Book Review - Colorwork Shawls by Melanie Berg
The second shawl book by designer Melanie Berg has arrived. This time with a Colourwork leaning. Colorwork Shawls presents a selection of Melanie's best loved shawls along with some new designs created especially for the book. The book contains 12 designs featuring a myriad of different techniques for using colour. Slip stitches, mosaic patterns, gradients and fun colour combos. Included are professional tips from the designer, like finding the right colour or how to work specific techniques.
There are some stunning designs in this book which will get us all reaching for our favourite colour skeins. These projects would look great in our favourite yarns, so below I have put together a little run through of the designs with some yarn suggestions.
First up is My Cryptonite. A large sized triangular shawl with blocks of bold lace and garter stitch stripes. Perfectly simple but striking in design. Knit sideways creating an asymmetrical “spine” throughout the shawl. Try some contrasting colours here like the shockingly bright Hedgehog Fibres Skinny Singles paired with the dark moody tones of Black Elephant Merino Singles.
Next we have All Paths Lead Home. A bold triangular shawl featuring panels of graphic vertical stripes, fringed in large lacey panels. A classic triangular shape, this would look great in Fyberspates Vivacious 4ply, the high twist of this yarn giving great definition to the stripes and lace panels.
5190 Miles is next A daring two colour design that celebrates large blocks of contrasting colours. A shell pattern is repeated several times over simple to knit garter stitch. This design would look great in the luscious Kettle Yarn Beyul's blend of Merino, Silk and Yak.
Gentle Hug is a really cosy looking DK shawl. I'm in love with contrast trellis stitch detail created by carrying the yarn along the front and knitting it on the next row. It creates a very sophisticated detail offset against a one colour honeycomb stitch. Try this one in John Arbon Knit by Numbers DK, a whole array of colours to choose from you will find the perfect combination and it's deliciously soft.
Grellow is a State of Mind. A simple mediative knit, a great project for an enthusiastic beginner. With the only slightly complex piece being the end lace panel. The shawl is mainly made up of garter stitch. Designed for a self gradient yarn, you could achieve a more controlled effect by gathering together a bunch of Black Elephant Minis and build up your own fade.
Maivember is a playful combination of colour work and purl texture. This gives you a great opportunity to play with bright contrasting colours. Or experiment with something more subtle. The 'brickwork' motif running in blocks carries the colour through into each section. Choose some lights and darks for a statement contrast or less subtle closer tones. A hand dyed merino single is called for here, so dip into our selection of Hedgehog Fibres Skinny Singles and Black Elephant Merino Singles.
Eifelgold is a simple but strikingly effective two colour shawl. Mosaic stitch gives you a graphic two colour design but only one colour is worked on each row at a time. So not overly complex to produce but the end result looks stunning. These mosaic patterns are surrounded by bands of relaxing garter stitch giving a great background for the mosaic panels to shine. If you are looking for an earthy combination try Hillesvåg Sølje or like Maya, who couldn't resit the lure of the handyded yarn it would look equally as stunning in the Black Elephant Merino Singles.
Moonraker is a playful take on mixing colours offering you endless possibilities. Keep it as subtle as you like or take advantage of those pops to go really bright and cheerful. This shawl has a simple construction with sections of garter stitch broken up with slip stitch rows, creating those shell like pops of colour. Choose a plump 4ply for Moonraker like the lustrous The Fibre Co. Cumbria a gorgeous lush blend of Masham wool, Merino and Mohair.
The Miller's Daughter is a stunning classic! An exciting project for the enthusiastic beginner, still interesting for the more experienced ones. Sections of garter stitch are followed by a simple lace pattern giving a striking effect. Worked in a lace weight yarn, for a rustic look choose The Fibre Co. Meadow in Merino, Baby Llama, Silk and Linen, or for a sleek and shiny finish choose Fyberspates Scrumptious Lace in Merino and Silk. Either or The Miller's Daughter will end up as a staple piece in your wardrobe, a true heirloom shawl with its timeless design.
Sparks of Grey is a lovely duo-tone shawl knit down and out from the top centre, creating a symmetrical triangle shawl with a flair for texture. Slipped stitches create the two-colour pattern, while the wide ribbed border adds a romantic, ruffled touch. Choose the naturally dyed G-uld Alpaca for this one and you will end up with a shawl that not only keeps your shoulders but also your heart warm.
True Colours is a feast for the eye, whether your style is bold, elegant, playful, or simply unique, you'll find this asymmetrical triangle shawl to be the perfect playground for your personality. It knits up to a generous size, with a simple lace pattern creating a stunning scalloped effect. Eyelet stripes separate gradient colour bands, which become the accent colour when the scheme is reversed near the end. This is on Maya's to-knit list and she will be knitting it in the gorgeous naturally dyed G-uld No4 held double stranded, another alternative is the deep colours of Hillesvåg Sølje.
And finally there is Ropedance, cords of contrasting colour twine across Ropedance, each shaped with short rows to form little “knots.” Their diagonal dance highlights the shawl’s elegant asymmetrical shape, with cushy garter stitch flaring out into a cozy triangle. This shawl is an easy knit, perfect for a beginner knitter, this will kick off a proper shawl addiction, or feed into one that already exists. For this piece, why not try the The Fibre Co. Cumbria which offers the right amount of plumpness to really show off those "ropes".
And with this our run through of this amazing book Colorwork Shawls by Melanie Berg is finished, and it is safe to say our to-knit lists grew simnifically while writing this up. There are so many to choose from, and they are all oh so stunning, whether you are looking for cosy to keep you warm or lacy to accessorise. Maya is contemplating whether or not to host a knit along - after all it is so much fun to knit together - are you in?