Monday, 21 January 2013

Rowan Knitting & Crochet Magazine 53: A Review, Part 2

So let's finish up with the review Rowan Knitting & Crochet Magazine's Issue 53, the first half of which we looked at yesterday.

This pullover is another of those items that I would never wear but that works in its own way, as a very contemporary, striking piece that's even reasonably flattering. Though if I saw it on anyone I'd have to suppress a joke about standing too close to an exploding photocopier.

This colour-blocked pullover is fun and colourful. Though as usual I'd fix the dropped shoulders.

This is a perfectly nice man's pullover, but if you are knitting this for a man, run the colour scheme by him first. The chest stripe bears a more than passing resemblance to a Gay Pride flag, and even a guy who's not at all homophobic may wish to avoid having to field some unwanted... offers... whenever he wears this sweater.

This is a man's sweater that will make people look. And then look again, to make sure their eyes aren't playing tricks on them or that they haven't hit bottom and must join AA. It's a good design, although I would have done it in a slightly higher-contrast colour combination.

This scallop-pattern top isn't appealing to me, but I think it's the colourway that's detracting from it. It's too afghan-like, and of course the ripple pattern is very afghan-like, and the result is a top that's entirely too much like a fitted afghan. Switching out the colours would turn this top into something quite nice, because the shape is really good.

I don't think a single man of my acquaintance would willingly wear this man's geometric-pattern cardigan, even if there were money on offer. The colourway doesn't help the pattern and the pattern doesn't help the colourway.

I quite like this striped and flowered pullover, but I would knit the intarsia flowers in more subtle or monochromatic colours. The design is striking enough without being punched up with bright, contrasting colours.

Very pretty floral cardigan, though it doesn't meet in the front. I'm really not a fan of the open cardigan style, because the sweater tends to end up looking like it just doesn't fit, and it isn't flattering.

See what I mean? Not flattering, even on this probably tall, slender model. And this isn't a pattern it would be easy to modify without ruining the look of it, as it appears to be knitted in one piece and the floral motifs are meant to curve around the sides.

Very pretty lacy top. I'd knit this pattern up exactly as it's written, and it's rare that I do that.

No wait, scratch what I wrote above about making this pattern exactly as written. I'd modify it to get rid of these ridiculous tails in the back. What the hell, Rowan. Now I'm having paranoid thoughts about what's going on in the backview of all your patterns.

The rose motif on this pullover are impressively detailed, almost to the point of photorealism, but the overall effect is too much like they've been randomly découpaged on the front of a plain sweater. I'd add a little rose detail somewhere else on the sweater, such as the sleeves, to make the design look more integrated.

A landlady I had during my college days once whiled away enforced bedrest during a difficult pregnancy by glue gunning some flowers cut from wallpaper remnants to a perfectly good, if plain, lampshade. The end result looked something like this cardigan.

Another cute summer top from Kaffe Fassett. It's very Summer of Love, no?

Very pretty eyelet-trimmed top. You will want to be sure you don't get the keyhole detail too low. The sleeve length looks rather awkward, but that's easily altered to whatever length you want.

Pretty, serviceable crocheted summer top, and there doesn't appear to be anything bizarre going on in the back view.

Very pretty floral pullover, which as you can see from this photo, will look wonderful with a coordinating print skirt, trousers or shorts. Alas, you'll never be able to find either a ready made item or any fabric like this.

I very much like this wrap from the front, but my enthusiasm was dampened by my first sight of the back. I'd envisioned the shawl as being something the wearer just slipped on over her head and that crossed itself in the back instead of tying. I don't wear shawls very often because I don't like the way they get into everything or having to fuss with them. They're fine for evening wear but it's too much hassle for every day. This shawl appeared to have solved that problem beautifully, but I don't care to see a tie at the back. Seeing underpinnings like that detracts from the look for me — it's too much like having brassiere straps show. Of course I may just be needlessly picky. The tie at the back doesn't look bad by any means, and even adds a little waist definition. And of course when it comes to evening wear, a woman doesn't want to be pulling an item of clothing on and off over her head.

This floral motif top looks a little less like a random design découpaged on the front than the one above, probably because the main colour yarn is a flecked colour which ties it to the stippled floral design. But as always, I have suggested tweaks: fix the dropped shoulders and the longer back hem, and make sure the entire sweater is no more than one size too large.

And that does it for the Rowan Knitting & Crochet Magazine issue 53 review. This time it really will be six months before I need to review another issue.


  1. Ugh! My first reaction to this issue of Rowan was that 1983 called and wants its sweaters back. The only one that's missing is the Cosby sweater.

    P.S. Very much enjoying your reviews, by the way!

  2. I have to say I love your review of this mag. I purchased this to make the Marilyn, which I may regret. I am an experienced knitter, and find the written instructions fairly understandable, but the chart leaves much to be in too many dark lines leading to confusion. I expect better detail from a magazine of this quality and design. I'll spend my next $28 on yarn, not a Rowan book. Aargh!!!