Top critical review
29 people found this helpful
Disappointing - confusing amount of detail
on 20 July 2010
I found this disappointing, for several reasons. The designing instructions are extremely detailed - I think unnecessarily so. Cheryl Brunette's "Sweaters 101" is much better, I think, because she gives you basic principles and one clear example for each design. Paden's version of the way to calculate the sleeve-head for a set-in sleeve is a bit more approachable, but I haven't tried it, so can't say whether it works, whereas I know Brunette's does. Interestingly, Paden makes a great deal of use of Brunette's "More or less" formula - acknowledged, of course, but it's clearer in the original! Paden does rather talk down to her readers, walking us through simple calculations in detail: this might possibly be helpful for someone who had never tried to do any calculating for him/herself. One idea of hers that I have never seen anywhere else is to have more, rather than fewer, stitches in the ribbing than in the main body of the garment. I haven't tried this, and suppose it would work for someone who didn't want the ribbed edges to pull in, but in that case, why rib at all? Paden gives a lot of detail on how to make different shapes of collar, sleeve, etc., and tells you how to design knitted skirts and dresses (no-nos, as far as I'm concerned). She expresses no opinion of particular shapes (e.g. wide square necklines, which seldom work), but simply tells you how to do them. If you are a complete beginner at work-it-out-yourself I think this book would be oppressively detailed, and if you have some experience it is irritatingly simple in places, but is a fairly comprehensive reference. Someone else has pointed out that there is no mention of top-down, and a strong tendency to assume that you will be working the whole garment in separate pieces to be sewn together - possibly because the book applies equally to machine knitting (though this isn't claimed). Quite a lot of space is devoted to detailed patterns for extremely elaborate garments such as the one on the cover.