Episode #51: Color Knitting, The Easy Way

June 12, 2010

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Book Reviewed:

(Transcribed from Podcast Episode #51)

  • Ch. 1 Understanding Color, pgs 7-29 All about Color Theory and how to combine colors and how to apply color theory into your pieces.
  • Ch. 2 Mastering Color Knitting Techniques Using Stripes, “Knitter’s create mulit-color patterns the exact same ay they do simple, solid-colored fabrics – one stitch at a a time.” In this chapter you learn techniques such as how to start a new color, how to carry your yarns, working color knitting in the round (jogs) and how to cope with yarn tails. Followed by common stripe stitch patterns such as simple stripes, ripples and miters.  Next is a brief section titled, ‘The Designer’s Workshop,’ covering things such as striping sequence, matching up stripes in garments (for sleeves).  The chapter ends with a  ‘Pattern Treasury for Striped Stitches’ followed by 4 projects which put those stripes into action, a striped and textured child’s pullover, an adult sized  zip up, hooded striped cardigan, a baby sweater and my favorite, a mitered blanket.
  • Ch. 3 Creating Color Patterns Using Slip Stitches, This chapter is all about the slipped stitches… how to create not only beautiful color with slipped stitches but also wonderful texture as well, by working in Stockinette, Garter and Linen Stitch and also by creating texture by manipulating floats in slipped stitch knitting.  This chapter also has a brief ‘Designer’s Workshop’ section full of suggestions on how to utilize slipped stitches in color knitting.  Included are several pages of fantastic slipped stitch color patterns, followed by 5 projects such as a heavily textured clutch, a men’s pullover, a child’s dress a wine cozy and a heavy jacket for her.
  • The final section of this book is one we have come to expect in knitting and crochet books, a General Techniques section.  This section is often overlooked unless you are a new knitter in need of learning how to SSK or a seasoned knitter who has forgotten how to Kitchener.  However, this book offers a little more.  In fact, aside from the excellent instruction on color knitting, the fantastic stitch patterns and suggestions, I find the first 4 pages of the techniques section of this book to be required reading for knitters.  These 4 pages are all about charts.  Melissa has broken down charts for the intrepid knitter.  She likens reading knitting charts to learning a new language.  Translation, Grammar, Vocabulary… these must be understood before reading a chart and THIS may be why you resist learning to read a chart.

Overall: A wonderful book.  I wish I had this book way back when I first started knitting in color.  And, though this book is about color knitting in stripes and slipped stitches,  one color at a time, many of the techniques and advice can be applied to stranded knitting as well.

This book might have been 3 skeins but because of the color theory information, excellent instruction and general techniques section (charts), I give it 4 skeins.

Other Items Discussed:

Product Reviewed:

Boye Electric Yarn Ball Winder

Overall: Pretty Nifty.  100-240v, dial switch, huge suction cup base, simple machine, thread it and go.  At first, I considered this a novelty item, something to review for You.  Once it arrived, I must say, I had a lot of fun with it.  My winding time was cut in half and each cake was perfectly tensioned.  Speaking of cakes, I just can’t bring myself to call the end product a cake but instead, a can.  Traditional ball winders create squat cakes, this electric ball winder creates longer cylinders, much the size of a 12 oz. can of soda.

I love this thing and might give it 4 skeins but it really isn’t a necessity.  If most of your yarn purchases are skeins (as opposed to balls), do yourself a favor and try the Boye Electric Yarn Ball Winder.



  1. I like your skein rating system – easy to relate to, and, how appropro! I love that you review books, which certainly helps me decide which books are or are not for me. Thank.

  2. Kerri,

    Thanks so much for your podcast, I was finally able to listen today. Body image and weight is something I have struggled with for a few years now, I have been thinking about how to change it, like you it is more about getting more active again. Thanks for the final push I needed.

  3. Hi Kerri,
    I really enjoyed this episode and the methods of color knitting. It is something that I have not yet tried but am planning on doing this year.
    Thanks for the encouragement!
    Corddrymum on Ravelry

  4. I came here via your contest at ravelry, but am happily downloading your podcast as I type this. I was just needing a new knitting podcast to listen to!

  5. Thanks for the book review on color knitting, It was very informative. I’m ready to move on to color knitting and am definitely going to purchase the book. I like the new rating system too! :)

  6. love your reviews and podcast, saves me money while entertaining me!

  7. I look forward to each new podcast. I listen to many, but am always up to date with yours. Thanks for sharing your time and talents!

  8. Thanks for another great podcast!

  9. Thanks for the reviews, very useful.

    (I am goodstuff on Ravelry)

  10. What a wonderful blog you have here!
    I really enjoyed reading all your entries esp the reviews!
    Please keep up the great work. I will definitely be visiting your site more often.

  11. New listener here, and I am liking it so far! I will definitely be downloading older episodes and catching up!

  12. Kerri,

    I’ve been way behind on listening to podcasts lately but I’m so glad I got caught up with yours. I really enjoyied this episode and your frank discussion of body image which I always struggle with. I too was feeling the need for a bit of self-pampering so I signed up for the Three Irish Girls Sock Club. Thanks for the tip.


  13. Thanks for the review of the electric ball winder. It left me with a few questions: I really enjoy the feeling of the yarn playing over my hands as I wind the cakes, and I like being able to stop instantly if I encounter a knot or weak spot. Does the speed of the electric winder allow this? The cakes are easily stacked, the “cans” sound like they’d be more difficult to store neatly. Are they firm enough to stand on their own and be stacked? When working from them will they stay put the way cakes will?

    • I had the same concern because… knots happen ;-) The electric winder does not have a sensor to stop on its own but, if you are handling the yarn (and you should), you can stop the winder by turning the dial switch. I did this on two occasions. Agreed, cans are not as ‘stackable’ as the cakes. They would be best stored stacked on their sides, much like you would stack a ball of yarn. As for how the cans behave while knitting, I found them to stay put only fairly. Since they want to lay on their sides, they tend to roll as they become lighter. I used a home-made yarn bowl to remedy this though. This winder certainly isn’t for everyone but if you find yourself winding lots of yarn or you like gadgets, it may be for you.

  14. Kerrie,

    I enjoy the longer book reviews. It gives me a good look at the book, so I can make a decision about whether I have time to take a look. THANKS.

  15. thanks for reviewing the ballwinder; might just have to get that!

  16. Yes yes yes to a swap! Great episode

  17. Kerrie:

    I finally got a chance to listen to the rest of this podcast since DH left for a visit to our DGS#1&2 in Miami Beach. I’m supposed to be working…. right. I did a couple of errands and am knitting a 12 mo size baby hat for the new baby of a former colleague. I’ll get to the work. And cast on the other things I need to get going in between knitting for DDIL’s birthday next month.

    Anyhow, I like the longer book review — getting deeper into the book is more interesting. I don’t usually do any KALs but there’s a toy KAL on Ravelry I want to do this weekend (pattern in 3 pieces, assembly next week — so I have all the pieces to be knit already).

    I haven’t ever done any swaps. I guess I feel as if I would just as soon buy what I want and then knit for charity and mail those out (mailed two little packages today).

    Speaking of swaps, my cousin shared paperbackswap.com with me. She’s been passing her books along and getting books that way. Given how much reading of real books I do, I might try it. I’ll have to find books I want to pass on to others first, though. The house is overrun with books but I have a hard time giving them up, too.

    Oops. Your end music is playing, so I guess it’s time for me to get the work done that I have staring me in the face this weekend. **smile**


  18. Thanks for the review on the Boye electric ball winder. I have the Knitpicks ball winder now.
    The article on Melissa Leapman’s colorwork book was interesting.

    Knittingdancer on Ravelry

  19. I actually own the Boye Electric Ball Winder and would be lost without it. I could not afford a proper swift and winder (the good ones are over $200!) so I got this electric one with a 40% off coupon at Joanns. I love how it doesn’t keep winding if you’re snagged or slower assisting its task, it will just pause and let you do whatever before it detects the ease of tension and continues. I think my only complaint is the ball capacity. If trying to wind thicker yarn you sometimes have to cut the skein in half because the winder will slow the bigger the ball it is winding becomes. Other than that, until I can afford a proper one I enjoy my little Boye ball winder.

    • It is a great winder, I agree. I also just experience the bulky yarn issue. I normally don’t use bulky yarns but am swatching for a design to be felted and so bulky went up on the swift. The winding went great but as you note, as the (huge) ball grew bigger, the winder slowed. Still, it is a great gadget ^_^ Thanks for posting!

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