Monday, July 5, 2010


A knitwear designer and decorative artist Kristin Nicholas is the author of a new book Color by Kristin (Sixth&Spring Books). From the subtitle How to Design Your Own Beautiful Knits we gather that Kristin is set to teach us how to work with color, understand it, use a Color Wheel to our advantage, and most of all how to be brave and experimental with color combination. Even for an experience knitter, who worked with colors for years, there is something to learn and admire.
At the beginning of the book Kristin is walking us through the very important initial point for any knitting project in general - a swatch making. As we all know, a good swatch tell us about the gauge and shows us what our knitting will look like. In this case we go farther and we experiment with the color interaction. From a Color Wheel we learned what goes well together, but our yarns have shades of color that might not look very pleasing when you use them in a motif. Kristin is showing us the difference in swatches using the same motif with different colors and explains what should we look for.
There are tricks and tips on how to handle the yarn for a Fair Isle knitting, how to steek, how to make and read a chart, and how to duplicate a stitch.

There is even a lesson on how to design your own Fair Isle knits with suggestions to start with an easy project and increase the difficulty level one-by-one. There is a Color Chart Glossary at the end of the book for substituting charts to customize a certain pattern. I have found all these instructional parts of the book very helpful and not intimidating.

Maybe I am spoiled by other books on the market, but there is one thing that is missing for me here. I want to see a small image next to the name of the project in the Contents to be able to find it quicker. I can live without it, of course, but it would be nice.

For any craft book it is very important to have good photographs. The book about color work is practically relying on the photography to talk to its reader. Well, I have to take my hat off to the beautiful work of Jack Deutsch (still life photography) and John Gruen (model and location photography). Every project, no matter how small, has a full page clear shot and additional small photos accenting a certain view or a technique. Just stunning!

There are about 25 projects ranging in difficulty level from beginner to experienced. For a beginner Kristin suggest a smaller project like a Java Jacket for a French coffee press or simple Mad for Plaid Mittens. Later you can venture to adorable Cuffed Mittens and Socks.

Continue with Bloomsbury Gauntlets with a duplicate stitch for some design enhancement. Next maybe On-The-Go Knitter's Tote and work your way to the Best Friends Pullovers. It is hard to say what is the most advanced project in the book since we are all on our own level of knowing how to knit and work with color. One thing is evident: there are many designs that we can choose from and they are all calling us to begin this journey with Kristin to perfect our skills in color work. It is a beautiful, inspirational, and very useful book.

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