Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Cardigans & Closures: A Review and A Giveaway



Today I've got a giveaway for you all, a neat new book about cardigans and how to close them. Cardigans & Closures by Melissa Leapman is exactly what its title says it is: one half cardigan patterns and one half reference guide for the various closures you can use for your cardigans. The book breaks down and takes you through the various sorts of knitted closures: afterthought (like zippers and button loops), eyelet buttonholes, elongated eyelet buttonholes, bound off buttonholes, double-thick button bands, anything you can think of. And then, it gives you a pattern to practice each technique.

The closure instructions and tips and illustrations that accompany them are fantastic. They're clear and concise and immediately understandable. As a pattern-writer, I know this is not always easy. Sometimes the hardest part of describing a technique is editing! I find that the longer and more ramble-y a description of a technique, the harder it can be to understand, but Ms. Leapman doesn't fall into this trap. Her technique instructions are just perfect. And, honestly, if I hadn't already decided to do a giveaway, I'd so be keeping this book for the technique reference alone.


You, too, can achieve a perfectly sewn in zipper.

And then there are the patterns, 7 in total, and all pretty cute.


I love this Double Breasted Mosaic Cardigan:


And the pretty Le Charme, with added scarf:


I was somewhat surprised to see that all of the patterns are knit in pieces, then seamed. Don't get me wrong -- I don't think this is a bad thing, I'm just so used to seeing garments knit all in one piece these days (including my own work). But this is an easy mod if you're not feeling the seaming.

All in all, I really like this book and I love the closure instructions. It's just the right, length, too (56 pages) and about the size of a knitting magazine (the super anal part of me wishes all my books were this exact size so they would line up perfectly on my shelf). Another plus? You can purchase this book as an electronic download (on the Annie's site, here), which I wish were available for more knitting books!

Now would you like a (physical) copy of this book?? Just leave me a comment here and tell me if you have a favorite cardigan closure -- zipper, buttonhole, shawl stick, super glue, whatevs -- and if not, that's ok, too. I'll draw a name next Wednesday (8/29) at noon Pacific.


Side note: I completely forgot to mention last week that I was interviewed over on the Malabrigo blog! Check it out if you'd like to hear me wax poetic about my experiences with Malabrigo, my favorite colorway, and hearing yarn speak.


45 comments:

Suzanne said...

Closures are so important. Buttons always hold me up so I welcome the option to try other methods. I like the idea of frogs and clasps.

collegeknitting said...

Almost all of my cardigans have button holes- it's just what seems to fit the best with knitting. Although I do want to learn how to put in zippers! Thanks so much for this awesome give-away.

Sara said...

I am the laziest knitter: I use a short double pointed needle to hold my sweaters shut. (I'm actually wearing a storebought sweater right now that has not buttons, so if I want to feel cozier, the needle it is.)

I had a beautiful wooden shawl pin that I got in Argentina but it's currently MIA :(

I wouldn't mind learning some better buttonholing (is that even a word?) techniques.

Rhian Drinkwater said...

Ooh I'm torn between buttons and a zip. But definitely some kind of closure, I'm not really a fan of waterfall cardies and similar that you can't close properly.

Laura said...

Buttons!

Helga Marie Bee said...

I am fond of buttons- but have been intrigued by frog/clasps

PenCraft said...

I haven't done many sweaters with closures. Need to learn more. So far though, the one I did with a zipper turned out the nicest.

Camanoah said...

I've always done buttons, but would love to use a zipper on a cardigan with a hood..
Thanks for the opportunity to win this book!

Dee said...

I usually like buttons but I'd like to learn how to sew in a zipper.

AnnEdith said...

No real favorite, depends on the sweater. I love the look of I-cord frogs but have never done them.

Laura said...

I fasten everything with buttons. Zippers look so neat, but I'll admit that I'm terrified to try installing one myself. Guess I need a copy of this book!

Windybrook Spinner said...

Super glue? That is hilarious. My husband would say my preferred closure method is super glue, but I never thought about using it on a cardigan. In reality, I'm partial to afterthought button loops.

Oona said...

I'm best with horizontal buttonholes on a built-in band... but wish I were more versatile. What a great giveaway, and how generous of you to do this.

asteride said...

Buttons, beautiful buttons always.

Ivy said...

I've only done one cardi and that was buttoned, though I'd like to do a zippered version one day. Thanks for such a great giveaway prize -- looks like an invaluable reference book.

mimilikestomakeprettystuff said...

Anything but buttons!
Thank you for this awesome giveaway!

Josiphine said...

I'm a button girl. I'm trying to look at other things, but it's a slippery slope, :)

Thanks for the giveaway!

Franzi said...

I always work with buttons, but I would really like a cardi with a zipper - just hadn't the time and nerve to look how it's done...
This book sounds great!

Lee said...

Buttons!

It seems different people have different opinions about seams. Some designers think that building a sweater like a sewn garment give it structure and strength. Others stick to more traditional knitted in the round techniques. I guess there is room for everything! :)

judy said...

Zippers or no closure device are my favorites. Neat and tidy. Thanks for offering this book.

Caitlyn Myers said...

I haven't knit a cardigan yet, but the first one will probably have buttons because that's what my wardrobe needs. Zippers don't scare me, though. :-)

caroline said...

I don't use it often because it's fiddly, but I love, love a two ended zipper closing. Otherwise, a few buttons at the top does it.
thanks for the giveaway!

Teresa said...

I love that you said super glue!
I'm currently dreaming about something thick, autumnal, cabled and closed with toggles. Don't know what it is, though have a sneaking suspicion that it's something to do with being sick of summer!

Krystal Barr said...

The only cardigan that I have knit did not have closures. I would love to learn how to have options with cardigans. Thanks for the giveaway! I love your blog and your designs. I found you when I decided to try citron, and I have been reading ever since.

Alexis said...

Ooooh the book looks great! Not sure if I have a favorite - I need more opportunities to explore all of the options :-)

Szandrah said...

It is hard to decide my favorite closure - I can make nice buttonholes and I like to use buttons. But there are a sort of cardigans where the zip goes to the style. There is one thing I do not like for sure when the buttons end over the bust. I think the closure should be at least under the bust! So can we use our curves to get a feminine shape.
Thanks for the question, thanks for the giveaway!

Harper said...

I love the look of a cardigan with a zipper but I'm still intimidated by putting one in. I've done buttons and shawl pins but lately I've been using my Jul buttons (I bought a bunch of different colors and sizes in the resin ones on sale and it has been fun coming up with color combos).

suburban prep said...

I have not put a zipper into a sweater so I can not say that is my favorite. I am a bit afraid of doing so.
I have enjoyed the kiltie pin sweater that I use a kilt pin as the closure but I love sweaters with buttons. They can make or break a sweater and after all that work of making a sweater I try to get cute buttons or just the right one for that sweater.

BBB said...

I've not made a cardigan yet, but I really love zippered jackets for their durability--I am hard on clothes!

Missy knits said...

I mostly prefer buttons, although I did knit a hoodie for my nephew that had a zipper. I was pretty nervous/uncertain about placing the zipper, but after doing a small amount of research, I was very pleased with the results. I love being able to add a pop of color with a contrasting zipper!

Ginger said...

I've only used buttons, but I would love to try a zipper!

Spinnergirl said...

I love shell and bone buttons! Always on the lookout for cool ones. Thanks for the chance to win.

VĂ©ro said...

Most of the time I am using buttonholes but recently I have started to make cardigans that close with pin shawls. Thanks for the giveaway !

Dana said...

Well, I could do with the instructions for I still do not have a favorite closure for knitted cardigans yet. I like zippers but do not seem to be able to sew them in without creating unwanted hills and valleys in my cardigan front...

Aristi said...

I haven't knit a cardigan yet! This will be such a good book to get me started! Thanks for the giveaway!

knitranslatezen on Ravelry

Shannon said...

I have not knit a cardigan either, but I am pretty sure I would have to go with the buttons (they sound the easiest!) Thanks for a great giveaway!

mljan said...

I love the look of frogs, but they don't seem appropriate on most styles, so I would love to get really proficient at zippers.

pattie in Geneseo said...

Buttons first, zipper second!

ikkinlala said...

I have yet to knit a cardigan. To wear, I like buttons best if the sweater fits perfectly but I've found zippers are more forgiving if the bust is not quite right.

Elizabeth said...

I'm just starting the placket for a cardigan that is supposed to have a sewn in zipper, and I'm definitely nervous. I'm with the frogs too, but not for this one, unfortunately!

Mrs.Witt said...

Any closure that isn't a zipper!

Aline said...

i love a zipper cardigan but sewing them in is never easy for me. i get a bulge. an attached gros grain ribbon and machine button hole is a favorite too. again, the sewing stretches the fabric very easily.

Bonnie said...

Closures are a definite gap in my knowledge. I can do buttons, but anything other than that requires me taking it to a seamstress. I'd love to learn how to install a zipper that looks nice!

kitty said...

love frogs!

jm said...

i may be late getting in on this--my favorite closure is buttons so far because that is all I have attempted ! Thank you for the book recommendation and I just finished Citron!