This is the last post in my series 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.
Penguin: A Knit Collection by Amy Maltz
What’s it about?
This book is first and foremost a collection of knitting patterns. Well, considering that it’s a knitting book, that’s not necessarily surprising.
I was on my way to buy a copy of this book (via the internet) when Anna Maltz, the author, suggested we trade copies of our newest books, to which I immediately said “yes!”
What attracted me to the book was the fun and funky and happy and yellow (by far my favorite color) photos that Anna had been posting on Instagram. What drew me in more when I actually got to open the pages was the fun design of the book. The combination of all different kinds of content makes turning each page an adventure. There are full-page, beautifully styled and staged photos for every project. Lovely watercolor paintings of penguins, including on the end papers, stories to read, and even a model with pink hair.
Finally, I love the designs. The collection includes ten patterns. There are sweaters, socks, mittens, hats, neckwear, a skirt, and a knitted penguin doll. All of the designs are worked up in black, gray, and white with the occasional touch of yellow. The collection truly does reflect the theme of penguin-ness while, at the same time, providing knitters with interesting techniques to use to make truly wearable and fashionable garments and accessories. I want to make three for myself: the Adélie hat, the Aptenodytes sweater, and the Rockhopper shawl.
There’s even a new technique that Anna has named “Marlisle,” which is an unusual colorwork technique that combines the ease of slip-stitch knitting with the stranding of Fair Isle and the ability to create isolated designs like Intarsia, all in one technique that sounds like a breeze to knit. Here’s her description from Ravelry:
The term is a mash-up of “marl” – two noticeably different shades of yarn plied or in this case, held together – and the “isle” from Fair Isle. Regardless of geographic origin, Fair Isle is often used as a catch-all for stranded colourwork. Marlisle allows this circular knitted sweater to have small patches of pure white on the front, but not the back without working intarsia, yet spread over distances that would be unworkable using regular stranded colourwork (because the floats would be epic).
To achieve this, a strand each of charcoal and white yarn are held double and worked in garter stitch for the majority of this bottom-up sweater. The white yarn is separated out where required and worked akin to stranded colourwork in stocking stitch to produce that pop of single colour. Because you are always carrying A&B colours around, you have both colours available to use individually at all times. The density of the fabric changes little, as the yarn is always double thickness thanks to the floats behind the colourwork section.
What made me smile?
- Fake fish
- Watercolor penguins
- Funky, cool, bright projects
- Fun fun fun photography
- A new technique, Marlisle
- A bit of fun reading in the introduction and a surprise essay in the middle
The rest of my 2015 “Joyous Knitting” reading list!
- Knitsonik Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook: A knitting books hat shows you how to turn everyday inspirations into gorgeous stranded colourwork by Felicity Ford.
- 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.