I always did have a lot of knitterly love for Ann Kingstone. I remember being impressed and delighted with each of the designs from Novel Knits (my favourite is Pemberly) and then A Time to Knit (my favourite is Indian Summer) and Born and Bred (my favourite is Baht ‘At). I love the way that Ann’s designs are distinctive; they are bold yet delicate and beautiful, very different from the types of knitwear you see in shops. You can see that each design is carefully thought out and perfected -the quality and skill is apparent.
Then Ann released Stranded Knits and I was blown away all over again -even more than before! I wouldn’t like to say that Stranded Knits ‘exceeded my expectations’ because it sounds as though I expected less than Ann achieved. But it is true that I wasn’t aware of quite how extraordinarily talented Ann is and also the range of her talent. I’ve made a little diagram to show you. This is Ann Kingstone:
Now I will explain the diagram in reference to Ann’s Stranded Knits.
Standed Knits has a subtitle, ‘Smart skills for colourwork knitting’ and the beginning provides thorough tutorials, information, and advice covering a range of techniques that are used for colourwork and for knitting in general. Ann’s knowledge of her subject is clear. I particularly enjoyed the pages on Seamless Knitting where Ann causually mentions that two of the patterns in the book feature a seamless construction that she devised herself!
One skill that’s covered in the book, that I really must learn is spit-splicing. I love colourwork knitting and I’m not keen on weaving in ends so I really must take the time to learn this skill.
All of skills that are taught in the book are explained very clearly and in personal way so that I really feel that the book is ‘teaching’ me how to do things rather than ‘telling’ me how to do them. It’s hard to explain exactly what I mean by this (you’ll have to read the book to understand!) but it’s left me with a feeling that I would love to do a class taught by Ann some time.
Proper Pattern Writer
I have to admit I haven’t yet knit from the patterns but I have read through them. They seem to be exactly the kind of patterns I’d enjoy following. The instructions are explained clearly with the different sizes presented in a chart form rather than endless rows of numbers. For the visual minded knitter like me, this is brilliant!
The book promises ’16 glorious designs’ on the cover and it certainly delivers.
Hedgerow always stood out to me from the moment I saw it. All photos are by Verity Britton from Standed Knits.
It’s basically my dream cardigan -I do love a v-neck cardigan! The use of colour is fantastic -it’s bright, bold and beautiful. At the beginning of the book Ann explains some of her methods for choosing colours, something that I do often for my designs, but without the same in-depth thought. It can take quite a lot of trial and error for me to be happy with my colour choices -taking heed of the advice given in this section would save me lots of time! The most important thing to consider, I think, is shade contrast and Ann does emphasise that, along with further helpful hints.
My other favourite design (I couldn’t pick just one!) is Field Study.
The design is amazingly well thought out and beautifully feminine and flattering. It’s one of those designs where the more I look at it the more I see how perfect it is. In my opinion, it’s Ann’s greatest masterpiece to date.
Another design that I’ve increasingly admired is Sylvia.
Until I looked closely at the photos in the book (and saw the charts) I didn’t realise that this design combines cables with colourwork. I love working with texture and colour. This is colour and texture combined on a high level! I can imagine how beautiful the sample must be.
From my contact with her online, Ann always seems like a lovely positive person and that really does come across in Stranded Knits. I love how at one point she starts a sentence with the word ‘Happily,…’. But above all of one my favourite details from the book is Ann’s dedication to her mum, so simple and lovely, it always makes me smile!