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Lara Neel - The Journal Gazette
This is a truly awe-inspiring book.

Lara's Library (Sort Of): Knitwear Design Workshop

Lara Neel - The Journal Gazette
The design of this book makes it easy, and fun, to read.
Lara Neel - The Journal Gazette
As we can expect from Interweave, the schematics in this book are impeccable.
Lara Neel - The Journal Gazette
I love books that are bound with a spiral. This one is also encased in a hard cover, so it won't snag on your knitting.

If Maggie Righetti is my fantasy aunt from Atlanta, Shirley Paden is my fantasy sophisticated cousin from New York.

Many books can tell you how to make a certain sweater in a certain way. With Shirley Paden's Knitwear Design Workshop: The Comprehensive Guide to Handknits, you could make just about any sweater, any way you like.

Do you like:

- placket cuffs?

- sleeveless yoke sweaters?

- lacy sweaters?

- shawl collars?

Then, this is the book for you. I could go on. A list like the one above could run into hundreds of lines.

I'll just list the chapters for you, instead, and you should just assume that each chapter represents an exhaustive discussion on each topic.

Planning Your Design

Selecting the Fabric

Classic Silhouette Pullover

Alternate Silhouettes


Skirts and Dresses

Alternate Armhole Shaping

Sleeves and Cuffs


Neckbands, Collars and Lapels

Finishing Techniques


I really feel I can't do this book justice, except to say that if I am on your Christmas list (THIS IS A HINT, MOM!), then this is the only thing I want this year.

In short, this is a perfect book for the aspiring designer. It has deep detail, right down to how to plan and draw a schematic. A section on pattern grading and sizing would be welcome, but you could use the worksheets for general sizing as starting points for those endeavors.

The Design Process Checklist on page 327, alone, is worth the cost of admission.

However, it has a lot to offer to a knitter who doesn't want to design. It could provide the basis for understanding why patterns are written the way that they are, and gives tips about changing, refining, or just getting the nuts-and-bolts of how garments are constructed.

There are also four projects that anyone would enjoy knitting.

So, if you have ever enjoyed one of Shirley Paden's designs (and even if you don't know her name, you probably have), this is certainly a book worth consideration for your bookshelf.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention it, but her website is wonderful, too.