Book Review

October 13, 2008




Custom Knits by Wendy Bernard

Custom Knits by Wendy Bernard

Last year, I had gotten wind of a knitting book in the works by Wendy Bernard, the creator of KnitandTonic.

For those of you who do not know of Wendy or her blog, she is a funny and quirky knitter and designer.  Of the many posts I have read on her site, I have LOL many a time – go check her out.

So, I sort of stalked Wendy’s designer’s page on Ravelry – hoping to catch a glimpse of the designs that will be in the book.  I will admit, that as designs were released there was only one design that I was really interested in and one design will not send me running to the bookstore or Amazon.com  to purchase the book.  In fact, our hokey little bookstore would likely not carry the book, I feel like I’m extracting teeth when I ask for a knitting book.  Anyhow, imagine my surprise two weeks ago when I stopped in and saw on the shelf Wendy’s book, Custom Knits.

Surprised that I was, I did not even graze the cover – I had that sneak peek on Ravelry, so I just knew I wasn’t interested.  I left the bookstore empty handed.  Last week, I stopped in again, I am waiting for the Holiday issues of Vogue and Interweave to show up.  Nope, neither of them were there, but Custom Knits was.  I decided to take a gander.

Wow, I hadn’t even opened the book yet and I was surprised at how big this book is.  Now, I don’t mean that it is an oversized book, but it is thick!  What in the name of knitting was between the covers?  Were there more patterns inside that were not spoiled on Ravelry?  I had to find out.  I opened the book and was immediately taken in by the beauty of it.  As I had expected from STC Publishing, it is after all, a beautiful book.  

What I hadn’t anticipated from this book was that it was to be an instructional and reference book more so than a pattern book.  I love reference and instructional anything, almost on any subject, but if it is knitting – I’m buying it!  So, I barely thumbed through Wendy’s book and I quickly walked to the cashier’s counter and purchased the book.  I then went outside of the bookstore, ordered a tea for me and an ice cream for my little guy and I was absorbed in that book.  

Custom Knits is a pattern book but, more importantly, it is a How-To book.  Wendy shows us how to create sweaters mostly from top-down and how to customize them to your own body shape or your own style to ‘Make It Your Own’. She gradually enables the knitter to learn and try new techniques in small ways, such as fair isle and steeks – almost sneaky!  – and encourages us to design our own knitwear.  This book is a great addition to any knitter’s bookshelf, the new knitter who wants to learn to knit from the top-down, and the practiced knitter who wants to design her own sweater but just needs a little nudge to do so.

From now until October 31, Custom Knits is on sale at KnitPicks for $16.50, or every day at Amazon for $18.15.  Go out and yourself a copy, today!




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