I received this book for free from the library in exchange for my honest opinions/ review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.Modern Top-Down Knitting: Sweaters, Dresses, Skirts & Accessories Inspired by the Techniques of Barbara G. Walker by Kristina McGowan
on October 1st 2010
Source: the library
Buy on Amazon
For decades, knitters have been constructing garments using the wonderfully efficient top-down technique made famous by Barbara G. Walker in her renowned tome Knitting from the Top. But never have the results looked as glamorous and city-chic as they do in Modern Top-Down Knitting.
In this sophisticated womenswear collection, designer Kristina McGowan presents streamlined, feminine dresses, tunics, and skirts; elegant cardigans and pullovers; and stylish go-to accessories such as hats and mitts. Also included are step-by-step photo tutorials that make top-down techniques easy to understand and sizing and style adjustments a cinch to achieve.
Detailed instructions are also included for finishing garments with couture-quality trims and linings, so they look just as elegant on the inside as they do on the outside.
"Kristina McGowan presents a charming collection of original designs in knitwear, to inspire knitters of all levels of skill. Her work incorporates the two essential qualities of good knitting direction: (1) her ideas are fresh, fashionable, and interesting; and (2) her instructions are clear and easily followed. Hers is an excellent book."
Barbara G. Walker
I’m a big fan of seamless knitting, especially top down knitting, & I’m definitely a Barbara Walker fan as well. I got this book out of the library after seeing some of the projects people made on Ravelry, because I’ve been itching for a new top down project.
There are some gorgeous, but impractical projects in the book – Jill’s dress comes immediately to mind. I love the simple, classic lines, one color, in a multitude of sizes from 32″ to 51″ (finished measurements). But… the fact remains, how many people are going to actually knit a dress, at 5 sts/inch, using a beautiful, but expensive yarn? As a knitter, I definitely know that it’s more often about the process then the finished object, but in the case of a dress… I do think it’s going to be a lot about the finished object. A quick google search yields me an average price of $9/skein – which isn’t too bad, really, but you need 10 skeins for the smallest size, yielding a dress of $90. In my size, however, that quickly jumps to almost $110. Of course you can always sub yarns, but this is a dress after all… Considering I buy my dresses at the thrift store, I won’t be making this anytime soon, no matter how gorgeous I think it is.
I also really like the Blueberry Cardigan, that calls for Blue Sky Alpaca Silk, that averages $13/skein. I love the stitches used in this, but I’d personally mod the cardigan so much, my finished object would bear little with the original.
Looking for a smaller project? There’s a cute hat, Mulberry Hat, that I really like… but there are a dozen very similiar, free hats available online (ditto the Pigeon hat).
My conclusion? If this technique is new to you &/or you don’t have any other top down books in your library, then it’s definitely worth buying for the information, but if you are already familiar with top down knitting… get the book from the library.