Saturday, 13 November 2010

Book Review: Mastering Colour Knitting

Colourwork has always intimidated me ... I have never been able to get it to turn out smooth, without gaps and holes, and looking even, like the pattern pictures show. A nicely worked colourwork hat or mitts (or maybe even a larger piece like a blanket or sweater) is a dream of mine. Currently, when I knit with more than one colour, at the end of the project I have to "fix" it up a bit before giving it as a gift or wearing it ... the "fix" involves weaving the larger holes together and blocking, blocking, blocking, trying to make it not pucker or gape.

I received this book recently to review, and have been picking my way through it, absorbing tips, tricks and techniques of making beautiful colourwork in knitting.

"Mastering Color Knitting" by Melissa Leapman is a gorgeous book ... I am one who judges a book by its cover (if the cover of a knitting book doesn't show something interesting or colourful, or a project to aspire to, I figure why take the time to sit and read it? The best should be there, or at the very least, something that indicates what is inside) ... beautiful projects, all folded uniformly, featuring intricate looking colour work grace the front cover (and three projects covering a range of knitting projects (a hat, sweater and afghan) are on the back cover. Inspiration is there waiting to be had!

The book takes the reader along through the process of colourwork easily ... starting with how to read a chart (the basis of colourwork, and something that scares off a lot of potential multi-yarn knitter wanna-be's :) Like me!).

There are all sorts of handy tips that help beginners to colourwork ... how to add a new colour, how to carry colours when not in use, and how to reduce the number of tails left to weave in at the end of the project (by a technique of weaving them in as you go). There are also several pages on the principal of the colour wheel - very, very helpful if you are colour challenged like me (I know what colours I like, but then have a hard time with what to put with them to best highlight or accent them - the tips on the wheel have made me more confident in my colour choices).

The book is a set up well, with tons of photographs, drawings and text explanations of the techniques (difference between stranded knitting (best known as Fair Isle), Intarsia knitting, and the reversibility of double knitting).

Each colourwork technique has a description of how to do it, some history of how it came to be, a Designers Workshop which is essentially a lot (pages and pages!) of charts (over 50) that you can incorporate into a pattern you may already have in mind (so helpful!), and a Pattern Treasury of 4 patterns for projects featuring the technique (12 patterns total).

I love this book :)

The projects are actually things I would knit (a lot of books have impractical patterns ... things you would never really use). This is just a taste of what there is ....
Baby Blanket

Winter Warmer Scarf

Fleur De Lis Jacket (Isn't this gorgeous? and it has steeks!)

His and Hers Reflection Hat

Mastering Color Knitting was just released on Nov. 9th, so there aren't many pictures on the Internet yet, nor are there projects on Ravelry yet from the book ... but I guarantee this won't be the case for long! The inspiration Leapman provides with this book is hard to resist, and soon the knitting community will be posting pictures of their FOs of projects from this book!


Marti said...

Great review. Makes me want the book :)

Heddy said...

Cool, Marti - you can borrow it anytime :) It is a great resource .... I still am a bit afraid of colourwork, but this has made me at least want to try it again, once my Christmas knitting is done, I will sit down and make a project or two from the book -- the double knitting is really intriguing to me :) and I have never tried it (I know you have , and had good luck with it), na dthe patterns in the book are for awesome patterns that are different on each side of the work --- colourful and unique :)

Mylyne said...

I ordered the book on and it's scheduled to arrive next week. I can't wait to start conquering my fear of colorwork.