Friday, 24 June 2016

Masterpiece Knits: A Book Review

In February 2016, Dragonfly Fibers (a yarn company that produces hand-dyed yarns and spinning fibres) published Masterpiece Knits: A Modern Collection, a book of designs inspired by famous paintings. I love the concept, but then I tend to love the combination of knitting with anything else I enjoy or think important: knitting and literature, knitting and art, knitting and theatre, knitting and politics, etc. Basically, knitting goes with everything but something like, say, driving a car. Let's have a look at Masterpiece Knits.

Fractal Poppies. This design was inspired by Georgia O'Keeffe's "Oriental Poppies". I can definitely see the correlation in the shaping and colours, but I'm not convinced that this shawl would look all that good when worn given its unusual shape.

Blue Morning Glories. This design was inspired by another Georgia O'Keeffe work, "Blue Morning Glories". This is attractively and interestingly detailed, well-shaped, and very wearable, though I'm not thrilled with the edging on the neckline and bottom hem.

Picasso Socks. This pair of socks was inspired by Picasso's Paisaje Mediterraneo. I actually find the socks more pleasing to look at than the painting. Great stitchwork, and the play of colour is awesome.

Klee's Knees. This design is based on Paul Klee's "Fire in the Evening". These are interesting, and they aren't unattractive, but I'm not sure I'd want to wear such a bulky pair of knee socks.

A Golden Landscape Hat & Mitts. These two patterns were based on Gustav Klimt's "Tree of Life". I love the combination of the "tree" stitchwork, the polished shaping, and the beautiful yarn.

Morning at the Tate. This scarf wasn't based on a particular painting but rather was inspired by modern art on the whole (the Tate Modern, of course, is London's museum of modern art) and "combines the movement of an O'Keeffe painting and the boldness of modernism". It does have a very contemporary feel to it and capture the spirit of modern art quite well.

Marilyn in Color. This cowl was inspired by Andy Warhol's Marilyn Monroe diptych. I would have named the scarf after Andy Warhol, because it seems more expressive of him than it does of Monroe. I love the stitchwork though I'm not that taken with the colourway, which is too crude and loud for my liking.

Sugar Shack Tunic. This design represents Ernie Barnes' "Sugar Shack", and it looks like not only a tribute to the painting but also as though it could be worn by one of the figures in the painting, which is a neat accomplishment. The lines of the tunic are very good, but I'm not sure about the curled edge, which looks too unfinished and takes away from the overall sleekness of the piece.

Rothko Beret. This hat was inspired by Mark Rothko's "Untitled 12". I like the bold colour, and the lacework is attractive.

Earth and Green. This cap was inspired by Mark Rothko's "Earth & Green". I like the hat and the colours in it, though I am not sure how many men would.

Sheaves. This cowl was based on the Matisse cut out, "The Sheaf". I actually don't see much of a correlation between these two pieces, but I do love the cowl -- it's probably my favourite design in the whole book. The shape is perfect and the yarn is gorgeous.

The Laundress. This jacket was inspired by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec's painting "The Laundress". Between the frumpy shape and ugly, dreary colour of this one, all I can say is that this does look like the kind of thing one might wear to do the family laundry if one wanted to feel even more oppressed by the task than one already is.

The Laundress Hat. Here's a hat to go with the jacket. Although at least I can say for the hat that the stitchwork and shaping are perfectly good and deserve a better colourway and a better occasion than laundry day.

Modern Lattice. This cowl is another tribute to Paul Klee's "Fire in the Evening". I like this piece, though I would make it in a lighter weight than super bulky, as it looks a little crude as is. Double knitting weight might be my pick, or I might go all the way down to fingering.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Love of Knitting Fall 2016: A Review

Love of Knitting has released their Fall 2016 issue! Let's have a look at it.

Autumn Leaves Cardigan. The leaf detail is pleasing, but I don't like the way this cardigan lies in front.

Embossed Leaves. Very nice! The leaves are so simple and spare a detail and yet so effective, and they frame the wearer's face so well.

Leaf & Seed Hat. Rather a nice little cap.

Leafy Path Pullover. Very much like this one. That leafy panel and matching collar are so distinctive and the textured stitch works so well with them.

Parallelogram Wrap. Very well-shaped and textured.

Orbit Pullover. Excellent shaping and the collar sits well. The styling is very good as well.

Evelyn Cowl. Very basic.

Quick Finish Jacket. This one was perhaps too quickly finished -- it has an unfinished look and the front doesn't sit that well.

Crestwood Socks. What lovely stitchwork.

Clear Skies Wrap. This one has a nice textured lace pattern.

OXO Pullover. This one has an interesting variation on the traditional cable pattern.

Chevron & Stripes Pattern. Cute and striking little piece. I like the non-traditional colourway.

Hoot Sweet Hat & Mitts. What an adorable little set. It has a smartness that is usually completely lacking in most children's animal-themed stuff.

Wishbone Sweater. A very handsome take on a classic.

Byzantine Tiles Socks. These are rather fetching. It would be fun to play with the colour combinations on this one.

Day of the Dead. This one's a lot of fun and quite visually pleasing as well. The colours are great.

Garter Cable Pillow. This is fine, but I've seen cabled pillows I liked better.

Apricot Shawl. A well-textured classic shawl.

Curving Cables Swatch. That's a nice cable pattern. It amazes me how many cable variations there are.

Circus Train Passenger Car. This is the next car in the toy train set series Love of Knitting is releasing one pattern at a time. I'm looking forward to seeing the caboose!

Monday, 20 June 2016

Creative Knitting Autumn 2016: A Review

The Autumn 2016 issue of Creative Knitting is out! Let's have a look at it.

Ingot pullover. Simple but very effective, and it would be fun to play with the colourway.

Inverted V top. This is an innovative, contemporary look (and this piece also can be worn with the simple buttoned back at the front), but also one that is hard to wear. Cropped-length pieces always add several extra visual lines to a woman's body, and it's not flattering. If you love this piece, I'd suggest wearing it over a dress with no front seamlines, or at most an empire waistline that will be hidden under the knitted piece.

Morecambe Bay Cardi. A "garter stitch hooded jacket with random blocks of colour" sounds like one of those half-assed design concepts that Bergère de France is constantly serving up half-baked, but this designer took that simple idea and turned it into a polished and wearable piece of contemporary design.

Ready for the Weekend pullover. This colour blocking doesn't quite work. It has a certain unfortunate "half a pinafore" look, and I keep wondering where the skirt went.

Ulverston Color-Block Scarf, Hat & Mitts. I rather like the hat and the mitts, but the garter stitch scarf has an undesirable "beginner project" effect.

Undulating Waves wrap. A more interesting colour choice would do a lot for this piece.

Cables & Cords pullover. The shaping is good, and the laced effect is rather eye-catching. I'd be inclined to replace the I-cord in this one with a length of ribbon, which would lighten up the look.

Intertwined Elegance cardigan. This one has potential, but it needed a little more work. The gaps between the buttons aren't a happy effect, and the bottom hem look unfinished.

Origami Wrap. This isn't bad. It has a certain flair and could have a nice effect when worn over a simple outfit.

Woodland Slouch. This has a cute shape and nice texture.

Coronado Cardi. This reasonably well-shaped classic jacket deserved a more attractive yarn.

Gaines Poncho. Love the painterly colours used here, but the shape and finishing details aren't quite there.

Hint of the Highlands. This is attractive enough, but I find myself thinking how much better it would look in a more interesting palette.

Kaleidoscope Pullover. This is the sort of innovative art piece that would work better as an afghan. On an actual human being, it's both unflattering and gives one the look of a poorly adjusted TV set.

Stranded & Striped Cardigan. The design is really quite lovely... and I'm imagining it in pretty much every other colourway than this one.

Terranova pullover. This looks like mésalliance of components that were originally created for at least three different sweaters.

Twisted-Float Cowl. I could see this working as a cute little accessory, though again it needs a different colourway.