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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

Yarn Pairings for Pom Pom Quarterly Issue 22 – Autumn 2017

August is one of those in between months. There’s still some hot days, and the kids are still on holiday, but the nights can be cool, and there are adverts on the telly for back to school supplies. Rainy days mean cozying up and thinking about the season to come, one of the most exciting seasons for any knitter. It’s sweater season of course! What better to inspire your sweater knitting, than the autumn issue of Pom Pom Quarterly?

Autumn issues are always particularly good ones, and this Issue 22 is no exception. For the first time ever Pom Pom collaborated with an outside editor, Juju Vail, to curate the patterns in the issue. You would recognize Juju’s work as she has more often than not been the photographer for the magazine and their various other projects. In this case Juju not only curated and photographed the magazine, she also sewed many of the other garments that the models wear, for a fully handmade issue! Each piece is given the full credit of pattern and fabric source to help you re-create the whole look if you so choose.

PomPom22-coverAs a knitting shop we are here for the knitting, so we’ll take a look at each pattern and match it up with some yarn to give you ideas on what you can use.

First up we have Aubusson, a brioche scarf by none other than the Queen of Brioche herself, Nancy Marchant. The pattern calls for two yarns held together, one a luxurious 4ply yarn, and the other a fuzzy laceweight, in two sets of contrasting colours. The combination creates a unique textured fabric that compliments the brioche stitch. We love the colour choices that could be found using Sulka Legato for the 4ply and Cumulus for the fuzzy laceweight.PomPom22-01

Barbicel is one of 2 cardigans in this issue. Designed by Fiona Alice, it makes wonderful use of a sheepy yarn that will bloom a lot after blocking. For a similar yarn we would recommend Tamar from Blacker with it’s all British wool blend and rustic texture. PomPom22-02

Next up is Calamus, designed by Maddie Harvey. This colourwork snood is big enough to wrap around twice for a super snuggly fit, knit in 3 colours. One of our favourite yarns for colourwork has to be Cumbria from The Fibre Co. It’s got just the right amount of tooth and texture to really pull the technique together, and of course it also has a wonderful range of colours.PomPom22-03

Diesis is a textured pullover designed by Alice Caetano using an amazing sweater yarn, Knit By Numbers DK. This yarn is a super smooshy merino that is dyed and spun in Devon by John Arbon. The sweater uses four colours, making the colour combinations endless. We currently have 6 sets of colours in the Knit By Numbers range, each with a range of 6 shades going from dark to light.PomPom22-04

The second pullover is Elibelinde by Ellinor Siljeström. The design is the epitome of a classic shape with an interesting stitch pattern. It has a relaxed shape with a textured stitch on the body and the cuffs which contrast the stocking stitch upper body and sleeves. For a really divine sweater we would love to knit it up in Kettle Yarn Co. Beyul, a blend of merino, yak and silk.PomPom22-05

Nothing says autumn like a cozy pair of mittens, and add in colourwork and you’ve got a winning combination. Herati is a beautiful pair of colourwork mittens with an allover geometric pattern designed by Sari Nordlund. The colours of Socks Yeah! 4ply would create a beautiful pair, and the nylon content would add extra durability.PomPom22-06

Overcheck is another double wrap infinity snood, with a gorgeous allover geometric double knitting pattern. Designed by Ann McDonald Kelly, it uses 2 colours of a DK weight yarn. We think it would be absolutely lush in 2 colours of Kettle Yarn Co. Islington DKPomPom22-07

Palmetto is the last of the garments, a cardigan in 3 colours designed by Emilia Jensen. The main portion of the sweater is knit in one colour, with contrast epaulets and corrugated ribbing at the cuffs, hems, button bands and collar. It uses a sport weight yarn which makes for a light sweater that isn’t going to take ages to knit. Our choice is Stolen Stitches Nua, an unusual blend of merino, yak and linen. PomPom22-08

The last pattern of the issue is Soumak, by Olga Buraya-Kefelian. This pair of fingerless mitts use traditional fair isle technique with a much more modern and graphic motif on it. The sample pair shown are knit in a high contrast black and red, but knit in a yarn like Cumbria there are endless colour combinations for any palette. PomPom22-09

Which pattern is your favourite? We have the issue available in store and online if you want to pick up your own copy.