Creative Knitting has released their Winter 2013 issue. Let's have a look at it and its many cowls.
This is the Beefeater Pleated Cowl. It isn't bad. It's rather too much on the rough and bulky side for my tastes, but it has a bit of texture and will be warm. It's an easy beginner project that doesn't look too much like a beginner project.
I very much like the Fair Isle Fleur. It's simple yet striking, and the woman who owns this sweater and cap will get lots of wear out of them.
The Faux Fur Ribbed Cardigan. Sometimes when I know I wouldn't ever wear a design myself, I mentally try it on family, friends, and acquaintances. If I can come up with even a few people who could rock it, that means the design is fine. I can picture this one on a few of my friends with a modern dress sense, but I'm still going reserve judgment on it because I haven't seen the back and the description says there's a peplum involved.
This is the Guadalupe pattern. The description says it can be worn at least two ways, "crossed and draped around the neck, or simply hanging loose in a loop at the front". I'm not sure which of those this view is. It's not a bad pattern. I do wish it weren't a cropped length, but I suppose that making it standard length would have interfered with the whole free form structure aim.
This is the Mocha Hoodie Hat. Which I actually kind of like. But I would advise if this is intended for anyone over 25, that you nix the pom poms on the bottom edges (and possibly the one on the peak) and finish it off with some I-cord instead.
I like the concept of the Wrap It Up piece, but the execution isn't quite there. The front draping isn't flattering even on this model, and I cringe to think of what it will do to a woman with an average figure.
The Braided Brim Beanie is cute and wearable. Love the Celtic knot-style cabling.
The Pretty Peaks and Valleys design. I rather like this one, which is unusual and interesting and reasonably wearable, but I do have two criticisms: the neckline looks unfinished and the fastenings used here don't look right. They're unusual (to the point that I've never seen anything like them), and really kind of cool, but I don't think they quite work on this design.
The Romantic in Ruffles shawl is lovely. I love the colour and the very simple yet carefully finished design.
The Tin Whistler's Mitts. This is a design that elicited an "Ooooh!" from me when I took a good look at it. They're pretty and very eye-catching. I will say I don't think it needs that odd ruffled effect on the edge ‐ just the basic cast-on edge will be sufficient for fingerless gloves that already have so much detail.
Can't say I care for the Wrapped in Ruffles design. The front ruffle is just so awkward looking. The yarns used here look beautiful and they deserved a better fate.
The satin ribbons used here as a tie don't suit the Chunky Ruched Cowl — multi-strand braid or braided I-cord would be a better fit. And a cowl should actually serve the purpose of keeping one's neck and chest warm, which this won't.
I like the Graphite fingerless gloves, with their striking mod stripes.
The Mitered Squares Kimono is a beautiful piece of work. I can never stand to wear anything this oversized, especially when it has sleeves that wide, but if you can, this is your pattern.
The Multidirectional Curved Scarf. This is an interesting piece of work. I don't happen to personally care for the yarn used here, but I think if this piece were done in a hand-painted yarn in one of the colourways I love, I'd be gaga over it.
This is the Norse Neck Warmer, which uses traditional Nordic patterns on the relatively new cowl. The result is a piece that will look right for years to come.
I don't care for the Peppermint Sticks fingerless gloves. They just look crude.
This is the Uncommon Path Cardigan. And wow, is it ever different and striking and interesting. I don't usually care for cutaway shaping or floppy cuffs, but here because of the way the colourway is worked they really add to the piece. I will say that it's never a good idea to have sweater fronts pulling apart between buttons as they are here. If I were to make this one, I'd make sure the front edges overlapped a little when buttoned to avoid the gaping.
This is the A Touch of Luxe Cardigan. It's really a nice piece, though I would want to know how it looked worn open and to be sure the person for whom it is for has enough neck to be able to carry it off.
This hat is pare of the Polka-Dot Hat & Striped Leggies set. I don't see the Striped Leggies, but the hat is cute enough for a child or teen. Although I'm suddenly having Polka Dot Door flashbacks.
I was prepared to give the Soft Drape Cables vest a positive review until I noticed the uneven hemline. The mullet hem (short in the front, longer in the back) is one design concept I just don't get at all. But then it's easily fixed. I would also add a little waist shaping to this pattern.
Speaking of design concepts I don't quite get, the Two Sides to Every Story cowl is definitely one. It's so rough looking, as though it's on inside out and and all the nuts and bolts are showing. Yet for some reason Creative Knitting chose this as their cover pattern. Even the model looks slightly stunned by it all.
After some deliberation on the Two Toned in Tangerine cowl, I've decided I like it. It has a certain artsy craftsy appeal. I would, however, vary the colour of the little flowerets from the sections they are attached to (i.e., peach flowerets to tangerine sections and tangerine flowerets to the peach sections), and firmly affix them to the scarf instead of letting them dangle. Done tone on tone and allowed to dangle, they look more like the aftermath of an unfortunate cat clawing incident than an intentional design element.
The Chameleon necklace. I'm hoping the chameleon part means this "design" is somehow magically going to turn into an actual necklace. Because it isn't one at present. Worsted I-cord has many uses, but jewelry is not and will never be one of them.
The Corona sweater. It's a Nicky Epstein design, and it's as awesome as her work usually is, both intricate and original. Though one needs to be small-breasted to wear it. I'm sitting here pining for what can never be mine and roundly cursing the boob fairy.
I don't care for the Folk Art Cowl & Cuffs. I'm not against the embroidered daisies, green edgings, or the offbeat colourway at all, but I wish they'd been integrated into the body of the cowl and gloves rather than attached via a superfluous ruffle. And I hate that "rustic" stitch along the top edges. It looks like basting stitches that the maker forgot to take out.
The Northern Lights shawl is pretty, but I can't say I especially care for that line of big holes running down the centre. I know it's a natural result of the big needles and the shaping used, but they look like a mistake.
I like the concept of the Raised Ridges Jacket, but there are too many competing directions here and the end result looks rather muddled and over busy. I'd work the bottom of the jacket in the same vertical ridge pattern that is used in the upper body, and just keep the accenting honeycomb pattern collar and waistband.
I quite like the Wedges Scarf. It's arty in a really playful, fun way. And check out the model's expression. She's all, "This is not the Two Sides to Every Story Cowl. YES."