Friday, 16 November 2012

Creative Knitting's Winter 2012: A Review

Let's look at some of the patterns from the Creative Knitting Winter 2012/2013 issue, shall we?

Cowls are one of the few truly innovative and clever trends to appear in the last several years. Not only are they a genuinely fresh sartorial departure (something you don't see a lot of in clothing trends, because really, what else can we do that we haven't already done?), but they make a lot of sense. They stay securely in place, keeping your neck and chest warm. They can't fall off and get lost. They don't dangle behind you and leave you at risk for getting your neck broken when they get caught in something, à la Isadora Duncan. And they can look quite good. My prediction is that the cowl is not in fact a trend but that it is here to stay.

That said, I don't care for this one, which makes this model look like she stuck her head through a pile of rope.

I'm not crazy about this cowl either. It looks too bulky and clunky. But I suppose it, like the last one, could work with the right kind of coat.

I do like this cowl. Good proportions, interesting texture.

These gloves remind me of a joke I heard a comedian make about porch lights: that they look really pretty at night but in the daytime they make your house look like raccoons have been ripping apart the eaves on your house. These gloves will look like they've been gnawed on by rodents regardless of the time of day.

This hat and fingerless gloves set is quite cute.

But while we're on the topic of fingerless gloves, is there some temperature at which it's cold enough that you need to protect your hands but your fingers will stay warm by themselves, and if so, what is it? And what do you do if you're out and about and the temperature suddenly dips below that? Do you keep a pair of actual mittens or gloves in your pocket and just switch? If your fingerless gloves match your hat then do you have another pair of the gloves with fingers that also match it so you can stay colour-coordinated when the temperature drops? Considerations like these are why I will never make a pair of fingerless gloves, at least not for myself. It all sounds too complicated.

Another nice hat and fingerless glove set. The idea of putting a garter stitch band around the crown with a little decoration on it to mimic traditional felt hat trimming is a cute one, but I keep looking at the button on the side of the hat and thinking it looks a little lost, or maybe just a little.... little. I'd have used a larger one to keep it in proportion with the rest of the hat.

Nice hat and scarf set. I keep looking at the beads around the bottom of the hat and thinking how I'd feel each individual bead pressing against my skin and how that would annoy the living shit out of me.

Very nice little pullover, a modern interpretation of a classic. This would flatter most women.

Ah, the basic, cropped, squarish sweater. This is one of those beginner projects that you're so proud of when you first finish it, because you've actually made a sweater!!! And then within a few years, after your skill improves and the halo of accomplishment that surrounds this sweater with a glorifying light dims, you realize how amateurish and unflattering it's always been and you either rip it all out and knit something else with the yarn, or you bury it deep in the thrift shop donation bag.

Creative Knitting suggests that you might use the swatches you have lying around to make cell phone covers. I must admit that's a great idea. If you knit swatches. And if you have a cell phone.

This sweater would make me feel like a Muppet.

This sweater would make feel like a Peanuts character.

This is one of those patterns that do look quite good on a professional model in a magazine (although this particular model appears unconvinced of that), but maybe are a little too costume-y and theatrical for real life. I can't picture any of the women I know wearing this. If I made this, I'd probably end up dialing it back by picking a side and making the other side to match it.

Very pretty sweater. Which I'd make with a fitted sleeve. Wide sleeves really aren't flattering on anyone, and they're a nuisance.

Beautiful, wearable, eye-catching sweater. Though I'm not a fan of asymmetry in clothes, at least not for myself. I honestly admire this sweater, but it makes me feel all twitchy and OCD. I made myself a top with an asymmetrical neckline once and couldn't stop tugging on it to try to "fix" it.

I do love the knitted slipcover look. It lends the classic, understated elegance and comfort of a Irish cabled sweater to your furniture, and what's not to love about that? It's even reasonably practical — they'll knit up quickly because you use a bulky yarn and big needles, they should wear fairly well with reasonable care, and they can easily be taken off the furniture and washed as often as needed.

These Christmas cards are undeniably adorable, but I just keep imagining spending all that time making these little knitted decorations, pasting them on a card, and then sending the card to someone.... who will look at it for thirty seconds and then throw it in the garbage.

I love this idea. Making knitted Christmas stockings would be a great way to use up some scrap yarn. I'm not crazy about these particular Christmas stockings, but then the idea isn't to make ones that look just like these, but to use whatever scraps we happen to have to make stockings that suit our own tastes and décor.

I like this little girl's sweater, though I think the pattern needs a little refining. The bottom of the pocket looks especially crude. I'd maybe outline the pocket with the stripe pattern (perhaps crocheting around it with a line of each colour?) to tie it to the rest of the sweater a little better, or at least begin the bottom of the pocket with the stripe pattern.


  1. I am new to knitting. I thought I would try the Hint of Pink Fingerless Mitts to learn more stitches. I learned the rib stitching and the gusset but I am confused about other pattern instructions.

    Under the "Thumb Gusset" heading the pattern states for 'Rnd 1':
    " to end of rnd"
    Which rnd do I use?
    Rnd 1 under the "Pattern Stitch" heading
    Set-Up Rnd under the "Thumb Gusset" heading
    Something else

    Thank you in advance for your help.


  2. Hi Sandi. I don't have a copy of this magazine and, without being able to look at this pattern, am afraid to hazard a guess as to what is meant by these instructions. If you don't know a good knitter who can help you in person, you can go on Ravelry (and if you're not on Ravelry, I'd recommend you join, because it's free and it's an incredible resource and community for knitters), and visit the page for this pattern:

    From that page you can go to the designer's page and message her to ask for clarification. If she doesn't reply, you can email one of the five other Ravelry members who are working on this pattern and ask them if they can help you, or even post to the forums with a request that someone who has the copy of the magazine explain it to you. I am sure when there are so many people in a position to assist you that someone will have the goodness to take the time and help you out. Good luck!

  3. RE: fingerless mitts in general

    I have poor circulation and often feel cold, even when indoors. I have a pair of fingerless gloves on the needles right now to wear when I'm at the computer. There's a fair amount of surface area on the backs of the hands, and I imagine that keeping this area covered will make me feel more comfortable and quite a bit warmer.

  4. This was fun to see and read. I must say that I am wearing fingerless mittens right now which I call wrist warmers and I am much happier since I have discovered them. I make mine out of stretchy fabrics...hemp cotton is super! but fleece works and cashmere is cozy and tasteful; it also makes the moth holes in the cashmere sweater not be a total distress.

  5. I'm another fan of fingerless gloves. My hands get cold when I sit for hours typing at work. Fingerless gloves keep me comfortable without getting in the way of typing. I like to make them out of luxury yarns like cashmere or alpaca because they don't take too much yarn.

  6. Oooh and I bt those beads on the hat get cold outside, too!