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34 Comments
  • Thank you for this review, Franklin.
    This book is right up my alley!

  • I took a weekend retreat with Catherine Lowe many years ago in Chatham, NY and learned so much especially to respect every stitch you knit (or purl).

    • I have also experienced a Chatham weekend and continue to aim for such discipline in my daily knitting work. Catherine is quite an inspiration, even more so as many of us turn our backs on fast fashion and move incrementally toward higher quality in our wearable choices.

      • So many Chathamites! The Warm Ewe is my beloved LYS – I live in the next town over, and the Chatham Main Street is my go-to place to shop.

    • I took a one-day workshop in NYC and realized that I am glad she is the Type A person developing these techniques, and can teach them to me. We spent hours discussing sleeves, insets, and shoulders. This book must be the intro material I ought to have had prior to that session! Thanks for the review, Franklin!

  • You had me at “superlative selvedges”…

  • Thirty pages on selvedges is fairly tantalizing!

  • As a seeker of perfection both in sewing and knitting, this book has a real value for me. I recently trawled through all my knitting patterns and looked online for a cardigan pattern that would suit my lovely 4 ply Falkland yarn. After much deliberation I went back 30 years (published in 1985), to my “Marion Foale’s Classic Knitwear”. hardback, black and white, beautifully detailed and very pleasing to knit. So I say hold on to your vintage books.

  • Nothing pleases me quite like a fussy technique. This book sounds fabulous!

  • I’ve always thought my knitting was enough, and generally, it is. But when I saw the 2 of the 3 photos I thought, (gasp) it’s not! My friends and family are cluelessly happy to receive my work as is but all I can think of is how I must have that hat and the skill to make it. I have enough hats and shawls and sweaters. What if I had less but so much better?

  • I think 30 pages on selvedge is so cool. It’s not so much that I seek perfection in my knitting, but have learned that every stitch does matter and the better the final product looks, the more the knitter is proud of it. Edges and seams are the final frontier of a project…

  • Just added a new book to my library 😉

  • Over the past few months, I’ve been thinking about how to take my knitting to “the next level.” Yesterday, my husband asked what I wanted for my birthday; this morning I found my answer. And, Headgear II is the exact ribbed cap he’s been wanting for years. A “win win” for sure! Thanks Franklin for bringing this book to our attention.

  • Thanks so much for that shock of recognition at the cover photo! I bought this book years ago upon its recommendation by my friend the professional fiber artist, but it was WAY over my head.
    Now, years later and, as you say, with many more miles of yarn past my needles, I am ready and have been working toward picking this book up again. Just spotted it while cruising through the collection and thought, hmmmm…
    A timely reminder. It’s also why I enjoy patterns like the Picket-Fence Blanket, which feature interesting techniques that produce clean elegant surfaces, as well as fit.

  • Wonderful review. The attention to technique, structure, & detail is precisely why I love Catherine Lowe.

  • Great review! I bought this book a few months ago at Madrona and have started applying the techniques to my new projects. I hope the recipients of my knits this Christmas will notice the difference. But even if they don’t, I notice, and am really happy with how the new attention to detail shows through.

  • Oh my! RESPECT. That scarf is a thing of rare perfection.

  • I am a perfectionist in some areas of my life (both knitting and the rest of it), and um…less so in others! I swatch and block for almost every project, for instance, but also for instance have not yet incorporated a jogless jog, or even Jen Arnall-Culliford’s helical stripes into my projects with stripes. I briefly considered trying one or the other just yesterday, but thought, “Nah. It’s just a small pillowcase for me. Nobody will see the other side.” But four different needle sizes in a hat does not sound at all ridiculous to me. I have done that many times, in order to achieve the effect I want!

  • One CL project (large wrap – four circs of the same size! – most beautiful edgings) and one CL lecture (3 hrs on swatching) under my belt, I am ready for more CL. I’d forgotten about this book. One of my pet peeves is the over-use of either garter rows or garter edge ribs in popular patterns. It seems lazy sometimes. Let’s up our game 🙂

  • That hat is simply perfect, but my inattentive-type ADHD brain is mildly panicky at the thought of 30 pages on selvedges or a 13-page hat pattern. 🙂

    • Me too!

  • I wish that I could recycle/toss/ get rid of my worthless books in my knitting library, but no matter how bad they are, I have issues. I recently filled two huge 13 gallon bags of yarn to recycle, but books are another issue. I have the first knitting book that I purchased in February 1983. It was my birthday gift to myself after taking a knitting class from Sidna Farley. Sidna was a student of Elizabeth Zimmerman’s and the book was Knitting Without Tears. Over 35 years my library has grown and I continue to knit on with confidence and hope.

  • And so the bar has been raised…..

  • I love the difference between couture and everyday knitting as much as I love both. Catherine is clear in her classes that one doesn’t apply these techniques to every project, of course. Just the ones you want to be as close to perfect as humanly possible.

  • Just checked on Ravelry and there is only one copy of her book available and that is from a third party seller. Cost: $59.95. Perhaps you can get the book directly from her? Several years ago I THINK I ran into Ms. Lowe in an elevator during Vogue’s first knitting convention. At least it sure looked like her. She seemed to be quite a nice person with a twinkling smile kind of sense of humor. In case her exactitude might lead you to believe she would be a stern disciplinarian. Happily not. Chloe

    • I just visited her website. $40. If you’re outside of the US, there’s a link to Lulu.com which seems to be a “print on demand service.” I ordered a copy, to be shipped to Canada…was charged in $CDN (!) AND had a choice of 4 shipping options… (having seen a copy on amazon.com the other day, for $79 + $20 shipping $USD – to Canada, I was thrilled to find the Lulu option!)

      • and, not only charged in $CDN, but $40 CDN, and a mere $7 for shipping… 🙂

  • Love! Thank you!

  • This is exciting, writing about the Ravelled Sleeve. I have the original 4 books. Than you for writing about them. Isn’t it a wonderful way with the world that what we need appears when we need it? Franklin, you are a treasure and I am so happy that you are and you write.

  • Franklin when are where is your book sale?

  • My first thoughts were, yes I want this book, and, but I have too many books as it is… but I really want it because LOOK AT THAT HAT!! But then I realized that I’m finally, actually finishing projects after so many that I didn’t finish because of my overly perfectionistic tendencies. And I ditto Anya’s comment about her brain being mildly panicky with the thought of 30 pages on selvedges and a 13 page pattern. So tempting, but alas, I know that would stop me in my tracks. Still, I really love that hat… but I’m turning away. Turning away now before I give in to the temptation!

  • After 66 years of thinking I couldn’t knit, I determined to learn and took it up with a passion after I retired three years ago. Since then I have knitted as if it were a full time job. While I may not yet have as many miles of yarn through my needles as needed for this level of excellence, I have ordered the book and will give it my best effort.

    Thank you for your review.

  • Thank you for writing this review. I appreciate your work.

  • Well this just looks amazing and, is printable in the UK using lulu! Woohoo!