Book review and giveaway: Knitting with the Color Guys

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Today I’m reviewing Knitting with The Color Guys: Inspiration, Ideas, and Projects from the Kaffe Fassett Studio by Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably.  I also be giving away my review copy, courtesy of Sixth & Spring Books.

I first became aware of Kaffe Fassett when I was quilting.  His colorful and creative quilting projects were always calling to me from the bookshelves.  (Whenever I would look more closely at his books, I would realize how much work was involved with the projects, and immediately return the books to the shelves.)  I only became aware of his knitting work in the last year or so.  I wasn’t very familiar with Brandon Mably’s work until I picked up this book.

The concept: Two masters take you on a journey into their creative process as it relates to color, with a focus on projects that are not garments.  These projects are then artfully photographed at the lovely house of a friend “deep in the English countryside,” along with colorful pictures of various inspirations (e.g., a bouquet of flowers, porcelain urns).

Organization: Following individual introductions from Kaffe and Brandon, the book is organized into four color palettes: Soft Tones, Singing Color, Moody Hues, and Rich Shades.  In each section, each project is described by the designer and photographed along with various inspiration pieces.  The patterns follow the descriptions in each section.  At the end of the book, there is a section called Useful Information, which includes brief descriptions of color knitting techniques (Intarsia and Fair Isle), duplicate stitch, and finishing methods, along with the standard pattern book information (yarn standards, pattern abbreviations, etc.).

The projects:

Pattern difficulty

Beginner: 1; Easy: 10; Intermediate: 10; Experienced: 12

Project types

Scarves/Stoles: 12

Cushions: 8

Blankets/Throws: 6

Fingerless gloves/armwarmers: 2

Legwarmers: 2

Hat: 1

Most patterns use some form of color chart, although 7 use written pattern directions only.  Fourteen of the patterns make a suggestion for the colorwork technique to use (9 for Intarsia, 5 for Fair Isle) and the others include no specific instruction.

Summary

The book has a lot of interesting visual inspiration and more discussion of the design process than is the norm.  There are some instructions, but the authors expect you to know how to knit and how to decide what color work technique to use when they haven’t recommended one.

I found the home decor items striking and could see how even one such piece could definitely “make a room.”  Some of the wearables are lovely, but my New Yorker sensibilities were overwhelmed by the two coordinated sets.

The verdict

This is one of those books that you will probably love or hate, depending on your general response to the work of Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably.  In addition to the patterns, the book can be used as a design inspiration book/mood board or a coffee table book.  If you are drawn to these projects, bring your skills or expect to learn the techniques elsewhere.

Full disclosure: A free review copy of this book was provided by the publisher. Although I accept free books for review, I do not accept additional compensation from the publisher, nor do I guarantee a positive review.  My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions. This also post contains affiliate links. You can read my affiliate and review disclosures here.

The Giveaway

I’m giving away my review copy of Knitting with The Color Guys: Inspiration, Ideas, and Projects from the Kaffe Fassett Studio by Kaffe Fassettand Brandon Mably, courtesy of Sixth & Spring Books, to one reader with a mailing address in the United States.  The winner will be chosen at random.

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