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Island: a book review

February 2, 2013
Island by Jane Richmond
ISLAND by Jane Richmond

ISLAND by Jane Richmond

It’s no secret that I am a big time Jane Richmond fan. I don’t often have time to knit other people’s designs these days but when I do, I immediately look to Jane. Her most recent work is a self published book ISLAND – five gorgeous patterns inspired by her home, Vancouver Island.

Jane worked together with Shannon Cook (her gal behind the scenes) and her brother Nicholas Kupiak (photographer extraordinaire) to create this lovely group of patterns.  Jane’s rule of design? “I design things that I would want to wear”.  Words to live by!  Her designs are simple and wear-able and her patterns are well written and clear.  A treat!

I first met Jane while working at Urban Yarns. She had come in to the shop and Kynna and I were all a-flutter with nerdy knitter worship. It was JANE RICHMOND! Creator of the ever popular Marian cowl, the simply lovely Rae, and the excellent first sweater pattern Oatmeal. Well Jane is the sweetest person you could hope to meet and I like her more every time I see her.

Jane and Shannon at Baaad Anna's

Jane and Shannon at Baaad Anna’s

Shannon is the brain behind Luv in the Mommyhood, a blog I frequent.  With a great eye for all things beautiful, Shannon blogs about knitting, sewing, and general crafting (mommyhood is not necessary to love her blog!).  I once read a post she wrote about an ironing board cover she bought on Etsy and mere moments later one was on its way to my house…. I’m still not sure how that happened but I do have a pretty cool ironing board cover! Shannon is the woman behind the scenes, formatting, editing, and I’m sure all nature of other things!  She put together this beautiful video preview of ISLAND.

Last October at Knit City I picked up a copy of ISLAND, Jane’s first book. I had a sneaking suspicion that the 30 copies she had on hand would go fast, so I had Shannon set me one aside for me. I was right – the book was sold out by the time I made it to her booth at noon! ISLAND was an instant success, and last week she had a wonderful book tour around the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island.


I had a chance to meet up with Jane and Shannon at Baaad Anna’s on Saturday night. It was a wonderful evening of perusing samples, savouring delicious strawberry shortcake, and chatting about my favourite thing: knitting.

Jane gave a little speech about the book. She told us that the reason she put together this book was to put a bit more of herself into the pages.  Patterns are really just technical details, but this book is about Jane, her home turf, and her vision of what is beautiful. 

The first half of the book is filled with stunning photos of her knitwear in beautiful Vancouver Island scenery.  Giant cedar trees, mossy green forests, and wide expanses of grassy fields are the backdrop to classic and carefully crafted knitwear.



The knits themselves are as pretty as the pictures.  I had to make a Renfrew hat right away.  I picked up a skein of SweetGeorgia Merino Silk Aran in ‘oceanside’ at Knit City and cast on before the weekend was done! The beauty of this hat is that it’s knit inside out, so you get the wonderful texture of reverse stockinette but avoid all the purls! Genius.


Renfrew in SweetGeorgia Merino Silk Aran, Oceanside

The second stunning project I’ve made from the book is the Arbutus cowl. It is quite a construction marvel, taking only one skein of Madelinetosh DK (I used Warm Maize) to create a cowl that looks quite large. It’s all in the short rows.  They create a nice full looking front to the cowl without any bulk around the back of the neck. Genius again!

Arbutus in Tosh DK, Warm Maize

Arbutus in Tosh DK, Warm Maize

Thanks for such a wonderful collection Jane! If you haven’t already, go out and get yourself a copy of ISLAND, 5 great knits and stunning inspiration.  You can purchase the print book on Amazon, or get the e-book or single patterns via Ravelry.

Other Popular Jane Richmond Patterns:

Marian Cowl Georgia Pasha

One Comment leave one →
  1. February 4, 2013 4:24 pm

    Alexa you are the sweetest!!! It was so awesome to see you at Baaad Anna’s and I finally have a chance to sit and chat, and laugh together! I’m so glad you came.

    Thank you so much for the most amazing review, you made me blush and grin from ear to ear <3

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