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Review: Custom Knits 2


First, the facts:

Title: Custom Knits 2: More Top-Down and Improvisational Techniques

Author: Wendy Bernard

Published by: Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2011

Pages: 160

Type: Patterns, this time for the whole family.


1. Preplanning the Perfect Sweater: Begin with the End in Mind
2. Basic Training: Simple Alterations and Add-Ons
3. He Said, She Said: Converting Patterns to Fit Men, Women, and Children
4. Tailored Raglans: Customizing for a Perfect Fit
5. Knitting Swaps: Tricks and Techniques for Substituting Yarn, Gauge, and Stitch Patterns
6. Starting from Scratch

Custom Knits 2

The In-Depth Look:

I’ve been looking forward to this book for three years now … not least because Wendy Bernard’s first book was the very first book I reviewed here at Knitting Scholar. It just blew me away. I thought she’d never finish book #2!

She finally has, though, and it’s just as chock-full of great information as the first one.

She writes, “After a handful of starts, stops, and frogging episodes, I came to understand that if I started out with the end in mind, checking (and rechecking) my progress against my initial sketches and trying it on as I worked to make sure the measurements were right, the outcome would end up matching my initial expectations. Not only that, the process would be smooth, fast, and fun …So it’s no surprise that for my next book (which you are holding in your hands), I decided to emphasize the philosophy of starting with the end in mind and thinking while you’re knitting. What do I want to make? How do I want it to look? How will I make that happen?

The first book was mostly about ways to take a pattern and tweak it to make it fit better.

This book is all about truly customizing a pattern. Like, when you see a child’s sweater and wish you could make one for yourself? Or when you see a shell pattern and wish it had sleeves? These are not just “make the arms a little longer” or “use a different yarn” kinds of changes. These are full-fledged customizations, like slicing off the roof your car to make a convertible. The end result is going to be completely different.

Custom Knits 2 is split into five parts. The first is about planning ahead–figuring out how to “preplan” your sweater so you’ll know what needs to be changed. Then she (literally) covers the basics–how to add things like hoods or change the fit of a pattern. The third is about scaling sweaters up and down and changing proportions for age or gender. Next, it’s all about raglans with their finicky proportions, and then she talks about making substitutions to things like gauge or yarn types. The final chapter is all about–once you’ve mastered making all these changes–how to simply start from scratch for your own sweater.

This is a WEALTH of information, just like the first book.

All this information comes alongside some lovely patterns for the whole family. Sweaters, mostly, though there are some accessories as well. Each pattern comes with suggestions for variations, and like the first book, all the patterns are knit from the top down, making it easy to try things on as you go.

The patterns are mostly light-to-medium weight kind of sweaters. Wendy lives in Southern California, so she’s not usually knitting for serious warmth. Since I don’t, I kind of wish some of them were heavier sweaters that I would get more use out of … oh, wait. That’s all covered in that “Conversion” chapter, isn’t it? Silly me!

My only wish? I wish it won’t be another three years before Custom Knits 3 comes out.

Please do check out this book at Amazon.com.

Want to see bigger pictures? Click here.

This review copy was kindly donated by the publisher. Thank you!

My Gush: Just as useful as the first one.

Other posts for this author:

  • Custom Knits (my very first review here at Knitting Scholar!)

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Chloe October 24, 2011, 7:46 pm

    Was it my imagination or did Wendy say in her blog that her third book (on Accessories) will be coming out this next spring.

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