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Book Review: Modern Top-Down Knitting

I’ve had the book, Modern Top-Down Knitting since it was first released, but I just realized that I haven’t written about it yet. So tonight I decided to give it another look and let you know what I think.

I love the idea of knitting top-down. I hate, hate, HATE seaming and so the very idea of any technique that requires minimal finishing is a good thing. I remember thinking the first time I looked through the book that man, these designs are all for skinny people. My second read, just now though, shows that most of the patterns are, in fact, upsized for larger sizes. But, and perhaps it’s my unfortunate middle age showing here, I still have to wonder whether even though the patterns are upsized, if they would actually look good on plus size people.

The book definitely has a lot of positives, though. The author, Kristina McGowan, wrote in her introduction that she started by studying the book, Knitting from the Top by Barbara G. Walker, and then actually got to visit Ms. Walker, and from those things, the book was born. How lucky she must have felt to be in the presence of such a great and smart knitter! Reading that part in the introduction just blew me away.

The patterns themselves are thoroughly modern–full of skinny designs and plunging necklines and all of the things that make today’s clothes unwearable by people shaped like me, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate their beauty. I especially love the dress on the cover, and I’m currently wondering if I can modify it to work as a vest over a t-shirt or something. Several of the dresses I think could be made as tops only, or sweaters, and I think for me, that will be something worth exploring. I bet I can do it. That’s the beauty of top-down knitting. You can make it up, or modify, as you go.

There are a few other types of patterns as well, including arm warmers, a wrap, and an Annie Hall-inspired hat that is just so adorable I think I’m going to have to make it.

The book is beautifully photographed and has lots of helpful diagrams, and tutorials for important techniques used throughout the book.

I have to say that even though this book isn’t necessarily designed for 45-year-old fat women like me, I am so glad I have it. There’s a lot to learn here about modern design, and it takes the concept of top-down knitting in some totally new directions that I hadn’t imagined before now. I think I’ll go dig out my Barbara Walker book along with this one and study up. This is gonna be good.

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