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Kristin Knits

Knitting with Color

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Kristin Knits by Kristin Nicholas

Kristin Knits by Kristin Nicholas.

Storey Publishing

If you're afraid to knit with more than one color at once, or to choose a color different from the one used in a pattern, you need to read and use Kristin Nicholas' Kristen Knits: 27 Inspired Designs for Playing with Color.

In it, Nicholas shares a bit about how she plays with and chooses colors for her knitwear designs and offers a bunch of patterns to help knitters develop their own passions for playing with color.

Learning to Love Color

Some knitters have trouble embracing color, whether they are designing their own knits or working from patterns in a book or online. There's something a little scary about color, especially if you're picking your own. There's a much great potential for disaster when using multiple colors instead of just one.

That's why a fair amount of planning (and, yes, swatching) needs to go into planning a color project. Nicholas shares how she goes about planning a project and how you can train yourself to think about color by observing colors in nature, art and product packaging.

She illustrates how using different colors with the same background color can make a dramatic difference and shows how different shades and values of colors can change the look of a design.

This information will be useful to people with a basic understanding of how colors work together, but if you're starting at zero and aren't really sure what value means, you might find yourself still somewhat confused after reading her explanations.

The Patterns

The book includes 27 patterns arranged by type, including:

  • Scarves and an afghan
  • Hats
  • Socks
  • Mittens and gloves
  • Sweaters

All the projects use yarn designed by Nicholas, Julia by Nashua Handknits.

The scarves are mostly Garter Stitch knit from the long side across and embellished with pom-poms and embrodiery (as well as being knit with colored stripes. One fancier scarf is knit in Stockinette Stitch with added on mitered borders, tassels and embroidery.

One scarf and the afghan are knit in the round and then cut open, a pretty scary prospect but one you'll enjoy after you get over the initial terror.

The hats and socks are all pretty basic, using different pattern stitches and colors to make them look fancier than they really are. Most projects also include some embroidery or stitching worked after the fact, which you could always leave off if you're not feeling that colorful.

Some of my favorite projects in the book include the Nordic-Inspired Mittens, with their easy colorwork and pointed tops; and the Striped Turtleneck in the Round, a seamless striped pattern that's colorful and fun looking.

There are patterns here easy enough for new knitters and ones challenging enough for experienced knitters. Nicholas provides plenty of instruction on Fair Isle knitting, duplicate stitch, embroidery and other techniques for adding color and embellishment to knits.

If you like color, you'll want this book in your collection. And if you want to learn about using color more fearlessly, you could do worse than working from this book.

Publication date: October 2007.

Publisher's website

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