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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Serendipity with books

September was my birthday month and this year I put in serious requests. I had recently perused Meg Swansen's School House Press website and come under the spell of a number of books I knew I wanted to own - and happily I had beloved friends and family who were willing to get them for me. My September runneth over in good books and I am thoroughly pleased with all of them. So who would have thought that it was the book I bought sight unseen, for the library, even, and on a mere hunch, that would turn out to be my favorite book?

Kristina McGowan's Modern Top Down Knitting has bowled me over. I always feel that if a book has three good patterns in it - three  patterns I want to knit - it's a good buy. If it's under $30 it's a great buy. This book hit both targets, coming in at $27.50 and having 3 hats, 3 dresses, 2 skirts and and a sweater that I would make and wear! The library owns the book now but I am afraid a second copy will have to come live at my house soon and once I'm finished with the big UFO's in my stash I am going to hunt down some yarn to make red Soho Smocked Dress. Yum!
I'm not a big top down knitter. Probably because I learned in the more traditional bottom up mode, top down is just ever so slightly out of my ring of habits. I know you can do it, I'd just need a reason to. Also, I almost exclusively wear set-in sleeves and to do that in top-down kitting you have to knit back and forth on the shoulder area. That's fine if there is no colorwork in the knitting, but there you have it - I am also a sucker for colorwork. But in a solid color, the flat knitting at the top is not a bar to my knitting pleasure. And these designs are all set-in sleeve styles - pure temptation to someone like me. They're elegant, classic shapes that would be attractive on almost any body type AND for almost any age group. The skirts are slim without being tight. The dresses are all a-line shapes with added touches that make them interesting but not tedious to knit. There are some cute accessories: some long fingerless gloves and a belt and slippers, that don't tempt but the hats are wonderful. Two, with fuller crowns, look like they would leave your hair in tact and the Subway Hat is flat out darling and looks like it would knit up in a flash.

I really like how the Abrams website displays this book and how they let you see the projects inside, so if you're curious, go have a look here. But if you want to know what the Bird Family thinks about it...

Happy Hump Day.

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