Book review: Alchemy of color knitting

Filed under: book review,Family,french,Knitting — September 15, 2009 @ 12:11 pm

Booh, tryed to order some yarn from Phildar (quite exceptional for me, but my grandmother asked I crochet a blanket for her) online today, and it took forever. At 7am !! I tried yesterday but it wouldn’t even let me log in.
Can’t they get a decent server ? :-/ It seems there’s no Phildar store in Grenoble any more so that’s the easier option.. in theory.

Anyways. Life is busy in a nice way these days. The girls are getting used to their new school and new life, and we all love our new lifestyle. SO cool also to have a separate office to work, makes all the difference for me !

I was very lucky to win a copy of “The alchemy of color knitting” from the Craftzine blog a couple weeks ago. It’s a very interesting book and will be on my “top books” shelf. I thought I’d share a little review:
I’ll start with a funny anecdote: when I first opened the book, the picture of that pretty sleeve made me immediatly think “Synchronicity” (the yarn I used for my Felicie chokers): I checked, and Bing, yes for sure that’s what it was. The silky rounded texture couldn’t be mistaken. (and it made me feel like a yarn expert… ;-)
On a second look, I realised that the author of the book is Gina Wilde, creative director of Alchemy yarns. I exchanged a few emails with her a few years ago, trying to get a deal on some yarn for my choker design. Didn’t work in the end but still it feels like I “know” her a little… ;-)

Anyhow, with all this, you’ve probably already understood: all the projects in the book are made with Alchemy yarns. She does give a list of substitutes at the end of the book though.
Now, onto the things that I like:
– the book reads very easily, and is full of info, big and small, on color. You’ll learn the theory of color complements ect, along with the signification of red in countries around the world… It was really a pleasure to read. I’m still not too sure if I actually learnt something that will be usefull because I work mostly by instinct, but at least it put words on some personal intuitions. An again, it was a pleasure to read. (sorry I didn’t take any pics of that section, but you’ll find pretty color wheels, and examples of color combinations with scrumptuous hanks of Alchemy yarn)
– Some of the patterns are Oh-so-very-pretty and make me want to cast on right away. They’re feminine, original, with pretty details (I love the diamonds inserts on that yellow long cardigan). And the colors are strikingly beautiful.
-You’ll learn a couple fun techniques, especially if you’re a novice knitter, such as shibori effect via felting different yarns.
– Each chapter and project is organised to show how to apply the color theory to a particular project, and I thought that was smart.
However, there’s a few things I like less:
– Because I was tempted to cast on right away for a couple projects, I started to look at the instructions for those projects, see how they are constructed. And booh, I was dissapointed. :-/
I mean, yes that scarf is amazing. But who will knit about 130 petals separately and then assemble them one by one ? I know I’ll do it differently if I knit it.
That beautiful red felted tote is striking and I’d love to make it. Except for the way it’s constructed, with panels felted separately and then sewed afterwards. I totally wouldn’t do it that way.
– When I saw that green-red-brown scarf, I thought “Wow, I’m curious to see how she achieves those ridges”. Once again, I was disapointed. Plain intarsia, with a crocheted ridge added on later.
– Same with that pretty superfine mohair green and blue sweater. Looking for a smart construction to achieve the applied icord, I saw none. The sweater is knit as square, then you pull some parts with a length of yarn to create the ruffling effect, and sew icord on top. I’m certainly biased here, but I expected something more satisfying on a technical level. It’s probably easier and more accessible to beginner knitters though ! ;-)

Finally a few things you might want to know:
– This is not a how-to-knit book. The author assumes you know the basics (which is a plus to me, no need for basics in every single book from your library !)
– Several projects include some degree of crochet finishing. And there are no schematics to explain how to crochet.


  1. Penny:

    HI Sylvie!

    I’ve been meaning to leave you a comment for a while wishing you all the best with your new home. I’m so pleased the girls area happy in their new school and that you’ve found a place you all feel at home.

    Penny :)

  2. yvette:

    Hi Sylvie
    There may still be a Phildar store at Grande Place Grenoble, I know the one in the centre of town is closed.
    Good luck finding your yarn.

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