Custom Knits 2 Review
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In her first book, 2008’s Custom Knits, knitwear designer and knit-blogger Wendy Bernard introduced adventurous knitters to a collection of tips and tricks and templates that would help them design their own seamless top-down sweaters. The book was a refreshing change of pace from the usual knitting book—because, instead of demanding that readers follow every last detail of her patterns, she encouraged them to change it up. Her patterns were more like suggestions—or starting points. Don’t like the crew neck design? Make it a V-neck instead. Don’t like the sleeveless style? Add your own sleeves.

Bernard’s adventurous style comes through once again in her follow-up, Custom Knits 2. Like Custom Knits, it features more top-down designs that are meant to be reworked, rearranged, and reimagined. This time, however, instead of opening and closing the book with tutorials and placing the patterns in between, Bernard includes separate tutorials with each chapter, followed by a number of appropriate patterns.

After starting with the basics—figuring out your measurements, adding little things like sleeves and hoods—Bernard shows that she still has a few new tricks up her customizable sleeve. Think your son would love a sweater just like the one you just knit for yourself? There’s a chapter that will help you convert the pattern to his size—and make some masculine changes. Love that colorful wool sweater—but want to make it in a light-weight cotton instead? There’s a chapter on substitutions, too!

Custom Knits 2 is filled with great tips and tricks, along with detailed, step-by-step instructions that will walk you through every part of the designing (or redesigning) process. But it’s more than just a how-to guide. It’s also filled with plenty of clever, creative designs (though, admittedly, there aren’t quite as many must-knit patterns here as there were in Custom Knits). In this collection, you’ll find everything from big, cozy jackets to intricate, fitted shells—and you’ll find possibilities for your husband, your nephew, and your best friend.

Not only are these unique designs fun (and often surprisingly easy) to knit, but the patterns also come with some helpful little elements. Each one begins with a box of “Pattern Features,” which will let you know which techniques you’ll need to know before you begin. And, at the end of each pattern, there’s a “Make It Your Own” box, which suggests variations (like adding sleeves or changing the neckline).

It may not be quite as groundbreaking as Custom Knits, but fans of Bernard’s first book will want to continue the customized adventure in Custom Knits 2—a collection of patterns and ideas that will once again inspire and empower daring knitters to create the perfect knits.

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