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Review: Top-Down Crochet Sweaters

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First, the facts:

Title: Top-Down Crochet Sweaters: Fabulous Patterns with Perfect Fit

Author: Dora Ohrenstein

Published by: Storey Publishing, 2016

Pages: 168

Type: Crochet sweater patterns

Chapters:

1. The Techniques
2. The Patterns

KS: Top-Down Crochet

The In-Depth Look:

This is, of course, primarily a knitting book site, but I can’t pretend that crochet doesn’t exist (I wouldn’t dare), and there’s no denying that crochet can create some beautiful things.

My personal bias is that crochet is best suited for things like afghans and lace, but not so much for garments. Traditionally, crocheted sweaters are often bulky, sometimes unflattering, but that’s definitely not always the case, especially as more and more designers are putting what they know about sweater design together with all the possibilities that crochet has to offer.

In this case, it’s all about making sweaters with top-down convenience that allows you to try the garment on, to assess things like fit and drape as you go. (Nobody denies that it’s easier to make a sweater in one piece to avoid having to seam all those pieces together.) With attention to technique and making sure the sweaters actually FIT, this book takes its goal very seriously.

The first part of the book is all about technique–things you need to know to make a garment fit, to understand how the construction of a top-down garment works, how the stitch patterns are going to affect the finished object. The author takes the first 50 pages to explain all the details you’re going to need, all with helpful illustrations and schematics.

The rest of the book is all about the patterns. There are fourteen of them, but they all come in pairs.

The author took seven basic yoke constructions and stitches and then played with them–offering two designs for each basic starting point. Each pair has something different–the gauge, the neckline, maybe pullover versus cardigan–but the basic construction (like a round yoke or one with raglan shaping) stays the same.

I really liked that approach. Too often it’s hard to look at two sweaters and know what’s the same about them, or how two things that look similar are really quite different. But here, the author is taking the time to show you how changing something simple can give you something entirely unique … because nobody said you couldn’t apply the knowledge from one pair to a modification you might want to another pair. (Hint: There’s a reason she spent so much time explaining construction techniques at the beginning.)

All in all, this is a great book–one of my favorite kinds because it starts with a solid grounding in technique and then goes ahead and shows you how much fun you can have with it, either by following her lead with her pre-written patterns, or by using them as a launchpad for your own creations.

Hey, I never said crocheted sweaters couldn’t be wonderful.

You can get your own copy at your local shop or order it from Amazon.com.

Want to see bigger pictures? Click here.

This review copy was kindly donated by Storey Publishing. Thank you!

My Gush: Some lovely creations.

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