Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Knit.Wear Spring 2013: A Review

Interweave's knit.wear Spring 2013 issue is out! Let's have a look at its patterns.

I very much like this tank. Great graphic pattern on this design.

Well, this back-buttoned sweater is something different. I like the texture and I can't say this design is unflattering from the front. The back view is perhaps a different story. It does put the butt on display, so you may want to give this design a pass if you don't want that.

With a thick waistband that will thicken your midsection, overfull, dowdy lines and a generally drab air, this is a skirt that can be said to do it all, because it will simultaneously bulk you up, frump you up, and depress you into finding solace in the nearest box of doughnuts. Not that I'm anti-doughnut.

This dress is really a remarkable design. It has good lines and the stretchy diamond stitch pattern is so fabulous I want to see it used throughout in an entire knitwear collection. If you wouldn't feel comfortable in something this snug and short, make it a little longer and looser.

This cardigan sits badly when the model is sitting and when she's standing, has a back that looks like it was pieced by a eight-year-old, and in general has all the style of a cleaning rag. Was this thing intended to go with the skirt and the accompanying doughnut binge above?

I must admit this "overlay vest" has a certain modern, minimalist appeal and isn't unflattering, but it looks for all the world like some kind of body bandage. You could probably save yourself the knitting time and just sew one out of surgical gauze from the drugstore.

I have a bias against asymmetrical styles that I'm trying to overcome, and I'm proud of myself for being able to honestly say that I think the right side of this sleeveless top looks good. It's the left side of the neckline that I have a problem with. Leaving that extra inch of the left side front unconnected to anything makes it look unfinished, or like it's coming apart. I'd shape the left front shoulder to match the corresponding back shoulder. Or more likely make a collar for it to match the one on the right. Oops, guess I'm not actually making all that much progress in setting aside my asymmetrical bias.

This oversized sweater isn't going to be the most flattering item, but it does drape well, and sometimes you do want to just throw something on and be comfortable. With its asymmetrical hem, side-to-side construction, and crocheted hem, it manages to achieve a certain interesting texture and polish. It looks pretty good when viewed straight on and with the model standing straight up, and that's a crucial test of clothing design.

This short-sleeved pullover will do nothing for the figures of most women.

This is the story of a tank top that wanted to grow up to be a dress, got stymied, and settled for an unhappy life as a tunic, with a sad-looking abbreviated skirt that hangs badly. The moral of the story is "knit another pattern".

I bet I was never Aesop in any of my former lives.

The blurb for this design says, "dropped stitches create striking details in this light cardigan." "Striking" in this context meaning "it's going to strike everyone that your sweater is coming apart/has been partially eaten by rats, and they'll be forever telling you so." And it's going to catch on everything constantly. I suppose this concept is post-modern and cutting edge and all that, but I can't stand to go about in a piece of clothing that needs even the tiniest repair job, and in the words of the totally not post-modern and unhip Hall & Oates....

I'm usually not a fan of the open front or partially buttoned cardigan, but I rather like this one. Maybe this issue of knit.wear is wearing me down and practically anything would look good at this point. No, I think I sincerely like this. It's a smart little cardigan. It hangs well, has waist shaping in the back, and has good, even crisp, lines. You won't be able to wear it open, but then... it is open. And I learned one advantage to this style from looking at Ravelry project pictures: this style can be good for maternity wear, because it lets your stomach do whatever it needs to do.

I can't be that worn down, because I don't like this top-buttoned cardigan. It's frumpy. If this sweater were buttoned all the way down, this model would look exactly like a painfully shy and awkward pre-makeover character in some eighties teen movie, and whose first act of rebellion against her fuddy-duddy, overprotective parents would be to pick out some wild, funky outfit in the nearest thrift shop, leaving her sweater wadded up on the change room floor. Omitting two-thirds of the buttons hasn't really changed that.

I wanted to like this vest. It looks pretty good on the cover, the lace is nice, and it offers the wearer a chance to show off a great shawl pin. I speak as someone who has a beautiful shawl pin languishing away in a drawer. But the vest hangs so badly in the back, as though it were both too big and too short, that it ruins the overall appeal for me. And even on the cover the one shoulder we can see isn't sitting right.

Pretty lace shawl.

If this skirt can bulk up this probably very slim model's waistline this much, just think what it can do for yours! A drawstring waistband wasn't a good idea here, and the overall shape isn't flattering either.

Not a bad cowl. It lies gracefully and the texture is interesting. I don't know who will wear cowls in the spring and summer, but hey, not here to judge. No, wait, I am here to judge.

Another lace shawl. The texture is pretty, but the length is maybe a little awkward. Shawls are actually a little tricky to wear — it can be difficult to get the proportions just right for the wearer.

Nice top. It's got clean, flattering lines, and it's striking yet something you'll be able to wear a lot. I don't like the brown and yellow colourway, but this could be done in any colours you want. Including brown and yellow if that's what you like.

Nice simple pullover. I like the concept of using three gradient shades of the same colour. It's an easy yet sophisticated colour scheme that anyone can put together in the wearer-to-be's favourite colour.

I'm trying to be open-minded about this "I-cord cowl". Yes, not everyone is as conservative as I am, yes, sometimes contemporary designs like this can totally work on the right person with the right outfit. But I still can't really fathom why anyone would want to go all to the trouble of making what is essentially a pile of rope for her to hang around her neck for an "of-the-moment" look when, with probably significantly less time investment, she could make a beautiful textured cowl that she could wear for years.

Sleek and striking tank that will knit up quickly and easily.

This striped top looks to me like the offspring of a marriage of convenience between a good concept and a mediocre execution. These stripes should look sharply graphic and visually effective instead of looking like they just don't match. The front doesn't hang all that well either.

Cute striped hat. Of course you can probably find a pattern almost exactly like this for free on Ravelry, or adapt a similar free pattern to make a hat exactly like this.

I quite like this little knitted t-shirt. Colourblocking is actually difficult to do properly, and using the existing the existing seams of a garment to define the colour fields is a good direction to go in. In this case the designer has not only used those seams but played with them by making the back extend to the front of the design in order to create both a sleeve and a colour block. It's really ingenious and effective. It's a hallmark of good design when a very simple design like this one looks so polished and striking.

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