Guest Author - Lisa Linnell-Olsen
This book is meant as a comprehensive look at Padenís design method, which focuses on all over designs of well-fitted garments that are suitable for work, business, or formal wear. If you want to come up with your own knitwear designs for yourself or others that are influenced by Paden, this is a design book for you. Paden is well known for her tailored, architectural design approach. It is not the be-all, end-all sweater design book that covers every method everywhere, explaining the benefits and merits of each design system ever created.
Since the focus of the book is on knitwear design, the book assumes you know the basics of knitting and garment construction. The book does not tell you how to find a stitch pattern to use, or go into great detail about how different yarn fibers act in a completed garment. There is enough information given on how fibers and stitch patterns affect fabric quality that if these ideas are new to you, you would be able to move forward.
Knitwear Design Workshop begins early on with a great and detailed explanation for taking measurements. There are even instructions on how to get the armhole measurement correct. Paden seems obsessed with fit. It is one of the hallmarks of her designs Ė they fit extremely well and have a tailored look to them. A thorough reading of this book should enable the knitter to overcome issues with fit when knitting commercial patterns or creating their own designs.
The book follows through the design process that Paden herself uses. She describes how she knits her swatches and what she looks for in them. The gives instructions and charts that explain how to do various parts of a sweater, cardigan, dress or skirt; including saddle sleeves, shawl collars, fold up sleeves and more. Paden uses a dressmaker style system for designing her well fitting garments. This differs strongly from a percentage system, which may get you the correct size but does not produce the tailored look Paden is known for.
The book is filled with many charts and worksheets. If you are someone who does well with this method of understanding and organizing information, this design book will be especially useful to you. It has an enclosed spiral binding to allow the reader to copy and then organize their notes throughout the creative process. There is enough information provided that a knitter could definitely begin to create their own unique patterns. Just like the title of the book suggests, reading and using the book is like taking a workshop on knitwear design.
Four patterns are also given by Paden, with very specific and detailed instructions so that the knitter can not only reproduce the garment, but also understand why the various elements were chosen in order to achieve a particular effect. The patterns include a drapy cabled tunic, the lacy duster coat shown on the cover, a cabled coat and a textured pea coat.
In summary, if you want to design knitwear with a tailored look and feel to it, then you will definitely want to add this book to your own personal library. This is an excellent book to learn a basic process for design for designing newbies, and to add more skills to those who may already have some designing under their belts.
I checked out this book from my public library. I like this book enough I hope to purchase one soon for my own collection.