Sunday, 6 January 2013

Knitty Winter 2012: A Review

Let's have a look at the patterns in the Knitty Winter 2012 Issue.

This single, simple, bold image on an afghan seems like a new idea. Afghans are usually all about small, repeating patterns. I like this piece. It does seem very suitable for a kid's room, but could also work in the living room. One minor nitpick is that the winter theme is a bit limiting for something you might want for nearly year-round use.

Here we have.... ruched fingerless gloves. Pardon me, cabled armwarmers — this is what the pattern calls them. I guess they're not bad things of their sort. I wouldn't pair them with lace and satin ribbon-trimmed bloomers, but then that's me.

These fingerless gloves look really steampunk to me, rather than anything one could wear in real life. The model has paired them with a t-shirt and jeans, which looks ridiculous. I'd at least put them with something somewhat dressy.

These mittens are supposed to be an homage to the flying spaghetti monster, with noodles represented on the gloves and the pom-poms standing in for the meatballs. I don't think anyone will get the reference without being told, but the mittens are cute, sans pom poms.

I like this cardigan, but I am not sure about the collar. It looks kind of like a built-in cowl and kind of like it just isn't sitting right. The pattern says it can be worn open across the shoulders. I wish there was a picture of it being worn that way so I could assess whether that looked better.

Nice, wearable cardigan with a simple yet striking yoke detail. I'd have matched the buttons to the main colour yarn, though. They pull the eye away from the yoke, and that yoke is enough to carry the design without any competing details.

Beautiful jacket. I was trying to decide whether those might be Celtic motifs, but the designer writes that the design came from some heart-shaped motifs she saw painted on the ceiling of a Maori ceremonial building when on a family trip to New Zealand. Maori sweater designs might just give Celtic designs a run for their money if they got the chance.

Not a bad variation on the classic Aran cardigan.

This is a classic aran pullover with a slightly unusual neckline to set it apart from the usual. The man who wears this sweater will need to have enough neck (and not too much chin) to carry this off.

This top-fastened cardigan has good points (I love the hand-spun yarn and its gorgeous colours), but does look a little rough and ready. If you want a sweater pattern in this style, there are better designs out there, and I'd keep looking until I found one.

On the same page, we also have this sweater, and again the colours are beautiful (this is a handpainted yarn), but the style is a little lacking. Notice that the neck is turning itself back at the left side of the photo? Hard as a I try to keep an open mind about some patterns that I wouldn't personally wear, I can never get past my conviction that clothes need to sit and hang properly. And yes, when I say that I say it in much the same tone as your mother used when she told you to sit up straight.

This hooded jacket is the Swiss army knife of sweaters. I'll let the designer, Jodie Gordon Lucas, tell you about it in her own words:

Made in worsted-weight wool, the base jacket is worked in one piece in a way that allows the unique cabling to proceed without interruption around the arms. The jacket avoids being too boxy by using tapered Wood Grain panels to join the front and back. These panels appeal to the sewing phobic since they allow most of the assembly of the basic jacket to be done on knitting needles and not with the sewing needle.

While the body of the jacket is both eye-catching and unusually constructed, its true distinguishing feature is that every opening is weather proofed. There is a close fitting, lined hood. The gapless front opening is achieved with a zipper which is then camouflaged by a wide button placket. The cuffs extend to become fingerless mitts or can be worn retracted providing a barrier to cold air that might otherwise sneak up the arm. Finally, a narrow band of ribbing sewn into the interior of the jacket around the waist provides a simple yet effective draft excluder while providing a bit of gentle shaping to the waist.

I have never seen any knitting pattern this ingeniously practical, and it's also attractive and flattering. This is a designer who is technically accomplished, has an eye for design, is very practical, and just in general knows what she's doing. Damn.

This cardigan has good points — I love the delicately cabled panels — but it's rather shapeless and unflattering and that front closure just looks awkward and poorly constructed. When you compare this sweater to the above, well, there's just no comparison between mediocre or bad design, and good design.

Nice socks!

I find the hand-painted yarn used for these socks to be a little busy for this pattern — the nice detailing at the sides doesn't show to advantage.

This hat is a reference to the BBC show Sherlock. Apparently there's a wallpaper in it featuring a smiley face. I would have stopped short of putting the smiley face on, because the wallpaper pattern on the hat is terrific. But the designer of this pattern is only 15. In light of her accomplishment (because someone two or three times her age would be justly proud of such a good design), I think I'll have to be understanding about the smiley face.

Very attractive fair isle hat design. The star on the top is something a bit different and striking.

I can't say I'm taken with this cowl. The designer used a hand-painted yarn and brought a lot of technical knowledge and skill to its construction, and it still looks like some shapeless chunk of knitting randomly swathed about the neck. And that yarn may be hand-painted, but I've seen more attractive acrylics at Zellers.

This cowl is much more appealing than the last one (the colour is beautiful and I love the Celtic knot design), but I'm not liking the way it sits. To my mind a cowl looks better, is more flattering, and will keep the wearer warmer when it lies gracefully in front rather than sitting stiffly upright like a section of tubing. Though lots of cowls are made in this style, so I may be alone in this.

What an exquisite shawl. This isn't something you'll wear often, but it will come in handy for summer weddings or going out somewhere special on summer evenings, and it'll be something that can be worn as long as it remains in good shape, and possibly handed down to the next generation. And then, sometimes, beauty is its own justification.

I can't see too many men wanting to wear this shawl, but then it's not being positioned as a man's shawl — this is the designer modelling his own work. It's a nice item, technically interesting and pleasing in its rainbow-like colourway.

The design for this square is an adapted Victorian pattern. In Victorian times, the triangles would have been knitted separately, then sewn together to make a square, and then sewn to other like squares to make a counterpane. This designer figured out how to knit the square using circular needles. It'll be far less work to assemble these squares, and the end result will be called an afghan.

1 comment:

  1. God, Stephen West. He has yet to design something that I don't just love instantly.