Successful color knitting is a pinnacle of knitting skill, but lots of knitters seem to be afraid to take the plunge and learn the techniques required to make their knits more colorful. Melissa Leapman has produced two volumes on the subject of color knitting: Color Knitting the Easy Way and Mastering Color Knitting: Simple Instructions for Stranded, Intarsia, and Double Knitting.
The first book dealt with stripes and slip stitches; this one goes deeper into the color knitting world but still shows knitters that these techniques are not difficult even as they produce results that look complex.
Learning to Knit in Color
Mastering Color Knitting begins with a bit of a refresher from the first book: a look at the color wheel and different ways to pick colors so that your combinations will be successful. The rest of the book is divided into three parts for the three techniques that are covered: stranded knitting, intarsia and double knitting.
Each section includes basics on what kind of fabric is produced with each method, how it's made and how yarn is managed with each technique. Tips and tricks make each method more accessible, such as a detailed section on how to make steeks, ideas for knitting intarsia in the round and tips for reading and knitting from charts for double knitting.
Pattern treasuries for each section provide lots of patterns for you to try out in your own projects or even just in sample swatches while you get comfortable with the techniques. Many of these patterns are pretty classic looking, but there are some fun options like a colorful bobble pattern using the intarsia method and double-knit fabrics where the patterns on the back and front don't match.
In all there are more than 200 stitch patterns to play with, which should keep new color knitters busy for some time.
There are also 12 project patterns included in the book: four for each knitting technique. One project is rated easy: a his and hers stranded knit hat. Eight patterns are for intermediate knitters, while one is rated for experienced knitters and two are called challenging (I'm not sure which of those is the higher skill level).
Some of the standout patterns to me include the Stripes 'n' Dots Throw Pillow, which features a relatively easy striped stranded knitting pattern; the big, fuzzy Traveling Triangles Jacket, worked in three colors of triangles oriented diagonally across the long coat's body; and the adorable and warm Snuggle Up Baby Blankie, worked in double knitting with a reversible pattern of hearts on both sides.
These patterns show a nice variety of options for color knitting techniques, from a complex cardigan for a guy worked in stranded knitting to a set of double-knit coasters perfect for game night. There's a little girls' sweater with an intarsia bow (not an Elsa Schiaparelli knockoff, but certainly a nod to that famous sweater) and a ladies' jacket with fleur de lis motifs.
There may not literally be something for every knitter's taste in the projects, but the sample stitch patterns are sure to pique the interest of any knitter who likes to play with knitting and with color.
Mastering Color Knitting is a good guide to the basics of three classic color knitting techniques that would be a great way for someone to learn about color knitting. Those with a little exposure to color knitting who want to try designing their own projects but need a little help in the inspiration department will enjoy flipping through the sample patterns and letting their imaginations run wild.
Color knitting opens up a whole new world of creativity and expression for knitters, and Melissa Leapman does a fine job of helping knitters who aren't confident with color understand the basics and explore the joys of color knitting for themselves.
Publication date: November 2010