as with last year’s TNNA, one of the standout booths at the 2011 fall show was ysolda’s charming summer tent. we found ourselves there a couple of times each day, almost unawares—lured by the promise of a little rest for our feet and fun conversation with sarah, rebecca, and the designer herself, among others.
the celebration this year of course, revolved around ysolda’s soon-to-be-released book, little red in the city (AKA “ysolda on sweaters”).
and i feel so lucky to have come home with a signed copy to share with you—thanks so much ysolda!
as with any book that focuses on such a huge subject as “knitting the perfect sweater”, this book has been some time in gestation. with a veritable mother lode of factors to explore (design, construction, fabric, yarn fit, etc), ysolda does a very respectable job of sorting, dividing, and delivering this material into bite-sized, illustrated chunks that knitters (intermediate and above) can use to guide their sweater knitting process.
i like the topics that she has chosen to highlight as important in the planning stages of the sweater knitting process. i know from my own sweater fitness classes that thinking about the influence of yarn type on a project’s outcome can be a total revelation to most knitters and i appreciate that the author spent valuable pages on this subject, with helpful illustrations of both yarns and knitted fabric.
with so many influential factors contributed by the yarn type alone, decisions about sweater knitting get confusing before one even leaves the yarn shop. here ysolda offers a short, concise overview of various yarn types and their behavior in sweater fabrics.
while not intended to offer the depth of a comprehensive volume on the subject of yarn alone, it certainly offers the knitter some guidance for shopping and swatching (and hopefully prevent a vegas marriage based only on looks and doomed to ultimate failure).
and so it is the same as the author moves from one preparation subject to another—from shopping to swatching and choosing a design.
at the heart of this book is a fairly-extensive section on getting a good fit by tailoring an existing sweater pattern to one’s own figure.
i like the illustrated spread above, where the author demonstrates with the use of a dress form, how very much “off” the standard size can be if one chooses simply by bust measurement alone.
determined to teach through the many challenges of getting a good fit while creating the very fabric of the garment, ysolda pulls apart the process of taking measurements and using them to make choices within the pattern that will result in an appropriate, individual fit.
expect to pick through a lot of information, some of which will be confusing and may need time to process (and much of which may not pertain to your own figure). unless you happen to fit perfectly into a standard size (and i find that many people actually do) expect to do some math as well (but there the author provides plenty of help.
when the process complete, one should have a fairly accurate picture of which size of a particular design to go with and where to make adjustments for the perfect fit.
the information in this section is pretty dense and the pages are quite busy with notes and illustrations, which could prove overwhelming for some readers. however, i think the content is very helpful, especially for certain specific figure considerations.
this is NOT the book to turn to in a panic, just when you’re ready to insert darts that you hadn’t considered before, to read up frantically on all aspects of darts; it has way too much going on for that.
this is a book plan with; to read several times in small chunks, encouraging your brain towards that “ah-ha!” moment about the subject under discussion.
ysolda has made a concerted effort to provide comprehensive guidance on bust shaping and tailoring for full or curvy figures (not the same thing). the information on special or added bust shaping is especially helpful and new, i think. i haven’t seen enough of this in other books and never with as many illustrations or examples of the math involved.
if a caveat could be noted, it would be that, like many books, the illustrated material is geared toward women who have a symmetrical, fairly youthful build; there is no section that specifically deals with issues that cause asymmetry, shortening of the spine, or humping across the shoulders. with a bit extra work however, these considerations could be tackled using the math provided.
while many times we may not require or desire such a closely-tailored look or fit in a knitted garment, almost every knitter would benefit from understanding the geometry of sweater fit and various design details discussed.
if you’d like to incorporate some fresh techniques into your sweater knitting, the next section of the book is for you, where ysolda provides several tutorials and illustrated instruction for techniques that will add a professional edge to your finished sweater look.
there are several short row methods offered with which to execute bust darts, should you need them.
and my personal favorite—the one-row buttonhole, which i use whenever the eyelet buttonhole won’t work.
and finally, it’s on to the sweater designs and patterns. though not an extensive collection, there is enough variety here to please a wide audience of ysolda fans, with some color work, a little lace, and a few classics.
ysolda has carried through this section her desire to show the sweaters on at least two very different figure types, which helps to give a sense of how the details, fabrics, and colors will translate when sized up or down.
the patterns are laid out in workbook style; the knitter is given a chart of numbers from which to choose those that most closely pertain to her custom size. she then plugs those into the framework of the pattern (blanks are provided).
this is where having the e-book file is so handy; you can print off a specific pattern file, plug in your numbers, stick those pages in your project bag and go. if you try the sweater on while it’s in progress and decide to make changes, you can print the fresh pages you need to do so. neat, huh?
curious enough to want a copy of your own? you can order the book by clicking here and begin your own sweater odyssey as soon as your copy arrives.