Book look: Artistic Differences by Talitha Kuomi (with Classic Elite Yarns)

I recently was sent a review copy of a brand-new pattern book by the very talented Talitha Kuomi. If you watched The Fiber Factor, you’ll recognize Talitha as one of the contestants. She’s also had designs published all over the place, for magazines like knit.wear and KnitScene, for yarn companies like Classic Elite and Malabrigo, and on her own website. Talitha’s got an interesting background. Like many of us in the industry, she didn’t originally set out to become a knitwear designer. She fronted a blues/rock band, trained as a bridal seamstress, and ended up knitting when her kids were little. Soon she was tweaking patterns and then writing her own.

tal cover

Talitha’s latest endeavor is a book of designs called “Artistic Differences,” created in collaboration with Classic Elite Yarns. It’s a terrific idea: giving a designer yarn and tech support, allowing her to tell a story through a set of themed designs. (It’s this kind of thinking that we in the industry need to do more of: finding collaborative and creative ways for people to work together.) Talitha drew on her background in the music industry, envisioning designs that could be styled two ways: an edgier “rock-n-roll” look, and a more “bohemian acoustic” style. You can get a feel for how this works by comparing each version of a given design. For example, the Tensity bags feature a lovely central cable motif; the bags are constructed the same way but finished differently.

tal tensity

Different silhouettes and handles (and obviously different color choices) give each bag its own look.

Likewise, the Cade cowl pattern is shown in two variations; the purple is the boho look,

tal cade

while the blue version features the edgier style.

cade too

Forte is a great sweater knit in bulky yarn, with dropped stitch details front and center; boho version

forte brown

and rocker version.

forte tan

Setto features a lovely cable motif and is shown in two very different lengths, cropped for rocker and longer for boho:


I think my favorite, though, is Terva with its arching lace pattern, shown in gold (boho)


and deep raspberry (rocker). So pretty!


The Silve wristers are shown in an all-one-color version as well as with contrasting-color edgings:


Chroma is a shrug that comes in two lengths; it’s knit from the bottom up, flat, in one piece, using a long circular:

chroma 1

chroma 2

Talitha did the styling and photography, as well as the knit design. I had a chance to chat with her about what it was like to shoot the photographs at a nightclub called Club Passim.

“Club Passim is a landmark in Cambridge, MA. Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt and many other familiar names played there back in the day. Framed photos of them hang on the walls.

“Once I knew what the themes of the book would be, I called on friends and dug through my own closet to dress Lindsay and Hayleigh, the models. My friends did not disappoint. Pam’s tall boots are being worn with Boho Setto and Renee’s silver cuffs really add attitude to Rocker Forte. About 90% of what’s being worn is actually mine from when I was fronting the band in local clubs. Each piece has memories for me: the orange suede jacket for waiting in the cold backstage, the black Doc Martens for schlepping gear from the free parking spots to the back stage doors, and then there are the D-ring clogs. Oh, how strong I feel in heels and when you’re on stage dumping out the contents of your heart for strangers, shoes that make you feel strong are a must have.

“We all arrived early one Tuesday morning this past September. Staff unlocked the doors for us and left us to have full run of the place for the whole day. We shot Rocker Terva in front of the wine list on the kitchen wall, and Boho Terva in the sound booth. We took pics of the flyers in the ladies room. We shot Rocker Tensity at the front door, and Boho Setto just inside the rear exit. Out back, behind little outdoor tables and chairs stacked for storage, we found wavy metal panels framed in painted wood. I still have no idea what their actual purpose is, but we hauled one out and it made the perfect backdrop for the Cade cowls. It was great to be able to take pictures in all the real nooks and corners of this historic club.

“The faded plaid hat worn in some of the boho shots really was my grandfather’s hat. He worn classic old men’s hats nearly everywhere he went. I keep in on a shelf in my livingroom to remind me of how he chose to live. To remind me to make wise choices as I live.”

You can find Artistic Differences on Ravelry (you can buy individual patterns or the entire collection) and through your local CEY stockist. Learn more about Talitha and her work at her website here.

Photos copyright 2015 Classic Elite Yarns, used for review purposes.

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