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Review: Vintage Design Workshop


First, the facts:

Title: Vintage Design Workshop: Knitting Techniques for Modern Style

Author: Geraldine Warner

Published by: Interweave Press, 2013

Pages: 175

Type: How-to


1. Preparation
2. Substituting Yarns
3. Adjusting Vintage Sizes

4. Adjusting Sizes
5. Patterns for Vintage Elements
6. Adding Elements to Patterns

KS: Vintage Design Workshop

The In-Depth Look:

The scholar part of me is in love with this unique and useful book. Useful, at least, if you have a penchant for vintage knitting patterns.

Unlike other “vintage knitting” books that have come out over the years (many of which I also love), this is NOT a book filled with vintage-inspired patterns. It’s not even patterns that have been adapted from vintage patterns.

No, this book tells you how to adapt them yourself.

This is so useful and such a wonderful idea, I only wonder why nobody’s thought to do it before–but luckily, that’s moot point now, because Geraldine Warner has taken care of this. She writes, “If you’ve picked this book up I’m going to assume you’re a knitter who finds yourself drawn to vintage patterns and fashions, but are worried about how to approach and adapt them. … This book is written in the spirit of experimentation–mistakes will be made but, armed with patience and determination, lessons will be learned, your confidence will grow, and eventually the world will become your knitted oyster.”

The book is divided into two main parts. The first tell you how to take an old pattern–one that might not specify gauge, or provide a schematic, or specify a type of yarn (all things we’re used to with modern patterns)–and then work out the details you need to knit it here in the 21st century. It helps you determine your own measurements, too, so that you have a working understanding on how to adapt patterns for sweaters that were designed for a time when, say, armholes were smaller and sweater lengths shorter, not to mention adjusting things like neckline or sleeve shapes.

The second part of the book (much shorter) is made up of actual patterns for things like darts or puffed sleeve caps and peter pan collars that you could add to any current pattern to get a retroactive vintage feel.

Like I said, this book isn’t about patterns. There is nothing that spells out exactly what you need to do to recreate any of the sweaters pictured in the book. It’s all about the experience of adapting vintage patterns for yourself. Helping you find the right yarn, the right color combinations, to get a vintage sweater that works for you here in 2013.

Totally unique–and brilliant.

You can get your copy at Amazon or any local yarn or book shop.

Want to see bigger pictures? Click here.

This review copy was kindly donated by Interweave Press. Thank you!

My Gush: Unique and useful–my favorite combination.

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