Saturday, April 16, 2005

Book Review: Knitting Ganseys

Knitting Ganseys by Beth Brown-Reinsel

Knitting Ganseys isn't a standard book of knitting patterns, it's an instructional book. Chapter 1 covers the history of gansey knitting. Chapters 2 through 10 walk you through the process of knitting a small sampler gansey, which teaches traditional techniques such as underarm gussets. Chapter 11 explains how to design your own sweater and Chapter 12 has six gansey patterns ready to knit (3 child, 3 adult). Hundreds of clear black & white photographs back up the text, there's no reason anyone who knows how to knit and purl should feel intimidated by this book.

I borrowed Knitting Ganseys from the library a few years ago and made the sampler sweater:

Let's see if I can find a model for it. Yes!

Babar wonders what he did to deserve an ill-fitting sweater dress

I really like the concept of knitting a small sampler to learn how things fit together before starting an adult sweater. Ripping back is painless when you're working on an item this size. It works up quickly and you don't have to concern yourself with gauge or fitting a recipient while you're learning the traditional techniques. Get your first-timer mistakes out of the way on the practice piece, it makes sense to me.

After you finish the sampler you're ready to knit one of the six patterns included. If none of those sweaters strike your fancy you can work through the chapter on designing your own gansey. Sixteen pages of knit/purl stitch patterns are included to help you chart your dream sweater.

I pounced on Knitting Ganseys when I finally found it in a used bookshop last week. It has valuable information that will never go out of style, adding it to my collection was a no-brainer. Some of the book sellers on Amazon and Bookfinder have the book listed at well over cover price. It can be purchased new from Schoolhouse Press and other online knit shops so don't pay an inflated price.

1 comment:

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