I love Wendy Bernard's book titled, "Custom Knits." Wendy is the creator of the popular blog Knit and Tonic.
I have been knitting for a long time, but due to an injury to my right shoulder, I had to stop knitting in the American way. I was told that I could never knit again -- but instead of giving up, I researched the many, many styles of knitting in the world, and I discovered that the Continental style of knitting doesn't require much in the way of shoulder movement. I taught myself to knit all over again, which was frustrating, because I was used to achieving pretty good results, and my new attempts didn't match up to what I envisioned.
When I found Wendy's book, I was excited by all of the great patterns, and I determined to knit as many of them as possible. I decided not to judge myself by my mistakes, but to view each one as an opportunity to learn and improve. At least I'm not making the same mistakes twice.
The first thing I did was to have a friend help me construct a dummy from duct tape and an old t-shirt, as described in the book. My advice is: don't have a perfectionist wrap the tape around you! It took my friend a lot longer than I thought it would to get it "just right," and I couldn't take in a deep breath until the T-shirt was cut away. Phew! I'm glad that's over.
So far, I have knitted seven sweaters from the book. The sweater pictured above (which the dummy is wearing), is the "Backward Cabled Pullover" on page 32. This is a really fun pattern! The sweater can be worn either frontwards (shown) or backwards. The back has a beautiful scoop neck. You could put the cable design on both sides, but I only put it on the front, so the back has a completely different look. In the book, the sweater is a rich olive green; mine is knitted in "lemon-grass" colored Wool-Ease yarn (Lion Brand Yarn). I figured that by the time I have knitted most of the sweaters in the book, I will deserve to buy really, really expensive yarns, but for now, I'm practicing with more affordable yarn.
Here is a link to the Knit and Tonic Blog.