Runway Knits: 30 Fashion-Forward Designs is the brainchild of Berta Karapetyan–owner of Karabella Yarns and School Products. Berta has been designing knitwear for fashion designers as long as well, Lily Chin, I’d guess, and she wanted to bring her style to the page in a form that anyone could reproduce.
I was impressed with her philosophy in the introduction. She tells the story of her first sweater, which didn’t fit, and how it taught her to plan each piece carefully. She says she tells her students, “never guess, calculate!” Right on, Berta. She also designed the book with the hope that they would be teaching projects intended to “improve your technical skills,” not just be pretty things to make. The patterns themselves include clear schematics and charts where appropriate. From what I could tell, all the yarns used in the book are her own, but there is a substitution guide in the back of the book.
The book has a theatrical style that seems a little too dramatic for me–the models have so much make-up on, that when looking at the pictures, I see the makeup, even before the knitwear, but in some of the pieces, the knitting shines through.
What about the patterns? Despite the book’s billing, most of the designs have a classic feel. This is probably a good thing, as books that are too “now” end up getting little use after the fashions have changed. I particularly like the Soldiers Sweater which makes great use of ribbing and buttons, the A-Line jacket, which has a 60s feel, but looks classy even today, and the Roman Candle sweater which has a figure flattering basketweave pattern and a lovely deep ribbing that repeats in the sleeves, waist and neckline. There’s also a shawl with sleeves, the Trellis Shawl that looks like a quick knit you’d want to throw on anytime you had a bit of a chill. Surprisingy, all of my favorite patterns in his book are at the back, so if you’re leafing through it at a bookstore, be sure to make your way all the way through.