About a week and a half ago I've received a knitting book for a review from Lark Books which is a division of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. The book is Luxe Knits: Couture Designs to knit and crochet by Laura Zukaite. Laura, native Lithuanian, is a young designer who lives in NY where she got her degree in fashion design. She works as an associate designer of men's and women's sweaters at Polo Ralph Lauren. So, when she named her book in the subtitle Couture Designs, she was not kidding.
In her introduction Laura shares with us that she did not want to write a usual knitting book. Instead, she is taking us on a journey through her inspiration and creative process of designing a knitted garment. Laura's philosophy on how design evolves is explained at the beginning of the book. It is a very interesting read. We are following this designer's process on each of her 26 projects. Among them you will find sweaters, skirts, hats, gloves, scarves, purses, and even a throw and a shrug.
There are 8 chapters total. Each chapter has a focus on either construction, color combination, or a special technique. You can see it from their titles: Folding Obsession, Smocking Stitch Transformations, Butterfly Variations, Tonal Transitions, Herringbone Evolution, Cable Magic, Freeform Crochet.
The instructions are very clear. The section of needed materials is isolated under the heading "You Will Need" and is located on the page in a way that you see it right away. It is very helpful for a knitter who is going to buy everything needed for the project.
Each pattern is supported by a sketch, construction suggestions and reasoning, yarn choices, and plenty of very dynamic photographs. All schematics are put together at the end of the book. It is a bit unusual, but I've found it helpful. There is no section on technique explanations, but there is no need for it at all.
I have to say that I really like when the layout of the book is clean and easy to navigate like we see in this one. The whole feel of the book design is artistic and couture-like.
The photography by Cathrine Westergaard is standing on its own as well.
Overall it is a beautiful and inspirational book for any level knitter and knitwear designers alike.
I highly recommend this book.
In a little while, I will be posting my interview with Laura Zukaite in my Designer's Studio. She talks about herself as a designer and gives away more of her secrets. Do not miss it.