Feb 23, 2009

The Bookmobile

When I was in elementary school, the bookmobile from the public library would come to our school on Mondays. It was a great way to see new and exciting books that we didn't have in our school library, and it brought books to our rural school when it was likely that our families wouldn't make the trek into town.

Since this blog needs some jump starting, I thought I'd add a bit of a structure to it, and hopefully make it a meaningful read to those of you out there who may happen upon it. So? Monday's are for book reviews. Here's the first one, hope you like it.


I have to admit, I’m a big fan of the –STYLE series of books that Interweave Press has been publishing for the last few years. colorSTYLE by Pam Allen and Ann Budd is no exception. Both Allen and Budd have been editors for Interweave Knits magazine and have a good eye for what their readers enjoy making, as well as what trends are coming to the forefront in the knitting community.

In colorSTYLE, as in the other –STYLE series of books, projects range from small, get-your-feet-wet items to larger garments and epic projects for the more adventurous. This sixth volume in the series has seventeen projects to get a knitter well on the way to being hooked on colorwork.

As much as I have to admit that I’m a sucker for purchasing all books in a series, I do have a litmus test that each book must take. If I can find at least three projects in the book that I’m excited to start right away, the book finds it’s way into my collection. The Peace and Love Gloves alone may have made me break that rule! These gloves use several fair isle patterns in the wrist, palm and thumb, and yet have just a solid color for each of the fingers. The simple hounds tooth pattern that makes up most of the glove is offset by the bright bit of embroidery on the back of one hand. I especially love that each glove is different. As the name implies, peace is on one hand, and love knitted into the other. Looking down at these zen-like gloves might be enough to calm me down on the rare occasion that I’m driving and stuck in traffic! Much like the knucks pattern on knitty.com, I could also see customizing these gloves with a mantra all my own.

Many of the fair isle patterns in the book use a much larger weight of yarn than is traditionally found in this type of color work making them perfect for a beginner to try her or his hand at this technique. The soft mohair recommended for the mohair fair isle blurs the boundaries of stitches just enough to hide a beginners’ mistakes.

While the book is heavy on fair isle patterns, there is also a nod to other types of colorwork as well. The slip stitch (or mosaic) color work in the holi mitts pattern makes me want to give this a whirl, and the enticing designs in intarsia make me want to give that technique another go as well. The felted floral pillow with needle felted embellishments may just be the project to make me take back the “I’ll nevers” I’ve said about intarsia in the past.

My favorite part of this book isn’t the patterns, but rather the technical information that is packed into the last chapter of the book. Descriptions of how to work each of the techniques used in the book, as well as swatches detailing how a stitch can look different by changing only one detail help the reader have a better understanding on how to adapt the technique into their own designing. While this isn’t an exhaustive look at any of the techniques, it does give enough understanding to practice the techniques in the patterns included. The extensive bibliography leads toward other books to answer questions in more detail.

So, the only thing left for me to decide, is what should I cast on first?