Sunday, 14 July 2013

Knit n' Style October 2013: A Review

The October 2013 issue of Knit n' Style is out, and I've made all the jokes I think I can make about their wildly mismatched dating of their magazine's issues, so let's just take a look at the designs on offer, shall we?

I don't know about Arianna Vest. It's not terrible, but it doesn't have any exemplary qualities either. It's neither unflattering or flattering, neither sharp nor ugly. Which probably means I should advise you to keep looking for a vest pattern that is smart and flattering. And I will say that if you do want to make this one, make sure the buttons don't protrude past the edge of the bodice when it's buttoned. That always makes a garment look poorly made and too small.

This is the crocheted version of the Arianna Vest above. The same comments apply. Though at least the buttons are properly placed on this one.

Here we have a Intentional Stripes Cowl that's neither great nor terrible. And I don't know how warm it will keep your neck when it's as open as this one.

The Aeryn is a well-designed classic cabled cardigan. But then you probably already have a very similar pattern in your pattern library.

I actually don't mind this Monarch Scarf. Sometimes a novelty-yarn scarf can be the perfect accessory for a simple outfit. I don't know why they paired it with a rumpled leopard pattern blazer, though. Not only is the colourway dreary, the combination makes this model look like a leopard that has just made a meal out of an ostrich.

This Teddie Hooded Vest looks like something out of a seventies-era craft magazine — and the seventies are not known for the aesthetic or technical excellence of their craft kits and patterns. A hooded open-front vest isn't a bad concept, but that blue trim is doing this pattern no favours. Are the blue lines on the front panels supposed to be asymmetrical? Because they look like an accident. If you want to make this pattern, I'd make it all in a solid colour and put some kind of fastener at the top (or all the way down the front), rather than that tie.

Oh dear. This Lacy Rib Pullover is not good. The variegated yarn used on the sleeves is just hideous. The lace pattern on the bodice is really enough detail for this sweater — it didn't need a competing visual interest, particularly an overpoweringly ugly visual interest. This sweater would look about twenty times more attractive if the whole thing had been done in just one solid colour yarn. I'm not crazy about the ruffled edgings, which look a little chintzy, but I think they might work if the sweater is done in a pale shade, or perhaps black, to give the look a feminine, lingerie-like look.

I do quite like this Bold Stripes Pullover. The colourway is good, it's striking, it's a little different, and yet it's totally wearable. My one nitpick is that the cowl doesn't lie all that well, but it does show to better advantage on the cover shot for this issue, so perhaps it just wasn't arranged well here. Yes, this design is the cover look for the October 2013 issue, which is good because it's the strongest and most eye-catching design of this issue and Knit n' Style usually doesn't put their best design on the cover for some reason.

I like this Galway Jacket design too. The collar and cuffs are so pretty and the workmanship is good overall.

I have been peering at this Diagonal Rib Pullover design for about ten minutes and I honestly can't tell what's going on with it. The sock yarn and the stitchwork combined make it look like a knitted version of camouflage. But I give it a qualified approval, as it does look like a fairly decent design, though perhaps you may wish to knit it in a solid yarn, as a intricate pattern combined with a variegated yarn can wind up looking a little muddled. And to wear it with a crew neck t-shirt, as that v-neck is a little too open and it's not exactly flattering on this model's neck.

The Stansborough Sheep Jacket is really, really basic. This is a sweater that calls for a great quality yarn in the kind of colour that makes your day, because doing it in gray makes it look just too utilitarian.

The Tweed Deluxe Pullover is another very basic design, and the shape of it is pretty seriously unflattering even on this model. I'd definitely bypass this one. A very simple sweater needs great lines.

This is the Modesto design. And I know menswear must be seriously boring to design and I'm willing to give this designer points for effort and for trying to think out of the box and come up with a fresh new concept, but this sweater looks more like a bad upcycling project than a sweater most men would like to wear.

The Fairy-Slipper Shrug actually isn't bad. It's neither shrug nor spencer but is the happy offspring of both. I know I have taken lots of potshots at spencers, but I suppose that's probably largely because I simply can't wear one myself. And I couldn't wear this either. But quite a lot of women can, and that is what matters.

The baggy cropped sleeves and those ugly buttons are doing the Vine Lace Cardi no favours, but other than that it's not bad.

The design of the Summer Days Tank isn't bad, but it's hard to see past the awfulness of the yarn selection. It's a silk yarn too. Why would anyone dye silk in those wretched colours? Were they molested by a silkworm in another life? When I do my best to look beyond the yarn, I see the tank is reasonably well-shaped, has an airy texture that should be comfortable in summer, and has nicely finished edges.

The Diagonal Stripes Vest is interesting conceptually and has obviously been designed with a lot of thought and care... but I can't see any of the women I know actually wearing it. Well, I do have one friend with a very modern dress sense whom I think could pull it off. I'm gathering from the ties at the front that this could be worn tied. I wish we'd been given a photo of how it looked worn that way.

The Nerina design looks frumpy on this model and is going to look even more so on woman with anything other than a model's figure. Baggy elbow-length sleeves are such a bad idea.

I quite like this Lace Columns Dress, though I'd like it even more if it hadn't been done in a variegated glitter yarn. It just cheapens what could be a really elegant, polished look, and limits where a woman can wear the dress.

Can't say I'm a fan of the Yorganza Scarf, which basically looks like a crumpled manuscript. The Yorganza yarn is an interesting one, but I'm not sure I've seen a good use for it yet. Usually it just looks like an amateur sewing project.

Quite like the Feathery Waves Tam. It has interesting stitchwork and a good shape.

The Trend Deluxe Scarf could definitely work on a woman who has a very modern dress sense and who tends to favour graphic patterns and lines.

The Flirtatious Bag looks like it needs to pay its bar bill and tell the bartender to call it a cab, because otherwise it's going to wake up empty in a back alley the next morning without any idea of how it got there. Novelty yarns can work for a clutch or a drawstring bag, but using it on a larger scale as in a shoulder bag like this is just too over the top and looks cheap and tacky.

Not sure about the shape of the Bressay Cowl. It looks like a hood that's on backwards.

The Fair Isle Hat is really cute. I love those little tulips. You can skip the pom-pom if you want to make the look more adult.

I like the Zigzag Cable Cowl. It sits well, it looks warm, and it's a quality piece that can be worn anywhere.

The Twist ‘n Twirl Shawlette isn't bad. It's a very summery accessory in those colours, so if you're thinking of it as a fall piece I'd go with yarn in a shade from the fall or winter palette.

This is the Yorganza Cowl, which again has that beginner sewing project look to it. Although it's not helped by the styling here. It's too light and flirty a piece to look good with a leather jacket.

The Barleycorn Socks are interesting. I like the twisted effect of it, which gives it an interesting arty appeal that works well on a small scale.


  1. I really don't think that diagonal vest could be worn tied, and least not with the ties where they are. They're on the widest points of the sweater, which lays at the narrowest point of her torso. The sweater, folded back as it is, almost meets at that point already. If you added an extra 8 inches of fabric (assuming each of those stripes are an inch or so wide) to fold those two bits of the vest back to the center and then tied them to each other, that thing would become a tent.

    Not to mention those ties are so anemic that they look like ends someone forgot to weave in rather than an intentional design element.

    What might be interesting is if the vest was designed like a wrap dress, with the necessary passthrough and ties that were long (and wide!) enough to go around the body. But then you'd likely lose the option of wearing it open.

    1. It is indeed a wrap vest, with ties inserted at the outside left side seam and inside right seam. The model's left arm is hiding the straggly tie which will be visible if you wear it open.

  2. Face it, nothing is going to look good against that wall paper. But when every one of the garments shown against it is tonally similar, what hope did they have? Very very poor styling.

    The ostrich comment cracked me up.

  3. hahaha. molested by silkworms. i really like the review and agress (apart from the ulilitarian cardi, but my dress sense gravitates towards the very minimal, so i can see myself wearing it, in an expensive black yarn)

  4. Hilarious commentary - my man peered over my shoulder as I was reading these, I am not sure who enjoyed them more. Thanks.