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Book Review

Book Review June 2018

Colourwork Knits by Dee Hardwicke

 

RRP £12.99 Colourway Price £11.69


 

      Austerity is a scary beast, and it affects us in lots of ways, When it comes to buying books we want to be sure that our money is well spent with designs we will actually knit. And designers like to play safe too, hence the return over the past few years to classic shapes, traditional yarns, and neutral conservative palettes, So....

HOORAH FOR DEE HARDWICKE

     Teresa and I were delighted when this new title appeared. Our shelves are crammed with some very lovely design books, but there is no getting away from the fact that apart from Kaffe Fassett  and Brandon Mably (who tend to use rather more colours in a garment than the average knitter feels comfortable about) the trend has been for designers not to stick their heads too far above the parapet. Dee Hardwicke has bucked that trend completely, she has leapt up on the parapet and is waving her knickers in the air!! All in the best possible taste of course, but this is knitwear which demands attention and gets it!

        circles flower sweater                    spring blossom cardigan                  boyfriend sweater

 

            One of the joys of this title, (particularly for those of who are interested in the whole design process and how it works from inspiration, through perspiration, to final product,) is the insight we are given into Dee Hardwicke's methodology. We are taken from her images of the natural world, realistic and reflecting her fine art training,, through to the process of colour selection and simplifying the images to create intarsia motifs, the design drawings and finally the lovely clear colour photographs.

The picture on the left shows the original plant, refined motif design and knitted swatch  from the cover design.

 

   Another favourite feature, for those of us with less than perfect eyesight, is the use of all this lovely vivid colour for creating charts to work from. In the past it has necessary to copy and enlarge charts, colour them in, even recreate them by hand or on the computer at a scale which doesn't send us cross-eyed. A thing of the past this...Dee's charts are light years ahead of  the rest, practically full size or more.

 

Yarns and Techniques

The main yarns used in Colourwork Knits are Rowan Valley Tweed DK, Rowan Alpaca Soft DK, Rowan Felted Tweed DK and Rowan Felted Tweed Aran, all nationally available and from us at 20% less than the manufacturer's recommended price. If you wish to substitute another yarn then a good place to start is our Tension Tables link here or at the foot of each of our website pages.

Last but not least, one of the few aspects of this book which disappoints (me at least) is the lack of a clear visual instruction section for intarsia technique. Most fairly novice knitters can manage the stocking stitch, simple rib, garter stitch and moss stitch which are the predominant ones used for the garments, plus simple making and slipping stitches for shaping. However it is much easier to understand intarsia if it is a new or rusty skill with some sort of visual component. You can check your other books and magazines, or there are lots of excellent You Tube tutorials. You will find one of many below.