book review graphic
Back in the summer, I went on a binge of reading about color knitting, especially how best to work with hand-dyed yarns. I thought I’d read all there was to know …

until …

Artful Color, Mindful Knits by Laura Bryant

Artful Color, Mindful Knits by Laura Bryant

I bought Artful Color and Mindful Knits: the definitive guide to working with hand-dyed yarns written by Laura Militzer Bryant. Wow! Does she know what she’s talking about … and does she know how to make art out of her knitting.

Back in the mid-80s, Bryant started hand-dying yarns commercially which led her to start up her own company, Prism Yarns. For over 30 years, Bryant has been working with dyes … and fibers … and knitting … and crocheting … and honing her amazing knitting-artistry. She’s been teaching workshops on all this for the past 10 years or so.

And now, she’s written “the definitive guide” to how to make the yarn work the way the knitter/designer really wants it to work.

With great detail, clear instructions and tons of anecdotal evidence, Bryant leads the reader thru her art — determining the repeat of a hand-dyed and using it to best advangtage in a final product. The concept of determining length of repeat, type of repeat and other techniques takes 30+ pages to explain … accompanied by great diagrams and images to illustrate her point. This is not for the beginner knitter … but for the knitter who wants a challenge, has time to be mindful (not on auto-pilot) with his/her knitting, and really wants to create art. It can be a bit of a puzzler the first read-thru part 1; but it makes sense after trying a project or two. Conveniently, the rest of the book is devoted to developing these techniques thru progressively more detailed garments …

from simple scarves:

argyle-like knitting on the left and crocheted striping on the right

argyle-like knitting on the left and crocheted striping on the right

to wraps and shawls

a stitch pattern comes to life by knitting the colors in a mindful way

a stitch pattern comes to life by knitting the colors in a mindful way

to intricate, woven-like jackets (you’d think they were intarsia-ed … but it all comes from the same skein(s) of yarn:

love, love, love this jacket with it's artful color placemtn

love, love, love this jacket with it’s artful color placement

to an amazing top/skirt combo that looks like argyle but it’s all in how you knit the pieces:

skirt and top combo ... a delicate argyle patterning all from a single colorway

skirt and top combo … a delicate argyle patterning all from a single colorway

Throughout the book, Bryant gives you the benefit of her copious years of experience dealing with hand-dyed yarns: tips on how to use multiple skeins in a project … tips on fixing the little blips that pop up (due to the nature of hand-dyes) … tips on knowing which stitch pattern will work (or not) with the yarn.

This book truly is the definitive guide to working with hand-dyes, to avoid unintentional pooling/striping, to show the one-of-a-kind yarn to its best advantage. Seriously, this is one to have on your knitter’s reference shelf.sig block

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