Book Review: Good Measure by Deborah Newton

When I received the request to review Deborah Newton's new book, Good Measure: knit a perfect fit every time, I felt like the knitting-verse was smiling on me. I'm a fanatic for fit - those of you who have participated in any of my KALs know that I spend a good portion of the first week ensuring that your gauge is correct so that the garment, be it a sweater, a hat, mitts or socks fit you every time. This book takes it all one step further. I love that I have this as a resource in my library now. 

One of the first things this book delves into is the notion of what IS a good fit? It's going to be different for everyone. Sure, if your gauge matches the project, and you knit the size for your bust measurement, it'll probably be a really nice garment. But this chapter, focusing on The Good Fit Mindset, takes it a step further and talks about not just a garment that fits us (i.e.: no straining of the fabric) but talks about a FLATTERING fit. While there are some knitters out there who intuitively understand what a flattering style is on them, I can categorically say that I'm still in the learning phase of my knitting life in this department. 

Deborah breaks down all of the aspects of fit into easy-to-read sections that focus on adjusting patterns to fit you - make the hips wider or narrower for YOUR body, adjust the length of things (like sleeves) and how to adjust the shaping of these sleeves, adjusting armhole depths... all the elements that can make garment knitting daunting. And yet! She makes it so clear and accessible that I am pretty confident that any knitter who goes through this book would feel confident in adjusting a garment before they even pick up their needles! 

Beyond the elements in the book, I like to look at the book as a whole. Usability of a book while I'm working is a huge factor for me and this book has it all:

  • It's a hard cover so it lays flat when I open it. I love that whether I'm at page 18 or page 70, that the book lays open as I work so I don't have to worry about losing my page.
  • Speaking of losing my page! A ribbon has been added to the book so you can keep your page if you close the book and put it away for an evening. I know this is a simple concept, but it's so clever and makes me ridiculously happy!
  • The graphics/images are beautiful. Not only are they clear, but they appeal to me as a young(ish) modern knitting. They're bright and colorful and unbelievably reminiscent of what my tools look like (even the straight pins)! 
  • There is a Measurement Log with descriptors of HOW to measure your body. These two pages in the book (pages 20 and 21, if you're curious) make this book worth it. Every penny. I'm constantly looking for graphics that are suitable to use as a reference and here they are, in this book. 
  • There is a whole section on schematic drawings. For serious - she's showing us all the "secrets" of proper garment construction. It's amazing! 
  • She even discusses, with more colorful pictures, what figures (hourglass, pear, round, etc.) are best suited for different styles of garments. Calling Stacy and Clint?! We'll never be accused of knitting inappropriate garments again! 

I know I'm way effusive at this point - and why shouldn't I be? All of this amazing information is in the first 1/4 of the book. Beyond that, she provides a plethora of patterns ranging in sizes from XS to 2XL. And not just sweaters. There are wraps, ponchos, even a skirt! I'm someone who looks at knitted skirts and is like "Uh... no!". But I think this book has changed my mind. I know I can now confidently measure all those bits we don't like to measure (like our ACTUAL hip measurement) and make a skirt that is flattering. Woot!

Also, speaking of patterns... I'm going gaga over the Center Cable Pullover! And this is just one of many that I definitely want to apply my newly found skills to. Looking at the pattern I can see that my ideal size isn't included in the standard pattern. But now I know I can go through the work sheet and adjust the pattern to fit me (and my short little T-rex arms). 

All in all, this book is both visually, and informationally, stunning. This post really only glosses over the details of this manual but I can say that for anyone, be it a first-time garment knitter, or a "I want to be a better garment designer"-knitter (how's that for grammar?) would do well to read this book. And re-read. And re-read. Every time I pick the book up to look through it I find a new detail that turns on a new lightbulb.

Long and the short of it? Go! Go now! Visit the books' website at Sixth&Spring to get your copy of the book. I can guarantee you won't regret it! 

Good Measure
Knit a Perfect Fit Every Time
Deborah Newton
Sixth&Spring Books
New York, NY USA
Hardcover, jacket with flats, 176 pages
ISBN: 978-1-936096-91-6 | $29.95/$33.95 Canada
Publication Date: September 2015