Thursday, 28 February 2013

I May Not Hear Wedding Bells, But I Think I See One

I've been seeing this... creation.... in my random image Googles search results for awhile now. I thought it was one of those runway creations that are purely for spectacle. Turns out this a knitted wedding dress from Yves Saint Laurent's Fall/Winter 1965 collection.

I have no idea if anyone actually bought into this idea and wore this in her wedding. It looks like a wedding dress version of the burqa, one that daringly shows the face as a tantalizing preview of the wedding night. I suppose the one good thing about this design is that the bride will not only feel any need to diet for her wedding day, but that she'll feel it's a sign that she can eat all the creamsicles she wants.

But this is one of those designs that make me feel designers really are actually fucking with us and trying to find out just how much we'll pay them to make us look like idiots. I mean... this is more than a little phallic, isn't it? Mightn't that be a subtle clue of some sort?

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Knit.Wear Fall 2012: A Review

As you can tell from the date of this issue, I am a little late getting to this review. Which would be because I didn't know about this magazine's existence until quite recently. But better late than never, I suppose.

Shall we have a look at Knit.Wear's Fall 2012 issue now, before it's superseded by the next issue?

I was about to write this cardigan off with a "generic cardigan, nothing special", when I saw the close up. The latticed texture is really lovely and striking, and I'm marvelling at the way the designer actually managed to shape the sleeve cuff without the decreases showing at all. This is a really well-designed and wearable sweater.

Another beautifully textured basic sweater.

I like the overall concept and level of detail on this sweater, and think it's quite wearable and will be flattering for most women, but there is one aspect of it I wish the designer had worked on some more, and that is the front closure, which looks just a little bit too rough and lumpy. This is probably a case where a zipper would be a good idea, or some other kind of closure that would look either invisible or more polished.

Hmm, rendering an argyle pattern in texture rather than in colour. Great concept, will knit up quickly, and the resulting throw has an understated, classic elegance.

This octogonal latticed pullover employs a beautiful yarn and is well-shaped and so isn't terrible from an aesthetic perspective. It will require wearing a top underneath and will likely catch on everything, but that's probably something you'll be willing to live with if you like the look. However, all I can think it how much better this would look if all those holes were filled in.

This lace cardigan has a lot going for it, but it didn't quite get to where the designer wanted to take it. I love the construction, the lines are good... but it looks too bulky in front when it's worn closed. I usually don't like open cardigans, but this is one you may want to wear just that way.

Honestly, this vest looks as though the person who made it got tired of the project and declared it finished. And saying a project you're tired of is finished doesn't make it so. (Believe me, I've tried.) This need some sort of front edging or closure or sleeves or something more to make it look like a finished garment.

Good concept on this top, but I would make this item standard-fitting rather than oversized. I mean, look at the side view. Is this top doing the model's silhouette or her butt any favours? And this is a professional model — she doesn't even need help like most of us do.

Hmm, a shaped cowl. That's a great idea, actually. My biggest complaint of some of the cowls I've seen is that some of them don't sit properly. Too many look like stiff tubes randomly paced around the wearer's neck. This one is guaranteed to sit well.

I've made a number of comments in past reviews about shawls that are really afghans with pretensions. This is the first shawl I've seen that looks as though it could do double duty successfully. Lovely texture and it doesn't look bad on the wearer. If it were mine, it would be spending its life on a couch, though.

Very nice gathered neckline pullover! It's simple, yet flattering, and its few details make it both fit better and look polished. I love the cable detail at the back waist and at the neckline and sleeves. Most women could wear the hell out of this gathered pullover. My one criticism is the sleeve length, which I find awkward (it lines up with the hem, which makes for one unflattering visual line), but of course that's so easily fixed.

I like the body of this smocked skirt, but good grief that is one unflattering waistband. It makes the model look pregnant, and I'll bet she has a stomach that is not only not housing a fetus but that is perfectly flat and very toned. If you want to make this skirt, make the waistband much narrower.

This cardigan is the cover pattern for this issue. And it looks great in the cropped shot on the cover because the neckline sits just right when buttoned and the fastenings look terrific, but when seen full-length it becomes apparent it's got some issues with bagging and sagging through the body. And you won't be able to wear it open at all.

Really lovely ballet neck pullover. I would knit this one exactly as the pattern directs, and I hardly ever do that.

Oh man. Do I really need to say it? Really? All right, this "boxed pullover" (yes, that's its name, seriously) will make you look as though you're all packed and ready for the filler foam peanuts and packing tape.

Lovely pullover, with details that work to both shape this sweater and make it eye-catching. I must say, if you're looking for a simple yet distinctive sweater that you can wear everywhere for years until it falls to pieces, this issue is for you.

Nice vest — love the ribbed shawl collar and like the shaped waist and general lines of it — but it does need front fastenings. Some Celtic metalwork clasps would be just right for this design.

This cardigan needs to go back to the drawing board, because it doesn't sit well at all. It looks awkward and appears to be doubling in on itself on the edges. The single button at the collar isn't doing it any favours — the sides are just going to splay outwards from it.

Serviceable little hat. You could probably find better free hat patterns on Ravelry, though.

The one sided lace panel on this hat just looks weirdly off-kilter. Again, there are much cuter and more interesting hat patterns on Ravelry.

Another lovely "basic" pullover. The beautifully finished pullovers in this issue are making me think of something someone told me about vanilla ice cream, which is that vanilla actually one of the most difficult flavours of ice cream to produce, because you can't masque any its shortcomings with extraneous ingredients. These sweaters are the vanilla ice cream of sweaters: they are beautifully made and beautifully finished, and this is so readily apparent that they don't need to be knitted in some busy novelty yarn or retina-blasting colour, nor does the model need to be styled to the nines or to stand on her head to try to make them look good.

I actually like this sweater, with some reservations. There's something very effective about that shoulder fastening, and it has flattering lines. However, as you can see from the second picture I've included here, you will not be able to wear this open, and I would also make the sleeves full-length and fit the cabled cuff neatly to the wrist, because this sleeve-length and bulky cabled detailing at the sleeve hems just looks awkward.

Speaking of things looking awkward, boy does this ever. It also looks tacked together and pointless.

The swing cut is very difficult to get right, and I don't think this designer managed it. As you can see from these pictures, unless you spend every moment you're wearing this swing jacket actually swinging, it is just going to bulk you up.

This pattern isn't technically among the patterns offered by Knit.Wear's Fall 2012 issue, being a preview pattern for a book called Finish-Free Knits, but it's available for free on Ravelry and I wanted to discuss it because it's rather interesting. The concept and overall look isn't bad, but I do keep thinking that this won't be the easiest look for many figures, because it's going to chop you up. Consider either extending the ribbed yoke pattern and dropping the cord and the design below it from the rib cage to your waist line or even a little lower, or alternatively raising the cord's level to above your bustline. That empire-waist visual line can be awkward on some women, especially if you're well-endowed.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

For Those Knitters Who Feel They Haven't Been Putting Enough of Themselves Into Their Work

For some people, hand-knitting is just so passé; arm-knitting is where it's at. Maggie of the blog Simply Maggie shows us how to arm-knit a scarf in half an hour and how to arm-knit a blanket in an hour.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Knitter's Magazine Issue 110: A Review

It's time once again to review the latest issue of Knitter's Magazine. I've been looking forward to the next issue, because I really was quite impressed with their last one, which was a skirt-themed issue. In this current issue, the Knitter's Magazine editors have elected to focus on tops.

Let's have a look at the patterns in Knitter's Magazine Issue 110, shall we?

I'm not all that enthusiastic about this pattern or this yarn, but both are serviceable enough. And perhaps useful as camoflauge if you want to disappear into the nearest tree trunk.

This is pretty but a little full around the hips for flattery.

At this point I'm feeling as though if one has seen one pretty little lace shawl, one has seen them all.

Eh, mesh. Be forewarned that I have an anti-mesh bias. This isn't terrible but it's not all that appealing either. You'll have to wear something under it and it will catch on everything.

Smart, graphic pattern little top. You may want to lengthen this and shape it through the waist. It looks like it might have a slightly too cropped and boxy fit to me.

Now this is a lace shawl that comes across as something rather different. The lace pattern and hem is quite striking.

Very simple, very wearable, very pretty lace top.

This item is probably intended to be a cross between a shawl and a sweater but instead comes across as an afghan with pretensions. That nubbly yarn choice isn't helping either — it's too afghan-like to use for an item that's already too afghan-like.

Here's another afghan-inspired cardigan, but it's a little more successful than the last one. There are actual sleeves. It's not ungracefully draped, and the yarn isn't unattractive. It's never a good sign when a review consists of qualified negatives, but... this isn't unwearable.

This yarn is just too dreary, but I do rather like the pattern. If you're well-endowed and or short-waisted, I would make the bottom lace section shorter in proportion to the rest of the garment to keep it from chopping up your figure, and if you've got a short neck I would also consider scooping the neck out a little more, but otherwise this is a reasonably flattering garment.

This lace pattern must be on the back, which makes me wish Knitter's Magazine had shown us the back so we'd know exactly what we're getting into if we make this pattern.

Another pretty little lace top.

Lately I've complained in a few other reviews, most notably the Knitscene Spring 2013 issue review, that knitting magazines were offering us a lot of wool hat, scarf and fingerless glove patterns for spring. This scarf actually looks like something one might wear in spring and summer. It's light and lacy and has the delicate, opalescent tints of a seashell.

I don't think these super long tops really flatter anyone. It never hurts a woman's appearance to have legs that appear to go on for miles, but who wants a torso that does? I'd chop this one down to the length that suits you best. If you routinely make clothes for yourself, you need to know what that length is. Get out the top that has always looked perfectly proportioned on you and measure it.

I like this skirt — I'm very impressed with the way the hem has been made to mimic a pleated ruffle — but I do have my suspicions of possible bulk around the waist.

This is another afghan masquerading as an item of clothing. And it really should have known better. Afghan, didn't your mother ever tell you that being the most striking, beautiful, mitred-edge afghan you can be is better than being any kind of poncho?

Here's another smartly graphic top. With the same model striking the same kind of artful pose that makes me wonder if the top isn't a touch too cropped and boxy to be really flattering. But that's easily fixed.

Beautiful lace vest, but it is more than a touch skimpy even on this model. Make sure that you make it big enough to look as though it fits the person you've made it for.

This design is so graphic it almost seems to weave before the eyes. Really striking look, but again make sure it's not too cropped or too boxy on you.

This one's a little heavy, but there are cool days and evenings even in summer where a heavy cotton pullover like this comes in handy. I like the lace sampler design. The sleeve length looks a little awkward, but of course you can make the sleeves any length you like.

Alas, this issue was something of a let down. It's not terrible by any means, but it's nothing like as good as the previous, skirt-themed issue. There's nothing in it that struck me as really wonderful or made me want to rush out and buy it. But there's always next time. Which one must hope will not be fingerless glove-themed publication.