:::ORIGINALLY POSTED ON VANCOUVER YARN:::
My love for Jane Richmond's patterns grew out of my love for simple, elegant designs and my eagerness to learn new techniques. Jane's patterns capture these elements perfectly for me. Like a lot of knitting patterns though, there are some design aspects to Jane's new pieces that look like they might be complicated (like the lace mesh of Grace and Strathcona). But like a lot of techniques, once you learn how to do them you realize you worried for nothing. I'm constantly reminded that all knitting techniques are just some combination of knit and purl stitches with a little extra direction added for the tricky looking things. Jane's patterns are so well written that I never find myself scratching my head. I am so thankful for that, because honestly I'm the kind of knitter that freaks out a bit when things aren't going right. I also really need to know why I'm using a technique, or how exactly a particular design feature is occurring as I make it. I can't just read a pattern row-for-row and watch it become something, I really need to understand it. Jane's patterns are rhythmic, and have large sections which are easy to memorize, so she's really become a go-to designer for me when I'm looking for new projects.
Her premier book ISLAND is no exception. I will definitely be knitting all five of those lovely patterns. The fact that the patterns are not repetitive, in the way that the book is not a book of hats for example (It includes a hat, a cardigan, a cowl, a scarf and a pair of fingerless mitts) makes this task even more enjoyable. You could almost wear everything together once you've made them all. I've begun with an Arbutus, which I knit with Cascade 220 Superwash*, and currently have Strathcona on my needles, made with a strand of slate grey lace cotton and a strand of lace merino in white (both Brassard yarns*). Both have been a joy to knit. And going back to learning new techniques, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the mysterious slant design feature in the Strathcona was as simple as increasing and decreasing in specific spots :) Happy Janna.
pattern: Grace photo by Nicholas Kupiak
ISLAND is not just about the fantastic patterns though. It is equally a beautiful photography book that anyone would enjoy regardless if they are a knitter or not. The first half of the book is full of thoughtful photos, many of which include the knitting projects, but in between are breathtaking photos of nature on Vancouver Island. These really give us a peek into Jane's surroundings, and more importantly her inspirations. They really put this collection into context. And for me, they make me miss my home-sweet home, BC. Kudos to the photographer, Nicholas Kupiak, for capturing the spirit of this collection so well.
Okay, I know you're waiting for the giveaway part! Here it is: Jane has graciously offered one of our readers a free copy of ISLAND. So, just leave a comment below before Monday the 14th, and next Tuesday I'll randomly choose someone and announce the winner. AND please mention which pattern in the book you like the looks of the most. I'm curious to know which is most popular. I've found it hard to choose a fave, but I'm really drawn to Grace.
Below are some photos of my two projects so far from ISLAND.
*I feel I must point out the fact that my use of alternative yarns for my pieces from the book was for no other reason than that I have made it a rule to only use yarns in my stash this year. Both for cash-saving reasons and space saving reasons. I know that Jane must have searched high and low for the perfect yarns for all of these patterns, and one day I will make them with her chosen yarns, the way they are meant to be :) I must say, regardless of this decision, the projects have turned out excellent.
Jane's Facebook page
1/8/2013 10:41:24 am
I just saw the Island book today and loved it!! I am daydreaming about knitting Grace!
1/8/2013 11:45:36 am
Great review for a great designer. I would love to have this book in my personal library. Thank you Jane and Vancouver yarn for the opportunity to win one. Good luck everyone.
1/9/2013 05:59:05 am
Thanks Zaelia. Good luck!
1/8/2013 11:47:25 am
Hi Happy Janna! They all look wonderful, but I LOVE the look of Strathcona, hugs and happy new year from Vancouver, Julie
1/8/2013 09:58:56 pm
Thanks Julie, I'm looking into the comment form issue.
1/9/2013 05:59:56 am
hugs right back a'cha Julie!
1/8/2013 11:50:56 am
Arbutus and Renfrew are really nice, I think though my favourite is the Rathtrevor Fingerless Mitts
1/8/2013 11:57:21 am
I like all the patterns, but am quite taken with the Renfrew hat. Lately I'm loving small cable details.
1/8/2013 12:20:46 pm
After reading your review, I would love to have this book. I, too, am a "knitter that freaks out a bit when things aren't going right". Then I put the project in a box for ten years 'til I get the courage to look at it again.
1/9/2013 06:02:09 am
Haha. Together we can overcome this affliction Sheila!
1/8/2013 12:30:13 pm
The Rathtrevor gloves have me the most excited! All too often I see a skein of Madelinetosh that is all alone, but I could never think of something I wanted to make that would take just a single skein. Problem solved! And after the fingerless gloves, I can pick up more orphaned skeins for the Renfrew and Arbutus patterns! Thanks, Jane!
1/8/2013 12:32:24 pm
All the projects are just gorgeous, but if I had to pick a favourite, it would have to be the scarf.
1/8/2013 01:03:10 pm
Gorgeous designs! I'm most drawn to Rathtrevor and Renfrew. Thanks for the giveaway!
1/8/2013 01:08:24 pm
I would LOVE to win this book and knit everything in it! My favorite pattern would have to be Grace. It is such a classic Jane Richmond design.
1/8/2013 01:41:27 pm
Lovely designs. There is something for every season and some patterns are good for every season (like Grace!). Although I really like them all, my first project would be Strathcona. I can see it a pretty pastel color or mint green or turquoise for spring & summer!
1/8/2013 02:01:29 pm
I'm not sure that slouchy hats look the best on me but I'm thinking Renfrew looks pretty great.
1/8/2013 02:19:05 pm
I think I like Grace as I like knitting with fine wool and have 2 grandaughters named Grace!
Betty (3catos on Ravelry)
1/8/2013 03:08:26 pm
thank you for hosting this giveaway!! Lovely classic patterns, all of them, but I love grace as I love making cardigans, and arbutus the cowl would be a close second. Happy new year!
1/8/2013 07:05:00 pm
Grace is my favourite pattern. I would love to try knitting it. It looks like a lovely book with plenty of down-to-earth, elegant West Coast style.
1/8/2013 11:21:59 pm
I love Renfrew - it's a great gift-knit!
1/9/2013 02:49:33 am
I love all the patterns in Jane's book and I met her at KnitCity, such a lovely person. I am new to knitting and I'm loving cowls right now, so I'll say that "Arbutus" is my fave currently.
1/9/2013 03:06:00 am
Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy of the book! I've seen pictures of so many finished objects so far... and even seen a few Arbutus in the wild, as it were. I love the concept of Arbutus, but I'd probably knit Rathtrevor first. Love all the names and associations too.
1/9/2013 03:10:48 am
I love all of the patterns in Island, but I think I would knit Arbutus first! Perfect for knit gifts!
1/9/2013 04:52:01 am
So far, Grace and Strathcona are my favorites. I love the mesh pattern; it's very elegant and it looks like it would be fun to knit. Would love to win a copy of the book!
1/9/2013 05:57:14 am
I have been seriously scoping out this book, trying to decide when (not if) I'm going to order it. I love the variety of projects, but my favourite is definitely Grace. Thanks for the giveaway.
1/9/2013 06:15:09 am
I LOVE the Grace. I am a big fan of knit sweaters, I just need to make/finish one already. haha. Jane was one of my first favorite designers. Her patterns are really so simple, and she is a very awesome individual as well. Thanks for this opportunity!
1/9/2013 07:54:49 am
I've recently become a sweater knitter, so I'm loving the Grace pattern. Thanks for doing this amazing giveaway!
1/9/2013 08:12:33 am
I think Grace is very dainty ;) Thanks for the great website!
1/9/2013 09:19:09 am
Oh I have loved Grace from the moment I saw it! Also Renfrew :)
1/9/2013 09:30:50 am
Such great choices! I think I'll start with Arbutus and work my way up to Grace.
1/9/2013 12:11:44 pm
I'd love a copy of this book! I really like the Grace sweater. So pretty.
1/9/2013 01:37:19 pm
Wow do I have to just pick one?? They're all wonderful. The one I'd knit first though would be Arbutus.
1/9/2013 01:39:07 pm
I think I missed my email on my previous comment - sorry!
1/9/2013 09:33:04 pm
it's good you posted again. No need to apologize :) Good luck!
1/9/2013 01:44:14 pm
One of my knitting goals this year is to knit at least two sweaters, and Grace is absolutely beautiful :-) But honestly, there is not a pattern in this book I wouldn't knit!
1/9/2013 02:18:51 pm
Arbutus. I adore a handsome cowl.
1/10/2013 12:52:18 am
Thanks for the chance to win a copy of Island! I am full-on in cardigan mode, so it has to be Grace for me. ;-)
1/10/2013 01:50:17 am
All the patterns are lovely, but I really like Arbutus! Thanks for the give-away!
1/10/2013 03:17:25 am
My favorite project from Island is: Grace, but I love them all! :)
1/10/2013 07:02:30 am
I think I like the look of Arbutus the most, although I do have a weakness for fingerless mitts... :)
1/10/2013 06:21:09 pm
What beautiful pieces! You are right, you could almost wear everything as one set. It's hard to just pick one but the Strathcona is the one that caught my eye first. I'm glad it's easier than it looks, hehe.
1/11/2013 12:01:56 am
I love the Grace sweater best.
1/11/2013 05:27:10 am
I like Grace :D
I just LOVE Grace! An easy to read - and understand sweater pattern - really gets me excited.. When it comes to dyeing yarns, it's easy for me....but knitting an exquisite sweater pattern...well I need concise and easy to understand directions...and with Grace I get that! And as for yarns I knit with...they are always my own (even though not mentioned in "Island). Hopefully Jane will consider my yarns in her next book as I know anything she designs will be fabulous...fingers crossed :)
1/12/2013 06:52:03 am
I love the Arbutus cowl, and love that Jane is a local designer!
1/12/2013 07:12:35 am
I love Grace! Thanks!
1/12/2013 09:35:46 am
I love Strathcona, so beautiful!!
1/12/2013 10:08:10 am
I had the chance to purchase this book at Knit City back in October and I'm kicking myself for not doing it. I love Arbutus and Strathcona...Jane's designs are wonderful!
1/13/2013 12:46:19 am
I made Twiggy for my DIL for Xmas. It was an easy, clearly written knit.
1/13/2013 12:48:24 am
I love, love the renfrew toque! So gorgeous!
1/13/2013 01:05:04 am
I love Grace! This would be beautiful on my daughter.
1/13/2013 01:45:18 am
Would love to win a copy of Island!!
1/13/2013 10:15:57 am
I really like the Grace cardigan and the scarf with the mesh/lace but I think I would get more use out of the cardigan. :-)
1/14/2013 06:38:07 am
I love them all but would start with Arbutus
1/14/2013 09:43:36 am
I love the sweater Grace. I know I can knit a sweater if I just try.
1/14/2013 12:32:43 pm
I like Rathtrevor. Thank you for the giveaway.
1/14/2013 12:33:23 pm
I like Rathtrevor. Thank you for the giveaway.
1/15/2013 01:17:43 am
Oh my goodness, all these patterns look gorgeous!! My favourites are definitely Arbutus and Renfrew, though... I love quick knits, and the fact that they're so beautiful is a great combo :) Thanks for the opportunity to win too! :)
8/6/2013 11:34:09 pm
Nice, warm, feminine aspects to the patterns! I like them all! Living in a rural setting, working off the farm, the "Grace" full confidence of a cardigan or a quick "Strathcona" neck wrap, add flair and style to the ho-hums of everyday rush. Beautiful! Thankyou for sharing.
Janna Maria Vallee
8/7/2013 12:52:31 am
Hi Cathie, thanks for dropping a note. Aren't they great?! I share your two faves. I've done a Strathcona, and am diligently chipping away at my Grace. They are both great patterns.
8/7/2013 01:24:51 am
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