Stephannie Tallent‘s new book, California Revival Knits, was released by Cooperative Press last week. Hooray! It features fourteen different patterns. Each item is based on the architecture and design of the California Revival period in the 1920s.
The book itself is just gorgeous. It begins with a wonderful walk-through of Stephannie’s obsession with the period and the craftsmanship of the California Revival period, with beautiful photography detailing the mosaics still being made by hand in south central Los Angeles.
From there, the books moves into Stephannie’s design process. I love when a designer takes the time to talk about their process; learning how an artist works is always fascinating, and I’ve been a huge fan of Stephannie’s work ever since I first saw her designs. When I first met Stephannie in real life, I completely embarrassed myself by having a total fangirl moment. I think there was even some jumping up and down involved, and I’m pretty sure I just kept saying, “I am such a fan of your work,” over and over again, but honestly, it’s sort of a shameful blur for me. Ever since I saw Zylphia, I’ve been a lost cause.
Stephannie writes wonderfully about her process here- it’s engaging and down- to- earth. It’s a great essay on how she came to select her colors, patterns and materials in order to reflect her passion for the California Revival style.
After this, we come to the patterns. And oh, the patterns! They’re fantastic. I was lucky enough to see some of them in the flesh (or should that be, “in the wool”?) at Rhinebeck last year, and they are just amazing.
Stephannie’s patterns have always excelled in the fine details. There is lavish beading in the Tiles sweater, the Peacock Cowl, and the Peacock Mitts. There’s architectural lace work in the Peacock Shawl (which is going on my needles next week!) and the UnderSea Garden Cowl. Of course, there is intriguing color work in the Stair Steps Tam and the Stairsteps Mitts set, as well as the ridiculously clever Fringe Socks (which come in three sizes, hooray!). The Peacock Mitts and the Peacock Cowl also incorporate color via intarsia and duplicate stitch! There is a quick home project in the Catalina Star Pillow, worked in worsted weight yarn, but my favorite pattern must be the Wrought Iron Cardi.
I’ve always been a sucker for a cardigan, but this one has it all: twisted stitches add depth and dimension, a shawl collar to snuggle down into on chilly evenings, and a pattern with seven different sizes and a full schematic. Absolutely perfect!
The entire Wrought Iron collection grabs my heart, though. The Wrought Mitts are more of the same in the best way- twisted, traveling stitches on the small scale, perfect for last- minute gifts, if I can stand to part with them. The Wrought Iron Beret is stunning, and then there is also a pair of Wrought Socks, too- perfect in their simplicity.
The Quatrefoil Mitts (which are followed by a full mitten version, for those of you in colder climates) are another of my favorites from this book. I love a good, simple colorwork project, and the picot hem sold me on this pattern; again, here is one of those perfect little details that Stephannie does so well.
I’m thrilled to see this book come out; I’ve been waiting for it with baited breath ever since Stephannie told me it was coming.
To celebrate the arrival of this awesome book, I’d like to give away one free digital copy! Just leave me a comment below, telling me which pattern you’d knit first if you won this book- and why- to be entered to win a digital copy of the book! I’ll pick a winner using the Random Number Generator at 12 pm Eastern, on Wednesday, the 2nd of May.
Good luck, everyone!