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Because Your Knitter Friend (Or.. Ahem.. YOU) Needs This Gift

In case you didn't know, when you are shopping for someone else, the simple state of thinking unselfishly deserves a sweet selfish prize: a gift for yourself. I know you like my logic, so here's something to accidentally click/tip/toss/lovingly place into your cart: Alex Capshaw-Taylor's latest pattern book, Dressed In Knits: 19 Designs for Creating A Custom Knitwear Collection.

You may know Alex from some of her popular patterns:

Bryn Mawr Dress by Alex Capshaw-Taylor

Pluie Cardigan by Alex Capshaw-Taylor

OR you might recognize her as that gal who made the incredible cabled bling wedding dress!

Suffice to say that Alex is on my Designer Watch List so let me show you my favorites from her new book.
First up, because I lived there for 10 years, is the Montreal cardigan!

I pretty much fall for any sweater with lace appliqué, but this one really got me because of the elegant way the lace is shaped around that perfect U-neck. I also like how wide those bands of lace actually are, they really spice up the cardi.

Another great cardigan in the book is Madingly. This one reminds me a bit of my Laszlo cardigan because of that generous shawl collar and pockets:

This one will make you work a little because of all that moss stitch. But hey, you can't deny it, moss stitch is one of those annoying stitches that looks fantastic. We must accept our fate.

What I like most about this cardi is the deep horizontal ribbing details on the cuffs and hem. The whole thing just really comes together with those matching elements. Oh! And there's some elbow pads!

Here are the pullovers I love in this book as well. First off, only the hardest of hearts wouldn't fall for the intarsia Montmartre pullover:

Like the first cardi I showed you, I'm liking that scoop neck. And those rows at the end of the ribbing make a nice frame for the pullover, like it was an embroidered landscape.

Another sweet pullover with that same ribbing contrast is the one featured on the cover, the Xian pullover.

I've seen designs like this before, but often the lace is only on the body. Here, it's matched on the sleeve and extends even further, which I really like. It continues around the back, too.

There's another 3/4 sleeve pullover that has some incredible texture, made with a "raindrop" stitch with a mini-bobble effect. This is the Catalunya.

I just find this piece to be really nicely tailored at the neck, shoulders and hem... feminine and even a bit sexy.

There's actually quite a few dominantly 'sexy' pieces in the book, but this is the one I find the most intriguing, Eveleigh.

I'm not sure I would make it, but I simply appreciate the detail that goes into designing that heart shaped bust. It's not easy to do that kind of shaping and maintain the well-tailored look -- this is a theme to Alex's designs.

Finally I'll end with the outdoor piece, because the lady above must be chilly. It takes effort to design a good poncho -- they can look strained, dowdy, dated, what have you. But ALL of us, when we see a good poncho pattern we think about how wonderful it would be to be in it. Maybe even swooping past onlookers like you're on the catwalk...

Anyway, I really really like the Shinshiro Cape.

One of the things ponchos can suffer from is drape. If they are too heavy, of the wrong fabric, or made with a fiber that stretches -- you are sadly no longer wearing a poncho, but something akin to a wet blanket.

Alex has really thought about this. First, it has a beautiful texture from a herringbone stitch -- importantly, the type of stitch required for firm outdoorsy fabrics.

Second, it is made from 4 pieces, giving 4 evenly distributed seams that will carry the weight and prevent stretching.

And then the icing on the cake: those are little fabric lined and zippered pockets, omg too cute! Well, then. Can you guess which pattern I would want to make?  :D

I've only showed you my favorite pieces, but there are many more. As I said --> YOU NEED A GIFT, and I don't see why it shouldn't be this book. And the yarn to go with it, bwahahaha!

I'll be back next week with a sweater and pictures of my fabulous new mud room! Yes, a mud room can be fabulous (before the mud.) See you then!


  1. Thanks for reminding me of this book. I had noticed the Montreal cardigan too and a few other pieces but forgot about it. Not in my cart yet, but definitely on my favorites list from now on. I think the Eveleigh might be easier to wear in black for a stunning piece of evening knitwear. But definitely for small busts, so not for me.

  2. Thank you for this review. The heart sweater and the Montreal cardigan had caught my eye previously, and I think I do need to treat myself! I love how office-appropriate some of these designs can be (maybe not the bustier design, lol).

  3. My public library system has a great "suggest a title" feature - this past year they've purchased every book, knitting-related or otherwise, that I've suggested (okay, maybe mine wasn't the only vote for each title, but I'll happily take credit). Needless to say, I'm heading straight to their website to add this one to the please-buy-it list!
    -- stashdragon


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