The first sweater is often considered a big achievement for knitters, and it's a milestone that some put off because they're afraid of all the skills involved or the size of the project. Designer and yarn store owner Georgia Druen makes the process a lot easier with her book My First Cardigan Workbook: Knit Your Way to Success with 8 Top-Down Cardigans.
The book offers tips, multiple sizes and fill-in-the-blank patterns so you can successfully knit cardis for a range of people, whether you're working in a yarn shop class or on your own.
About the Book
- Format: Paperback with spiral binding
- Number of patterns: 8
- Skill level: two are rated easy and the other six intermediate
- Sizing: four patterns are for babies up to 24 months; four are for adults and range from 32 to 54 inch chest circumference
- Illustrations: full-color photographs
- Knitting lessons: a page of basics covers increases, decreases, special cast ons and mattress stitch
- Publication date: March 2013
- Publisher: Annie's
The book opens with a brief (three-page) section on the basics you need to know to get started knitting sweaters. This section seems just a little too brief to me, but it's true that there isn't a lot to the techniques and diving in may be the best course.
All of the patterns are top-down cardigans, which means a little time should be taken to understand the architecture of the garment and exactly what's happening. I'm not 100 percent sure there's enough of that in this book, but if you're willing to trust the pattern the first time you should be able to go forward with confidence.
The book includes four patterns for babies and four for adults, so you can learn the basic skills on a smaller scale or just dive right in to a bigger project. The patterns are arranged by skill level, starting with simple stitch patterns and moving on to cables, lace and Fair Isle.
The patterns are written out in good detail with charts that indicate the different stitch counts for the various sizes. The text is written with blanks so you can fill in the number in your pattern if you like.
There are usually options in the patterns such as working a section in a textured stitch or plain, adding waist shaping or changing the length of the sleeves. This helps knitters to build a foundation of confidence that will allow them to alter patterns themselves in the future.
My favorite patterns are the Basket Weave Basic, an adult sweater with a basketweave section (the green swatch on the cover shows the pattern stitch); Kisses & Hugs, a child's cardigan with the OXO cable; and Baby's First Fair Isle, a pair of patterns with colorful choices for boys and girls, both of which are pretty darn cute.
My First Cardigan Workbook is designed to work as a guide to knitting store classes or for individual knitters to work on a first sweater with confidence. Either way knitters should be able to choose a pattern, follow along and knit a garment they'll be happy with.
Learning the top-down method early on is a great way to boost confidence and get a sweater off the needles without worrying a lot about finishing or sewing up seams, too.