(Full disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from Trafalgar Square Publishing.)
This book is an exploration of knitting design, with an emphasis on construction, fabric structure, and colorwork.
Alison has been a teaching knitting design workshops for 30 years, and the book is written as though you had an inside tour into her classes. The book would be of interest to anyone working with freeform knitting.
The Introduction explores different ways of approaching knitting construction. Alison says, "Experimenting with knitting is not something many of us have time for; it is simpler to follow a knitting pattern. However, if you enjoy being creative, it is worth putting aside some time to play and see what happens." If you see some of yourself in that quote, this might be a great book for you.
Knitting from Pre-History to Present reviews the recorded history of knitting and discusses how it was primarily a functional craft up until the end of World War II.
Stitches and How They Work includes illustrations and written and charted instructions for several knit and purl combination stitches, cables, entrelac, lace, zig zags, increases and decreases, short rows, circles and squares, and bias and modular knitting swatches. Pictures of different samplers are shared and there is explanation of how the fabric texture and structure is impacted by the different techniques and stitch patterns. Some color play is introduced in this chapter.
Techniques is a brief chapter exploring different methods for holding the yarn and needles. Alison encourages flexibility here.
Colour features more samplers and explores stripes, slip stitches, Intarsia, and Fair Isle/jacquard knitting. Here is also where Alison talks about color theory. She has an interesting 4-step color exercise that is intended as an introduction to design. She also talks about dyeing basics, including how to wind the yarn into hanks, dye yarn using natural and chemical dyes, and dip and tie dye methods.
The Materials chapter reviews different yarn fibers with an emphasis on natural (animal and plant) fibers. There is also a brief introduction to spinning, and a discussion about the different ways yarn twists.
Joining, finishing, edges and extras, as the name suggests, talks about techniques for joining, seaming, casting on and bindig off while also providing instructions for button holes, tubular knitting, and preventing holes in your work. For most techniques in this section, there is an illustration, photo of the hand in action, a swatch, and a written description.
Knitting patterns explains tension (gauge) and the math behind sizing patterns. The patterns are all for tops and include 6 modular designs, 2 entrelac designs, 3 children's garments, a shell jacket, and a zig zag waistcoast. The projects are shown in white space, without models. There are fairly detailed instructions for construction.
Knitting: Colour, structure, and design is not a book about how to design perfectly fitted sweaters, nor is it a book with stunning patterns that will go viral on the internet. It is a book written for your inner knit nerd - the one who asks why the yarn, colors, stitches, and textures come together in a certain way. I would recommend this book for someone who takes a contemplative approach to knitting - who likes to swatch and play around with yarn to see what happens. If you are interested in learning more about designing, this book will provide you will a lot of background on all of the elements of a knitted fabric.
This book provides a much deeper exploration into knit fabric. This is a book that you will need to sit down and read, but where you will learn a lot that can be useful for any project. As far as writing style, it makes you feel as though you won a free private lesson with an accomplished designer and teacher.
I would give this book 5 out of 5 stars for a confident knitter who learns well from written descriptions and who likes to create small projects or swatches. I would give the book 3 out of 5 stars if you are looking for patterns or a "how to become an overnight sensation as a knitting designer" book.