Our favourite knit­ting books

Cre­ate gor­geous, time­less gansey sweaters - and de­sign your own unique projects - with this won­der­ful book

The Knitter - - Contents - by Beth Brown-Rein­sel (£22.99)

IT HAS been 25 years since Beth Brown-Rein­sel pub­lished her in­flu­en­tial book on gansey knit­ting, and this re­vised edi­tion has been fully up­dated with new pat­terns and more in­for­ma­tion on gansey traditions.

It’s a must-have book for any­one in­ter­ested in knit­ting gansey sweaters, and par­tic­u­larly for peo­ple who’d like to de­sign their own. More than 100 pages are ded­i­cated to de­con­struct­ing the tra­di­tional gansey, in a se­ries of chap­ters ex­am­in­ing each spe­cific de­sign el­e­ment.

Th­ese in­clude chap­ters on spe­cial cast-ons, rib­bing and welts, un­der­arm gus­sets, shoul­der straps, sleeves, neck­lines and neck­bands, and much more. There is also a com­pre­hen­sive sec­tion on stitch pat­terns - back­ground mo­tifs, di­ag­o­nal and di­a­mond pat­terns, ver­ti­cal and hor­i­zon­tal stitches, and picture mo­tifs such as an­chors, trees, hearts and stars are all charted out for knit­ters to fol­low.

The pages are filled with de­tailed in­struc­tions and pho­tos to show how to work each part of a gansey, and Beth of­fers a wide range of de­sign vari­a­tions for each el­e­ment. Tech­niques can be prac­tised by knit­ting the mini sam­ple gansey, be­fore you start a full-size sweater.

Beth aims to give knit­ters the tools they need to de­sign their own unique gansey, and there is de­tailed ad­vice on plan­ning your pat­tern, in­clud­ing how to cre­ate a schematic, cal­cu­late stitch counts, and chart your body and sleeves. Work­sheets are pro­vided, and knit­ters can fill in the blanks with their own stitch counts.

This book also con­tains full in­struc­tions for nine gansey projects, with chest sizes typ­i­cally rang­ing from 34in to 54in. There are styles which we’d iden­tify as be­ing ‘tra­di­tional’, such as the ‘Ne­whaven’ sweater with its hor­i­zon­tal pan­els of knit-and-purl pat­tern­ing; ‘Jorn’s Gansey’, un­adorned ex­cept for rugged rib­bing; and ‘Eriskay’, fea­tur­ing nd sim­ple yet el­e­gant mo­tifs high­lighted by small ca­bles, and shoul­der straps.

More mod­ern de­signs in­clude a lovely gansey dress, called ‘Alou­ette’, which has short sleeves and a flared skirt. ‘The Big Easy’ is a drop-shoul­der gansey with a loose fit, a wide neck with a rolled col­lar, and dec­o­ra­tive, tra­di­tional mo­tifs. The book also con­tains a fem­i­nine cardi­gan ver­sion of the classic gansey sweater.

Beth Brown-Rein­sel has been teach­ing gansey knit­ting for many years, and her ex­pe­ri­ence, knowl­edge and en­thu­si­asm is dis­tilled into this com­pre­hen­sive yet easy-to-fol­low and in­spir­ing book.

The book ex­plores the fun­da­men­tal gansey tech­niques

Knit­ted Ganseys, Re­vised andUp­dated is pub­lished by In­ter­weave Press on 31 Au­gust, priced £22.99. To or­der a copy, call 01206 255777

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