Gina Wilde knows a lot about color. As the co-owner and creative director of Alchemy Yarns of Transformation, she has a hand in designing yarns and colors that knitters want to use and combine into unique and beautiful projects.
But she also understands that a lot of knitters lack confidence when it comes to making color choices. She aims to make knitters feel more comfortable around color with her book The Alchemy of Color Knitting: The Art and Technique of Mastering Exquisite Palettes.
Learning About Color, Learning to Let Go
As with many color knitting books, The Alchemy of Color Knitting begins with a look at the basics of color, including the color wheel and the basic color combinations that are developed from the placement of colors thereon. Topics such as value, hue and intensity are covered, as well as color relationships like monochrome or tone on tone, analogous and complementary colors.
Pretty yarns illustrate the different concepts, which makes this book a little more fun that one that just uses the color wheel to illustrate the different color combinations.
After a brief introduction to color theory, Wilde explains that it's also important to trust your own color preferences, not just what the color wheel says is a good choice.
"Balance and blend your personal color preferences with your knowledge of color theory and organization," Wilde writes. "You know what looks good on you, and you know what colors give you happiness and comfort."
It's not always as simple as that, but what you like is certainly a good place to start when it comes to playing with color, in knitting and in clothing in general.
The book includes 25 projects for pullovers, shawls, scarves, a hat, gloves, baskets and more. The patterns are mostly for women, with one baby cardigan to fit kids size 3 to 6 months. The patterns for adults that have sizes have four or five different size options.
The patterns are arranged around color concepts described in the introduction to the book: monochromatic or tone on tone designs, color relationships and knitting beyond the color wheel using hue, value and intensity.
Three of the patterns are rated for beginning knitters, while seven are rated easy, 11 intermediate and four for experienced stitchers.
Some faves for me include the Diamond Trellis Pullover knit in silk, which features diamonds at the hems and sleeves and garter trellises to add structure; the adorable First Flower Baby Cardigan, a top-down, tone-on-tone Fair Isle design; the Peacock Cardigan, a silk-wool piece that manages to be both lacy and structured; the Tertiary Pullover, worked in color blocks in a mohair-silk blend; and the Nature Girl Pullover, which uses a lovely lace pattern and multicolored, hand-painted yarn.
Each pattern aims to teach a lesson about working with color, such as "creating harmonious contrast by knitting two values of the same color together" or "blending analogous colors in a smooth progression."
Looking at the way color is used in each project is instructive for knitters hoping to learn more about color, but of course knitting a few of the projects reinforces the lessons even more.
Fans of Alchemy Yarns are sure to enjoy The Alchemy of Color Knitting for its illustration of many different projects using these lovely yarns (the book also includes suggested substitute yarns if you can't get Alchemy yarns where you live).
Fans of color knitting that isn't wild and crazy will also appreciate the classic, beautiful patterns included in the book. These projects offer a way for knitters to get comfortable with color knitting in a way that isn't too demanding. Few of the patterns use really bright colors, and the tone-on-tone projects allow knitters to get their feet wet without stressing about picking the perfect colors.
Wilde provides plenty of options for knitters of different skill levels and comfort levels, and those who work a few patterns from the book are sure to learn plenty about how colors work together in knit projects.
Publication date: July 2009