BOOK RE­VIEWS

Learn how to cre­ate your own unique Aran sweaters and cardi­gans with this com­pre­hen­sive, easy-to-fol­low guide

The Knitter - - Contents - by Rita Tay­lor (£20)

Our favourite knit­ting books

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.

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