who can't really get on with either Zimmerman or Walker, this book is a primer - where you get solid directions, techniques to put into play on a pattern, and options that you can apply to personalise the pattern.

The book assumes that you're at least, an advanced learner, so there's no 'how to's here. There's a checklist of things you need to consider when knitting (yarn expense, does the style suit your lifestyle, weight of yarn). Then, the book is divided into sections: raglan, set in sleeves, yoke jumpers, how to make it your own). This book is exclusively women's patterns, mostly sweaters, running from saucy to cosy.

Pattern wise, if you like Ms Bernard's designs from her blog, there are no surprises here. The designs are really cute, with an unpretentious California vibe. The designs are simple, but with little details that make them fun. Like a bit of kid mohair in a neckline for an empire styled top, a cardigan with ribbon threaded through as accent, or ribbing with varying lengths for a top down. In addition, for clothing, most of the designs are done on 3.5-4.5mm needles. There are a lot of dk weight yarns used in this book, so if you have a dk stash like me, it's all good.

A draw back to this book is the act that the patterns aren't indexed, nor is there isn't any indication to pattern levels of difficulty. Some people might like the latter, but it helps to know what you're getting into.

The writing style is engaging, the pictures are sharp, and I can see myself making most of the stuff in the book, if not all.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A valuable reference book 22 Oct 2008
By Ouryve
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I've only been knitting since early this Spring, but already I'm finding that I want to adapt patterns to suit my shape and style. I already had Stitch n' Bitch Nation on my shelf when I bought this, which goes into the art of adapting patterns, but to be honest, I found the long-winded maths-phobic approach of that book a bit off-putting. Custom Knits, in contrast offers a much more concise, relaxed approach. Each section covers a different type of sweater design, including those for which a top-down design doesn't work and there are patterns to suit a range of personal tastes, all very wearable. I can see myself knitting a few of these over the next few years.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for every knitters library 23 Mar 2009
By L. Thompson VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
Custom Knits: 25 Projects (Plus Variations) and Techniques for Customizing to Fit Your Style and Your Body is a must for every knitters libary. The instructions are clear giving you the freedom to actually knit a garment that fits YOU! The patterns are attractive, well written and easy to knit, each with a skill level, ideas on alternative yarns, how to work out the yardage you'll need for your size if substituting yarn, hints and tips on customising your work.

Really lovely book that's fun to read, has some wonderful designs which I just can't wait to knit and is excellent value.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great resource and reference book! 30 April 2009
Format:Hardcover
In short, this book has 25 brilliant patterns showcasing different ways of knitting sweaters and tanks from the top down. Yoked sweaters, raglan sleeves, set-in sleeves.. and they're all modern and fresh designs, if you ask me. There's even help to get you started on designing your own top-down sweaters, or converting cardigans to sweaters, vice versa, changing sleeves, and so on. My only gripe would be that most of the designs are for worsted weight yarns, but then I live in a country where worsted weight isn't very common. I'd love to see more fingering weight sweaters from her.

It's a well-photographed, well-written, awesome book. Get it!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Fun but not flattering IMHO 6 Sep 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
There's a lot of info in here for knitters who haven't worked top down or haven't tried adjusting patterns to fit. Not so much for an experienced knitter, in my view.

But the main reason for the 2 stars is that there is very little (well, actually in my view, nothing) about how to flatter different body types. No-one else has mentioned this. But there is simply nothing in here that would work for me: short, slim but curvy. Lots of high neck lines, neck line detail, thick yarns, straight shapes, very little waist shaping - just the kind of thing that drowns me or makes me look like a busty blob. And the idea of Jane or Mina's Tuxedo Vest - even my husband burst out laughing! So this book is not as useful as, for instance, Amy Herzog's Fit to Flatter approach, which works for everyone.

The designs look fun and if they would work for you, go for it. But try to get a look at them first to make sure.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Custom Knits 4 July 2011
By K White
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is great for the reluctant Mathematician, offering pattern changes in bite-size pieces that are easy to understand. Also, the scope of patterns is very broad with lots of posibilities for the enthusiast.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Successful knitting for yourself 20 Feb 2010
By Ingrid
Format:Hardcover
This book made me believe i knitting for myself, after not doing so for 15 years, due to garment never fitting in the end.
Customizing to individual fit, top down - try on as you go -is truly the answer for me.

I have knitted two pieces from the book for myself.
Im so proud wearing them, and actually choose them when I really want to look my best.
I especially like her afterthought -set in sleeve.I've used this successfully also on two other projects, not from the book.
I plan on knitting more from the book, but its hard to choose which one goes first.

On a lonely planet, given needles,a ton of yarn and only one book to choose: I would have choosen this one .
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