The argyle sweater vest I’m making for #2 son for Christmas has taken a turn for the worse. I may have to give up and make him something else. To distract myself from this knitting debacle, I am enjoying Amy Herzog’s Ultimate Sweater Book.
I’m a big fan of Amy Herzog. I’ve taken her Craftsy classes, used her CustomFit patterns, and knitted several things from her earlier books. Knit to Flatter changed the way I knit — in a very good way.
So I had to have this book. It contains basic information on swatching, measurements, and ease that is covered in much greater detail in her other books. What’s in this book is sufficient (especially if you’re good at math), but if you feel like you want to know more, get a copy of Knit to Flatter.
The meat of the book is a set of basic patterns for four types of sweaters: drop shoulder, raglan, yoked, and set-in sleeve. Each one is given in multiple sizes, calculated for multiple weights of yarn.
My grandmother, a master knitter, used a pamphlet like this for raglan sweaters. She never used any other patterns, apart from a couple of baby things. you can also find this approach in the Knitters Handy Book series. I know for a fact that it’s possible to knit just from one of these for your entire life. These patterns are written very clearly, and they also include what you need to know to add waist shaping or changes to the neckline and sleeves.
You’ll also find instructions on how to center a stitch pattern, if you decide to add cables or to use a texture stitch.If I were an aspiring sweater designer, this is the book I’d want to own.
So you can now knit an infinite number of sweaters just the way you like them. But there’s more!
There are a bunch of Amy’s own designs in this book, too. I’m going to make this one, for sure.
(Why am I using Ms. Herzog’s first name? I don’t know. I feel like she wouldn’t mind.)
These sweaters have special touches like asymetrical closures, A line shapes, attached fingerless mitts, and more.They are written up as knitting patterns in the traditional way, with charts and schematic diagrams.
There are also “recipes” — examples of ways to customize the basic patterns. Amy explains how each one started with one of the mathematical basic patterns. These are not precisely knitting patterns, but an experienced knitter will be able to replicate them, and they show how you can get from the basic patterns to something new and special.
There are also suggestions for making sure sweaters knitted from other patterns will fit well, instructions for buttonholes, and some other resources tucked in. The whole book is written in a friendly, conversational style.
It will not solve my argyle issues, but it’s certainly a book any knitter will benefit from having on the shelf.