Saturday, 11 May 2013

Knit n' Style August 2013: A Review

It's May, which to a purveyor of knitting magazines can only mean one thing: it's time for the August issue of Knit n' Style. Let's have a look at their latest offerings, shall we?

In the Knit Augusta Vest, we have a rather shapeless double-breasted vest knitted in a ribbon yarn in an unpleasant colourway. The four novelty buttons on the front have been added to give it some style, but that's rather too much to ask of any buttons, and particularly of these.

In the Crochet Augusta Vest, we have basically the same vest in the same kind of ribbon yarn, only in a different colour, shorter, and crocheted, with different buttons. I'm still not buying it.

The Newsprint Hat isn't a bad little cap. I like the idea of finishing off a hat knitted in a variegated yarn with a solid band knitted in one of the colours.

It took some serious squinting at the Tikal Tunic before I understand what I was looking at. At first I thought it was a cropped cardigan, but now (aided partly by the name) I realize it's a tunic, or rather what I would consider a dress as it appears to go nearly to this model's knees. I rather like the concept of a two-tone knitted tunic/dress but I don't think it's been carried out to success here. The two colours and the two designs don't really do anything for each other, and consequently the demarcation line between the skirt and the sweater is rather jarring, as though two different garments were randomly slapped together. I would have chosen two yarns that really looked as though they belonged together, and given the two halves some commonalities in design, such as adding a little lace to the skirt.

I disliked the Summer Stripes Pullover when I first saw it, but upon looking at it more closely I think it's not a bad design. The shape is very good; the tightly meshed texture is interesting. I think maybe it's the colour scheme that's bothering me, that makes it look like an item designed to be worn with a polyester pantsuit, possibly while playing shuffleboard. A more sophisticated colourway would upgrade the look of this design.

The Lime Ricky Cardi isn't bad at all — it's well shaped and has some pretty stitchwork. If knitted in a neutral or favourite colour of cotton, it will give the woman who owns it a lot of mileage for years to come.

The Regina is a classic design with a bit of interesting texture. The lines of bobbles really add to it. This is another sweater that can be reliably worn on cooler days and evenings in summer for years until it wears out.

The Laurel Anne design is another I disliked at first glance but which I'm finding to have plenty of merit upon careful study. The bottom-tie style is actually quite an innovative and interesting addition to a buttonless cardigan style: it should keep the front edges from sagging open unattractively. I also like the extended shoulder cap sleeve and the hemline — they should be flattering on many women. However, the sweater won't look good worn untied and this is a sweater that will appear to thicken a woman's midsection.

I'm not sold on the concept of the Air Cardi. The lace is pretty, the soft lilac shade is pretty, but honestly this looks for all the world like an unfinished sweater. If you want to wear a shawl, wear a shawl. If you want to wear a sweater, seam the seams.

The Karina Cardi isn't bad. I don't care for the little fold back collar edges, but I'm pretty sure that's just personal preference. This cardi has good texture and interesting lines.

The English Manor Top is very pretty. If you don't have a waistline you want to emphasize, either avoid this one or decrease the amount of lace patterning at the bottom to just a few inches deep.

The Nature Trail Cabled Pullover is another classic and wearable design.

Beautiful stole.

The asymmetrical hemline and texture of the Traverse Skirt look much less like edgy design elements than as though this skirt matted up and shrank weirdly in the dryer. Pairing it with a baggy t-shirt doesn't help, either. Outfits should not look as though they were chosen from the lost and found bin at the local laundromat.

The Cozy Bias Vest looks like a seventh grade home ec project that went even more awry than is usual. I mean, come on, this thing looks like it's falling apart and is going to be dreadfully unflattering on anyone. This professional model can't even work it.

I keep staring at the laddered strips across the sleeves of the Belisia Tee and wondering if they have ever really worked as a design element. They tend to cheapen every garment they're used in. However, the main problem with this design is that the two colours used for this top really don't belong together, that they should in fact never see each other again and forget they ever met, and I think if a good colour combination was chosen the sleeve ladder strips would look fine.

The Twilight top isn't bad, though this yarn was a bad choice for this project. The ripple pattern is an afghan-like pattern and so shouldn't be paired with an afghan-like yarn. Knit it in any non-afghan like yarn and you won't find yourself mysteriously compelled to go lie on your grandma's couch when you wear it.

The Agave Tank isn't bad. Good shape, interesting details.

Not liking the Tencel Top. It's unflatteringly boxy in shape. You could fix that, but why would you? It has no other distinguishing features.

The Tikal Bag has a good shape and a pretty lace pattern. As with all knitted bags, the important question is whether it will maintain its shape when it has stuff in it, but you can (and probably should) always line it, even if the pattern doesn't call for it to be lined.

The Neon-Striped Pullover is so eighties with its use of neon and an oversized shape. I can't quite figure out what's going on with the sleeves (maybe they're just way too big?), but it's not particularly attractive. You can find a better striped and v-shaped top pattern than this.

On the photo slideshow on the Knit n' Style website, this photo is called the "Arctic Snow Scarf", though as there's no scarf in sight I think it's the "Kingston Hat" named in the list of projects. The hat is knitted in Ty-Dy Cotton, which lets the knitter produce the pretty striped effect effortlessly. Must check out that yarn!

The Flirty Scarf is made with a yarn with fabric ruffles in it, which is an interesting and fairly recent innovation. I'm looking forward to seeing what designers do with it. So far aside from ruffled scarves I've seen it used to knit the skirt on a little's girl's dress.

Can't say I care for the Fur-Trimmed Cowl design. It looks like a Muppet wrapped itself around this woman's neck and refused to let go. NOT MUPPET-IST.

The Sea Waves Scarf isn't terrible, but it does look like a less-than-successful beginner project. I promise you that you can do better aesthetically even if you are a beginning knitter.

I quite like the Mock Cable Duo. They're simple and yet such a finished, polished-looking set. This is another design you'll be able to wear for years to come.

This Sanibel Sunset kid's cardigan and hat are probably supposed to be "fun", but I'm unsure as to whether a child would find it fun or if it's some adult's idea of what kids find fun. These two viewpoints, you understand, can be worlds apart. The deliberately mismatched sides, dropped shoulders and three-quarter sleeves combine to make it look lopsided to me. But hey, don't take my word for it. Ask the person whose opinion really matters: the child it's intended for. I would fix the dropped shoulders, though.

1 comment:

  1. Ugh, that "Golden Girls Couch" print the mag has that model stand in front of does not make ANYTHING look good. Good critique!