Knitsonik Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook

Knitsonik Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook

Thomas Edison once said that “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration”.  If you don’t believe it, take a look at this lovely book by Felicity Ford.  In the introduction to this little masterpiece, she states that her “work is about finding and celebrating a sense of place through the gorgeous, bodily mediums of knitting (that we wear) and sound (that we live in)…a knitted  record of paying attention to and being present in to my immediate surroundings.”   She goes to great lengths to describe both the inspiration and the perspiration process that results in her briliant stranded knits.  You will see that her knitted art is created using that very proportion (give or take a few percentage points) and she has named the whole thing “the Knitsonik system”.

Her inspiration is found in everyday objects such as biscuit (cookie, to us Americans) tins, buildings, factories, roadways, brewpub signs, books, electronic devices, and just about anything that catches her eye.  She photographs what she sees around her and studies those photos as the source of both  platettes and patterns.  In Felicity’s eye, anything is can transformed into stranded knitwork.

Once she has examined something, she selects a palette of yarn colors, sketches out patterns and charts them, considers shading of background colors and shading of pattern colors, and how the two interact.  She knits a long swatch as she plays with her patterns and her colors, reviewing and revising as she goes.  This goes on until she is satisfied with her patterns and colors.  The finished swatch is then blocked to use as a sampler that can be applied to an actual knitted garment.  Although this is the “perspiration” phase, Felicity seems to delight in the sweating of the details!

The patterns she creates are included for use by the reader as well as adaptations of them to knitted garments such as fingerless mitts and leg warmers.  So, if the reader does not feel lead to create his/her own designs, there are instructions for reproducing Felicity’s.    But, if you want to try your hand at designing stranded colorwork, you have some great instructions laid out for you.

Other notable features of this book are beautiful photographs, “Top Tips”, and “Further Reading” suggestions.  There is also a recipe for Felix’s Fabulous Fruitcake because Felicity used the fruitcake as inspiration for one of her designs!  Finally, if you go to Felicity’s website at knitsonik.com, you can hear recordings of sound that inspires her knitting.

I loved this book for the inspiration and for the affirmation that I receive from it in my creative processes.  If this is 99% perspiration, then it looks pretty good to me.   “Knitsonik Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook” should be on every knitter and designer’s bookshelf.

Some of the swatches and their sources of inspiration

Knitted Wraps & Cover-Ups – New Book by Annie Modesitt

I have made garments from Annie’s patterns before.  Years after their making, they still attract people and garner compliments such as “You made this?”  and “This is gorgeous”.  I smile and mention this fantastic designer, Annie Modesitt.

Knitted Wraps and Cover-Ups is Annie’s latest pattern collection of fantastic  designs , interesting in their construction and use of techniques. These are  one-of-a-kind garments.  Annie is doing what she does so well, making garments with an interesting “twist” in them. Not only does my inner knitter want to see just how she does this, but it also wants to wear these pieces.

For example, take the Cross-Body Wrap & Scarf. It is one continuous piece of fabric with undulating cables and small honeycombs, knit in one piece and  twisted before seaming to be worn as a wrap or as a cowl.

Or, consider the “Fitted Lace Off-Shoulder Top” meant to be worn over a camisole or tank dress.  Worked in the round from the bottom up, the front lace panel widens to shoulder width.  The short sleeves are knit separately and joined with the body just below the shoulders for a lovely neckline.

There are a range of skill levels, from beginner to advanced.  In the beginner category, we have the Basketweave Bolero which is beautiful, easy to make, and with a little extra detail in the edging treatment that sets it apart from other easy patterns.  Another easy pattern is the Lace Cuff Shrug with the same extra detailing that will make this a pleasure to work and wear.   The advanced patterns, such as the “Stained Glass Circular Jacket” or the “Log Cabin Cardigan”, will challenge the experienced knitter, but are accompanied by very explicit instructions that will really help the knitter along.

Each pattern has both written instructions and charts, including color where applicable.  Not only that but the charts are printed large so there is no need to go to the enlarge function on the copier to get a readable version.

Whenever I see an Annie Modesitt design, I think to myself, “I’ve got to see how she puts this one together.”  My second thought is usually, “I would love to wear this”.  I just read her latest publication,  Knitted Wraps & Cover-Ups.  It does not disappoint!