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Alice Starmore's Charts for Color Knitting: New and Expanded Edition (Dover Knitting, Crochet, Tatting, Lace) Paperback – September 22, 2011
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About the Author
4 Questions with Alice Starmore: An Exclusive Dover Interview
Alice Starmore has a fascinating tale to tell. We spoke to the author of the #1 crafts bestseller Alice Starmore's Book of Fair Isle Knitting about her knitting background, professional start, and more.
Clearly, knitting is a deeply ingrained facet of the culture of Scotland's Outer Hebrides. Did your mother teach you to knit?
My mother taught me to knit when I was very young. She was a dressmaker as well as a knitter and our house was a place of constant creativity. I was also born at a time when most women knitted as a matter of course, and I had three aunts who had been fisher girls in their youth and were experts at making traditional fishermen's gansies.
I understand that your first language is Gaelic — do you still speak it?
Yes I still speak Gaelic. The Isle of Lewis, where I live, is in the Outer Hebrides — the heartland of Gaelic and the only place where you will hear the language in everyday use.
How did you get your start professionally?
I designed a small collection of knitwear in 1975 and successfully sold it in London boutiques. It was featured in a national newspaper and from that small beginning my knitting career evolved in ways that were quite unimaginable to me when I began.
Your books are known and loved around the world, and you've adapted design elements from the textile arts of many countries into your repertoire. Are you still discovering "new" aspects of knitting and fabric arts from other cultures?
I am interested in everything. I find inspiration in all aspects of the world around me. There is enough inspiration in the natural world on my doorstep to last many lifetimes. I am also inspired by art, culture, history, science and music. My own culture features widely in my design work but I have always been interested in other cultures and in other places. My main problem is that I cannot possibly live long enough to produce work from the amount of ideas that come into my head.
Top Customer Reviews
If you like to knit, you may be the sort that branches out from recipe-patterns and adapts them to your own tastes, or you may be a designer who starts from scratch or nearly from scratch and wants a source of two color patterns to blend into a knitted design.
The patterns run from the traditional geometric OXO Fair Isle with "Peeries" or the smaller, narrow bands with small stitch repeats, going only up a few rows. These are traditionally put between bands of the larger OXO. There are also patterns derived from nature: flowers, birds, berries. Of course, there are pictures of finished work to give you inspiration or just for the joy of their beauty.
In particular, if you are an aficionado of colorwork, there are patterns that are derived from various cultures such as the Peruvian motifs and my personal favorite, the geometric designs of the Komi, Sami, Latvian, Estonian and other northern peoples from Eastern Europe and Western Asia. These designs are particularly interesting as they take advantage of a peculiarity of stockinette (flat) knitting done either circularly (all knit) or knit-purl flat knitting. In this case, the stitch to row ratio is 5:7 meaning if you do five rows, it takes seven of them to make a square bit of knitting.Read more ›
The first 25ish pages cover a few potential colorwork layouts (allover patterns, horizontal bands, center panel, etc) but does not provide any in-depth instructions for specific patterns or the actual technique of two-color knitting.
The bulk of the book is about 125 pages of crystal clear black and white charts that resemble those on the bottom half of the cover of the book (with slightly smaller squares). They range from basic to amazingly complex large repeat patterns. They are arranged by country of origin then a few random categories (birds and flowers, etc) at the end. The last few pages of the book is pure eye-candy. Gorgeous examples of colorwork sweaters that come directly from the charts included in the book.
I highly recommend this to anyone who is ready to tackle a colorwork project. If you are not familiar with construction techniques, you'll also want a guide on construction of garments (any of Elizabeth Zimmermann's books would serve you well here) to accompany this reference.
I wish it had a few more full sweater patterns worked out in several sizes and, more color and, above all, clearer explanations as to pattern setting and sizing.
I think Ms. Starmore is such an expert she maybe doesn't realize many of her readers do not have here level of expertise and need to be guided in a more step by step manner.
In any case, I'm happy I bought it, and would recommend it if you have the level to desing your own sweaters and do not need a detailed pattern to follow when knitting.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I probably should have studied the reviews more carefully - This is not a 'bad' book, it just falls short in a lot of areas. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Johnny Freud
I thought the charted designs were rather blah, nothing like the spectacular color work patterning from the author's other books with patterns for Fair Isle sweaters. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
You have to have this book great for Xstitch and crochet filet designsPublished 12 months ago by FRANCOISE BEAUCHAMP
Wonderful book! A must for anyone interested in fair isle/color knitting. Great companion to Alice Starmore's "Book of Fair Isle Knitting. Read morePublished 12 months ago by D. Taylor