EVERYONE begins a sweater from the ribbing up, right? Wrong, Barbara Walker takes you through a method to start from the neck down. This isn't just to be contrary, there are definite benefits to knitting top down.
One thing you can do is check the length while trying it on. Yes, you can do this. Put the unfinished stitches on a strand of yarn and slip the sweater over your head (or the head of the recipient.) You will quickly see how much more you need to knit, or whether you should add "short rows" (extra half rows that add a bit of ease) to cover a tummy or get rid of the dreaded riding up in the back. The book has methods for saddle shoulder sweaters (easy the top down way), raglan, drop sleeves, etc.
The book also has great methods for doing leggings, tights, skirts and other items you might want to knit but don't know how to. With a simple gauge-and-circumference technique you can make nearly any garment for anyone.
This is a revised edition. The original had some very dated 70's patterns and the new edition has been modernized.