Book Review & Giveaway: Color By Kristin
Back when I was editing magazines in NYC, I came across the work of Kristin Nicholas, a prolific colorwork knitter, embroiderer, and illustrator. She had just released Colorful Stitchery: 65 Hot Embroidery Projects to Personalize Your Home (which is an amazing book by the way!) and I surfed on over to her blog, Getting Stitched On the Farm. It was right then and there that I realized I didn’t need to be in “the center of it all” to be a professional, creative person. Kristin’s stories of life on the farm, combined with her colorful creative explorations are among my favorite daily reads. So when I saw that she had released a new book, Color by Kristin: How to Design Your Own Beautiful Knits I knew I had to get my hands on a copy. (And I did, gratis, thanks to my old employer, Soho Publishing.)
What I love about Kristin’s work is that she’s not afraid to use color- and lots of it. Whereas other designers might shy away from the amount of yarn needed, or all the tails to weave in, Kristin goes for it. Of course, it probably helps that she was able to create her own yarn line with all sorts of great colors to mix and match. (Finding several colors that go together within one line of yarn is much harder than it sounds!)
She’s also not afraid to combine crafty techniques (swoon- a woman after my own heart)– and throughout the book, illustrates ways to combine surface embroidery with fairisle knitting to create stunning effects that even advanced beginners can achieve! Plus, Kristin gives you information on how to be your own designer. The book comes with a glossary of colorwork stitch patterns, and each project gives you instructions on which designs you can pick and substitute easily in the project. She even goes so far as to do the math for you–ie, if you have 60 stitches in which to work, she’ll lay out the multiples you can use (2, 4, 5, 6, 10, 12, 20, etc), to correspond with the glossary of color charts that is also set up by number of stitch repeats. Grand!!
I decided that I wanted to make a project from the book for my review, because as you may know, I’m not a terrific knitter. I like to knit, but I hardly have the time for it (and if I get too good at it, I might start to mix it in to crochet designs!). There were many doable projects in the book that didn’t seem like a huge time investment- such as mittens, hats, socks, and pillows. A lot of the items are for cold-weather wear (naturally), so I settled on something small and cute for instant gratification.
I picked a set of slippers from the Family Slippers, and I started with the infant size, figuring it would be good practice in case I decide to make the larger sizes. They booties are adorable, and all told, took me about 5 hours to knit (I made some silly mistakes- I’m still learning!). Since I happened to have some of her lovely Julia yarn on hand, I went ahead and used it. As I’ve said, the colors and tones are just amazing, and the bit of alpaca makes the yarn luxurious to work with . All of the designs in the book are made with Julia yarn, and when you think about it, that’s kind of great because once you get gauge, you can jump into all of the projects. Of course, any worsted weight yarn will do–and that combined with the colorwork aspect makes this an excellent book for stash-busting.
If you’d like to be entered to win a free copy of Color by Kristin, leave a comment here by Tuesday at 12 noon central time. Please throw out some ideas of cute beginner/advanced beginner knitting projects for me (as in, specific patterns you’ve worked and enjoyed) in your comments, or tell me how long you’ve been knitting and what got you started. Good luck!