A lot of knitters are intimidated or unsure where to start when it comes to adding color to their knitting projects, by color master Kristin Nicholas makes it easier with the instructions and patterns in her book Color by Kristin: How to Design Your Own Beautiful Knits.
The book is full of tips, techniques, inspiration and more than 25 patterns to get you started thinking about color and knitting embellishment in a new way, as well as advice and sample motifs for designing your own color knitting projects.
Nicholas wants all knitters to add more color to their work, and she helps explain how to do that with confidence by explaining the basics of color very briefly, detailing the importance of swatching to make sure colors really work together before starting a project and tips on how to feel more comfortable picking colors for your projects.
Because almost all of the patterns in the book use Fair Isle techniques, there's a good overview of the skills needed to work stranded knitting, read charts and make steeks. And because of Nicholas' love for embellishment, duplicate stitch and basic embroidery skills are also covered.
Practice projects, including a chill stopper and sampler child's scarf, allow knitters who are new to Fair Isle to explore multiple stitch patterns and colors in a single project before delving into more detailed projects.
Color by Kristin includes vibrant patterns for pillows, scarves, sweaters, shawls, mittens and more. There's a tote bag, an ottoman cover and a laptop cozy, a teapot cover and a warmer for a French press.
The patterns all use Nicholas' signature yarn, Nashua Handknits Julia, in many different colors. Even a small project like a pair of gloves might include five different colors. There are patterns for women and children, and garments are sized for four or five different sizes.
Projects are not rated by skill level, but there's something here for everyone, from smaller projects like fingerless gloves and pillows to more intricate and larger wraps and sweaters.
All of the projects are cheerful and sure to be loved by knitter and recipient, but some of the standouts for me include the giant Over-the-Top Shawl, which uses a steek that's allowed to unravel to form fringe along the bottom; the cute and cozy Child's Zip-up Cardigan, worked with a picot edge and a diamond motif; the clever Little Shepherd's Scrap Yarn Scarf, which uses short rows to work multiple colors in a single long row; the India-inspired Pompom Bolster, worked in a tube with ends that are basically hats; and the lovely Norwegian Dreams Pullover, a boxy beauty that combines two striking designs.
Make It Your Own
In addition to the patterns, Nicholas includes a designer sourcebook, which includes the instructions for various edgings so knitters can add the edge of their choice to a project in the book or any other project. Both these patterns and the main patterns in the book include "magic multiples" that allow knitters to easily swap out one pattern for another while making the math easy.
Likewise the pattern motifs in any of the projects can be swapped for one of the multitude of charted designs in the back of the book, ranging from two-stitch to 30-stitch motifs. Each project in the book includes magic multiples for the stitch patterns as well, so you can easily swap out one or all of the motifs used in the original to make a project completely your own.
If you're already a fan of color knitting, in particular Fair Isle, Color by Kristin belongs on your bookshelf for its thoughtful and fun use of color and the ready reference it provides to knitters who want to strike out on their own to design projects.
If you're new to the world of color knitting, this book is worth your while as well because it does nicely cover the basics and offer a range of patterns that will help you learn the techniques of color knitting as well as how to add layers of embellishment to make even projects knit from published patterns more individual.
Publication date: November 2009