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Knitting with the Color Guys

A Colorful Story

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Knitting with the Color Guys

Knitting with the Color Guys by Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably.

Sixth & Spring Books.

Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably are legendary in the world of knitting for their bold use of color. Fassett's designs in particular often seem like he got the Rowan color cards, said "I'll have one of everything" and then used them all in the same project.

Their designs are gorgeous but often daunting in size, complexity, cost or some combination. I remember when I read Fassett's Kaffe Knits Again that I picked out a lovely wrap (the Stepped Flowers Stole, if you want to know) I wanted to knit, but I quickly decided against it when I realized the 24 balls of yarn in 15 different colors would cost me more than $250.

I'm not saying all the projects in the duo's book Knitting with the Color Guys: Inspiration, Ideas and Projects from the Kaffe Fassett Studio have toned down that riotous palette, but there are at least a few projects here that are smaller and use a smaller range of colors that might be approachable to more knitters. There's even a one skein project!

About the Book

  • Pages: 176
  • Format: hardcover
  • Number of patterns: 32
  • Skill level: 1 is for beginners, 10 are rated easy, 11 for intermediate knitters and 10 are advanced projects
  • Knitting lessons: three pages in the back cover the basics of color knitting; there's also information on finishing, abbreviations and substituting yarns
  • Publication date: February 2012

The Patterns

The book is divided into four chapters based on the mood and colors used in the projects. Several of the motifs repeat in different colors and scales throughout the book, such as half circles. We seem them first in the colorful Half-Circle Throw, with its cheerful, carnival feel. They return in deeper tones in the Half-Circle Scarf.

Triangles, trapezoids, zigzags and bias knitting also repeat in different incarnations in the book.

All of the projects are for accessories: wraps, scarves, throws, pillows, a pair of legwarmers. That means some of the projects are relatively small -- and one, the Diagonal Colorscape Scarves, uses a single skein -- and some are huge. Likewise some projects use just two colors and some use 20. (The majority seem to use between five and 10 colors.)

This time one of my favorites, the Red Circle Stole, which features bold, poppy-like red dots on a blue background, uses just two colors and five skeins of yarn. Its yarn cost comes in at around $80, which is still a lot, but I'll bet I'd get $80 worth of enjoyment out of knitting and using this project for years.

The Broken Stripe Scarf is pretty as shown, but would also be a perfect stash buster for the knitter on a budget (knit as shown it would cost about $120). And there are a handful of patterns that use just a couple of colors and are smaller if you want to try out one of their projects without the huge outlay in cash.

Anyway, there are lots of standouts in both categories, including the Multistripe Stole, worked in many shades of multicolored sock yarn; the cool-toned Zigzag Fingerless Gloves and the bolder Zigzag Cushion; the stunning X Factor Blanket, worked in giant diamonds and using 20 different colors; and the more restrained two-color Dotty Cushions. The Colorscape Stripe Scarf is a simple project using two different colorways of a multicolored yarn worked in stripes; the Ridged Scarf uses the same idea but works one set of stripes in Reverse Stockinette.

Bottom Line

Fans of Fassett and Malby's work (his book Knitting Color is great, too) are going to want to run right out and pick this one up. It's great fun to look through, and no doubt any of the projects would be a joy to knit, even as some would pose a challenge to the knitter.

If you're a fan of color knitting but haven't experienced the exuberance of the Kaffe Fassett Studio yet, you'll want to give this book a look.

And even if you don't consider yourself a big fan of color, especially if you're kind of afraid of color, you need to give this book a look. Pick one of the smaller projects to knit and work it exactly in the colors given. Then maybe try another and pick your own colors. Or work the same one again changing some of the colors.

Let this book and its amazing projects guide you to become more playful with color and most of all to knit in color more often and be confident about your choices. This book was so inspiring to me I can't wait to pick up my needles and work on a new color knitting project.

Publisher's website

Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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