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Modern Top-Down Knitting: Sweaters, Dresses, Skirts and Accessories Inspired by the Techniques of Barbara G. Walker [Hardcover]

Kristina McGowan
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
RRP: 16.99
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Book Description

1 Oct 2010
Modern Top-Down Knitting is a collection of feminine, city-chic designs from Kristy McGowan, created using the famous top-down construction method originated by knitting legend Barbara G. Walker. The conception of this book is not unlike that of Julie and Julia: McGowan was living in New York City for many years, working jobs that ranged from book editor to yarn shop manager, when she stumbled upon Barbara Walker's renowned tome Knitting from the Top. This is a book that forever changed the way knitters look at sweaters. McGowan was awestruck by the techniques that she learned in Walker's book and loved the perks that this construction provides: one can try on the garment as she works, make adjustments, customise length and best of all, there are no seams to sew up at the end (a task that most knitters loathe). Enamored by Walker's work, McGowan wrote her a letter, which resulted in an ongoing correspondence and eventual journey to Florida to meet the 79-year-old legend in person. But for all of the techniques that Knitting from the Top brought to light, Walker's designs had not stood the test of time and looked completely outdated. Inspired, McGowan took it upon herself to design a modern woman's wardrobe based on using what she had learned from Walker. And that is just what you will find in Modern Top-Down Knitting - feminine dresses, tunics and skirts that are anything but fussy; elegant cardigans and pullovers that drape beautifully; and stylish hats, gloves and accessories that will surely become must-have items in colder months. Also included are step-by-step photo tutorials for the top-down techniques used throughout - an improvement over Walker's book, which only included written instructions. McGowan also offers her own techniques for finishing garments with special trims and linings - everything from crocheted edgings to velvet trim sewn onto the hems of dresses - so that every piece looks just as good on the inside as it does on the outside. Photo tutorials for these techniques are included as well.

Frequently Bought Together

Modern Top-Down Knitting: Sweaters, Dresses, Skirts and Accessories Inspired by the Techniques of Barbara G. Walker + More Modern Top-Down Knitting: 24 Garments Based on Barbara G. Walker's 12 Top-Down Templates + Knitter's Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters
Price For All Three: 37.37

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Stewart, Tabori & Chang Inc; 1 edition (1 Oct 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1584798610
  • ISBN-13: 978-1584798613
  • Product Dimensions: 2.3 x 21.8 x 25.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 102,530 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Kristy McGowan is an up-and-coming designer who has worked closely with Suss Designs, helping with yarn development and designing patterns, and has freelanced for Morehouse Farm. Formerly an editor at Farrar, Strauss & Giroux, she holds a doctorate degree in Sociology from Syracuse University.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
95 of 95 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great for dresses and skirts 4 Mar 2011
By H. B. Hosegoood TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Length: 5:50 Mins
As other reviewers have said, this is not what one might expect. I think you need to see for yourself because some of the projects are fantastic and others less so, but you may want something more ordinary - less young, slim and sexy. These are 'make them or leave them' items - not simple patterns that you can adapt but ones that, if you do like them, you will wish to follow exactly, with maybe some small alterations such as, in my case, lengthening the half-length sleeves or stopping short of the gathered wrist. You can't really see the textures of the patterns in my video. These tend to be quite subtle, although the long blue cardigan has a bold pattern that reminds me of extra-large crochet and the skirt, which I described as having a whacky pattern, has a fairly large zigzag pattern, though not too outrageous. The second skirt has a subtler, though still very interesting textural pattern. There's a very nice, subtle texture on the Pavement Jacket (with garter-stitch sleeves) and the red dress is worked in reverse stocking stitch with a kind of mock smocking at the waist, which I wrongly described as ribbing - it is more of a basket-weave design. The wrap-around dress is worked in a smart woven rib. The Annie Hat, named from Woody Allen's Annie Hall, is stiffened with pipe cleaners, which is very clever. If you like this hat, check out Annie Modesitt's books. In fact, her Romantic Hand Knits is similar in terms of the sex appeal, so if you like this book you will probably like that one too.
Note: I missed off a dress somehow, which has a cowl neck and is sleeveless, straight and very simple, ending above the knee.
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50 of 50 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice designs and good techniques 7 Oct 2010
By vjferg
Format:Hardcover
I was expecting a book that dealt with various top-down construction methods for sweaters and cardigans and I was a bit disappointed when I first went through the book because it deals mainly with set-in sleeve construction with only one example of kimono sleeve construction. It doesn't cover any other type of garment construction. Having said that, the set-in sleeve construction is probably the most flattering one of the lot so I can understand where the author was coming from.

The patterns provided are:
6 dresses; 7 sweaters/cardigans; 4 hats; 2 arm warmers; 2 skirts; 1 cowl; 1 belt; 1 pair of slippers; 1 wrap; 1 jewellery.

I can understand how you have dresses, sweaters, skirts and even the hats in a book called Modern Top-Down knitting. But arm warmers, cowls, belts, slippers and jewellery? And, honestly? A top-down wrap? Definitely filler patterns that could have been replaced with designs that did what it says on the tin.

You may be forgiven for thinking I didn't really like this book and wonder at the four stars. I do like it. I like it a lot. This is the first time I've written a review on a knitting book, that's how much I like it. The patterns are modern, but not so much so that they'll date quickly. They can all be adapted to suit you and your body shape. The yarns used are American but you can used the yarn search facility on Ravelry or Yarndex to find a substitute yarn available here. Even the patterns that I don't think should be in the book are generally nice. The stitch pattern used on the wrap is interesting and the arm warmers show you how to do tucks.

The sections at the front and back of the book are very good and cover the main techniques needed for really well fitting top down garments and finishing.
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars disappointing to say the least. 19 Oct 2010
Format:Hardcover
I was looking forward to receiving this book, just goes to show you can't judge a book by its cover. Maybe I was expecting too much but my overall impression of the designs is that they are boring and frumpy. Didn't really see how most of the patterns would benefit from a top down construction, having made a top down jumper from 'Fitted Knits' which was knitted entirely in the round on circular needles, increasing stitches for the sleeves then knitting them separately from the base of the armhole downwards. In alot of these patterns the armhole stitches are picked up and then knitted down, the only benefit being that the length could be adjusted more easily.

I'm in total agreement with the first review that there are not enough garment patterns and the hats, arm warmers etc. were an unnecessary inclusion. I'm afraid that this one will have to go back as there are only a couple of things that I would consider making from this book and neither of them are particularly exciting.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Some lovely, simple, stylish patterns 11 Sep 2011
By Kristin TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a great book if you have always wanted just a simple cardi, tunic or dress that fits perfectly instead of making you look like you are wearing a knitted tent! I disagree with the other readers, the small projects like the hats and gloves are to help you master the technique if you are wary of jumping straight into a large expensive knit.

Overview section. This has some very clear instructions with a good amount of photos to get you going on working upside down! It also explains such things as shaping shoulders to fit, shaping and fitting in arms, and its nice and concise in doing so.

Patterns included:
Dresses: 6, including one wrap dress and some lovely flattering fitted dresses, some plain, some patterned
Skirts: 2, the seaport pencil one with a semi cable wave effect will be my first project as it looks stunning
Hats: 4, 2 of which had brims which surprised me pkeasantly,
Coatigan/Jacket: 1
Sweaters: 3 one has a lovely ruffled front neck section
Cardigans: 2
Tunics: 2, one with a cowl neck, one V neck
And some slippers, a belt, and some gloves etc.

Some of the above are sleeveless, but the book explains clearly how to fit sleeves, so these wont be a problem at all to add.

Basically this book, and a little imagination, could happily keep you knitting for several years without getting bored!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The patterns are so easy to use with the included pictures showing...
The patterns are so easy to use with the included pictures showing details. And the drawing of the pattern with measures are so good to have.
Published 2 days ago by Connie Worm
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful
I am not a fan of the jumper/skirts patterns, but I may be a bit partial since I bought it for the dresses patterns. Read more
Published 10 months ago by LaGrenouille
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous - if you're interested in design this is great - contents,...
An inspirational book that I will treasure. Comprehensive tutorials but approachable - can't wait to get stuck in. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Haley
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for no seam knitting inspiration
Gorgeous, chic, figure flattering, absolutely wearable everyday items with smart finishing touches that make them unique. Read more
Published 20 months ago by ANAGNOSTOU PARASKEVI
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational book for knitters
Inspired me to try top down method - wondering why we haven't aways knitted this way to achieve great fit.
Published 21 months ago by Jeanne of Wimbledon
5.0 out of 5 stars Fab designs
This is one of those rare pattern books where I'd like to make almost everything. The patterns seem easy to follow and the extra explanatory notes are great.
Published 21 months ago by Melissa Butcher
3.0 out of 5 stars couture designs
Some lovely, couture designs with fab touches like ribbon facings and using elastic - gasp! - to shape garments. Read more
Published on 22 Feb 2012 by knitdiva
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
Although restricted in patterns - lots of dresses and strange things like hats and gloves!!!! this is an excellent book in showing the top down knitting process in all its... Read more
Published on 10 Dec 2010 by Annie Wright
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