The easiest way to add color to knitting besides working with an already multicolored yarn is to knit stripes or slip stitch patterns that allow you to work with just one color at a time.
While this might sound a little boring, Melissa Leapman proves that there are tons of different ways to jazz up these basic techniques. She shares more than 60 in her book Color Knitting the Easy Way: Essential Techniques, Perfect Palettes, and Fresh Designs Using Just One Color at a Time.
The book begins, as many on color knitting do, with a discussion of color theory and how to talk about, select and combine colors for knitting projects or any other purpose.
It describes and illustrates the basic and not-so-basic choices for picking colors that the color wheel gives us, including two-color, three-color, four-color, five-color and six-color combinations using complementary colors, analogous colors, tetrad color choices and more.
Each of these options is illustrated with a color wheel that shows the possible combintaitons, which is helpful, but it would have been nice if the wheels were labeled with the names of the colors that are highlighted so you wouldn't have to do the extra step of thinking "now, is that blue or blue violet?" Not a big deal, because there is a full-color, larger color wheel in the book you can refer to if you're ever confused.
Striping and Slipping
After covering the basics, Leapman goes on to explore using stripes and slipped stitches to create interesting color combinations in knitting. She goes over how to change colors, carry yarn up the side of a project, read a color knitting chart and knit in color in the round.
There are suggestions for dealing with yarn tails and explorations of common stitch patterns -- as well as fancier patterns -- and how stripes can be incorporated into them. She also looks at mitered squares and explains considerations for designing with stripes.
The slip stitch section describes how to make slip stitches and why it makes a difference where the working yarn is held as you slip them. It covers texture in slip stitch patterns and how different background fabrics can change the look of a design, and touches on other design considerations.
Both chapters then include a colorful treasury of stitch patterns incorporating the techniques, illustrating the wide variety of looks that can be achieved with these relatively simple techniques. These patterns include color charts and swatches to help you see what the finished design would look like on your project.
Color Knitting the Easy Way also includes patterns for 10 projects, including fingerless gloves, a child's pullover, a woman's hoodie, a sideways-knit baby cardigan, a mitered throw, a clutch, a men's sweater, a girls' dress, a wine cozy and a jacket for a woman.
Six of the patterns are rated as easy, while four are for intermediate knitters. The techniques used in each pattern build off each other. For instance in the stripe section you begin by learning to knit in the round and change colors in an easy stitch pattern, then incorporate more stitch patterns, play with stripes of differing widths, knit stripes vertically and "bend stripes" with the mitered technique.
The clutch teaches basic mosaic knitting, while the men's sweater uses stitches that are slipped with the yarn in front for added texture. The dress shows how to use slip stitch patterning as a focal point on an otherwise plain project, while the other projects combine techniques and use color blocking to teach more lessons about working with color.
I like the Op Art Wine Cozy, one of the slip stitch patterns, which has a cool mosaic look. Another standout is the Striped Fingerless Mitts pattern. These are both easy patterns but the nicely illustrate the techniques while producing something you'll really want to use.
The back of the book includes an overview of techniques and help deciphering the charts, should you need it.
Color Knitting the Easy Way shows that color knitting isn't all about Fair Isle and intarsia. Those more complex techniques might be what most people think of when they think of color knitting, but it's possible to turn out really gorgeous, colorful projects without using either of those techniques or even working with more than one color of yarn on a row.
Beginners and knitters with more experience alike will enjoy this book for the wide array of stitch patterns presented. It's easy to follow the projects presented in the book or to choose one of the stitch patterns and go your own way for a completely unique project. She even offers tips on coming up with your own stripe and slip stitch patterns so that you can develop exactly the kind of look you want.
Publication date: April 2010