Knitting Expert Kristina McGowan: Top Down Knitting

Thursday on the YarnThing Podcast with Marly Bird: knitting expert Kristina McGowan!

Listen in below top hear Marly and Kristina talk about how she started knitting, designing, writing knitting books, Barbara Walker and her knitting books, and much much more!

Kristina McGowan has been knitting for most of her life.  She was determined to learn so she taught herself to knit by checking out books from the library.  It has always been a part of her life and she love to make things for family and friends.  Eventually she found herself working at a publishing company and teaching many of her co-workers how to knit.  Soon after, she decided to write her own book (she had been designing for herself for years already).

Kristina has a bit of an obsession with Barbara Walker (she even tracked her down and visited her) and her top-down knitting philosophy.  Barbara (of the Treasury fame, link to all her books below) doesn’t really like sewing and didn’t like that a lot of knitting patterns required her to sew.  In addition to her stitch pattern books, she wrote Knitting from the Top, a complete reference for how to make any garment from the top down, even pants!  She gives 13 templates for 13 types of garments and how to make them fit you.  For her first book, Kristina took that theme and made garments and accessories from her favorite templates.  That book, Modern Top-Down Knitting, came out in 2010 and was a big hit.  Because she didn’t work with several of the templates from Barbara’s original book, Kristina chose to do two patterns for each template for her follow up book.  That book, More Modern Top-Down Knitting just came out last year and is full of great patterns, including pants and the awesome intarsia fox (both shown below).

fox in snow Pants

Important links related to this show:

New Knitting Podcasts with MarlyBird on BlogTalkRadio

And we can’t forget the Giveaway!  Leave a comment below for your own copy of Kristina’s newest book More Modern Top-Down Knitting!


Let’s give some love to our sponsors!
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  1. Audrey says:

    Sharing passion for knitting, knitting knowledge, or finished objects is simply kindness and love! Thanks Marly and Kristina.

  2. Mary Kay Smith says:

    Kindness is Marly and her guests always giving away prizes! I love Kristina’s determination! The end results are beautiful.

  3. hotknitter says:

    Sharing your knowledge with those who enjoy the same passions is a wonderful kindness. Thanks a bunch.

  4. Carolyn Robinson says:

    I absolutely love top down knitting! It allows my daughters with Long waistlines and my youngest with her bodacious ta-ta’s to try on as I knit to ensure the length is adequate. Also, very few seams to finish up! What more can you ask for? Thanks!

  5. Lori Biamonte says:

    Knitting and crocheting breed kindness! I’d like to be kinder to my body and knit sweaters that actually fit and I think your book could help me do this.

  6. Alison says:

    This remind me of another podcast where they were referring to the collective noun for knitters being ‘A kindness of knitters’

  7. Linda says:

    I enjoyed hearing about the kindness Barbara Walker exhibited toward Kristina, and Kristina’s reciprocal appreciation. I have not tried top-down knitting (yet), but Kristina has me sold on the concept. Thanks for another great podcast, Marly!

  8. Sara@aknittersquest says:

    Another favorite podcaster always talks about “the kindness of knitters” (and crocheters) and it is so true. It is one of the things I love about this hobby. I can’t wait to see your book. My first sweater was top down and I don’t think I could ever make clothing any other way. It makes so much sense to do it this way!

  9. Gwen Buttke McGannon says:

    I really love hearing how Kristina found her inspiration in the love of a book. I love all my crochet books and go through them periodically for inspiration too. Recently at Stitches South, my mom(she is a knitter) showed me the upmost kindness in buying me classes to take, if I were to win this book, I would return the kindness she showed me and give this book to her! Love, Love Love your show Marly!!

  10. Renee says:

    Your show, Marly, is full of kindness as you kindly get the word out about all these various designers, instructors, bloggers and knitting product retailers and suppliers of all things yarn — and we receive the benefit of your kindness as we learn about all this! It’s just kindness all over the place!

  11. Sandra Kaye-Kjarum Seidel says:

    I so enjoyed the show & agree that you exude kindness : )…my theme for the year is “Living Kindly” & I would love the book to knit for those it love.

  12. Michelle Rayner says:

    A murder of crows, yikes!
    A flock of sheep, better.
    A kindness of knitters,the best
    Great podcast great guests

  13. Brenda Reynoso Pena says:

    What a wonderful podcast, thank you Kristina for your kindness and your book. I really enjoyed your message.

  14. yarning4asmile says:

    i have yet to knit a sweater, I even have sweater quantities of yarn in my stash. I am thinking top down seems like the best kind to start with. I am slowly getting over my fear because all the kindness the knitting community has. There is always someone cherring you on and teaching you new things.

  15. Suzanne says:

    It’s amazing how Kristina has taken her enthusiasm for Barbara Walker and designed so many projects that are truly her own. The kindness knitters show to each other through pattern and technique support is really amazing.

  16. Liz Fox says:

    Love Love LOVE the fox sweater – I need to knit it for me (Liz *Fox*) 🙂 thank you for reminding us to practice random acts of kindness.

  17. colleen says:

    Marly, I love the guests and information you share on your show. What a kidness to keep feeding our passions. I loved Modern Top Down knitting and have been waiting for More….I love the esthetic.

  18. Shelly says:

    This was a wonderful interview. The kindness that was exchanged between Marley and Kristina was inspiring. I am only just learninng to knit and would love to explore top down knitting.

  19. Vicki Lynch says:

    The friendship and kindness knitters share is unlike anything else I’ve noticed from other groups of people. The love of a craft has brought together so many people that may never have met. Once again, another enjoyable interview.

  20. Carol says:

    Kindness is a way of life! Great interview with Kristina McGowan. Thanks, Marly, for all that you do for the knitting world.

  21. Anita says:

    I belong to a small group of knitters who meet at a local church weekly, a church that I do not attend. It is amazing the number of hats, all sizes, and baby blankets we knit each year for charity. But we also work on our own projects and have taught several newbies how to knit. These knitters epitomize kindness and generosity. They are welcoming and gracious to all.

Marly Bird

The One and Only, Marly

Marly is a knitwear and crochet designer (and yarn addict) that is here to help you learn how to knit and crochet in a way that's fun and approachable.

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