More Yarn Will Do The Trick

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Among Stones review & giveaway

I'm delighted to be one of the stops on Carol Feller's blog tour for her latest book, Among Stones. Here we have a capsule collection of nine patterns beautifully photographed in the crags and hollows of Scotland and her native Ireland. Comprising four women's sweaters, one child's sweater, a beaded scarf, a shawl, socks in adult and child sizes and a hat and mitten combo, it's available right now for wholesale (US) and retail customers.
DACITE - heathery tweed, plus versatile design
Carol kindly agreed to have a chat about the making of her book, so pour yourself a cup of tea, coffee, a glass of wine or whatever's your fav tipple, put your feet up and relax and enjoy this unique insight into her creative process.
SEPENTINITE - mossy hues reflect the stone and vegetation
I love the title of your book, Among Stones is evocative, esoteric and enigmatic. Can you say something about how the individual stones influenced your design choices?
The cover photo for this book was taken inside a ruined house at the side of a small river in one of my favourite local parks. When I first saw the spot a few years ago I photographed it and wanted to come back and use it as a backdrop. The designs weren’t influenced by individual stones but rather by my general environment. I live in the countryside and my primary activity involves walking; either locally, in woods or in parks. I have always felt at peace while I walk and I wanted the book to reflect that and my stone strewn environment. Even my entire house is clad in stone and surrounded by a 15 foot stone wall! 

I wanted the easy beauty of those carefully constructed stoneworks to be reflected in the knitting, no individual element is overly complex but in its completion you would have a thing of beauty.
SERPENTINITE - lovely combination of lace and beadwork
One of the things that immediately caught my eye about your book is the graphic design. How much were you involved in this and how important do you think book design is in a pattern book?
My husband does the photography and graphic design for my books, usually with both of us sitting down one evening and throwing text and layout ideas together until we create the general feel for the book. 

The book started off quite organically, with a few projects coming together that looked like they were meant to be a set. Then we talked it through, thinking about how it would work as a bigger project. What atmosphere did we want to create? That is when the darker greens and blacks came in.

We also tried out a new square book format with this book, I really like this shape, it fits a nice amount of information on each page and doesn’t overwhelm the reader.
LIATHITE Junior and Adult hoodies - this could be my first foray into
top-down knits. Perfect sizes for all the grandlings.
What are the qualities you look for in choosing a yarn for a specific project? Do you have particular yarn qualities you like to work with and if so what is it that makes them special for you?
I like a good match between yarn and project; sometimes I fall hard for a yarn (Blue Sky Alpacas ‘Brushed Suri’ used for Dolmite) and other times I have a very clear image of the yarn qualities and colours I want and I spend months searching for the right fit (Hand Maiden ‘Maiden Hair’ for Serpentinite). I like a wide variety of yarns but they need to work well for the particular project to enhance it.

Generally though I have an idea for a project. I’ll initially swatch it up with yarn I have at hand and from there decide which direction I want to take for yarn and colour. There are so many amazing yarns out there now it feels almost like we’re spoilt for choice! Ideally if I get a chance I like to work with some Irish yarns as well, there are many great ones out there and I love to be able to support local businesses. In this book I’ve used both Donegal Yarns and a new hand dyer, Coolree Yarns.
BASANITE - I'm crazy about fingerless gloves,
these come with a matching hat 
If you were setting the mood for a catwalk show of your work, what would the story, music, food and colours be?
I’ve never really thought about this before! For this particular body of work it would have to be very organic, greys, green, blues with rustic touches. Mulled wine and maybe brown breads, salmons and other simple snacks.

Maybe some ‘Kila’ for music which is a fusion Irish music. http://www.kila.ie/

Do you have a muse? If you could chose one famous person to model your designs, who would it  be?
I definitely don’t have a muse, although there are some well known faces out there who’s style I admire. Kate Moss and Sienna Miller have such a casual elegance that it would work well for this collection.

She’s not famous, but my sister-in-law would be my favourite model in the world. She modelled for my Spring collection and I’ve never had so many compliments on photographs!

GABBRO - cool combo of short rows and lace
I’m a big fan of indie publishing, it must be so liberating to take your vision through from initial idea to end product. Can you expand a little on the pros and cons and do you have any advice for designers who may be thinking of taking the leap?
I love mixing between indie publishing and using an outside publisher. Both have their own benefits and I find that I learn from both experiences.

When I work with an outside publisher I learn a lot about organisation, planning and how to manage edits effectively so that nothing slips through the cracks. These skills transfer really well to self-publishing.

The benefits of doing it yourself is primarily control. I control the schedule, projects, yarns, photography and layout. This is both a curse and a blessing! The volume of work is huge and you need a very strong drive to keep moving forward on your own timetable without outside deadlines. I think that for me indie publishing actually works better with the skills I’ve learned from a publisher.

My indie books are smaller also than with a publisher as I don’t have any advance to sustain me for the time it takes to write and edit the book.
GABBRO - Asymmetry hort rows and lace
I've picked out some of my favourites, but you'll find a few more gems in there too. Carol has kindly agreed to donate a hard copy or ebook (your choice) to a lucky reader. All you have to do is leave a comment below, telling me what sort of knitting you enjoy and what's on your needles right now. You have until midnight on Wednesday 18th September and please don't forget to leave your Rav ID or email address so I can contact the winner. For more chances to win, check out the rest of the blog tour below,

19th of September     Karen Kelty           
4th of October           Ann Kingstone         
17th of October         Rachel Coopey           
21st of October         Woolly Wormhead     
24th of October         Ruth Garcia-Alcantud       
28th of October         A Playful Day   

All images © Joseph Feller
For European wholesale info please contact Carol
RRP    Euro €17, GBP £15, USD $22
ISBN  978-0-9571212-2-5 (hard copy) 978-0-9571212-3-2 (digital)

39 comments:

  1. I'm currently still working on (and swearing at) a wonderful, super-chunky (and super-challenging to me) brioche pattern Batwing sweater by Karen Clements.


    I had to unpick the whole thing yesterday and start over for attempt 4, but it's a labour of love - and it's in the NEW wool (first time ever I've had nice, new wool for something for me) my Mum gave me for my 30th.
    That was nine months ago - my aim is to commplete it before I turn 31.

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    1. I'm an eejit - rav id is mrsmouse1.

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  2. Beautiful yarn work and photography! I love knitting sweaters for my grandkids and beautiful little scarves. On my needles right now - a winter pullover in a multi-color boucle - with a snowball design.

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  3. I love knitting anything that offers a bit of a challenge, especially if it also involves lots of colour and texture.
    I currently have a beautiful burgundy, yak wool on my needles which I hope will result in a stylish French beret.

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  4. I have Dacite on the needles right now. But I also plan to knit the other sweaters in the collection. I love them all.

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  5. Beautiful work! I have a baby sweater on my needles that my son is outgrowing. I prefer knitting scarves and hats. Thanks for the chance :-)

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  6. I'm swatching for 2 Craftsy classes at the moment; a lace class and Carol's October Mystery KAL. One's in a fine lace and the other a heavy worsted, so my fingers get confused! I love lace and sock knitting.
    rav id is: emfdvm

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  7. I have a blanket on one set of needles, a christening gown on another, a pair of socks on another. I have little preference when it comes to *what* I knit, I just like to knit

    gevin13{at}gmail{dot}com

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  8. I enjoy all kinds of knitting-garments, toys, lace (beginner)-right now I'm into learning new techniques and finding patterns to incorporate them. I'm currently knitting the Rosemary cardigan.

    misslillyknits on Ravelry

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  9. I like to knit shawls and dishcloths. I usually have a couple of shawls on the needles and a dishcloth going all the time.

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  10. I like to knit sweaters. I've been knitting mostly baby/child sweaters, but more adult sweaters are on my to-do list! As for what I'm knitting right now, it's a pair of gloves for my cousin. This will be my first ever pair of gloves, so wish me luck!

    I'm vernalequinox on Ravelry.

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  11. I already have a copy of the book and love it. However, don't enter me in the contest as someone else deserves to enjoy it as much as I have. I'm particularly fond of the interesting techniques used in the designs and the opportunity to learn ones I haven't tried before. In the Among Stones KAL I did Gabbro. I'm also planning to do Dacite with yarn left from Aran sweaters I made for my friend, Gates. Jean, the yarn was acquired on your Ireland trip in 2013. On my needles right now is Carol's Ratana in a bright turquoise Madeline Tosh Vintage. Carolyn

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    1. Ravelry id is: carolynba

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  12. This instant, I'm excited about miters and classic family wardrobe staples. I'm knitting a pair of boy woollies bottoms, a jacket for me and on a long haul journey toward two afghans, one for each of my sons.

    tktl on Ravelry

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  13. I enjoy ALL types of knitting. I especially like to knit something with interesting construction. I am currently working on knitting up a skirt while a cardigan sits languid waiting for another ball of yarn to arrive so it can be finished.

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  14. There are lots of goodies on my needles! A lace sweater, 2 pr of socks, a queen size seed stitch blanket for my bed, an Alpaca lace shawl, a cable cardigan, cable vest, and a pr of double knit mittens for this winter.

    I use to knit sweaters exclusively, as one cannot have enough sweaters, but lately I have been bitten by the sock & lace bug and enjoying every stitch!

    Rav ~ sleddogz

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  15. I love aran, colour work, lace, sock knitting...I could go on! Love the look of Gabbro. I'm Redhead on Rav.

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  16. I so enjoy making a great, complex, color-work sweater! I don't have one on the needles right now, but I'm itching to start one :)

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  17. Kids' stuff ... I have 7 to knit for!

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  18. I look forward to seeing the newest designs by Carol Feller. I just had my mother dye my version of 'Killybeggs' from -Contemporary Irish Knits-. I knit it in natural and she dyed it from the red family of colour. It was a very fast knit and an absolute delight to complete. I so enjoy the honeycomb splashed throughout the sweater.

    Next on the list to knit is 'Straboy'!

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  19. Thank you for such a great interview/review. I am eager to see the pages and projects in this book. As for what type of knitter I am.... I am more of a process knitter. I really enjoy a pattern that challenges me a little and teaches me a new technique or stitch. When I cast off a project, it tends to go into a basket for gifting to someone special in the future. I do wear some of the things I make, but mostly, I knit like crazy for the process. On my needles now are two cowls, a shawl, and some languishing sweaters. My Ravelry name is 19vesperstreet. Thanks!

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  20. I am working on Turkish bed socks using the remnants of a ball of Lorna's Laces Honor in China Blue (from a shawl). It's amazing to me how soft the alpaca/silk yarn is. It feels significantly softer in stockenette than the seed stitch of the shawl. Amazing how much we learn as we knit! Thank you for the pictures of your intriguing new book! I am booklover126 on Ravelry.

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  21. I love sweater and shawl knitting. I have a sweater and a pair of fingerless mitts on the needles right now.

    Mujercita on rav

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  22. Effervesce socks are on my needles right now.

    ikkinlala AT yahoo DOT ca

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  23. I enjoy socks, hats and cowls. Have 4 different sock projects on the needles right now.

    Mamameow on Ravelry

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  24. I enjoy knitting anything. But right now I have a cardigan on my needles. It has butterfly motifs on it.
    Queenofkings5@gmail.com
    Queenofkings5 on Ravelry

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  25. Right now I'm working on the Grande Plage cardigan
    by Claudia Geiger. I would love to have a copy of Carol's new book!

    Carolyn

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  26. Dacite and Gabbro are my absolute favorites . . . I'm also a great fan of fingerless mitts. I'm working on the Diecut vest from Knitwear magazine; of course, I have numerous projects going in various states . . . Countess Mitts, a Jo Sharp vest . . . unfortunately too many to name!

    Fiberheaven (Ravelry) a.k.a Norma
    ngahl@verizon.com

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  27. I love to knit lace of any kind. On my needles now is Carol's Vivido. Love her designs. I am on Ravelry as Fibergeek.

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  28. I love Carol's designs, they are so well written and easy to follow

    Rolenestone

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  29. I love knitting sweaters and I usually knit 3-4 sweaters at the same time. Now I'm knitting actively Mari Muinonen's Lumme and Alana Dakos' Entangled vines.

    ruskanlehti in raverly

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  30. I love to try out new patterns--very rarely do the same thing twice. Right now I'm casting off a Lazy Katie shawl and about 20% into a baby blanket.

    Thanks,

    Julia

    jagl on Ravelry

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  31. meredith MC mermcoelho@hotmail.com17 September 2013 at 14:03

    I love to knit cardigans, cowls, mitts and socks mostly, but I knit all kinds. On my needles are two self-designed pieces- one v neck pullover in Malabrigo Arroyo in "Regatta" and a frothy cowl of Cascade Alpaca Lace and Doecet et Soie held together at a loos-ish gauge. All that's left of the v neck is top-down sleeves and the neck band, but I'm a little stalled on the sleeve caps so I started the cowl to give my brain a rest from math for a minute, but Fall is calling so I need to wrap up that v neck! I love Carol's work, thanks for profiling her!

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  32. I am into knitting socks at the moment - ready for winter! But i have a cabled capelet pattern i am about to start.

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  33. What a great book!

    naomil1@verizon.net

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  34. This book looks stunning! I'm knitting a Ten Stitch Blanket to try and use up some of my stash, though as my daughter stated, I still have just as much wool only in a different form!
    lindarumsey on Ravelry

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  35. As soon as I finish a lacey Baktus kerchief I think I'll start on those lovely mitts. I am litsmith on Ravelry, Linda McMurtrie on fb and Pinterest.

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  36. You know me. It's socks, always socks. : )
    wahoomerryf on Ravelry

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  37. You know me. It's socks, always socks. : )
    wahoomerryf on Ravelry

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