Knit the Sky: Book Review

I can't recall how I first heard about Lea Redmond's Sky Scarf but lots of these projects were popping up on blogs around the time I started knitting. As a nature-lover, the idea of documenting the sky each day - with a different colour yarn - is quite appealing (and may have subconsciously influenced one of my own projects where I chose colours from the Sussex Sky during the course of one autumn day). When I saw that Lea had written a book with 31 different projects, I was keen to take a look. My copy was kindly supplied by Storey Publishing but as always, all opinions are entirely my own. 

Images: Excerpted from *Knit the Sky (c) Lea Redmond. Illustrations by (c) Lauren Nassaf. 
Used with permission of Storey Publishing.
This is a high quality 21 x 18 cm hardcover book (or ebook*). As well as being an inspiring read, the illustrations (by Lauren Nassaf) and little stories that accompany the projects make it a lovely thing to pick up and flick through, which is precisely what my children keep doing.

Knit the Sky begins with an invitation to look up from your needles and to bring your attention to the world around you. Yes, it is a book of knitting "patterns", but they are patterns with a twist - your own sense of 'whimsy and adventure' are required! In fact, this book is a proposal to explore ways to creatively engage with your knitting. There are no pictures of finished projects. There are no 'rules' and in fact some of the prompts don't even tell you what sort of item you should make - you are simply given a starting point and the rest is up to you. 

You see, Knit the Sky is all about connecting with your world, your feelings and the things that inspire you. Knitting is a very personal experience, and you are encouraged to use it as a method of journalling and transforming "snippets of beauty into little loops of yarn" in the way an artist might record things in her sketchbook. 
The 'Mood Ring Cowl' is available to sample on Lea's website

There are so many ideas in this book, especially when you consider how many ways you might interpret the prompts. I will tell you about just a few of my favourites so you can discover the rest for yourself:
  • The Mood Ring Cowl - a colourful cowl that tracks your mood over a month.
  • Mind The Gap - the perfect commuting project; match your yarn with the underground/subway lines you are riding on, switching as you change trains.
  • The Inch-by-Inch Scarf - a unique way to measure a child's height/growth, which can be gifted to them to mark their passage into adulthood. 
  • Wabi-sabi - choose a technically challenging project which will take you out of your comfort zone and into the realm of mistake-making. Don't hide the mistakes - embellish them. 

As well as the detailed prompts, Lea talks you though how to invent your own project. Starting with an idea, brainstorming details, translating it into a knitted object (the aesthetics and process) and finally, bringing it all together as a coherent design. 

The appendix includes some knitting techniques, pattern stitches and a few actual patterns (for basic mitts, leg warmers, socks, a hat...) which can be used as the canvas for your own ideas, but I doubt you'll want to stop there. After all, the (knitted) sky is the limit! 

POST SCRIPT: It may come as no surprise that after reading the book, I have been feeling inspired! I've been taking photos of colours that inspire me for a long time and feel like they may have an outlet very soon! If you listened to the recent podcast interview with Felicity Ford/ Knitsonik on A Playful Day (which I wrote about here) you'll see how it all fits in really well (and with those drain pictures, perhaps!)

*Amazon = affiliate links. If you don't have an ereader but like the idea of downloading the book straight away, check out my earlier post on how you can read it on other devices. 

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