Saturday, 12 March 2011

Book Review: Colorwork Creations




Colorwork Creations: Knit Woodland Inspired Hats, Mittens and Gloves
by Susan Anderson-Freed
Krause Publications, Cincinnati, Ohio
ISBN-13: 978-1-4402-1242-0





  

Colorwork Creations by Susan Anderson-Freed was published in 2010. The book is divided into three chapters on Hats, Mittens and Gloves & Flip-Tops:
  • The Hats chapter has three basic hat patterns: ski hats, chullos and tams, and there are 17 different charted designs to work using the basic patterns.

  • The Mittens chapter has one basic mitten pattern, and there are nine different charted designs to work using the basic pattern. Each design has two elements: a "bird or beast" chart and a Sanquhar chart (grid of design-filled squares), so further variations are possible by working a mitten entirely in the Sanquhar pattern for example, or using a different combination of bird or beast and Sanquhar chart.

  • The Gloves & Flip-Tops chapter has one basic glove pattern and one basic flip-top mitten pattern (which could also be used to make fingerless gloves). There are ten different charted designs to work using the basic patterns. As was the case for the mittens, further variations are possible through mixing and matching the charts

A key feature of the book is that it introduces a technique for working mittens and gloves from fingertips to cuff, and the book is particularly aimed at knitters who dislike working the thumb and fingers last.

The book is attractively photographed, and the designs shown have been worked in a variety of yarns from different manufacturers, so the reader gets a good impression of the effects of using solid colour, variegated and self striping yarns.

I was attracted to this book because of the type of project inside: hats, gloves, mittens and flip-tops/fingerless gloves. These are the kind of project that I actually make! However, I am not the perfect reader for the book, as I quite like working gloves from cuff to finger, and don't have a collection of thumbless mittens hidden away waiting to be finished! I was curious to try the fingertip to cuff technique though, and as I have recently learned an ambidextrous approach to stranded colourwork, the patterns in this book had dual appeal.

I had initially planned to make a glove first, but decided that it would be better to start with a mitten, as this involved only two novel cast-ons instead of five. As with any new technique, I found it fiddly at first, but improved rapidly. I would advise using the increase technique described in the book. My attempt at using a method with which I'm more familiar was a dismal failure!

Although the charts and basic patterns are complete in themselves, it is important to read the general material at the front of the book first to ensure for example that charts are read in the right direction and to note that the author declares that she herself knits very loosely, so many knitters will find that a larger needle size works for them.

This book is an attractive purchase for those who enjoy stranded colourwork and knitting accessories; those wanting to try the fingertip to cuff method; those who like working out their own designs on graph paper (it is very tempting to fill the little Sanquhar boxes) and those who enjoy working variations on a theme (perhaps to satisfy a family all needing the same, but different, gifts).

Disclosure: I purchased this book

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