Knitting off the Axis

Fitting title to designer, emerging according to Interweave but I would have chosen acclaimed instead, Mathew Gnagy’s first innovative and exciting knitting book. The collection consists of 15 sweaters mainly for women but there are a few, 3 actually, for men, all designed sideways or in an unusual knitting direction. His pattern making skills are unsurpassed and my jaw dropped when he illustrates this in the digital video Sideways Knits which you can buy separately and download at

How do you adapt a woman’s sweater to a man’s if you are Mathew Gnagy? You make a paper pattern, as you would for sewing, and with an incredible precision you draw all essential lines and add measurements. So that when you have measured your swatch you can calculate and re-write your pattern. Yes, at least in theory that is easy but it would take a bit more practice in reality. Then when you start knitting you can use the paper pattern as you would a sewing pattern and make sure that it is correct. Note to me: this is an excellent challenge; a new design method I will need to learn more closely.

The favourite pattern of mine is the front cover, Becca, due to its elegance and delicate design details visible in the collar and the large bell sleeves.  A designer whose contemporary work I will follow closely as his adventure will continue. Listen to him being interview by Kathy Elkins, owner of WEBS, always worth listening to, podcast: