Monday, 16 September 2013

Knit n' Style December 2013: A Review

It's September 2013, and to a knitter that can only mean one thing: the December 2013 issue of Knit n' Style is out. And in it we have some misnomer pattern names and pom poms running amok. Let's have a look at it, shall we?

This is the Knit Penelope Jacket. It's not terrible, but it's not great either. It's just a fairly basic cardigan with sleeves that are too long.

This is the Crochet Penelope Jacket. It actually looks a little more stylish than the knitted version because it's not buttoned so primly, but there remains the sleeve length problem.

This is the Chevron Stripes Scarf. I like it. The colours are good and it's simple yet eye-catching.

The Wavy Edge Cardigan is a nice classic piece.

This is the Delightful Duo. Or rather, it isn't. The gradient stripe turtleneck underneath is a perfectly nice piece, but that... thing... they've paired with it is not. It looks to me like that turtleneck got involved with that.... thing.... too young, and just didn't wake up to the fact that it could do better than a garter stitch mini-vest with pom poms until they were married and had had a couple of pairs of fingerless mittens and it was too late. I'd call this set of patterns the Miserable Mésalliance.

This is the Musket Cardigan, and it's a nice piece. I like the texture, and the button strap detail on the cuffs is a nice touch.

This is the Jungle Girl Coat. I think it's probably been named after the yarn used to make it, which was a misstep, because the yarn selection isn't great. That muddy-looking variegated yarn isn't going to be the choice of many knitters who want to make this nice simple jacket.

This is the Leaf and Cable Vest. I see the leaves and cables, but I don't see a vest. But I do understand the dilemma faced by the editors of Knit n' Style; there's no existing term for this look that I know of. It's neither shrug nor spencer nor vest. It's really a scarf with seams and pretensions, but that's not exactly catchy. My best suggestion is that we adapt an old nineteenth-century term and call this kind of constructed scarf a hug-me-tight. A hug-me-tight was a sleeveless, close-fitting, usually knitted vest (similar to the spencers and shrugs of today), worn in the latter half of the nineteenth century, with the term itself dating from 1860. Sometimes it was constructed in the crossover style seen here, and the term itself just sounds very fitting for a piece like this.

With that settled... to critique the Leaf and Cable Hug-Me-Tight itself. I like the texture very much. I'm not sure about the style. I think it's passable and would look okay on a woman it suits, but there are better examples of this kind of garment out there.

This is the Ladies First pattern. It's okay. I'm not crazy about the ruffled sleeves, but that's probably more because they'd wind up in my soup if I wore them rather than because they don't look nice.

This is the Ruffled Edge Cardigan. And it looks as though someone who works in the financial sector in Boston decided to make her own Hawaii holiday wear by stapling a couple of leis to the edges of her faithful slate gray bamboo cardigan. I'm afraid of what this person might do once she actually gets to Hawaii and gets a couple of Mai Tai drinks in her.

This is the Swing Jacket. It's not bad. It's actually a pretty nice example of a swing jacket with good construction. I don't think the swing jacket a particularly easy style to carry off, but it can work on the right person if worn over an otherwise fitted outfit.

This is the Sweet Georgia pattern, and I quite like it. It has cute, flattering lines. Don't care for the yarn choice though, as I find it a little dreary.

The Scarlett jacket and cap. This looks for all the world like an outfit from one of my mother's magazines from the very early eighties. It's not a bad pattern, from what I can tell. That dark yarn makes it difficult to see the details. I don't care for the way the front of the jacket sits and would be inclined to add buttons.

This is the Faux Cable Ensemble. I wish I could see the top of the dress better, but from what I can tell, I like the dress. The spencer isn't bad, if you like spencers, and it does go very well with the dress. I think the dress and shrug could look really sharp in a quieter or more sophisticated colour than this electric blue. The electric blue and particularly the awful string belt with beads turns the whole outfit into a costume typically put on the "older woman as sexual predator" stock character one sees in bad comedies. I'd like the whole cougar stereotype to disappear, and when it does I'd like it to take that string belt with it.

The Plumed Chanel Jacket. Because we all know Coco Chanel, with her love of clean-lined simplicity and practicality would have been the first to surround a woman's midsection with tiers of faux fur. If you need a palate refresher after looking at this one, you might check out this post on how to knit Chanel-like sweaters.

The Durante cardigan isn't bad, and could in fact look rather elegant on the kind of woman who can wear the drape-front, loose-fitting cardigan. If you don't have a particularly long neck, I'd recommend cutting down the number of scalloped rows bordering the front edges to maybe three. I love the seashell-like colours of this self-striping yarn, though it does feel a little too pastel and summery for a winter sweater.

The Waves on Inishmore pattern is something different. I know I'd condemn this design without the tie, but it actually saves the sweater from its unflattering horizontal lines and boxy shape by drawing the eye up and down, which is no mean accomplishment. But I still wouldn't make this pattern. I like the concept and potential of the tie, but it deserves a better execution than it got here.

The Izabel pattern. This design was skillfully constructed and this model is more or less getting away with the tiered ruffle sleeves, but then she's a model and that's why she's paid to wear these clothes. This top isn't going to be flattering on most women. If you don't believe me, wrap a ruffled bedskirt around both arms and look in the mirror.

The Holy Moly Socks. The colourful stripes on these socks are fun and cute, but then the designer inexplicably decided to add suckers to them. Perhaps she'd had too much squid for lunch. And washed it down with a bottle of Reisling.

The Geometric Lace Stole. This isn't a bad stole, but I would make the lace fringe shorter and thinner. It looks too heavy and afghan-like here.

These are purportedly the Elegant Hand Warmers, but this seems like another misnomer, as there's no elegance to be found here, unless it's in the evening clutch that is held in hands that are likely to be not only warm but hot with embarrassment. This pattern looks like a couple of chunky gauge swatches have been tacked onto a pair of ratty old doilies, and it's the worst "design" I've seen in some time.

The Maximum Pom Pom Scarf. Oh man. No good can come from putting a design including the words "maximum pom pom" on a grown woman, and it certainly hasn't here. This looks like a bunny killer's gruesome trophy necklace.

The Triple-Tail Scarf. Not a fan of this one. It's not terrible (unless I'm too shell shocked by the last two designs to know what's what), but this scarf just doesn't look like a design, which is to say, the product of concerted effort and skill. It looks like the product of a knitter who decided to slap some novelty yarn together to get it used up.

The Yorganza Holiday Scarf. Don't care for this one either. I think these ruffled chiffon novelty yarns would be best used to accessorize light summer wear, and the colours used here just look grimy to me.

The Pucker Scarf. After the last four patterns, it's such a relief to be able to say that I very much like this scarf. It's interesting, it's attractive, it will go with lots of your outfits, and it will keep you warm.

The Twist Neck Warmer. This is rather pretty in its delicate little way. I'd use a more unobtrusive style of button on it than has been used here.

The Minnetonka pattern. Classic fair isle tam and scarf.

The Yorganza Holiday Boa. I'm just not buying this as an elegant holiday look. Maybe it would look better if it were a better colour and were styled over a simple dress that needed a little extra touch of bling, instead of appearing as it does here like a bad tie-dyed item worn over a long-sleeved t-shirt.

The Pastiche Shrug. I rather like this one. That yarn is pretty and fun.

The Boston-Style Cap. I like this simple, openwork cap too. It's not going to be warm, of course, but a hat can be just a fun accessory.

The Checked Slouch. Nice piece, but I'd leave the pom pom off as it doesn't add a thing to this cap.

1 comment:

  1. There is honestly nothing in here that makes me want to buy this. It is too bad when there are so many talented and fashion forward designers out there.

    There are also too many short sleeved sweaters in this collection to be a proper winter collection. I don't want to have to wear a sweater on top of my sweater to keep warm!