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January 03, 2005

Sweater Design in Plain English

Sweater Design in Plain English
by Maggie Righetti

The minute I started reading this, I new it was going to be good. By good I mean that I would a) understand what Righetti was talking about, and more importantly, b) be able to INVISION what Righetti was talking about. One of the skills I haven’t quite mastered with my knitting is being able to SEE what a pattern will look like without having it in my hands. I think Righetti has helped me with this immensely. That alone makes it a fabulous book.

Her style is exactly like she says – plain English. No nonsense. To the point. Some may actually find her a little too abrupt, but what she’s talking about is important, so I think it might be overlooked.

Some of the most important subjects she talks about are “Understanding the Nature of Yarn,” “Achieving the Right Marriage of Fiber, Fabric and Design,” “Pattern Stitches and How They Behave,” “Getting the Right Gauge,” and “Understanding the Arithmetic of Knitting.” (The last one was enough to send me into a cold sweat, but it was greatly needed.)

Righetti comes from a sewing background, and even though I’ve never sewn more than a loose button, her explanations of the differences between sewn garment and knitted garments was illuminating. The chapter on understanding the nature of yarn was an eye-opener – it explained just why you start decreases on a v-neck AT THE SAME time you start decreases for the arms. “Forgivingness” is the word of the day when it comes to knitted garments. She gives detail on how knits sag and droop and how to achieve the look you want all the while working with the sag and droop.

Another great chapter was on pattern stitches. How does stockinette “forgive” as compared to garter stitch? What about cables, color, etc? Add this to the chapter on various fibers and how they behave and I felt like a scholar! Never will I look at yarn the same way.

One negative to the book: the designs in the second half. They are very, very dated. But the descriptions and patterns are so well described, it would be very easy to incorporate some of the ideas into an updated garment.

I could go on, but I have knitting to do. Suffice it to say, if you have any interest in designing for yourself, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed in what Righetti has to offer.

Posted by Knit One Read Too at January 3, 2005 01:08 PM


I think I want to read this too - it's going in my wish list.

Posted by: Lu at January 3, 2005 11:21 PM