If you're a knitter who isn't sure where to start when it comes to knitting with color, Color Style: Innovative to Traditional, 17 Inspired Designs to Knit by Pam Allen and Ann Budd is the book for you. It features a range of projects from simple stripes to stranded knitting, intarsia and projects that use embroidery, needle felting, pom-poms and other means of embellishing to add even more color.
While most of the projects aren't exactly for beginners, they're great for people who are new to knitting with a lot of color who want to understand the concepts maybe without having to choose colors themselves.
Learning About Color
Like other books in the "Style" series, this one includes an education on color techniques as well as patterns that allow you to try out the concepts. On your first trip through the book you might want to thumb through the patterns and then begin reading with the "Design Notebook" in the back of the book.
This section provides on overview of many of the different ways to use color in knitting projects, including stripes, slipped stitches, Fair Isle or stranded knitting and intarsia. Each technique is explained and illustrated with drawings, charts and/or photographs as appropriate, and tips are given to ensure success.
These sections are particularly helpful for people who haven't done a lot of colorwork before as they advise practical things like testing yarn for colorfastness before knitting and leaving small tails unwoven when blocking cotton and other slippery yarns so they don't weave their way through to the front.
There are also sidebars on using steeks, making butterflies of yarn for intarsia, embellishing and finishing, as well as a glossary of techniques and embroidery stitches you might want to use to bring a little more color to any knitting projects.
Color Style features 17 patterns, nine of which are for sweaters, cardigans or jackets. The others include gloves (with and without fingers), mittens, a scarf, a pillow, an argyle vest, a bag and a pair of socks.
All of the patterns include at least two colors and at least one colorwork method, though some, like the Retro Andean Pullover, use several different techniques and colors (this one has stripes, Fair Isle and a Fair Isle/intarsia combo and includes seven different colors).
All of the patterns are interesting and will give knitters experienced and less so a chance to stretch their creativity (and perhaps their skills) while knitting lovely garments.
Some of my favorite projects include the Bohus-Style Knee Highs, ribbed socks with a bit of stranded knitting around the top of the leg and a stripe and different color at the toes; the Peace and Love Gloves, which have those words worked into the gloves, one of which features an embroidered heart; and the Striped Raglan, a really cute, basic pattern made more complicated looking by the use of a self-striping yarn alternating with a solid color to make the stripes.
The Hooded Scarf is a riot of color, using seven colors, several stitch patterns and a panel of embroidery over a diamond design. The Honeycomb Turtleneck (on the cover), Faux-Embroidery Yoke Sweater and Harvest Cardigan use color more subtly but no less effectively.
If you're a fan of color knitting already, you're sure to find something in Color Style that appeals and will likely be comfortable with all the techniques presented already.
If, on the other hand, you're pretty new to color knitting (I would recommend this book right away if you're very new to knitting in general, though there are a few projects you could tackle without trouble) and aren't sure where or how to start, this book can give you plenty of advice and patterns to play with before you go out on your own to add a bit of color to other designs or chart your own.
Either way, it's a lovely book full of advice, inspiration and patterns you'll want to knit and enjoy that may even get people who aren't thrilled with embellishment a little more excited about color.
Publication date: October 2008