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4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 4 November 2005
This is the book that I should have bought years ago. It's perfect for anyone, whether a new or seasoned knitter. The basic sweaters are all stocking stitch, so anyone can knit them, or add your own stitch patterns. With the choice of sleeves, neck styles and any yarn you fancy, this book is indispensible. And best of all - the charts are sized up to 54" so unlike certain similar books, it caters for those knitters who aren't a perfect size 10.
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on 21 February 2005
This book has finally given me the confidence to have a go at designing my own knitwear. Although it looks confusing initially, with pages of number tables, once I'd read through the 'user guide', it all came clear and is so easy to use. I've already started my first cardigan using the guidelines in this book, and it's looking good!
You just swatch in your chosen yarn until you get an even number of stitches to the inch, choose your basic style (mostly based on sleeve type - drop shoulder, set in, fully shaped, raglan, circular yoke) and size, and you're off. There are also instructions on how to work out patterns if you've got fractions of stitches to the inch and want to stick with that stitch tension.
I'd recommend this to anyone who is confident with knitting techniques, but who might want a bit of help in the design department.
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on 4 April 2006
I am just finishing up a sweater made with this book. Rather than finding a pattern I like and then having to buy the yarn specified for that pattern, this book allows you to pick a yarn you love, and then design your sweater or cardigan around it. I've been knitting for years, but this is the first time I've tried to "design". It's been a learning experience, and it's been great, and I couldn't have done it without this book. If you're a bit of a nervous knitter, this book with give you the confidence to try revising a pattern on your own to achieve what you want.
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on 2 September 2006
This is quite simply and excellent buy for all knitters. This book helps you to understand how patterns are constructed and youi can then use this to put together your own sweaters using the yarn that you like. I've already planned out a sweater that I'm sure will fit and be flattering once it's completed. this is a book which will help you to be confident in making choices in your knitting.
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on 17 April 2006
If you want some basic sweater patterns adaptable to your own choice of yarn weight this book is for you. It includes patterns for drop shoulder, set-in sleeve, saddle shoulder and knit-in-the round sweaters, all in child and adult sizes, all adaptable to cardigans, and with lots of ideas for customisation Best of all knittable in the yarn of your choice. Don't be put off by the charts, they are not complicated. I found it easiest to use them to work out my own pattern which I jotted down before I began.
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on 30 January 2006
There are only good things to say about this book.
Plenty of tips such as shaping, adjusting for guage, knitting in the round.
The tables in the book for the different sizes are easy to follow, but this is all explained at the beginning.
Choose from childrens to adult sizes, different styles, Set In Sleeves, Raglan, Drop Shoulder, Modified Drop Shoulder, cardigan, different necklines, sleeves. You would also be saving yourself money as you would not need to buy any more patterns as there is plenty of choice.
There are some copycat patterns if you wish to follow these but you can also follow the instructions in the book to create a garment unique to yourself. To go with this book I would also recommend some stitch guides to create even more designs.
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on 26 December 2011
This book works on the principle of knitting a square in your given yarn, working out how many stitches to the inch & then taking a generic pattern & making a jumper that would fit anyone. The basic shapes are the same shapes that most knitting companies would use for their designs, the patterns I have used frequently are the scandanavian style jumper knitted in the round (remarkably similar to E Zimmermans basic pattern but more readable) drop sleeved jumper, & the basic pullover. If you can only follow an english pattern that spells out each row you knit you will struggle with this but if you have imagination & intelligence (which I would assume you have if you wish to design your own) then this is easily followed. After knitting your test square in the stitch you wish to use, you simply follow that column in the pattern book, if your swatch comes up between sizes you are told how to calculate how many stitches you need & how to use the charts. There are several examples of blow by blow patterns also given as examples. This will help you to build confidence.
The only points to be aware of are 1. measurements are for finished size not to fit a certain size so you may wish to measure some existing garments to see how much ease you like & is fashionable
2. The illustrations of garments she has produced do in some cases look a bit frumpy, it doesn't mean that what you knit will be frumpy but it may put some people off.
On the whole I have found the yarn quantities accurate & useful to copy out & carry round with me at yarn sales, the patterns work & are easy to follow, work for a large range of sizes, I have knitted from a size 28", many 48" & 50" sweaters & one 72" sweater where I simply followed instructions for using the patterns with non standard guages & all turned out great. I have introduced colours patterns & cables to the patterns & now don't bother searching for patterns for normal jumpers, I use this book for 60% of my knitting. If it got lost I would replace it.
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on 3 June 2007
If you already know how to knit and want to knit sweaters, or you knit lots of sweaters, but are tired of simply following patterns, then this is the first book you should own. It shows how all standard-style sweaters are constructed (other than a few rare ones), so that you can design almost any sort you might want, choosing your own neckline or sleeve type, varying the pattern according to the gauge, or vary an existing pattern to change something you don't like.

As valuable as this book is, though, it isn't everything for the knitter. It doesn't include various knit stitches and techniques, and it doesn't include information about anything but sweaters. Nonetheless, it's the book I pull out for virtually every sweater I make. Even the binding - ring bound so it lies flat - is conducive for easy reference.

For example, I just found a fabulous yarn, something that needs to define the sweater, rather than being embellished with fancy stitches. So, I went straight to this book and am designing the perfect sweater for the yarn. Everything I need is there (except the buttons). All I have to do is decide whether the yarn will best suit a set-in, saddle shoulder, or raglan sleeve, or perhaps whether to knit it with circular needles. Maybe do a V-neck. Perhaps a little collar? Hmmmm. . .decisions, decisions.
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on 16 November 2007
I am not a native English speaker and I was afraid I could not understand the patterns when I bought this book. My fears were completely unfounded. The book is excellent, I have just finished my second sweater (did a child one and an adult one) using this book and I am perfectly satisfied with the result. You only need to choose the pattern and the rest is in the book. At first, the tables may seem a bit scary, but once you start knitting it's very easy, almost mechanical. I strongly recommend it.
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on 1 January 2011
I owned this book for several months before getting up the nerve to try it. I've only been knitting for a little over a year, and have made a few sweaters from patterns.

The deal with this book is:

First, you figure out what style of sweater you'd like to make. The book categorizes them by sleeve/shoulder type. Do you want a drop-shoulder, raglan, inset, yoke? You pick your sleeve. Then, you choose a neckline (v-neck or turtleneck or cardigan or whatever). Then, you figure out your gauge. I think this intimidates a lot of people. All you have to do is knit the yarn you like for a few inches in order to determine how many stitches per inch you get. You can use any size needle you like to get the drape and stitches-per-inch you want. Then, you pick how big a sweater you want to make. (Chest size, taking into account how roomy a fit you want.)

So, I used some double-knit weight yarn, but decided to knit it up a little looser, using 5mm instead of the standard 4mm. I decided to start with the easiest style of sweater - a drop shoulder sleeve with a crew neck (which can be made into a turtleneck at the last minute, if you decide to go that way.)

It takes a tiny bit of time to get orientated with the book - figure out where the chart is for the style sweater you like, then figure out which column of numbers applies to your size and gauge. From that point on, it's dead simple. I found it helpful to write out the pattern into a notebook, which only took a few minutes.

With commercial patterns (Sirdar, Wendy, and the like), you have to read line-by-line and look for the numbers that apply to you. For example: "decrease one stitch on next and every following alt row 4(6,8,8,10) times." I always have to mark up the patterns something terrible, and I'm always paranoid that I'll read the wrong row or number, somewhere. This isn't a problem, here. You also always know exactly what you're doing and why, which isn't always the case when knitting from a commercial pattern.

The sweater styles given are very, very basic. They don't assume any shaping, so you'll see that they tend to be a bit boxy in the way they fit. The pattern I'm doing basically says "Knit two and a half inches of the border you like [this is usually ribbing], then knit the shape until it measures 20 inches long, now start shaping the arm holes or neck line, do this until it's long enough, and bind off." Most of the sweater styles are knit flat and sewn up. However, I can tell that with growing confidence, you'll be able to change things up however you like. If you want to do cabling or colourwork, you will have to work out the maths a bit for yourself. You can also do some decreasing and increasing to tailor the fit. But, you can really just stocking or garter-stitch the whole thing, following the directions as given, and end up with a perfectly creditable garment. The point is, this book gives you the framework onto which you can build your own designs, as far as your talents and confidence will take you.

I feel very free and confident using this book. I feel in control of the process and I am really enjoying myself.
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