Wednesday 31 July 2013

Stranded Knits

For the past months at Tuesday Knit Night, my friend Ann Kingstone has been working on her new book, Stranded Knits.  So I have seen several of the samples being made, by Ann and her sister Marie, and there have been discussions about names, colours, page layout and so on.  And now it's finished, printed, about to hit the shops.   It will be available through Rowan stockists, and can be pre-ordered through Baa Ram Ewe, who expect delivery mid-August.  But I have got a copy already - Ann had a few copies for herself, and gave one of them to me.  Lucky me!

It is a really delectable book, full of gorgeous designs in wonderful rich colours. It even feels nice. There's whole range of designs, from small pieces that you can practise the techniques on (mug warmer, iPad cover, headband), and a couple of designs for small children that would be very tempting if you had a small child handy.     And then there are the designs for women - several that I feel I want to start knitting immediately.

Field Study, from Stranded Knits

One of my favourites  is Field Study, which uses different patterns in two colours to give a very rich effect.  It's quite fitted and looks as though it would be flattering to wear.  As with several of the designs in the book, the yarn is Rowan's Felted Tweed - I have knitted a couple of things in that very successfully.

Hedgerow, from Stranded Knits

Another favourite is Hedgerow, where the richness of the colours is just stunning. Felted Tweed, again, in 7 colours (though I think it looks like more). 

These two are everyone else's favourites, too.  (An independent spirit, that's me.)  For people who aren't in Ravelry:  you can add a pattern that you especially like to your favourites, and when you are browsing patterns, you can see how many people have already marked it as a favourite.  Right now, Field Study  has over 900 favourites, and Hedgerow nearly 700.  It's astonishing - you can't even buy the book yet!       

I have knitted Fair Isle designs, a long time ago, but I think if I tackled these I should try to improve my technique - hold one yarn in each hand, for instance, and use steeks. (Eek!)  There is a very clear technical section in the book, which I think would give any reasonably experienced knitter all the help that they would need.  (Although of course, I also have Ann on hand on Tuesday evenings if I get stuck.) 

The photographs were taken by Verity Britton of Baa Ram Ewe in Leeds, who also did the photography for Ann's previous book, Born & Bred, and they are excellent.  The designs look gorgeous, and at the same time the details are very clear.  They were shot on location in Whitby on the Yorkshire coast - several of them have the grey North Sea in the background.   The man's hooded zip jacket was photographed on the replica of Captain Cook's ship, HMS Endeavour, in Whitby harbour, and is named after it.
Endeavour, from Stranded Knits
The names of several of the other designs are linked to Whitby.   Another favourite of mine (I'm allowed more than two, right?)  is Sylvia, named for the novel Sylvia's Lovers, by Elizabeth Gaskell, set in Monkshaven, a fictionalised version of Whitby.  

Sylvia, from Stranded Knits

And I had a hand in the naming of Pleiades, a starry hat, with matching fingerless mitts.

Pleiades, from Stranded Knits

There are several other delectable designs in the book, but you'll find them all in Ravelry.  (If you're a knitter and aren't in Ravelry, why not join it? It's free.)  One more I'd like to mention is Snowstar, which has the body in Pure Wool DK in a starry pattern on a dark background, and the sleeves and collar in Rowan's new Angora Haze yarn.   I have a special fondness for that one, because Ann gave me a piece of spare Angora Haze from it - I wrote about it here

Snowstar, from Stranded Knits
I have nearly finished Wetwang, from Born & Bred, and a couple of other projects that have been in progress for quite a while.  The next project will have to be one of these.  But which one to choose first?  

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