Learn how to create your own unique Aran sweaters and cardigans with this comprehensive, easy-to-follow guide
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Taylor is known for her knitwear inspired by vintage style and the knitting traditions of the British Isles. In her latest book, she aims to inspire knitters to create their own Aran designs from scratch, offering a comprehensive guide to planning and knitting unique cabled sweaters and cardigans
The book begins with an exploration of the history and development of Aran knitting, including a look at some of the myths surrounding its origins. Rita then presents a stitch dictionary with more than 100 patterns that can be used for Aran projects. Each one is both charted and fully written out, with large swatch photos.
The next section examines all the steps needed to create your own sweater; this includes tips on how to find design inspiration from the world around you. There is in-depth advice on taking body measurements, swatching your chosen stitch patterns and placing them in a pleasing and workable arrangement. How to calculate stitch counts for all the essential elements - ribs, body, sleeves, armholes and so on - is explained, along with guidance on using set-in and raglan sleeves, and different necklines.
There are six complete patterns in the book for a range of Aran projects; these can be knitted exactly as they are written, or can be used as a starting point for your own design. The garment patterns are written for one size only, though, so even if you aren’t adapting the stitch patterns, you may need to alter the stitch counts for your size, by referring to the guidance in the previous chapter.
The six projects include a cushion cover, which is a great way to get started if you’re new to Aran knitting. Rita shows how this could be adapted to produce a blanket, wrap or cowl, or could be personalised with your choice of stitch patterns.
There is a project for nd a women’s set-in sleeve cardigan, a round-neck sweater with raglan sleeves, a child’s round-neck cardigan, and a classic saddle-shouldered sweater. There are also instructions to knit a handsome Aran sweater recreated by Rita for the Knitting and Crochet Guild, using an original photo from Gladys Thompson’s 1955 book Pattern for Guernseys, Jerseys and Arans, and charts from Richard Rutt’s book A History of Handknitting.
A useful ‘tips and techniques’ section provides information on grafting, working buttonholes and pockets, increasing and decreasing closed cables, and working in the round or from the top down.
There are six complete projects, along with a stitch dictionary
Aran Design: The Creative Knitter’sHandbook is published by Crowood, priced £20, and is available to order from www.crowood.com or by calling 01672 520320.