Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Finishing School: A Master Class For Knitters by Deborah Newton
Chapter 1, Finishing 101 is a basic overview of finishing and what sort of tools you need to get the job done. Choosing a pattern that is right for you and using schematics is also discussed.
Chapter 2 is Blocking Basics. For a long time I thought the only way to block something was to dunk it into a bucket of warm water mixed with a bit of Woolite (yikes! what was I thinking???) and pinned down onto a dry towel. I blocked the heck out of a lot of projects before I realized that some fibers need to be treated a bit more gently. I was so happy to read that Ms. Newton doesn't even particularly like wet blocking and finds it to be unnecessary for most projects.
Chapter 3 is Seaming Seminar. Yes, if you knit a sweater in flat pieces you have to seam them eventually. No, they won't seam themselves. But after reading this chapter it might be a little less painful. The most important thing I learned from this chapter was the use of seam stitches. I had never heard of them before, but after reading I thought the idea was so simple why didn't I think of it? Seaming together two pieces in a complicated stitch pattern would be very difficult so why not make the job easier and add in a couple seam stitches worked in plain old Stockinette stitch. This chapter also covers seaming the dreaded sleeve cap seam. Stitches meet rows, ahhhh!!! run for cover.
Chapter 4 is Edgings Intensive. And you thought that all edgings had to be either Garter stitch or rib. Well maybe not you, but at least that is what I thought. Learn the right way to pick up stitches, and how many stitches to pick up and let your imagination go wild with creative edgings.
Chapter 5 is Extra Credit: Buttons, Zippers, Pockets and More. Buttons just need to be sewn on right? With a needle and a bit of thread? Erm, no. If you have ever made a beautiful sweater only to have it ruined with saggy buttons you know it is not that easy. And don't even get me started on zippers. I made one cardigan with a zipper and was a bit less than pleased with my sewing job. Now that I know the correct way to sew it in (which is not the close-your-eyes-and-hope-for-the-best method) I might actually try it again.
Chapter 6 Continuing Education: Special Finishing. Covers a few miscellaneous topics like alterations, linings, felting, and (gasp) steeks.
Scattered throughout the book are projects associated with the various techniques explained. I might not rush out to knit any of them (beautiful as they are) but it really helps to read the why and how and then see the ideas implemented into a pattern. This book was a bit difficult to get a hold of. In early December I ordered it from Amazon and got a notice that it was on back order. A month went by with no update until I got an email from Amazon that my order was being cancelled because the book was still on back order. Luckily I checked Knit Picks and found that not only did they have it on their website but it was on sale. It appears to still be on sale, you can find it on the Knit Picks website here.