Let's start out with the obvious: this is a book about fitted knits. Yes, I know it's called that, but I also know someone is going to order this book and then complain that all of the garments inside are too clingy, or too close-fitting, or some such other thing. Pretty much everything in this book is made to fit closely, to mold to your curves. Some people like boxy; some people like fitted. If you like sweaters with lots of ease, if you prefer boxy and swingy, then think closely before you buy this book, because everything is fitted like this vest:
The book is paperback, just under 150 pages, with lots of beautiful color photography. It comes from North Light Books, an imprint of F&W Publications (a company which publishes books and magazines in the craft and hobby fields). The MSRP is $22.99, and the book contains 25 or so designs, all garments for women. The chapters are divided by type of garment: warm weather sweaters (tube tops, tanks, sleeveless); cardigans, wraps and shrugs; vests and sweaters; dressy outfits (a dress and a jacket/skirt combo). The breakdown goes something like this:
- 2 sleeveless tops;
- 1 shrug;
- 2 short-sleeved tops;
- 1 true vest (shown above);
- 1 thing which is called a vest but is more of a turtleneck halter top (shown below in purple);
- 1 tube top (gulp; also shown below);
- 4 cropped cardigans;
- 2 short-sleeved cardigans;
- 1 long-sleeved cardigan;
- 2 sweater-jackets;
- 5 long-sleeved sweaters;
- 1 dress;
- and 1 suit consisting of matching skirt and jacket.
The book begins with some good information about how to make garments fit. There's a section on how to take your measurements, and how to tweak the patterns to fit your particular body. One nice touch is a concrete example of a hypothetical knitter; measurements are given and Japel walks you through exactly what this hypothetical knitter would do to improve the fit of her garments. At the end of the book you'll find additional technical information: a yarn chart listing various weights, notes on substituting yarn, info about finishing, how to clean and store knitted garments, and references both in book form and on the web.
Fitted Knits is an attractive book, with high production values. The layout is nice and there are interesting woodcut-type graphics interspersed with photos to make the pages more decorative. Some of the hair and makeup is a little 80s looking for my taste, but wow -- if that's the worst thing I can say about this book, well, we're doing pretty good, no?
The patterns themselves are written in multiple sizes -- four, even five size ranges -- and they span a wide range. For example, one garment contains sizing for bust measurements of 30, 34, 38, 42, 46, 50 and 54. Holy crap! That's a lot of sizing and since I'm always complaining about books that don't include a wide size range, I'm going to give major props to Japel for all that work. Patterns include good, clear schematics. Another thoughtful touch are boxes labeled "Notes", found along with each pattern, containing abbreviations and other special stitches or techniques used in that pattern. It's only a minor inconvenience to flip to a back glossary, but when you see the Notes included as part of the pattern itself, you wonder why it isn't always done like that. Patterns are classified as supereasy, intermediate or advanced to assist knitters in deciding what kind of project they are embarking upon.
Of course, whether you like any particular batch of patterns ends up a matter of personal taste. These patterns are interesting and body-caressing.
Many of them -- most of them? -- are made in one-piece to avoid seaming. There are lots of eyelets and keyholes; strapless and sleeveless; clingy; with nice details. I like the way the book includes plenty of close-up photographs of some of the design details, like these shots of the purple sweater shown above:
If your tastes are very traditional, or you don't like clingy, close-fitting garments, or you (ahem) have body issues, then look before you leap. Not everyone wants to make a knitted tube top:
That's fine. Not everyone has to. But if you like Glampyre's design sensibility, or if you're looking for shapely designs that show some skin , you'll want to take a look.
UPDATE: Julie B. asks if all the designs in the book are raglan sweaters, and after doing a quick count, she is correct: nearly all the designs do feature raglan sleeves, even some of the short-sleeved garments. I would say less than five of the sweater designs do not have raglan shaping. Thanks, Julie B, I can't believe I didn't notice that!