Knitting projects with complicated colorwork may be too much for some knitters, but we can all get the impressive look of colorwork without any work with the help of self-striping yarns.
Candace Eisner Strick shares lots of information about these fun yarns and plenty of patterns in her book Knit One, Stripe Too: Making the Most of Self-Striping Yarns.
Before you go about knitting a project with self-striping yarn, it's a good idea to know what you're looking for and what kind of results you'll get from different kinds of yarns.
The book starts with a basic overview of how self-striping yarn is made, which yarns make the best garments (the ones with long color runs and gradual changes between colors) and why glitches at the factory lead to knots, but also less expensive yarn.
The author also weighs in on how obsessive you might become when knitting garments with striping yarns, and how some people take great care to match colors when they start working from a new ball of yarn or when knitting two socks or two sides of a sweater.
She says it's fine to make matching pieces if that makes you happy, but that it's fine not to be "fanatic" about it. It's clear from some of the projects that she's not a fanatic about matching, and that's fine.
The book includes 27 patterns for using self-striping yarn for babies and kids, socks, hat, scarves, pullovers, tops, skirts, shawls and felted accessories.
The projects are almost all aimed at intermediate and advanced knitters thanks to lace patterns, short row shaping, mitered squares, working with multiple colors at once and other techniques new knitters might not want to tackle.
Knitters who do decide to take on the projects in this book will be rewarded with more dramatic pieces thanks to the use of the striping yarn.
Some of my favorite patterns include the Dancing Socks, made for a ballerina with no toes and no heels; the Shetland Scarf with lovely razor shell pattern; the Suede Skirt, knit sideways in stripes with stitches picked up for a ruffle after the body is knit; and the gorgeous Felted Nesting Bowls.
Other nice projects include a Feather and Fan scarf, a huge felted basket to store knitting supplies, a striped tank top with a hint of eyelash, fun felted slippers and a baby blanket made of mitered squares.
There's a small amount of knitting instruction in the back, but for the most part readers are on their own to understand techniques.
If you like stripes or would like to add more color to your knitting without a lot of hassle, this is a great book for you. It's not for beginners, but those with a few tricky projects under their belts will find nothing to fear here.
Publication date: October 2007.