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Book Review: The Essential Guide to Color Knitting Techniques by Margaret Radcliffe and 200 Knitted Blocks by Jan Eaton

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Today we are looking at a couple of knitting books specifically devoted to color knitting.

First up is The Essential Guide to Color Knitting Techniques by Margaret Radcliffe. This massive book contains everything you could ever need to know about color knitting. The book opens with a chapter on color basics – learning about primary, secondary, and tertiary colors; how to choose color combos; creating color sample cards, using marled yarns, and more.

The rest of the chapters are divided up by technique: “Stripes,” “Pattern Stitches,” “Multicolor Yarns,” “Stranded Knitting,” “Intarsia,” “Other Techniques,” and “Finishing Touches” (which isn’t necessarily color-centric, but offers unique ways to make I-cord, pompoms, fringe, and other embellishments).

Each chapter is bulging with tips, tricks, and techniques; dozens and dozens of beautifully colored swatches which show everything from color combos to what a certain pattern will look like when knit with different textured yarns. Each chapter includes a pattern or two – none are particularly innovative, but they each incorporate techniques learned in that chapter. Intarsia charts and a “stitch dictionary” for different patterns are also plentiful.

Next is 200 Knitted Blocks by Jan Eaton. It’s not exactly 200 different patterns – some patterns are presented in different color combinations and counted as separate patterns. Even still, it is an impressive collection of patterns. Each block is a six-inch square that is meant to be sewn together with other blocks to create afghans.

The variety is astonishing. Stripes, cables, abstract intarsia, simple eyelet and lace, cables, diagonal stripes, bobbles, dots, beads. Flat squares, textured squares, squares with knitted appliqués, mitered stripes, stranded knitting, textured colorwork… the list goes on. The book includes a handful of pre-plotted afghan patterns, so that you can easily create complex geometric patterns by focusing on one square at a time. There are also instructions on how to plot your own pattern. Personally, I kind of just want to knit a bunch of random squares with leftover yarn and see what I can come up with.

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