Monday, August 15, 2016

Jean reviews Self-Striping Yarn Studio Sweaters, Scarves, and Hats Designed for Self-Striping Yarn by Carol J. Sulcoski

Self-Striping Yarn Studio
Sweaters, Scarves, and Hats Designed for Self-Striping Yarn

Featuring Patterns from Fiona Ellis, Sandi Rosner, Brooke Nico, and more

Carol J. Sulcoski
author of Sock Yarn Studio and Lace Yarn Studio

This  book by the wonderful author Carol J. Sulcoski, is a part of her Yarn Studio series of books, preceded by Sock Yarn Studio and Lace Yarn Studio.
As it states on the back, the "Yarn Studio series...selects a category of yarn that's often misunderstood and provides clear and accessible technical instruction for using the yarn accompanied by more than 20 creative patterns."
In this, her latest book in the series, the reader will learn through the "extensive technical section how to use and manipulate self-striping yarn, gradients, and 
ply-shifters through detailed knitting illustrations and instructions, photographs of sample swatches, and example color charts--something no previous pattern collection has offered."
After learning the instructions and tips, the reader will look forward to trying one of the 25 new designs, 11 of which are easy, 12 intermediate, and 2 experienced. 
The knitter is offered patterns for shawls, scarves, sweaters, fingerless mittens, and more. Contributors include Marlaina "Marly" Bird, Barb Brown, Fiona Ellis, Erika Flory, Amy Gunderson, Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton, Patty Lyons, Elizabeth Morrison, Brooke D. Nico, Sandi Rosner, and Andi Smith as well as the author herself.
This brilliant book begins with lessons by the author on how to understand self-striping yarn. This is titled "all about self-striping yarn". It contains explanations of yarns which have different lengths of color in them and and what to expect from them, and it discusses true stripers versus gradients. It explain ply-shifters and has a section on troubleshooting. It discusses felted joins, which are useful for animal fibers, and has a section called "The Case of the Backward Skein". The author will fill you in on how to understand why your colors won't pop. too, and how to fix that. 
There is a discussion called "Matching Fiber to Project" which is very illuminating for a beginner and interesting in any case. The piece on pattern selection is explained extremely clearly and excites the reader's imagination, especially when we see the photos. Finally, the book's last opening piece is called "On Oddballs". 
This explains to the knitter what to do with all those little leftover bits of yarn: use them in stripers! And how to do it properly. 
Following the thorough first section, come the first projects, in a section called "fingering weight patterns". Knitters' eyes will light up with pleasure and delight at the designs shown. The first sweater, an intermediate project, is the Hexagon Sweater, with a pattern designed by Amy Gunderson. You will see a photo of the sweater being modeled, an explanation of how the color changes were made by the yarn itself, sizes, finished measurements, materials and tools required, gauge, and notes. In the following pages knitters will get the pattern stitches, the instructions for all the sections of the sweater, including the edging, and then on to the sizes. The knitters will be able to alter the sweater and knit any size from extra small to 2X/3X. This one sweater gets six pages of instructions plus an opening beauty photo.  And it is beautiful! 
Not all of the patterns have or need that many pages. For example, the Chamounix Mittens, designed by the author, with a skill level of easy, appear to have a Fair Isle look but as the author says, "the yarn does most of the work". They don't come in multiple sizes so they only require 2 pages of instructions. There is a full, adorable beauty shot of these mittens being worn, and a smaller picture of them lying in the sand by the seashore. It will be a snap for the knitter to picture making these for a friend for the holidays. They are knit in the round.
The next section is titled "dk weight patterns". This section contains a number of easy and intermediate patterns to try, from a tam to scarves, to a brightly striped jacket for a baby. The pretty pillow which winds it up is designed by the author. Called the "Hillaire Pillow", she says above the instructions, "Watch how the colors of this DK weight yarn repeat and play off against each other when they are knit multidirectionally." Just one more of the stunning offerings in this book you will want to try immediately, and it is in the easy skill level. The gorgeous colors of the yarn perfectly illustrate what the author meant when she explained in the beginning how to work your striped yarn to its best effect.
In the section called "worsted weight patterns", there is a lovely stole designed by Brooke D. Nico. It has a skill level of experienced. The description of it goes as follows: The rich colors of a self-striping yarn form the center motif of this shawl, which was inspired by a stitch pattern from a vintage counterpane. The long "wings" of the shawl wrap around you like a knitted hug. 
There is so much beauty in the color of this Sunflowers Stole the knitter will look forward to learning more and more until she can make it!
Carol J. Sulcoski is a wonderful teacher and designer. It is incredibly exciting to have her book, Self-Striping Yarn Studio, Sweaters, Scarves, and Hats, 
Designed for Self-Striping Yarn, the third in her "Studio" series, available for us to learn from and love. She and her contributors have created a stunning book for knitters everywhere! 

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