I'd read the beginning of Little Red in the City a couple of years ago when I first bought it. But, my reading stalled out at the alteration math. I hadn't modified my knits so much then, so I figured it was above my level and moved on to just look at the pretty pictures, I guess.
Reading it over the winter with the Canary Knits ravelry group's Knitting Read-a-Long, I realized I not only "get" it, I've done my own modifications that require at least as much junior high math. So, I read through the entire book, then through the patterns and possible modifications.
Can I just say that Ysolda seems so approachable- her book, her sometimes silly pictures, her teaching style. I can't get over her hand- drawn illustrations and text. It's like a friend sharing her Chem notes covered in doodles.
Only, this isn't really like Chemistry class. The math is simple and supported by illustrations that keep your brain focused so it doesn't all read like an adult speaking in a Charlie Brown cartoon.
A few tips stood out to me. One was to make sure the fit through the shoulders was correct, then alter other elements around that. I'd always gone by bust size, and it's mostly worked out for me, but I can see how this would provide a superior fit. Though needing to add bust shaping has never been an issue for me, and I can't see that it ever will, I do appreciate understanding how to approach short row bust shaping. Though it may not be a necessity, I may find that it compliments a design better than waist shaping.
It never occurred to me that it should be handled differently depending on whether you're knitting top-down or bottom-up. There is no way I would've been able to guess that instinctively without trial and error. She has saved us hours of needless ripping out.
There were two short row techniques I have yet to try, along with pointers on better hiding of turns. Though I've done a one row buttonhole, I liked the illustrations here. I will be using it as a quick reference next time I work those.
So, my overall impressions from reading this are that I could stand to take a little more time considering my upcoming sweater projects. For instance, how is the fit in the shoulders? Would bust shaping allow for more room in other areas, while getting the best fit in the shoulders? How would shaping best be accomplished in the current stitch pattern? Is there any other design element I might want to change? I suppose it's about ownership. It's my time, my project; I may as well own it. I also realized how much I have grown as a knitter. It all made sense this time.
Having actually read the book, I'm looking at the patterns differently. There is much more to appreciate when you get a glimpse into the mind of the designer. Ysolda does a good job of that by including possible modifications and a little write-up on each design's inspiration.
(Lauriel detail via Ravelry)
(Chickadee image via Ravelry)
After having knit my own EZ percentage yoke sweater, I can attest to the troublesome, deep yoke and pouchy underarms of the typical yoke sweater. I'd really like to try the partial raglan shaping used here and see how it compares in fit.
(Cria image via Ravelry)
Then there's Laika.
(Laika image via Ravelry)
It was the pattern I wanted most when I bought this book. It's still my fave, with it's semi-raglan sleeves, faux seams, and double button placket, only now I get how innovative it is.