Review: The Alchemy of Color Knitting

The Alchemy of Color Knitting: the Art and Technique of Mastering Exquisite Palettes 9780307393555 by Gina Wilde is an attractive book that has 25 patterns that show off Alchemy yarns extremely well. This book is new enough you can’t see much in Ravelry. There are some good pictures on the KnitPicks site, but most of my favorites aren’t included.

The book explores color in different ways and each project has a color exercise, e.g. “combining analogous and complementary colors for harmony and contrast”. The author explains what is going on with the colors so that you can make your own choices (e.g. choosing different yarns in the same color with different textures). It is begins with an introduction to color theory and then has 3 sections: monochromatic color; working on the color wheel; and hue, value and intensity.

I really like the Chakra scarf. I have wanted to learn mitered knitting so this could be a good project. It uses cashmere/silk in a light solid, a dark solid, and a variegated yarn that goes with both the light and dark

There are two projects with dots that have some appeal — Music of Chance cardigan and i. Shibori messenger bag. I think I am more attracted to the colors in the bag than the design, although the silk/wool that fulls and the slipped silk that doesn’t is also nice. The sweater (like the Baby Dotty blanket in Mason Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines) appears to be made with variegated yarn. However, it actually is made of 3-4 feet lengths of solid colors which the knitter then changes. She explains at the back how to weave in ends as you go—I really need to learn how to do this.

While the photos are lovely, they sometimes seem to be essentially a detail of the same photo rather than showing a new angle. Additionally, sometimes they don’t show what is mentioned in the text. For example, both pictures of the Silk Road tank show virtually the exactly same angle. Neither shows the front, which the text says is “simply styled, leaving all the excitement for the back”. However, I can’t imagine making a garment without actually seeing the front. Also the Vallarta wrap is shown in such a way that the trim is hard to see, even though the text says “The piece changed completely, dramatically, once the near-complementary color was introduced.”

Some of the projects make nice use of doubling yarns for more complex effects. The Chromodevo pullover uses a single ply light worsted silk yarn and silk/mohair fingering yarn. The impressionists wrap uses two strands of the fine yarn to make intermediate colors to aid in the transitions. The Cutaway cardigan uses two variegated with a unifying color. Wilde states “The key is picking two colorways (or variegated yarns) that have at least one color in common, and if possible, share an analogous relationship.”

The Alchemists hat is knit with crochet embellishment in whatever colors and textures you have around. I think K might enjoy making this.

However, overall there are few patterns I specifically want and there are only a few interesting tidbits of technique, so it is a great book to check out from the library, but not to take up space at home.

Rating: 3


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