Knitting Book Reviews

Knitter’s Guide to Hand-Dyed and Variegated Yarn
by Lorna Miser

You all know Lorna of course, so I don’t know how much I need to say about …

Wait, what? You don’t know her? Yes, of course you do! You’ve heard of Lorna’s Laces yarns, right?

Yes. THAT Lorna.

So, when I tell you this book is all about choosing and using multi-colored yarns, you know she knows what she’s talking about.

She does, too. In fact, this book is a piece of multi-colored genius. So much detail! The focus of the book is helping you, the reader, use your hand-dyed and variegated yarn to its best effect. Long color repeats? Subtle changes? She explores them all, from the different dyeing techniques used to get the colors to how to get your knitting to do what you want it to do, without any unfortunate color pooling. Just like anything else, it helps to understand the subtleties to make things work.

This is NOT a book on dyeing. It’s dedicated to a knitter who loves hand-dyed yarn and wants to work with it. Lorna says in her preface, “My hope is that this book will empower knitters to make informed decisions about how to show variegated yarns to their best advantage even before beginning a project, so they avoid disappointments and gain satisfaction with the beautiful color combinations and the exciting creative possibilities these yarns offer.”

She starts by telling you how to analyze your skein of yarn and determine what type of pattern would be best for it–how to decide whether it’s better suited to short rows or long, colorwork or stockinette. Things like that.

The next chapter tells how to blend skeins of similar, but still mismatched yarns (since hand-dyeing does mean there can be some dramatic variation from skein to skein). Texture comes next–using stitches that add texture (like bobbles) or use slipped or floating stitches to break up any pooling, while drawing the eye to the colors. You can also knit your multi-colored yarn along with a solid color to add interest. Lace–something often ignored by hand-dyed yarns–is mentioned, too, along with using the same color in different yarn types and weights.

I can’t think of anything she missed.

Along with the explanations of WHAT to do, she gives stitch patterns to play with as well as full patterns for everything from gloves to hats to sweaters to socks to afghans. There are about two patterns for each chapter and run the gamut of pattern “types.” Adult, kid, accessory, clothing.

Photographs throughout are gorgeous, beautifully capturing the colors of the yarns. The text is readable and helpful, and filled with so much detail I need to go back and reread the whole thing all over again. It’s got a good table of contents, and a good index, and doesn’t waste a lot of pages telling you how to knit.

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

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