I purchased and received The Joy of Color: Fair Isle Knitting Your Way back in the fall of 2016. I put it aside. Although I was interested in seeing what Janine Bajus had done, I am not a fair isle knitter.
Knowing I had the Feral Knitter as my Guest post this month, I thought I’d just wait to do the review of the book until now. Good plan, except that I kept putting it off because now was still far in the future.
But now is here, so here is a review. I am actually not going to talk about Fair Isle because this is so much more.
Why The Joy of Color: Fair Isle Knitting Is For You
Notice that Fair Isle knitting is in the subtitle. This is a workshop on how to work with and discover color combinations that sing. Janine shares her process. Each project is approached as a journey and exploration. Janine rarely knows exactly what the final outcome will be at the outset. Because she is an expert, she shares the work of numerous students so you can see their journey and their finished projects. Like any good teacher, Janine lets them share their revelations.
I was fully convinced I should do a fair isle piece after going through this book. I never will, but I think I might enjoy planning one! Some day, I will do one of the swatches suggested in this book.
Halfway through, at pages 70 and 71, Janine gives you the insight and encouragement you need to keep going. Then she takes you through garment types (and component parts), then techniques. The last step is finishing, where you will find adequate guidance to get to the end!
Ways to Enjoy Without Making A Fair Isle Garment
This isn’t a pattern book; there are instructions for creating a hat pattern, and for doing swatches. The Feral Knitter has some non-garment or small project patterns that could work if you don’t want to create your own. I think this book could be useful and enjoyable just as a project for color exploration. Whether you ever made a swatch or project is entirely up to you. Along the way you get to study color and inspiration, while also thinking about the types of motifs you like or would communicate your idea. Personally, that part of the process sounds intriguing—colored pens or pencils, water colors, or some other color medium, graph paper, photographs or other inspiration source—and could be exceedingly interesting. At the same time, you can digest Janine’s guidance and read knitters’ stories.
This may truly be a time where all you need to do is the swatch! Or like Janine, you may find your home here. If you do you have been given the best room in the house. Buy the book for the inspiration. You may find much more.