Monday, October 22, 2007

Book Review: Designing Knitwear

Nope, it doesn't come with two Clover Crochet-Lite hooks, but it does come with a whole lot of design information. Written by Deborah Newton in 1998 for Taunton press, this book is really, really good. I found my softback copy on amazon used books. The retail price on the cover is $24.95. It's 263 pages with many color photos in addition to excellent sketches by the author (and a few others) and diagrams throughout the book.

Yes, it is a book based on Knit, but as designers, we are always changing the combination of stitches that make up the fabric of the design. Whether it be knit and purl or sc and hdc, it is still only one of many factors that go into garment design. Yarn choice, gauge, drape, the shape of the pieces, the method of seaming, all make the garment into the finished product.

She has a chapter on yarns, designing with yarns, and why that's different from designing with fabric. The most dog-eared section of the my copy is chapter 3, "Fit and Silhouette". The inventor of the "ease" chart on page 44, Deborah Newton describes how many inches of "ease" to add to a body measurement to achieve the type of fit you want. Just smart! This chapter is just magical in it's ability to communicate how body measurements are taken, where they are taken, and what to do with them! The explanation of sleeve options on page 48, 51 and 53 are a must see. I don't know if I could live without the neckline diagrams and measurements on page 56!

Are you getting what I'm trying to say? This book is more than a pretty book, it's an essential text for learning garment design.

Now, I don't think I can completely appreciate the knit/intarsia diagrams right now. I admit that I glossed over them with hardly a glance. But, as my knitting skills increase, I am sure that these sections of the book will become more treasured. For you knitters out there, you will like to know that there are actually patterns in this book as well, in addition to the lessons.

It's just a great book. The only thing that would be better is to have the book be crochet! Deborah are you out there? Do you crochet? I need to go back to Lily Chin's Crochet Couture workshop and see how they compare or if they are apples and oranges. I remember Lily's book to have more patterns with less text and Deborah's is more text with fewer patterns. I'll have to review Lily's for you sometime! (Assuming that you haven't already drooled all over your own copy).

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