Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Interweave Knits Summer 2013: A Review

There's been a dearth of new knitting magazine issues for me to review lately, but now the Interweave Knits, Creative Knitting, and Knit n' Style Summer 2013 issues are out. Let's have a look at the Interweave Knits Summer 2013 issue patterns first, shall we?

Quite like the Albers Pullover. It's the classic nautical cotton sweater for summer, but with a bit of a modern twist that makes it a bit distinctive.

Can't say I'm a fan of the Crosstrees Cardigan. The designer tried to add some interesting touches to the basic man's shawl-collared cardigan, but they're just sort of there without really adding anything to the design. They look like the result of a beginning, and frugal, knitter's attempt to piece out not quite enough yarn with a second colour.

The Bowsprit Cardigan is a good design based on a fairly simple innovation and attention to detail: the ribbed stripes transition to stockinette stitch with a row of yarn overs, which give it a lacy effect, the shape of the sweater is good, and the edges are so carefully finished.

The Regatta Tee is not a bad little top, though I can't say I think the reverse seams are working on this design. The pattern description claims it adds "texture to the body", but I think it just makes it look like the top is inside out.

Quite like the interesting back detail and simple, flattering shape of the Admiral's Knot Halter.

The Charleston Tee is a very carefully finished design with its puffed sleeves, picot edgings and waist shaping, but I can't say it's the most interesting one. If you like the shape, this pattern may be a good way to showcase a gorgeous yarn, such as something hand-dyed, that can stand on its own.

On the Harlow Tank, the collar and the ribbed tank underneath it just aren't working together that well; the collar is too much drama on such a simple foundation. It's like putting a dramatic curved marble staircase up to the front door of a three bedroom semi-detached.

Wendy's Pullover is rather a cute little vintage-style design, though this colour combination does look little dreary.

The Colonnade Jacket is a lovely design overall (love the back of the neck and cuff details), but those curling edges from at cuffs and hem are detracting and making it looking unfinished. Such an elegant design calls for careful finishing.

I have no fault to find with the Shetland Skirt design. It's fitted and lies flat through the waist and hips as a knitted skirt should, the shape is good, and the lace gores are lovely. But I am at a loss as to why it was styled so badly. Why on earth was it paired with a baggy tank top layered over another tank top and a chiffon underskirt? Was it the end of a long and exhausting day's shoot, and did the stylist just grab whatever items were lying on the floor of the wardrobe room, throw them at the model and call it a day?

This one's the Nova Cardigan. I'm not a fan of the draped front cardigan, which tend to droop rather than drape. Droopy clothes are never flattering. This design is definitely straying over the border into Droopyville, which is a shame as the lacy back design is pretty good and deserved better.

You won't have any difficulties in getting the White Owl Shawl to sit properly on you, because it is shaped to lie one particular way. I would have wanted the front ends to be a little shorter for practicality and safety's sake, but it is an attractive and dramatic shawl as is.

With mesh sweaters such as the Stonecutter Sweater, I can never can get past the whole sports jersey/shopping bag association, and plain knitted mesh always looks a little crude to me. The shaping is good at least. I do love a ballet neckline.

The Open Eye Tunic is one of those designs I have to struggle to be fair to, because although it is not at all to my personal taste I don't think it is objectively a bad design. Lace side draping can look graceful and dramatic on some women, and this tunic has a good shape and a pretty shell pattern lace design. I like the idea of this tunic worn over a silk or satin underdress the same length as the bottom of the side draping. I will say, though, that the mesh-like stitch used for the side drapes does look really rough.

The Ladder Tank employs another rather rough-looking stitch pattern, and you just know it's going to catch on everything.

The Meadowsweet Hat is a simple, wearable hat.

The Midsummer Aran is really lovely. The shape is great, I love that curved v-neck, and I love the innovative cabled diamond pattern in the front. If you want to use mesh stitch and ladder stitches in a garment, this is how you do it: by employing them sparingly, because they don't seem to work well for a garment design when expected to stand entirely on their own.

Quite like the Fern Tank pattern, with its simple, pretty collar attached to a simple, pretty tank. The back view may need a little work though; the way that collar is rolling or standing away from the body of the tank isn't doing it any favours.

Can't say I think the Hemstich Camisole is a successful design. The shape is going to be just plain unkind to most women's figures, I don't think most women really want to contend with three straps on each shoulder (two from the top, one from your bra) and that front panel looks for all the world like a bib. Moreover, this a summer top knitted in... mohair. This is a top that can look rather fetching on a professionally styled model, but is going to be problematic wearing for many women in every day life.

I actually rather like this Tahiti Dolman. It looks to me like a shawl alternative, an little extra lacy layer to throw on that will stay put. The dolman style sleeves aren't going to be flattering to everyone so make sure you find out whether it suits you before you make one for yourself.

The Sundry Tank doesn't have much to recommend it. The elongated lines and unfinished-looking bottom hem just seem to drag it down, and the dreary colour combination doesn't help. The point at which the straps are connected to the back neckline looks terrible, like it was safety-pinned together. Overall, it's got a homemade and cobbled-together look rather than a handmade look. Given that the photo was also taken against the backdrop of a rustic-looking bedroom, this piece looks like a movie costume for a character called Lurlene, who decides to leave her mountain home to go pursue stardom. She'll get a makeover in Nashville. Sadly for Lurlene, her new look will involve a lot of spangles and fringe and won't be much of an improvement.


  1. I really enjoy these magazine reviews! I agree that the Midsummer Aran is gorgeous. I normally don't like hole-y garments, but I'd make an exception for this one.

    p.s. -- your reviews have taught me to look at patterns with a much more critical eye. Which is good, considering the time (and sometimes expense) that goes into a hand-knitted garment.

  2. Midsummer Aran is the one for me - great review