Recently I was offered a copy of Margaret Fisher‘s Seven Things That Can “Make or Break” a Sweater (available via Amazon) to review. What seven things, you ask? Fisher teaches about the cast on edge on the public side of the garment, the placement and type of increases used in ribbing, slanting decreases, invisible increases, blocking, picking up stitches for bands, and buttonholes using a baby sweater “tutorial project” divided into sections that correspond to each chapter. There are also 6 adult sized sweaters (I’m quite fond of Eugenie’s Cardigan and My Sister’s Sweater — the others I could take or leave, particularly because they’re not well-suited to larger women. And by ‘larger,’ I mean ‘over 90 lbs.’ They might be nicer knit in a smaller gauge yarn, but I know the last thing I need is a bunch of heavy stitch textures centered over my midsection).
This is not, though, primarily a pattern book, so the patterns are of less concern to me than the instructions and tutorials. One thing I love about this book is its clear step-by-step photography. As someone who’s done her own books’ how-to photos before, I know how tough it is to pull this off and do it well. There are plenty of great tips — one I hadn’t even thought of on page 74 is to sew a small flat button (the one in the photo is clear) behind all your buttons to stabilize the fabric and prevent it from pulling and stretching each time you button and unbutton. It makes sense, though, doesn’t it? Like having a washer on a bolt. You’ll also like the section on blocking, if that’s something you have a rough time with — and a lot of knitters do.
Seven Things That Can “Make or Break” a Sweater would be a great gift for one of your newer knitter friends who’d like to expand their skills, too. Check it out!