ENTRIES FOR THE GIVEAWAY ARE NOW CLOSED. Thanks to everyone who participated! I enjoyed reading all your responses. A winner will be selected at random later on today. Good luck everyone!
Making crocheted sweaters can be a daunting challenge for a novice wanting to improve his or her skills. It’s risky business to spend lots of money on a pile of yarn in the hopes that it will transform into something wearable. Bonus points if you fall in love with it.
But what if you pour your heart into a garment and it doesn’t fit right? How do you determine where you went wrong and what you’d do differently the next time around so that you are more successful in your craft? Enter Dora Ohrenstein‘s latest book, “Custom Crocheted Sweaters: Make Garments That Really Fit.”
Right from the get-go, Dora sets a comfortable tone with her readers in addressing the possible fears they might have in making garments which range from not knowing one’s own body measurements to picking the wrong type of yarn. Then she sets out on a systematic, well-scripted endeavor in replacing her readers fears with knowledge about garment construction, yarn choice, body measurements, fit, reading schematics, shaping, altering, and finishing. And she does all of this under the guise that you’re creating art from your craft, a sentiment that is carried throughout the book as each sweater is introduced.
The spirit of this book is about empowering crocheters to create sweaters that will become timeless pieces in their wardrobe by understanding their own body size, the measurements of their favorite sweater(s), and how to calculate changes in fit. Dora manages to achieve this without confusing the reader by giving many clear examples in a manner that’s both conversational and educational, and by explaining terms that might be unfamiliar which I find refreshing after having perused and even purchased other similar books. Like rungs on a ladder, I’m incredibly impressed with how she takes the reader from one established understanding of thought to another newer one further up the ladder, building on knowledge and thereby gaining the confidence of the reader; fear is overshadowed by fact.
The best such case of this is in the section entitled, “Shaping and Alteration 101″ in which Dora outlays the logical steps one would take to make changes in either width or length using gauge. If it isn’t clear just how important or necessary it is to create a swatch from the gauge before beginning – and you know you’ve questioned the purpose of this little menial task – Dora illustrates through example how useful it can be in calculating the right fit for your garment (so do it!) And yes, you will see math in this book, but don’t be afraid because each calculation is backed up with very clear explanations which help demystify it all (and that’s coming from someone who isn’t very mathy).
And then there are the sweaters, which don’t disappoint.
Each garment introduced is an opportunity to learn something new and is packed with illustrations, stitch diagrams, and schematics (hurrah!). At the conclusion of the pattern, Dora explains the construction details as well as how to substitute yarn. But the real gem of each? It’s the “lessons” that accompany them. The reader is given a first-class seat behind the designing wheel of each pattern, beginning with the Floating Tee where Dora carefully lays out how to alter body and sleeve lengths in a dropped shoulder construction all the way to learning how to change length, waist and bust measurements in a round yoke, top-down sweater like Cream Puff. Even if you’re not a round yoke, sweater-wearing kind of person (like myself), I highly recommend you read each and every “lesson” to increase your knowledge in these areas.
My absolute favorite pattern is Fiji Cardi. And I’m in love with Dora’s under-the-hood explanation of how to adjust the armhole and sleeve caps in this fitted sleeve sweater. I’m blown away by her attention to detail and willingness to guide the reader through each and every step in getting the best fit. She’s covered all the permutations in making adjustments to both and still turn out an altered sleeve that will fit the body portion; she doesn’t leave you hanging hoping it will turn out alright on its own, so much so that she’s dedicated two full pages to it.
Other favorites that I adore include Eleganza Raglan (a great weekend at the beach kind of sweater), Floating Tee (a perfect accompaniment to a lovely skirt for work) and Cream Puff (a comfy-looking, every day kind of sweater). Again, each is accompanied by a lesson or two in how to alter it and each is worth a read.
Honestly, who ever thought you could buy a book that is teeming with such a wealth of knowledge about tailoring crocheted garments to your body and include an abundance of fabulous, wearable patterns that incorporate detailed instructions on how to alter them? There hasn’t been a single book on the market that does that for me, until now. And if you haven’t checked out Dora’s first book, ”Creating Crochet Fabric: Experimenting with Hook, Yarn, and Stitch,” do so. It’s a great prequel to “Custom Crocheted Sweaters.”
And now it’s your turn. Lark Crafts, the publisher of “Custom Crocheted Sweaters” is allowing me to give away one book to one of my lucky readers.
Rules: To enter to win a copy of ”Custom Crocheted Sweaters: Make Garments That Really Fit” by crochet designer Dora Ohrenstein, leave a comment on this post by midnight, EST. on Monday, April 2, 2012 telling me about your garment-making errors in the past and how this book might help you. One winner will be chosen on Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012 via random.org.
Extra ways to enter to win: Tweet about this giveaway on Twitter (include @NexStitch in your tweet so I see it!). Or, follow me on Pinterest and comment on or re-pin one of these sweaters that I’ve pinned to my board called, “Crochet/Knit Pretties.” These will count as a separate entries, giving you more of a chance to win because free stuff is cool, right?
P.S. Comment moderation is on (as always).