Posted by: Kate | December 12, 2011

Book Review: Modern Top-down Knitting

It took six months for this book to reach me through the library request system, and when I got it there was a big 14 day loan, no renewals sticker on it. Those are reserved for the most heavily requested books in the library system – this is a seriously popular book!

Modern Top-down Knitting, by Kristina McGowan, caught my attention on Ravelry through seeing some of the patterns. I love top-down knitting first of all, my two favourite sweaters are top-down raglans. The idea of being able to try things on as you go along and to custom more readily makes the technique appealing. And I wasn’t disappointed, the book was beautiful, simply laid-out and easy to read. The patterns were all appealing and lovely, and the instructions were clear. But. I realized that I likely wouldn’t knit anything in it. There were just too many miles of stockinette! As nice as the garments were, I just couldn’t see myself knitting a dress of stockinette, all in one colour. There are of course other patterns in it, including one skirt that I did like a fair bit, but overall nothing jumped out and me and called “knit me”. Most of the sweaters and dresses were similar styling, long and lean. I love the look, but generally my stature doesn’t work well with it.

I’m glad I got the book finally and had a look at it. It’s like those lovely coffee table books – lovely to look at but not so practical for me. So it has gone back to the system, back to the next person on its 14 day in each place journey.



  1. yes, looking at the pictures on the link you provided i’d say i’d have to agree with you – everything is gorgeous, but not too practical for me in my everyday life.
    that’s why the library is so awesome! (well one of the many reasons libraries are awesome…)

  2. I have knit a couple of things top-down and enjoyed it for the same reasons you have stated. What I don’t like, and I am sure would be cured if I knit more things this way, is that it doesn’t feel intuitive to me as I am doing it. I will have to put the book on hold at our library. I don’t think we have that 14 day thing going up here in Kamloops. Or I just check out very unpopular books! :-)

  3. Good to know – thanks!

  4. Thanks for the review (and I love the ability to look at books via library to know whether you want to buy the book!). I agree after looking over the projects…there are a couple I’d consider knitting (that dark grey sweater/cardigan at the end and the multi-colored scarf/shawl) but wouldn’t buy a book based on those 2 designs. Thanks for offering the review!

Welcome! I always like to hear what people think of a post, it often leads to a great discussion! I am now responding to comments and questions right in the comments themselves, so other people can follow the conversation.

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