Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Blog Tour: California Revival Knits, by Stephannie Tallent

Hoo-boy. Barely recovered from my trip to Atlanta, in the throes of making sock monkey bike helmet covers for the middle school's Wizard of Oz production (don't ask),

it is the perfect time to take a break and look at a new book full of pretty things.  Today we are a stop on the blog tour for California Revival Knits, by Stephannie Tallent.  You may know Stephannie from her blog, Sunset Cat, or from her many designs appearing on Ravelry and elsewhere.  In California Revival Knits, published by Cooperative Press (digital/PDF available right now, for $16.95; digital plus preorder for print is 26.95 plus shipping), Stephannie presents a collection of designs inspired by a style of California architecture.
To me, California Revival can include Mission, Spanish Colonial or Spanish revival styles; at a certain point, unless you're a historical architectural scholar, the differences are very tiny. Regardless, all those styles feature stucco, red tile roofs, coved ceilings, tile tile and more tile (with Spanish, Moorish or Mexican influences) and wrought iron. 
Stephannie walks us through a visit to Adamson House, a preserved California Revival house in  Malibu and introduces us to some of the pottery companies that still create tile characteristic of the Revival style. For those interested in the design process, Stephannie ncludes an explanation of she began with a particular architectural style and turned it into a collection of knitting patterns, for example, using the rich colors of the characteristic Revival tile to create a palette for the items in the book.

I counted 16 patterns (although Ravelry says 14, probably due to variations, like mittens and fingerless mitts), all for adult women. Two of these are sweater patterns, this tile inspired pullover with beaded accents

and my favorite pattern in the book, the Wrought cardigan.

Both are sized from XS to 3XL (finished chest circumferences extending to 55-ish inches) and feature full schematics and color charts.

With the exception of the Catalina Star pillow

the remaining patterns are all accessories.  The Peacock Stole is lovely lace (there's a Peacock cowl, too)

knit in a sportweight yarn (the cowl is shown in laceweight and fingering weight).

Stephannie obviously has a "talent" for colorwork; the Stairstep Tam does a great job of taking the California Revival palette and translating it into stranded motifs.

There are several pair of mitts and mittens, including the pretty Quatrefoil Mitts, in harmonious shades of blue (love that kitteh, too)

as well as am intarsia mitten and cowl combo that probably qualify as The Mother of All Duplicate-Stitch Projects (they use intarsia and beads, too).

Sockknitters will enjoy two pair of socks, one colorwork (the Fringe socks) and one featuring twisted stitches, the Wrought Socks:

And speaking of twisted stitches, you'll find Wrought Mitts and Beret  to go along with the Wrought Cardigan and Socks.

Sock patterns come in three sizes, some of the mitts/mittens in 2 (others in one size fits all), and the others in one size fits all (except the sweaters, as noted above). Fingering weight yarn (category 1) is the most common category of yarn used, and interestingly, nearly all the yarns are handdyes, mostly from small producers.

To sum up:  Stephannie Tallent and Cooperative Press present a lovely collection of garments in California Revival Knits, with pretty photography, all the amenities like charts and schematics (for sweaters), and lots of beautiful detail.  I especially love the use of semisolid handdyed yarns, and the creative ways that Stephannie Talent used her love of a particular style of architecture as jumping-off point for a terrific collection of patterns.

Next stop on the blog tour: Yarn A-Go-Go.....on April 30th.


kerrie.james said...

I've been favorite-ing these patterns as they've popped up in Ravelry ... such a gorgeous collection :)

Sharripie said...

I really need to make that duplicate stitch cowl. It's gorgeous!