Knitting With Color

For those of us who design our own craft projects, color is a primary design element. Color reflects our moods, our values, and sends a message to those for whom we craft.  Choosing just the right colors for our projects can make or break them.

In designing my latest prayer shawl, for instance, I choose yarn with colors that symbolized several communities and causes I hoped would remind the recipient of the support of several groups and causes near and dear to her: hot pink for breast cancer recovery, purple for the school where she worked, and orange for our home of Knoxville, Tennessee.  At first glance, the yarn I chose looked a bit too “loud and proud” for my personal tastes. But once I realized that all these colors of significance were reflected in this rich palette, I eagerly grabbed up three skeins and got to work on a prayer shawl packed with meaning. 

A couple of new books have just come out to help with choosing colors for crafting projects and home décor:

Love Color: Choosing Colors to Live With by Anna Starmer: This gorgeous book by a color expert gives you lots of excellent ideas for choosing color schemes. I appreciated that the author urges readers to start with items of sentimental significance in creating color design choices. Many palettes are featured in the book, with tips on contrasting colors, working with textures, and use of lighting. The author does a great job of bolstering readers’ confidence in making bolder uses of color and incorporating colors that simply put them in a good mood. 

Gradient Style: Color-Shifting Techniques & Knitting Patterns, edited by Kerry Bogert(Interweave): Specifically for knitters, this book helps crafters take advantage of the wide range of gradient colored yarn sets currently on the market. Some basics of using the color wheel are included in the introduction, followed by a good number of projects patterns using gradient colors: socks, sweaters, shawls, and mittens. The editor wisely advises knitters to go to the yarn shop and physically mix and match colors for new projects, rather than simply buying materials online. This book is great for anyone who wants to give their flat knitting some kick by using gradient color combinations. 

Happy Knitting, Cindy

Best New Knitting Books

Greetings, Fellow Knitters!  When I’m not knitting, I’m a writer and book reviewer. I’m always checking out new books, including new resources for knitting. Several new books have come out recently (or will soon). Check these out to expand your knitting skills or find a new project:

Knitting Ganseys, Revised and Updatedby Beth Brown-Reinsel.  This is an excellent book for expanding your knitting skills or for reference. I especially liked the history of this type of knit sweater, along with the detailed explanation of how exactly a sweater is properly constructed. I will likely use this book for ideas for making my own designs, and this use of the book is embraced by the author. I would have liked a separate set of the stitch designs featured. These sweaters are beautiful but a bit too complicated for my needs and interests. I will likely use some of the stitch patterns in my own designs, but not the entire sweater patterns.

Knitting Modular Shawls, Wraps, and Stolesby Melissa Leapman. The big picture concept is fairly simple: combine triangular shawls to make larger garments. Many of us love to knit shawls but end up having too many of them to use. This concept helps with figuring out what to do with all these shawls. An unexpected surprise of this book was all the many, many stitch patterns on offer. I’m always looking for a fairly straightforward (and easy to remember) stitch to give my work a little kick, and this book has plenty. Honestly, the value of this book is more in the patterns than in the concept of combining various shapes of shawls to make bigger ones. Lots of ideas for making and designing your own shawls.

Crochet 101, by Deborah Burger.  Occasionally, we knitters need to chain stitch a neckline. Or maybe we have a midlife crisis and want to figure out exactly what else you could do with that crochet needle you keep around to weave in your loose ends. This book covers the basics. I wondered how I could learn to crochet from a book, so I put it to the test. I’m happy to report that I did indeed learn to make a swatch of single chain stitch. With more time, I think I could master the other basics of crochet with this book.

One Piece Knits: Essential Designs in Multiple Sizes and Gauges for Sweaters Knit Top Down, Side Over, and Back to Frontby Margaret Hubert. I just finished my first top-down, all-in-one-piece sweater, and I love the easy process of this method. I’ve got more of these sweaters in my future, using this book. Currently bargain priced at $6.70.