When I read about this book, I knew I was going to love it. I wanted my review to be not one of just reading and talking, I wanted to try and convey how I felt inspired when I read it. The Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook is the kind of book I would put in my suitcase and travel with, because I would spend hours mentally planning all the possible knitting. This book is in essence, translating something you love, or something that inspires you into your knitting, and its very effective in its method.
So before we start, I think its fair to say, that I approach most new projects with a good level of chaos. I say chaos because I don't really do things in a logical order, After all these years, I know that I have a good relationship with failure because I am confident that if I keep trying I will get there in the end even if it will take me years! Now you might be thinking at this point, 'what on earth is she on about, I thought this was a book review?' Well it is.. but I needed to give you some back ground about my process because I don't want my chaotic process to distract from the book!
I love books on making stuff way more than pretty much anything else in the world. I tend to read them, get inspired, have a go, mess up, go back, check what I did wrong now with a little more experience, try again, mess up again and so on; this is my creative process. This process can last pretty much years for me... I do it with cooking all the time, especially bread. I now know that the more mess ups I have the better because then I understand what's going on because I am motivated to get it right and learn on the way.
I normally get bored and skip steps, but with this Sourcebook, each section was so much fun that I found I was motivated to do each little bit at a time. I have read other fair-isle books and I can say, they never ever motivated me to even get my pencils out let alone my needles... this was SO different!
So... back to the book! From the initial flick through I thought, 'oh yes, this is a book for me', Felicity's book has lots of fabulous pictures which brings alive Felicity's ideas and passion. It has little tips and sections for helping your ideas. It also maps out a system, to help guide you through your creative process. I loved that each section on its own was a project in itself, I couldn't wait to get started! It was like being a child again reading my mum's craft books in the summer holidays, planning my daily projects!
So here is what happened when I followed the book, in my own 'creative' way:
The first step was to choose something that I loved to translate into a design, which is the crux of the book. For me I love the shapes and colours of succulents, and this is my very favourite that I have grown:
I love the shapes in these plants, and I think if I kept messing about I could come up with something quite amazing for a design, but for now I wanted to keep it simple, so I started with leaf, and sketched it out in pencil.
Next I looked at what colours I had that would work with the the system suggested, I decided on Scrumptious 4ply because it has a wide range of colours and its been used fairly successfully for fairisle before.
And went about colouring in the leaf shape to match my succulent leaves.
Next I had the idea to colour them in and cut them out rather than drawing them, then I could see better what they were going to look like in different positions:
By this point I was totally hooked, I was very pleased!
The next part of the journey was to check that the backgrounds worked well... this is where it started to get a bit more tricky, I wanted the background to be a gradient, but the colours I had weren't perfect. However, me being me, I carried on anyway- this is a good way to learn after all!
I wound up some little balls of Scrumptious and I cast on. After firstly messing up totally, and getting the colours the wrong way around I started again. After a few rows I realised I probably had too many colours in one row i.e more than 2. This wouldn't necessarily be such issue if it was a different yarn, or if my colourwork was better, but it wasn't and quite honestly looked urm... how shall we say? Like a dogs dinner?!? I promptly threw the knitting across the room and took a swig of
I was initially disappointed that I couldn't use the 4ply, but then I thought about choosing more colours and going through the process again, and I had forgotten in an instant my failed attempt, and started planning ALL THE YARNS! I decided that it could be awesome to dye my own colours for the swatches, perhaps using Nef 4ply or something from my hand dyeing days....
(You can see how I rarely ever get to the end of creative things... they almost always end up as the beginning of something new!!!)
Suffice to say.... this could go on for a very long time!!
I can honestly say this is one of the best and most inspirational knitting books I have had in a very long time, I will honestly treasure it, and I think you will to. Even if you have never done colourwork before, I absolutely urge you to have a go using this book, Perhaps, knit your loved one some mitts with something personal to you both in it. Or recreate your Nan's cake. Or a beautiful tin containing something special....
I am desperate now to capture things around me and turn them into knitting, all the things I love and this book has helped give me a way to do it, which was fun, exciting,It feels like everything I see around me, I just have to knit!
Go buy the book! It will be the best 18.99 you will spend this year, and its also a super duper thing to ask for on your Christmas wishlist. Let me warn you thought- don't look until boxing day or you won't get much cooking done!!
- Jeni x