Inspired by author Barbara Walker’s acclaimed 1972 book, “Knitting from the Top,” Kristina McGowan ’92 recently published a book featuring her own well-received designs based on Walker’s knitting technique.
Published by STC Craft, “More Modern Top-Down Knitting: 24 Garments Based on Barbara G. Walker’s 12 Top-Down Templates” is McGowan’s second book on modern knitting styles. McGowan’s 160-page hardcover contains dazzling patterns with 75 photographs, which make her fun style accessible to all levels of knitting, from beginning and advanced.
It is from Walker’s idea of knitting garments from the top to the bottom – allowing a more custom fitting as you go – that inspired McGowan to take the groundbreaking technique just that much further into the modern realm of fashion and practicality.
After publishing her first book, “Modern Top-Down Knitting,” McGowan’s successive work, “”More Modern Top-Down Knitting,” continues its trend-setting and stylish focus. In her new book, McGowan has artfully designed two garments based on each of Walker’s 12 basic top-down templates. The collection featured in the book culminates with a freshly stylish wardrobe of stunning sweaters to hats, flattering pants to shorts, and elegant dresses, to skirts and even capes.
“The stunning result is 24 modern designs that are feminine with classic embellishments and minimal finishing. [You can also] knit gorgeous cardigans, stylish skirts, and more,” according to one reviewer in “Knit ‘n Style.”
During an interview with the United Kingdom’s best-selling knitting magazine, “Let’s Knit,” McGowan was asked where she finds her inspiration. She responded by telling the interviewer she is “inspired by vintage dresses and the care taken to finish inside seams, [she] adores French seaming and the lovely inclusion of trim.” McGowan’s “attention to seemingly small details” is what gives her that artistic edge and comfort of wear.”
McGowan’s first and very successful, “Modern Top-Down Knitting” (Sweaters, Dresses, Skirts & Accessories Inspired by the Techniques of Barbara G. Walker), was published by STC Craft in 2010, and encompasses McGowan’s unique sense of fashion and design in 116 full-color illustrations and step-by-step tutorials.
Barbara Walker met with McGowan before her first publication, praising McGowan’s innovation with her work: “Kristina McGowan presents a charming collection of original designs in knitwear, to inspire knitters of all levels of skill. Her work incorporates the two essential qualities of good knitting direction: (1) her ideas are fresh, fashionable, and interesting; and (2) her instructions are clear and easily followed. Hers is an excellent book.”
Her newer book, combined with the insight provided by her first book, will keep any number of knitters on the cutting-edge. McGowan’s artistic beauty lies in her versatility in style, which allows beginners to become enthused by the practice, while Dallas News states “experienced knitters will drool over it.”
McGowan received a B.A. in political science and German at William Smith College. She is the daughter of Professor Emeritus Dan McGowan P’93, who taught economics at the Colleges for many years. McGowan went on to earn her doctorate degree in social science from Syracuse University, and currently lives in New York City where she is a knitwear designer. There she continues to revive and expand the practice of hand-made clothing, making it interesting and accessible to the young and old of today. In 2010, McGowan returned to Geneva to sign copies of her first book, “Modern Top-Down Knitting.”