Joyous Knitting

December 21, 2015

Joyous Knitting

This week I am going to blog about knitting books that made me smile this year. The posts are coming in the order in which I found the books. Each is a mini-review with a list of what made me smile as I read the book.

KNITSONIK_SCB-cover_large_small21. Knitsonik Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook: A knitting book that shows you how to turn everyday inspirations into gorgeous stranded colourwork by Felicity Ford.

What’s it about? This book is about how to look around you and see the world through lens of knitting, or it’s about how to see knitting through a lens of the whole world. Felicity Ford, aka Knitsonik, shares her process for looking around at everyday items and being inspired to create unique and interesting colorways and Fair Isle patterns for knitting.

After explaining the process, she presents examples of finding inspiration in things, places, and plants. This is the heart of the book and the part I loved the most. It includes lovely personal essays, specific examples of the infinite possibilities for inspiration that are all around us every day, and examples of how to extract a color palette from something that is seemingly mundane, how to create charts with designs that mirror the shapes you see in the world, and how to work with multiple shades of yarn to create pleasing designs that you can use in your own projects.

There are a couple of patterns in the back of the book, but they are really besides the point. Most of what happens in this book isn in swatches. I love swatches. I know that’s not something most knitters would say, but I think it’s something that we should all learn how to say–and mean! Swatching is ultimate experience in process knitting. It’s all about the making and the doing. Of course I also like to have finished objects to wear or share, but it’s the making that is where the real joy is for me. (I suspect it is for you as well, or you’d probably be happy buying pretty knitted objects.) The swatches in this book can be sewn together to make all kinds of interesting things like coats, blankets, scarves, shawls, and wall art, or they can be cut into smaller pieces and used to make greeting cards, like this lovely one I received from my friend June Hall last Christmas.

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If you love colorwork knitting or if you think you might be able to fall in love with colorwork knitting, you need this book. To me, it’s a book on creating your own contemporary folk art with wool and knitting needles. This is one of my favorite things in the world–to see people making things up. Whether you’re a designer or free-spirted knitter and you already are comfortable making things up (aka designing your own patterns) or your’e a new or experienced knitter who has only followed patterns, this book is sure to inspire you to cut loose and try your hand at creating your own folk art garments and accessories.

What made me smile? 

  • Writing, which is a joy to read.
  • The possibilities of finding beauty even in the most mundane objects.
  • Charming hand-drawn charts and schematics.
  • Beautiful photos of UK sights.
  • The way this book will draw creativity out of you even if you don’t think you’re creative.
  • Spelling colour with a u.
  • The idea that a fruitcake can inspire a knitting design.

Check back every day for the rest of my 2015 “Joyous Knitting” reading list!

  • Knitting Stories: Personal Essays and Seven Coast Salish-Inspired Knitting Patterns by Sylvia Olsen.
  • Sequence Knitting: Simple Methods for Creating Complex Patterns by Cecelia Compochiaro
  • Knit the Sky: Cultivate Your Creativity with a Playful Way of Knitting by Lea Redmond, illustrated by Lauren Nassef
  • In the Footsteps of Sheep: Tales of a Journey through Scotland, Walking, Spinning, and Knitting Socks by Debbie Zawinski
  • Penguin: A Knit Collection by Amy Maltz


Knitting, Old Blogs, Writing