Knit Couture: 20 Hand-Knit Designs from Runway to Reality Hardcover – 26 Dec 2007
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The designs themselves are fairly repetitive; there is a camisole done in cotton, then again in Lurex, and finally also in Lurex, with a skirt attached to make a dress. The skirt itself can also be found as a separate pattern. The skirt is knit in a lace pattern (there are no charts), but you can't see the lace in much detail, as with most patterns in the book, since the photographs are all done in moody lighting with the models is contorted into unnatural poses. If you flip to the back of the book you'll find the garments photographed on a dummy, which is a nice idea, but the photographs are too small to see much detail.
I haven't started knitting any of the patterns yet, but have already found a few mistakes; for example, one pattern uses Rowan Cotton Glace and the gauge given in stockinette stitch is impossibly tight (needles are only given in US sizes throughout the book), so either the yarn is wrong or the gauge is wrong.
I do like that the patterns are mostly in finer gauge yarns, and the couple that I would like to knit appear to use a different construction technique to any I've seen before. There is also a photograph of a rather lovely lace tunic for which there isn't pattern given but, armed with a stitch dictionary, doesn't look too difficult to copy.
If you don't like knitting with finer yarns, don't buy this book; you've probably already got patterns very similar to the couple that do use a heavier weight yarn, and you can get a better, unbiased history of knitwear elsewhere.
However, I was surprised at how much this book engrossed me. It begins with an introduction to hand knitting followed by a look into the House of Weardowney, which in itself is intriguing. The first chapter `The Birth and Evolution of Knitting' is written in the style of essays on the Renaissance, complete with its art historical references and literary links, and is an excellent grounding to the rest of the book. After our background knowledge is in place, the second chapter looks into knitwear's move from practicality to high fashion. Coco Chanel, John Galliano and Vivienne Westwood all get a mention as `Knit Couture' sweeps the geographical and historical development of this `medium', and then discusses `Knit Today'. The writing is juxtaposed with luscious pictures of beautiful Weardowney creations, as well as high fashion examples from Kenzo, Jean Paul Gaultier and the like.
`Knit Couture' then focuses on Classic and Diffussion designs, some sparkley, some comfy, all of which are truly stunning! I am told by friends who can knit that the designs are easy to follow, and if it is too much for novices, there is a very helpful section at the back entitled `Starting Knitting' which goes through `Casting on', `Knit stitch' etc.
I could not recommend this book more to amateurs or experts. It is an enjoyable, insightful read and a visual feast into a side of fashion which is relatively unexplored. I found it a truly fantastic in its deviations. I may as an amateur attempt my own creations, or perhaps just leave the wondrous weavery to the experts!
Definitely not styles that you can duplicate at Walmart (no offense to Walmart)