Sunday, January 03, 2010

Win a copy of Color by Kristin!

Edited on January 6th, 2010: The giveaway contest is closed! Thank you to all who entered and commented on Color by Kristin!

Hi Knitters,
I am excited to finally get the chance to review Kristin Nicholas' new book, Color by Kristin. I know it has already been reviewed in many knitting magazines, on Knitty, and on a variety of blogs. All have been favorable reviews. I don't mind adding to the reviews after the fact because I love it, too. Kristin Nicholas has been in the fiber industry for many years. Along with her vast experiences, which include being the creative director for Classic Elite for 16 years and having her own custom-made yarn line, Julia, which is distributed by Westminster Fibers, Kristin has a wealth of knowledge that only a few select people will ever have. On top of these claims to fame she is also the knitting expert on Knit & Crochet Now, the PBS show that is top-notch. She is wonderful on this show as you can see her fun, no-nonsense take on knitting. It is delightful and sometimes funny but always refreshing. She doesn't take things too seriously. I like that. She tells it like it is.

I first saw a preview of Color by Kristin at TNNA last June where Kristin was also debuting her new sock yarn, Best Foot Forward and some new colors in her yarn line, Julia. Both of these are beautiful yarn lines. I was immediately smitten with her book. I share a love of color and of embroidery with Kristin which makes her work incredibly appealing to me and apparently to others as well.
I want to show you some of my favorite spots in the book. First off, you feel like you are stepping into a little piece of Kristin's life on her New England farm. The photography was all taken on her farm and land. The photos include her home, her daughter and her friends and her animals. You get a sense of how color plays a major role in Kristin's life on a daily basis due to her environment. You can get a feel of her farm life on Getting Stitched on the Farm, which is Kristin's blog and a favorite of mine. If you don't subscribe, you should.

I love the back story on any creative endeavor and Kristin starts the book with a glimpse into her story. The tiny picture on the left is Kristin in the 1970's wearing an outfit she sewed herself. The lower tiny photo is Kristin and her husband, The Farmer. He's the one who stole the New Jersey girl's heart and turned her into a farm-loving fiberista. Aren't we all lucky that happened? The twists and turns in Kristin's life are inspiring. Her journey has not always been an easy one and she has an honesty about the ups-and-downs in her life. She is always positive and uplifting. Kristin is a hard-working woman and her successes and her large, dedicated group of followers are proof of her talent and constant appeal.
This sweater is one of my favorites. It is called the Child's Zip-Up Cardigan. If you have ever feared steeking or putting a zipper in a knitted garment, Kristin's directions will put you at ease. In fact, the entire book is like taking a class with Kristin right at your side, guiding your every step. All of the projects are knit in Kristin's own yarn line, Julia. The colors are rich and saturated. I highly recommend Julia yarn for any project. It is a worsted weight yarn that is a blend of wool, mohair and alpaca. It is nothing short of gorgeous and soft. In fact, I used Julia in Itty-Bitty Toys for the Princess and the Pea Set. It is the best.
The book focuses on fair isle knitting, which is color stranded knitting. It is fun and not as difficult as you may think. I love this technique and Kristin makes it simple for any level of knitter. Don't be intimidated by all of the beautiful colorwork. I am honestly telling you that you can do it! Kristin makes it easy. She has technique guides with clear illustrations, design techniques, embroidery techniques, edging techniques and best of all there is an extended Colorwork Chart Glossary! The glossary includes colorwork charts with repeats from 2 stitches all the way up to 30 stitches. Basically, Kristin is giving you the tools to create her designs but also she is giving you the tools and techniques to create your OWN beautiful colorwork designs. Color by Kristin is a book that will last through time as a great resource for colorwork. It is a book that belongs on every knitter's bookshelf.
Included in the book are patterns for mittens, pillows, sweaters for kids and adults, scarves, jackets, socks, gloves, blankets... They are all gorgeous and bursting with livelihood and color and joy. Kristin's experience as a designer makes her patterns clear as clear can be. It's like she can anticipate just about any question or concern that might pop up. This sets her apart from a newer designer who may assume that people will already know things. Kristin just knows how to make techniques attainable and simple! Her philosophy is anyone can do it!
I am always drawn to kids patterns and mittens and pillows in general. As far as Kristin goes, I love everything she does. The photo above is my favorite shot in the entire book. That is Kristin's daughter on the left, Julia (the namesake of the yarn line) and her friend. They are wearing two different versions of the Best Friends Pullovers. I want to make one of these for The Collector in the worst way. I have a bunch of Julia in a basket in my studio just waiting to be knit up into something fun and this may be it. I just need some time, right? Cute little girls they are!
I told Kristin that I think her next book should be a mitten/glove book! She just laughed when I told her this but it's true. I think she wasn't in the mood quite yet to take on another book project or even hear about one. I was just planting the seed selfishly hoping it would come true someday. She designs really cool mittens and gloves. They are like little pieces of art. On the page above you can see how Kristin uses embroidery to liven up her knitted fabric.
The embroidery absolutely changes and enhances her designs. I LOVE doing embroidery on knitted fabric and this is another one of Kristin's signature design elements. Embroidery on knitted fabric is not difficult to do and the results are always fantastic. It isn't like you have to have any previous embroidery skills to achieve these looks. Kristin uses the most basic embroidery stitches to get major effect. Plus she takes you step by step on how to do it. No worries.

Now, here are the most important things I want to mention.

Kristin has her own shop on her blog sidebar. Kristin's shop link is here.

If you are going to order a copy of Color by Kristin, order directly from Kristin. She will even sign the book for you or for someone else if it is a gift. What a treat to own an autographed copy of Color by Kristin. In the shop Kristin also sells 5 of her other books (I have them all and you should, too!), postcards featuring her beautiful photography (I have a couple sets of these and will never send them because I like them too much!), her painted canvas bags (yes, she is an artist, too, and I have a couple of these bags!) and her stitchery kits (I have two of these and one is completed the other is not, it is a gorgeous hand-stitched pillow on my couch!). Every product is divine.

Recently, Kristin has started her own online pattern shop. Now you can purchase individual downloadable patterns directly from Kristin. She has five patterns available as of now and they are wonderful. There are hats and mittens, a pillow, a sweater and hat set and felted bag. Be sure to check those out here!

If you haven't gathered by now let me say it out once and for all, I love Kristin Nicholas' work. I am a major supporter of everything she does. She is just as wonderful in person as she appears to be in any other form. I feel lucky to know her and to be able to say that she truly is a good, talented and smart cookie. She is humble and easy to relate to. I admire her so much. If you haven't listened to Kristin's interviews on Craftsanity or It's a Purl, Man, you must! Kristin is a storyteller and her stories are a good listen. I think she was interviewed on Ready, Set, Knit! with Kathy Elkins pretty recently. Look that one up, too.

I am extra-excited to offer you a chance to win a copy of Color by Kristin. Leave a comment on this post to enter. Say hello and leave your name, a link, something to identify yourself, a ravelry link.... tell me why you love Kristin:) Whatever you'd like. In a few short days I will randomly select two winners. Each winner will receive a copy of Color by Kristin! The winners will need to email me to give me their mailing addresses so I can pass those on to Kristin's publisher to send out the books.

Good luck and let the commenting begin!
best, susie
p.s. Thanks for the love and support of my new hat pattern, Ruche! It's been selling like hot cakes!