Swoon. I love fair isle – I love knitting it, I love the way it looks, I love the shetland yarn, I just love it. I have several pattern books, and truly, as far as patterns go, I need not one single other book. I have Sheila McGregor’s Fair Isle Knitting book, and her Scandinavian Knitting book, which covers patterns, history, etc. pretty thoroughly. The thing I have trouble with is making those dots and blanks into colors without creating clown barf or something that just doesn’t work for lack of contrast. I mean I can do it, but it has always been hit or miss or pretty directly copied from someone less color-matching-impared than myself.
Enter Kate Davies (again) to the rescue. I love Kate’s blog for her photography, thorough and well written posts on history, knitting, craft, and travel. Also, her patterns are fantastic. And she is a Shetland-a-holic. Recently she posted about her wool week travels, and if you scroll down (well, and read of course) you’ll come across a photo of a table covered in fair isle samples used in the new book by Mary Jane Mucklestone, 200 Fair Isle Motifs. OMG. From that photo I needed that book. I have all of those patterns charted out, I am certain, already in the books I own. But the COLORS! They MATCH! In a way that I LOVE and that is far more modern and interesting than I’ve seen put together before.
So of course I tried in futile resistance, telling myself, come on, Kate, you don’t need another book about knitting, even less do you need another about color work. However one trip to the bookstore where it was available to thumb through was enough to break that. Needless to say it is now in my bookcase. And I love it.
Color theory is explained more clearly than I’ve seen done before, and more thorough instructions on exactly how to put them together for fair isle patterns. And in great contrast to my usual ‘I like all of these colors so clearly they must go together… (knit, knit, knit) … umm, clearly these colors do not go together.’ It makes SENSE!
And even if they didn’t, there are 200 color combinations in the book all well photographed and perfect, and I’d be happy working only with those. At the very least using them heavily for inspiration.
So if you too love colorwork and are mystified as to how to chose colors which do not blend into mud or contrast in blindingly awful ways, this is the book for you.