Book Review: Great Knits

Posted on by MK Carroll

Great Knits
Texture and Color Techniques from Threads Magazine
Taunton Press, 1995

How about a book geared towards the experienced and/or adventurous handknitter with knitting and knit design tips from knit luminaries including Lily Chin, Nicky Epstein, Deborah Newton, Nancy Bush, with photos, diagrams and tutorials on how to shape your knitting, making a garment from scrumbles, and adapting a sewing pattern for knitting, among other things? What if I told you it was published over 10 years ago? Great Knits is a collection of Threads magazine articles from the early 1990’s, aimed at the handknitting enthusiast. Currently out of print, it can still be found online and in public libararies. Some of the items shown look a bit dated (think big oversized entrelac sweater and teal angora and ribbon - on second thought, with a little revision I wouldn’t be surprised to see it as a retro look in Vogue Knitting International), but the techniques are ones knitters still look for today. This is a great addition to your knitting library if you are interested in designing your own patterns or at least customizing exisiting patterns to better fit your form and your taste.

Introduction, by Suzanne LaRosa, publisher
“You’ve got the knitting basics down and now you’re ready to expand your repertoire. Here, from the pages of Threads magazine, you’ll find the inspiration and techniques you need.

Take your favorite sweater pattern and create an entirely new look. Add subtle shading to a Fair Isle design. Create a graphic beauty one block at a time. Choose two colors you love and knit a warm, reversible sweater. Embellish a sweater with geometric designs.

Or create interest with texture. Experiment with new ways to build a fabric. Knit in a new direction. Drop stitches and weave into open spaces. You can even create a fabric from the center out.

With Great Knits, you’ll also learn basic techniques that will benefit every garment you knit. You’ll find advice on what yarns and needles work best, how to make gauge swatches, and how to shape and finish the garment. But best of all, you’ll create sweaters that you’ll wear and love for years.”

Knit One, Weave Two
Linda M. McGurn
Dropped stitches create ideal spaces to weave color into your knitting

Sweaters Piece by Piece
Natalina Carbone
Working without a gauge, you can knit in all directions to create a unique fabric

Swatches for Sweaters
Deborah Newton
Your knitted samples can tell you a lot more about your design than just the gauge

Corrugated Knitting
Molly Gordon
Pull in those floats for a sweater that’s warm and toasty

Designing Knit Fabrics
Deborah Newton
A ready-to-wear sweater sparks ideas for combining strips diagonally

Design Knitwear from Sewing Patterns
June Hemmons Hiatt
The best part is there’s no need to calculate tricky curves or slopes

Reversible Knitting
M’Lou Linsert Baber
Double knitting creates two layers of stockinette with one pass of stitches

Knitting a Basketweave Look-Alike
Gwen Fox
Here’s how to work and shape entrelac on a circular needle

A Balancing Act
Alice Korach
Knitter’s guide to pattern and proportion (includes Aran cardigan with Fibonacci panels)

Knitting Sideways
Molly Geissman
Increase your garment design options and reduce the number of seams at the same time (includes article on Knitting Fair Isle sideways by Kate Barber)

A Patterning Primer for Custom Knitting
Nancy Bush
You can easily create geometric designs to embellish any simple sweater

Subtle Color Shading for Patterned Knits
Rebekah Younger
You can paint a knit fabric, then unravel and reknit for smooth color transitions

Knit In Blocks of Color - without Bobbins
Rick Mondragon
Adding color, one block at a time, takes out the headache of intarsia knitting

Light and Lustrous Boucle
Linda Welker
The textures and colors of this three-plied yarn make even the simplest sweater special

Designing with Spring and Summer Yarns
Deborah Newton
Challenging fibers reward knitters with fabulous color and texture (includes pattern for Sleeveless Ribbon Shell)

Design with Knitted Cord
Nicky Epstein
Complex-looking textures are a snap with separately knitted cord

Darts Add Shape to Knitted Garments
Lily Chin
Worked vertically or horizontally, darts can dramatically improve fit

Shirttails for Sweaters
Sally Melville
Here’s how to add a modest knit curve to a typical flat hem

Designing Knitted Hoods
Deborah Newton
Frame your face with snuggly warmth or sophisticated style (includes pattern for Chenille Topper)

When Many Yarns Make a Coat
Anne Clarke
Careful control of tension and floats is key to combining varied types of yarns