Thursday, 2 July 2015

Gauge This

One of the most useful tools a knitter has is the knitting needle gauge, which is a tool for measuring the size of a knitting needle. There are various styles of gauges available for sale, and in this post we're going to have a look at some of them.

The Knitter's Rule handcrafted bamboo gauge above is probably one of the cutest I've seen, but sadly for those of us who might want one, the Etsy seller who made the Knitter's Rule gauges has retired from Etsy.

This is the utilitarian and widely available Susan Bates needle gauge. It's the one I have, and though it may be unexciting aesthetically, it could hardly be bettered in terms of its utility. The built-in rulers and gauge measure are very handy, and besides providing both metric and U.S. knitting needle sizes, it also measures crochet hook sizes, and as it's made of metal it's extremely durable. My one quibble is that it doesn't have U.K. needle sizes on it, but then no gauge that I've seen has all three.

These owl and Dr. Who-themed gauges are made by the Etsy vendor Tangerine Designs, who also makes gauges in sheep and hedgehog shapes. They aren't quite as useful as the Susan Bates gauge because they only have either metric or U.S. needle sizes and have little measuring capacity, but they are undeniably adorable.

This laser cut plastic Swift needle gauge was made by Etsy vendor Hipstrings. There are a lot of handmade and vintage gauges for sale on Etsy, so it's worth a browse through their listings if you'd like a gauge that is styled like your spirit animal or favourite theme. offers those of us who feel married to our knitting this sterling silver needle gauge ring, which measures knitting needle U.S. sizes from 0-8.

Of course, if knitting needle gauges are too old school for you, there is an app for that.

If any sort of needle gauge isn't in the budget right now, here's a free needle gauge chart from Twisted Angle. Just print it off their web site at 100% and you'll be in the needle gauging business.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Knitscene Fall 2015: A Review

Knitscene has just released their Fall 2015 issue, which also happens to be their tenth anniversary issue. Let's take a look at it.

Canted Pullover. This isn't bad, but it's not great either. The slightly asymmetrical design looks more like poor workmanship than a design. This piece does have some good points though, as the yarn used here is lovely and the neckline and sleeves have very graceful lines.

Solitude Jacket. Not bad. It has a certain dependable, comfortable appeal. I find the name appropriate, because this really does look like something a woman would wear on a day when she's alone in the house and is able to either get down to work on some sort of important task on which she needs to concentrate, such as writing a dissertation or a sonata, or just put on a favourite album, sip her favourite hot beverage, and watch the snow fall outside the window.

Allatrope Pullover. Lovely! The lines are good and the diamond motif is fantastic.

Pennant Cardi. Can't say I care for this one, but the problem seems to be the colourway, which isn't pulling together. When I imagine the sweater done in, say, charcoal gray with the shoulder detail done black, white, another lighter shade of gray, and one bright colour such as crimson or purple, it looks much better.

Caen Cowl. Nice, slightly offbeat piece that'll be a fun finishing touch for a basic outfit.

Bayeux Scarf. Attractive and simple yet polished piece with good texture.

Tourlaville Shawl. Well designed, and visually eyecatching and enlivening. This one's a real focal point.

Orne Cardigan. Will look sad and baggy on most women. I said above that the Solitude Jacket looked like just the thing to wear when concentrating or relaxing, and this sweater by contrast looks like the sort of thing one would wear when binge eating a box of Choco-Puffs, binge watching hours of the Desperate Housewives of Wherever, and binge crying.

Bessin Scarf. Love this one. The unexpected circular patches look like an especially adult and sophisticated take on the polka dot pattern.

Argentan Pullover. The dropped shoulder and the lack of waist shaping make the lines of this sweater unflattering, and though ordinarily I usually would just add a blithe, "That's easily fixed," after such a criticism, I can't in this case as the side ribbing that is this sweater's only design feature would make it very difficult to correct for those things without changing the look entirely. Also, this has a mullet hem.

Cormac Sweater. Another dropped shoulder and (possibly?) lack of waist shaping, this time fixable. Though you may not want to. Airy layering pieces like this are one of the types of clothing that make it easier for a woman to carry off a larger, looser fit. I would neaten up the fit at least a little, though.

O'Connor Cowl. Nice, sensible cowl with a pleasing texture. It makes for a nice pop of colour on this outfit.

Faulkner Hat. Hey, I like this one. It's dead simple except for that cabled band, and it's so striking that it's all the hat needs.

Caldwell Pullover. I want to like this one, because the simple garter stitch and yarn over detailing is appealing, but that is one wonkily shaped sweater, especially in the sleeves.

Williams Cloche. The designer of this knit cap managed to give it the style of a twenties cloche, which is no mean feat. One of the pictures shows the model wearing the cap with the twist at the front, but I'd wear it at the side, as it looks a little "Norma Desmond turban" when it faces the front.

Maduri Sweater. Fix the dropped shoulder and add waist shaping, and use a beautiful yarn to make this simple textured pullover, and the woman who wears it won't feel the need to go crazy with her hair styling to keep everyone from looking at it.

Hyannis Port Pullover. Lovely classic, polished turtleneck.

Couturier Jacket. Very cute and smart little jacket. It would be fun to select the yarn and buttons for this one, as there are so many directions one could go.

Oddity Scarf. This is both fun and chic. It looks like something Agent Carter might wear.

Brigitte Headband. Nice, visually striking piece, though when it comes to a headband this wide, I am left wondering why the maker didn't go all the way and turn it into a hat.

Virginie Pullover. A simple v-neck pullover in a beautiful mohair yarn is never to be despised, but if you want to make this one I definitely recommend raising the dropped shoulder and adding waist shaping. As you can see here, the bagginess of this sweater is doing nothing even for the gorgeous model who is wearing it, and it's making her arms look mutant-length.

Prewitt Socks. Really like these. I bet there were men wearing silk socks like these in some of those 1940s-era film noir movies.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Bergère de France Fils d'exception 20 modèles femme: A Review

Bergère de France has released an issue entitled "Fils d'exception 20 modèles femme", or in my best English translation thereof, "Exceptional Yarn: 20 Patterns for Women". Let's have a look at these twenty patterns rendered in exceptional yarn, shall we?

Pattern 01. Classic cabled pullover, knitted in silk.

Pattern 02. Pullover in a lattice-like lace pattern. Nice looking piece.

Pattern 03. Very attractive piece. The lace work across the shoulders and sleeves really sets what would otherwise be a dead simple cardigan apart.

Pattern 04. A tee with a placket. A very simple but very flattering, wearable, useful piece.

Pattern 05. This cabled cardigan is really chic, like the Chanel jacket of cabled sweaters. The slightly cropped length would be difficult for some to carry off, but could always be lengthened a bit.

Pattern 06. Classic cabled hat and scarf set.

Pattern 07. I'm pretty sure this drape front cardigan would look draggled and sad on anyone but a French model.

Pattern 08. Pourquoi the black stripe with the pointless buttons on it, Bergère de France? It's not adding anything. This sweater did need some more detail, but not that particular one.

Pattern 09. Only the French could make cables look chic. The ballet neckline and the full-fashioned sleeves take this piece to the right level for pairing it with a classic pencil skirt and leather handbag.

Pattern 10. Beautiful colour and pattern, but I would be inclined to let my couch wear this piece instead of me.

Pattern 11. If this piece were more fitted, it might work, but as it is it's making even the model look like a bloated loaf of bread.

Pattern 12. Another smart little jacket, with some really exceptional stitchwork.

Pattern 13. Loving the stitchwork here. This looks like the ultimate in cozy sweaters.

Pattern 14. What a gorgeous scarf. That floral pattern is just amazing.

Pattern 15. I'm on the fence about this one. It's not the kind of thing that appeals to me normally, but it definitely has a certain drama and style, and someone tall who wore it with a fitted skirt or trousers could probably carry it off. It definitely could have used a finishing detail at the neck, and by finishing detail I don't mean that off-centre tie, which looks like an end that should have been darned in.

Pattern 16. A slightly too simple wrap sweater. I'd add a picot edging to the neckline, sleeves, and bottom hem.

Pattern 17. Can't say I care much for this scarf. The very elongated stitchwork looks off-scale. Styling a heavy winter scarf with a summer dress didn't help.

Pattern 18. A wrap with a shawl-collar. I can't think of anything positive to say about this awkward and unflattering piece except that one would always know when it was right side up.

Pattern 19. I wish I could see this one better, but what I can see isn't too impressive. The collar is sad-looking, the sleeves have an unfortunate bell shape and stretched-out look, and the whole thing looks awkward, bulky, and unflattering.

Pattern 20. Cute and nicely polished little capelet. The ruffled edging adds a lot.