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Book Review: Custom Knits

I haven’t bought a lot of knitting books lately, but since I found so little to love in the newest IK I thought it might be time to add to my library.  Custom Knits is written by Wendy Bernard, author of the “Knit and Tonic” blog.  I have previously made three of her designs – fad classic, the not so shrunken cardi, and something red.

I was predisposed to like this book, but I have to admit that at first my feelings were mixed.  I am not always a big fan of top down or one piece sweaters.  I don’t like having so much on the needle at once, and feel the designs are necessarily limited.

Having said that, I love this book!  There are so many designs that I want to make.  The patterns are divided into sections – top down raglans, top down with set in sleeves, round yoke, and a chapter with a few other ways of knitting.  I have not, in the past, had great luck with set in sleeves on top down sweaters.  I have small shoulders and have found the cap to inevitibly end up looking rather like a drop shoulder.  But I’m willing to give it another try!

The size range in this book is great – every sweater comes small enough for me, and sizes extend up to (I believe) a 52″ bust.  Almost all the sweaters are presented with two options, and a little box telling you how to customize the sweater that way that you want it.  I found this information very useful.  The back of the book includes formulas for the types of sweaters in the book, so that you might design your own sweaters.

My only real criticism of the book is a superficial one… the styling.  Although I haven’t shown any of them, I swear to you that half the sweaters in the book are modeled without pants – sometimes swimsuits, sometimes underwear.  Seriously, who lounges around in a swimsuit and a wool sweater?  It just seems strange to me…

That’s minor though.  I love the book, and I have already started a sweater – the lion necked cardigan in RYC Soft tweed.  This is a strange yarn – it’s like knitting with strips of a blanket or something.  But I’m happy to use up stash yarn, and I hope it will work out.  The sizing looks teeny, because it isn’t supposed to close in the front.  I’m knitting a medium, but my gauge is a little small, so we will see where I end up.