Knitting Book Reviews

Knitter’s Guide to Combining Yarns
by Kathleen Greco and Nick Greco

I saw this book and thought it sounded interesting–a book devoted to knitting different yarns together for different effects. Considering how much I like to “customize” my own knitting, this sounded fascinating.

The book starts with a look at different types of yarn and fiber. Nicely done, but not anything I haven’t seen before.

That, though, was followed by a recap of the way the Color wheel works–the basics, the concept of complimentary colors, analagous colors, and what can happen when you add white or black to the mix. All supplemented with nice illustrations with pictures of actual yarns, and what they look like when knitted together.

I’ve never seen color analysis done in quite that way, and found it interesting and helpful.

The next chapter talks about more basic kinds of things–yarn gauge, fiber, weight, definition. All the things you need to consider when you’re substituting yarns. Again, a lot of this is information I’ve seen elsehwere also, but it’s well presented and clearly explained. The section on what to expect when knitting two strands together was definitely interesting.

All this “front matter” is all well and good. It’s informative, and instructional, but not earth-shaking. But it’s also not the real highlight of the book.

The best, most fun part of this book is the “Yarn Pairings.” Swatch after swatch after swatch of two different yarns knit together–just so you can see what the possibilities look like. There are two swatches for every combination. One, with both strands held together and knitted in stockinette stitch, and Two, knit in alternating garter stitch ridges. The yarns used vary in size, fiber, and texture, so there’s a lot of variety in the samples you’re looking at–boucle, ribbon yarns, cotton, silk, wool, smooth, rough … they’re all in there.

These 300 swatches are, to me, the entire point of the book. They are sorted by color combinations and are just, well, fun to look at. (”So, that’s what orange and blue look like when they’re knitted together?”)

There are a few patterns in this book, too. Eight of them, to be exact. A sweater, a couple bags, a scarf … They’re okay, I guess, but really, I’m too busy browsing through all the nifty colors to really look at them … So many pretty colors…

The photos in the book are clear and detailed–which, in a book like this, is vital. There’s an index at the back, and a table of contents at the front, but, again, it’s the swatches that make this book worth the effort. I don’t know how often I’ll really refer to it, but like a good stitch dictionary, it’s bound to come in handy for sheer inspiration once in a while.

Reviewed by Deb Boyken

Deb has been knitting since 1987 and has accumulated quite a collection of knitting books over the years. Her website, Knitting Scholar, can be found at http://knittingscholar.com.

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