Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Knit in 80 Seconds

The children's storybook, Phoebe's Sweater, written by Joanna Johnson and illustrated by her husband Eric Johnson, tells the story of Phoebe Mouse and how she becomes a big sister. The book also includes knitting patterns: one for a child-size hooded sweater, one for a toy Phoebe Mouse, and one for a doll-size sweater that will fit the toy Phoebe Mouse as well as a 16-18 doll. The video above shows a Phoebe sweater being knitting in 80 seconds. Or more accurately, shows us 80 seconds out of of a day-long process of knitting the Phoebe sweater, but the 80 second stop motion video is quite well done and offers cute background effects, such as a last ball of yarn being delivered by a little vehicle made out of Lego. If you'd like to knit Phoebe's sweater for the little girl in your life, the pattern is available on Ravelry for $6(USD).

Monday, 20 October 2014

Tales from the Midknit Hour

Rosamund loved Halloween, but found it a let down when all the little trick or treaters who came to her house tended to run away screaming when she opened the door. So she decided to throw a "Midknit Hour" Halloween party for her knitting club.

Rosamund's best friend Caitlin came early to the party to lend a hand with the preparations, but wasn't much help as she got distracted by Rosamund's stash.

Rosamund's friend Mira had also offered to help but instead spent the entire party stretching, rolling over on her back, and rubbing up against people's legs. Rosamund, who was a bunny person herself, reflected that cat people were too much like cats to be much help at throwing parties.

Jena, a member of Rosamund's knitting group, appeared at the party in post-apocalyptic crochet and with dirt on her face and spent the entire time talking to everyone about the coming global warming holocaust.

No one could figure out who the guy in the clown mask was, but no one at the party quite had the nerve to ask him.

Rosamund was grateful for knitting club member Irwin's presence, as he and his macarenas really got her party started.

Knitting club member Lucian insisted his seventies "man around town" knitwear look was supposed to be ironic, but the irony wore thin after he got really drunk and asked each woman present if she'd like to come back to his place and help him unwind.

Everyone agreed that Enid had the best costume of anyone present.

Unfortunately Enid had brought Cyrus the Bumbledog with her, and he showed his disapproval of both his costume and everyone present by peeing on everything. Rosamund decided next year she'd stick to scaring off trick or treaters and eating all the candy herself.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Bergère de France Magazine 175

Bergère de France has released Magazine 175, in which they've not only aimed to appeal to young people but to try to teach them to knit by offering them patterns of progressive and calculated difficulty, which I must admit is ambitious all around. Let's have a look at it, shall we?

Pattern 01, Beanie. Simple, easy garter stitch hat. It's not bad. The knob on top is a little odd but it's in proportion and integrated with the rest of the design so I think it works fairly well.

Pattern 02, Short-Sleeved Sweater, Pattern 03A, Grey Mug Cosy, Pattern 03B, Pink Mug Cosy & Pattern 04, Turn Cuff Slipper Socks. Not liking anything here much. The sweater is way too, well, square. It does look better than I would have expected on the model, and I appreciate that Bergère de France is trying to provide dead easy beginner projects here, but garments need shaping and I'd advise beginners to stick to smaller items until they feel they can handle doing at least some shaping. As for the other items, those mug cosies are going to get soggy and stained the first time they're used, and the booties are clumsy and unattractive. I know they're probably on trend, but I'd argue ugly trends should be ignored. There are no Ugg boots in my closet, is what I'm saying.

Pattern 05, Bobble Hat & Pattern 06, Scarf. This is a serviceable enough hat and scarf, though I'd omit the pom pom if it were for a young man, and make both items in better-looking yarn. As I often say in my reviews, one way to make a simple project look like something special is to use a beautiful yarn.

Pattern 07, Blanket & Pattern 08, Slipper Socks with Cuff. Quite like the blanket, which has a crisp, sporty look to it, but the slippers are quite dreadful. I can't imagine any young man of my acquaintance voluntarily wearing them.

Pattern 09, Arm Warmers. These arm warmers aren't bad. They fit well and, thanks to the colourway, are kind of fun.

Pattern 10, Hooded Poncho, Pattern 11, Slipper Socks & Pattern 12, Pouch. Again, with respect to the hooded poncho, Bergère de France has managed to make a square garment look fairly good on this professional model, but this shapeless item is not going to play as well on the average girl or woman in real life. There are better beginner projects than this one. I'm actually not hating the slipper socks, which could mean that Bergère de France is wearing me down dangerously and I'll find myself with Uggs on my feet by the end of this review. The pouch isn't bad though I'd use it for a cell phone case rather than makeup brushes, partly because my makeup brushes are bigger than that, but for the most part because it would promptly become filthy.

Pattern 13, Rectangular Cushion & Pattern 14, Cardigan Look Sweater. The cushion is really basic but okay. I can see it looking pretty good in the right setting. The faux cardigan (it doesn't open in front at all) with its askew-looking collar just looks strange and rather dorky, like something one of the geeky guys in an eighties John Hughes movie would wear.

Pattern 15, Slipper Socks & Pattern 16, Snood. More clumsily constructed slipper socks and a cowl that is kind of cute but is styled as menswear. I don't think too many young guys would be willing to wear this cowl.

Pattern 17, Perfecto Jacket. This is actually a pretty smart-looking jacket.

Pattern 18, Studded Hat, Pattern 19, Tablet Cover & Pattern 20, Studded Slipper Socks. These are all pretty basic, but they'll do. This pair of slipper socks is better constructed than the previous pairs.

Pattern 21, Boat-Neck Sweater. This sweater has nice texture but is so very shapeless. I'd add waist shaping and raise the dropped shoulders.

Pattern 22, Hat, Pattern 23, Travel Blanket & Pattern 24, Boot-Style Slipper Socks. I haven't a fault to pick with any of these. They're very solid basic patterns.

Pattern 25, Large Snood & Pattern 26, Cable-Stitch Arm Warmers. Quite an attractive cowl and fingerless glove set.

Pattern 27, Shawl Collar Sweater, Pattern 28, Slipper Socks & Pattern 29, Messenger Bag. The sweater is actually quite nice, and as we've seen in the previous picture, looks very well when on. I question whether anyone will want to wear shin-high slipper socks, but if they are too high for your liking, you can always shorten them. The messenger bag looks tacked together and cheesy.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Jane Austen Knits 2014

Interweave has released the 2014 issue for Jane Austen Knits. Let's have a look at the Georgian-inspired styles therein, shall we?

Highbury Top. A henley with a lace border would have been considered underwear in the Georgian period. A piece like this makes for wearable outerwear these days.

Wheatsheaf Carpetbag. Oooh, love this one, with its unusual and beautiful pattern and detailing. An aluminum frame is used to give the bag shape. It can be knitted as a tote if you can't find or don't care to use such a frame.

Mrs. Jennings's Country Stockings. This is my favourite kind of sock: a basically plain pattern with a bit of lovely or interesting detailing added. Very patterned socks always look a little on the goofy side to me, no matter how beautifully designed.

Men's Driving Gloves. These are nice, although I'm a little unsure about their appeal to men on the whole. They might look a little gimmicky and foppish to most men.

Eliza's Hat. This one is really eye-catching. It's the particular needle-felted floral trimming that makes it because it's really something unique, but the hat does have a pretty good shape and could be trimmed in lots of different ways.

Harriet's Little Shoulder Shawl. This shawl is a little on the too little and too simple side for me. I think I'd want to make it a little larger and add a fringe or lace edging.

Jane's Barathea Mitts. Very nice fingerless gloves. They've got great texture and are so well-shaped.

Fine Stockings. Another mostly plain pair of stockings with some lovely detailing.

A Second Chance for Mr. Rushworth Socks. Classic pair of cabled socks.

Kitty's Chemise. This top needs some detailing (any detailing, for that matter) to make it work. It's just too plain as is to be worth making.

Socks for Mr. Bennet's Leisure. Love the horizontal herringbone pattern in these socks.

Cassandra's Tea Cozy. Can't say I care for this one. It just looks kind of lumpy and cheesy.

Col. Fitzwilliam's Huswife. In the nineteenth century, a huswife, or housewife as it was also called, was a little kit of sewing supplies. I'm trying to figure out what purpose this could be put to in the twenty-first century. Interweave suggests it could hold knitting notions, but I don't think I'd care to use it for that. Maybe it could work as a vanity case or cell phone case. As to the aesthetics of it, I do like the tartan pattern but the crooked embroidered lettering is really detracting.

Kellynch Cardigan. Beautiful classic cardigan. The yarn used here, Madelinetosh Tosh merino light in "Tannenbaum", is really fabulous.

Dashwood Lace Stole. This looks much more like an afghan than a stole to me because of its size and rectangular shape, although I must say it is a beautiful afghan. Love the lace pattern. If you want to wear this, I'd recommend sizing it down and shaping it.

Strawberry Picking Shrug. Very pretty little shrug.

Sweet Hearts Reticule. This is kind of cute, but it could have done with a little more shaping at the bottom. This purse will not sit upright on its own.

Regency Blouse. Very pretty top. The shaping is good and the ballet neckline, cap sleeves, and lacework add a lot of grace to it.

Accomplished Ladies' Reticule. Pretty little purse, though I'm mentally playing with the colourway in order to make it less "tea in a country garden" style, because that style is a little too precious for most women.

Susan's Bonnet. This isn't a bad-looking bonnet, but it is a bonnet. I can't imagine any woman wearing it other than as part of a costume.

A Shawl for Emma. Lovely, delicately lacy shawl.

Abbey Mill Farm Vest. Beautiful, classic fair isle vest.

Fitzwilliam's Gift. What a gorgeous piece. The lacework, the beading and that luscious yarn all combine to make something really luxurious and extravagantly beautiful.

Almost Pretty Stockings. Creative use of lacework here. That diagonal lace stripe make these socks look simultaneously quaint and contemporary.

Brighton Shawl. Lovely and gracefully shaped shawl.

Catherine's Bonnet. The shape of this little girl's hat is ever so cute. I'm having a lot of fun mentally playing with it and figuring out different things to do with it with intarsia and Swiss darning.

Little Man Waistcoat. Not crazy about this one. I find the shaping of the neck a little on the rough and ready side, and the colourway isn't doing anything for it. Fixing the neckline and going with a different colourway should make it work though.