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BellaOnline's Knitting Editor


Colorwork Knitting Book Review

Guest Author - Lisa Linnell-Olsen

There is a multitude of different ways that knitters can use multiple colors in their knitting projects. It can be hard to decide which technique to learn. Sarah White's latest book "Colorwork Knitting: 25 Spectacular Sweaters, Hats and Accessories" presents five different techniques, with five different patterns using each of the techniques presented.

The book is suitable for advanced beginners and intermediate knitters who may still be new to some types of colorwork. Once a knitter is comfortable with casting on, knit and purl stitch, and binding off they will find patterns to continue learning new skills. Advanced knitters who enjoy colorwork may appreciate the patterns and visual refresher of specific color techniques.

The five different techniques given in the book are the use of self-striping yarn, knitting horizontal stripes, slip-stitch knitting, stranded knitting, and intarsia. Beginners should be comfortable using self-striping yarn, where the yarn does the colorwork for you, well intarsia is often considered the threshold for transitioning from a beginner to advanced knitter.

The author provides clear and understandable instructions for the various techniques taught in the book. Projects range from simple scarves using the new technique to socks and sweaters. The items are all sized for small to average sized women. The patterns range from classic looks, like an Icelandic style sweater, to a trendy scarf with large graphic stars to an artsy translation of a sweater with a unique body construction.

With the multitude of knitting books already on the shelves, it is a real challenge to make a book stand out.
This book has more to offer than just updated styling and examples using currently available yarns - the book does offer that, but there is a little more. The author tells the reader how to adjust sock patterns to make them fit the intended recipient. Rather than writing a sock pattern with several different sizes to fit the perfect foot, the author teaches knitters how to knit socks that fit. She gives appropriate caution on how to use these adjustments with the different sock patterns.

There is also a uniquely constructed sweater that is knit by starting from a center belt that would fall right below the bust line and above the waist. The knitter then picks up the sides of the belt and knits the top bust/ shoulder/ collar area, while on the other side of the bet is the bottom half of the top. The bottom of the top flares out into an a-line style top.

The book is peppered with little bits of advice and wisdom to help knitters who are learning these new techniques avoid many of the mistakes that are often learned through trial and error. Often knitters just learn the basic techniques and see some patterns in a knitting book. This simulates the little extras you would get in a live class or workshop, where the extra bits on how to really make your knitting really good are mentioned as an aside. This book finds ways to include them.

Many of the examples in the book are knitted with designer label (and designer priced) yarns. Fortunately, the weights and textures of many of the yarns are common so knitters should be able to find substitutes to fit their budgets, or if yarns are discontinued. Some of the self striping yarns used in the book are an exception to this, but that is almost the nature of the unique self-patterning yarns. The color-belt sweater already mentioned is knitted in a Noro yarn, and it is beautiful. The sweater looks as though it could be knit in a solid shade and still be attractive, but the pattern seems a sure win from the Noro yarn.

Another possible drawback for some knitters is the books binding. It is a look book, similar to a really sturdy magazine. This style of book is easy to tuck into a knitting bag, even rolling it up a bit if needed. The full price for the book is normally $21.95, and it feels a bit flimsy for a book that is over 20 dollars. As of my writing it is on sale for $10.86 through Amazon, which does seem like a fair price for the book. At the lower price, I would be happy to add a comb binding at my local copy shop if it began to fall apart in my knitting bag.

The patterns I am most eager to try are the center belt sweater, a scarf with large repeated intarsia stars, and a pair of stranded checkered mittens. The mittens remind me of the old puffy checkered slippers, and I would like to make these checkered mittens for the people who still ask me to knit those puffy slippers - the mittens would be a perfect match!

The projects are all beautifully photographed and fill the knitter need for eye candy.

if you are a knitter who is new to exploring colorwork knitting and would like a great variety of beginner to intermediate techniques, a variety of styles, and choice of accessory or garment, then this book could be a worthwhile addition to your collection.

FCC requirements: I was provided a free review copy of this book by the publisher. All of my reviews are my honest opinion. I received no compensation from the publisher or book author for this review.

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Content copyright © 2015 by Lisa Linnell-Olsen. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Lisa Linnell-Olsen. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Korie Beth Brown, Ph.D. for details.


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