First, the facts:
Authors: Meg Swansen & Amy Detjen
Published by: Schoolhouse Press, 2011
2. Getting Started
3. Garment Construction
4. Designing Your Own
The In-Depth Look:
You can almost always be confident, when ordering a book from Schoolhouse Press, that you’re going to get something thorough, detailed, and full of creative, useful ideas–and this book is no exception.
The book is introduced, “Many of the following techniques were included in the book we produced with Joyce Williams in 2000, Sweaters from Camp. We have augmented that section with many more tips and tricks, both unique and gleaned. The contents are relevant to knitting with two colors as well as most other types of knitting. … We hope this book may help to sharpen your two-color skills so that none of the world’s color-knitting traditions will be out of reach–and that you may be inspired to be a designer.”
Now, I don’t have a copy of “Sweaters from Camp” to compare to, but I’ve read lots of instructions on color-stranding in the past, and this is definitely one of the best. From generally talking about techniques and how to hold your different yarns, it moves to specifics about how to use two colors in an actual garment. What type of ribbing to use. How to use a steek. How to fit a color pattern into a garment. How to increase/decrease inside a color pattern. How to design your own sweater.
Obviously, at 64 pages, this isn’t a book about designing. But it does tell you how to fit a color pattern into a design. This book is about what you need to know to knit with two colors, and it delivers. But it also sticks to its focus.
This book not only has a thorough index (which you know I love), but also an index to let you know the source for each swatch shown throughout the book. This is particularly handy if you fall in love with one of them–you’ll be able to track down what garment/ pattern/ book/ designer it came from. Because there are lots of swatches shown throughout. Color ones, nonetheless. (Because who likes a knitting book with all black and white photos?)
I’ve never read a book by Amy Detjen before, but I know Meg Swansen’s work from her books and from countless articles in Vogue Knitting and elsewhere. There’s genius at work here–or if not genius, the results of innumerable hours of knitting experience. I’ve been knitting for over 20 years and read a lot about knitting (as you probably know), and there are tips in this book I’ve never seen before. It’s small but mighty.