I have been quietly beavering away here for the past few months on several projects and, following a quiet spell on the KNITSONIK blog, now have so much to say, I’m not quite sure where to start. The most important news item is that the KNITSONIK Stranded Colourwork Playbook and its twin – the KNITSONIK Playbook Colouring Companion – are now available to pre-order. Orders placed now will be processed by the end of March 2018. I’m really proud of these books and it has been hard to keep them under wraps for the last few months, so expect an explosion of stranded colourwork and coloured-in drawings on my social media channels in coming days.
The KNITSONIK Stranded Colourwork Playbook
This second book is very much a sequel to my first book, the KNITSONIK Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook, and some of the themes may seem familiar. Like its predecessor, it is all about celebrating everyday life in stranded colourwork. The projects inside continue to speak to some of my favourite and long-standing quotidian obsessions like bricks, roads, weeds and flowers…
…however, where the first book was all about swatching to develop your own palettes, patterns and motifs, this second book is all about filling up your life with stranded colourwork to use, to share, and – of course – to wear.
I wanted this second book to continue in a similar vein to the first – to celebrate creative process and to get you playing with palettes, patterns and shading schemes that hold significant personal meaning. Additionally, having taught many KNITSONIK workshops in the years since my Sourcebook was published, I wanted the designs in this book to speak to some of the recurring questions that arise in my classes. Finally, The KNITSONIK System has been adopted and enhanced by the amazing community of knitters who use it and I wanted this book to shine a light on some of the work that has grown out of this rich, collective context.
The result is a book of projects that includes patterns by me and my friends. The collection spans a broad range of inspiring themes, practical issues and approaches for working with stranded colourwork. Each design is presented with beautiful photos, drawings and notes that enable you to customise it to reflect the things and places that matter to you.
In the book you’ll learn how to draft your own International knitted correspondence with my amazingly talented friends, Muriel Pensivy (France) and Yumi Shimada (Japan)…
…how to produce stranded colourwork bunting with your knit-buddies with my friends Liz Ashdowne (who wrote the KNITSONIK pattern for our wedding)…
…and Deborah Gray (who was at the first ever KNITSONIK workshop and who’ll show you how to work flags two-at-a-time in her beautiful Willow Pattern china inspired design)…
…you’ll also meet many other friends from the online KNITSONIK community who participate in #TarmacTuesdays…
…and discover how to turn the textures of your town into a cowl with an easily customisable and minimalist design…
…the book also explores scale and proportion when working with motifs, in a series of differently-sized device cosies developed with the help and input of my friends Judith Daykin and Melanie Patton…
…and in the final chapter, you’ll find out how to produce a stunning shawl based on your favourite flower. For this last project I’m joined by my friend Judith Daykin, and we speak about adapting palettes and patterns to suit your individual style and flavour. My friend Tom van Deijnen also helped with this last chapter, knitting an enormous sample that celebrates Dandelions. There are a lot of technical WhatsApp conversations threaded through those rings of colour and we discovered, while trying to style them, that they encourage you to throw many foolish shapes, including the being butterflies pose and the look, I’m peeping at you from inside my shawl pose.
The KNITSONIK Playbook Colouring Companion
Working on the Playbook, I thought very carefully about what kinds of tools I could provide to sit beside the main book and support the customisation of the designs. Those of you who have come to my workshops will know I am not a fan of spending many hours carefully plotting out hyper-detailed coloured charts on squared paper, prior to knitting: just casting on and swatching away seems almost as speedy to me! But, if you know the design you wish to knit and merely want to play with colours and shading schemes before you buy any yarn, wouldn’t a drawing of the motif that resembles the shapes of knitted stitches be useful? Why yes I think it would!
And wouldn’t it be nice to be able to briefly get an impression of how your overall design might look once knitted, through the use of a nice schematic?
The Playbook Colouring Companion contains simplified versions of all the motifs and schematics from the main book for you to colour-in before you start to knit.
I thoroughly enjoyed colouring in pages to feature on the front cover of the book and I think that you will too!
If you follow me on instagram, you’ll know that this last year has been tough for me, healthwise. The psoriatic arthritis I’ve had since I was 19 has re-inflamed itself to the max, impacting my ability to work, my schedule, and my wellbeing. Developing these books in that context has been an immense source of joy and uplift. I feel immensely grateful for the atmosphere of love and support within which I have been able to create them, and my whole team of collaborators has been AMAZING. Therefore I’d like to say a massive shout out to Nic Blackmore – designer extraordinaire and peerless book doula; Fergus Ford – my photographer and little brother, who brings some special sibling magic to the images; Kate Davies – editor of dreams and voice of encouragement; Rachel Atkinson – my careful and enabling tech-editor; Cecilia Hewett – the queen of grammar, proofreading and correct comma-usage; and Mark Stanley for all the many ways in which he has lifted up this work. Also, shout out to the massively talented knitters – Deborah Gray, Judith Daykin, Liz Ashdowne, Melanie Patton, Muriel Pensivy, Tom van Deijnen and Yumi Shimada – whose labours have hugely reduced pressure on my hands whilst knitting the designs. Enormous thanks also to Jamieson & Smith for providing the magnificent material basis for all my work. Your Shetland 2-ply Jumper Weight is the best, it is the sunshine on every rainy day. The reason I can remember so many of the colour numbers is that I HEART THEM SO!
Finally – and well done for making it this far in this monster blog post! – I’d like to say enormous thanks to you. As I hope this post shows, my KNITSONIK ideas are not developed in a cultural vacuum, but in a rich, collective context. Big thanks to all the comrades who bring questions, ideas and creativity to my workshops and who join in with my games on instagram. I hope this book returns some of the immense joy given me by this wonderful, creative community and – best of all – that it provides more opportunities for us to PLAY!
If you are coming to the EYF, you will be able to see all the knitted samples from the KNITSONIK Stranded Colourwork Playbook on Sunday at Meet The Shepherd/ess. I will also have some of the original drawings from the colouring book to show you, and all the swatches developed in the process of working on the book. Tickets for Meet The Shepherd/ess are still available here.
I’ll also bring the swatches developed in the production of the book to all my workshops and am very excited for more rounds of Quotidian Colourwork and Colours of Edinburgh! Those of you coming to my classes my like to see these posts for an idea of what to expect: Quotidian Colourwork, Colours of Edinburgh.
I will not have any copies of the book at the festival for sale – unfortunately the timings just haven’t worked out – so the quickest way to get the book is to pre-order it through my website here!
YOURS IN FURTHER SELF-PUBLISHING ADVENTURES AND KNITTING ALL THE THINGS IN STRANDED COLOURWORK,