Friday, 22 May 2015

Doomsday Knits: A Review

Today we're going to have a look at Doomsday Knits: Projects for the Apocalypse and After, as published by Cooperative Press. Because the fact that the end of the world is drawing nigh is no reason for us to stop knitting. Why else would we have stashes?

For a book of knitting designs, Doomsday Knits takes an admirably holistic approach to its subject matter. It offers lists of recommended topical TV shows and movies to watch, books to read, and music to listen to, as well as a list of edible items to be found in the wild and a helpful, handy-dandy flow chart to help you figure out what form the apocalypse has taken and what to do about it (i.e., if people are sick and/or acting strangely and also tend to sparkle in daylight and attract "vapid floozies", you're "in a Twilight Apocalypse. Grab all the quality literature you can carry and run").

Fatigued. Speaking of the various types of apocalypses, I want to live in the kind of apocalypse this model does, because any place where a woman can have access to a great hair salon, make up artist, waxing technician, and tights that spontaneously ladder into perfectly proportional patterns can't be all bad. As for the knitwear, it isn't bad either. I can see this sleeveless tunic being quite wearable in our pre-apocalyptic day. However, I will advise nixing the chest pockets for any wearer who is any larger than an A cup. The chest pockets will look like breast-feeding hatches on a well-endowed woman.

Desert Warrior armwarmers and legwarmers. Nicely detailed and functional.

Fennec. Not sure about this one. It's described as a "cropped burnoose". It definitely has some interesting features, but the general fit of it is making me suspect that it's one of those designs that only really look good on professionally styled and professionally photographed professional models.

Ozone. This is a little too "1970s homemaking magazine pattern" for me, but then I'm a hard sell on ponchos. As far as ponchos go, it's well-designed, with a good shape and texture, and it's carefully finished.

Oxygenate. Love the back of this, but those bars of contrasting texture on the front aren't quite working and makes the top look like it was cobbled together out of disparate scraps. But then that's very likely the effect the designer was going for.

Fission. Very nice and wearable! These will work equally well with your best wool topcoat and your most ragged apocalyptic gear.

I Was a Teenage Mutant. Very nice simple hat. It's quite basic and yet very finished looking.

Fallout. This hood accommodates a gas mask and can be worn as a cowl. Because we'll all need to get a lot of mileage out of our post-apocalyptic wardrobes.

Alpacalypse. This isn't bad. It's wearable and would be very warm. Its lines are a little rough and ready for my tastes, but it would be styling by post-Apocalyptic standards, when people will consider themselves lucky to have clothing made out of carpeting.

Baby's First Principles. This blanket combines the symbol for radiation, skulls, and running figures. The design is visually sharp and clever. I know a macabre, doom-predicting, zombie-obsessed guy who would be delighted to get an afghan-sized version of this baby blanket for his couch.

Long Road Ahead Socks. These would be satisfyingly cushion-y to wear.

Alternating Current. Visually striking and wearable cowl.

Grom-Mitts. These are pretty cool, if not terribly practical... just imagine that metal against your skin on icy days, and all the cold air that will get in through the grommets. However, they do look very sharp and would no doubt be of great value to a human trying to "pass" as member of the robot overlord race. I'm wondering if they mightn't also be popular with the steampunk set.

Circuit mittens. These are cute. And man do they ever remind me of my Atari-playing days. Do you suppose the robot overlords of the future will be at all impressed with my Pac-Man playing skills?

Technologica. Very sleek, minimal style here. I'd close up the porthole over the chest, but then I'm prim like that.

Survivor. These socks are designed to represent the scarring resulting from a past zombie attack. It's a gruesome theme but they're reasonably pleasing aesthetically.

Oh Bondage. This looks kind of cool and edgy in this picture, but I suspect most women who wear this will wear it sans the leather straps (as all but one of the Ravelry members who have made it have done) because only so many women are going to care to go about wearing something that references a ball gag (and this will be wildly unflattering on a woman who isn't small-breasted), and without the straps... the cowl loses its point and just looks like some amateurishly constructed, nondescript thing worn around the neck.

Ditch the Tech. I'm trying to imagine alternate styling for this as I don't imagine too many women would care to wear it over stockings. It should look fine over leggings or jeans. I would do something with the hem and cuffs to make them look more finished, though. I know ragged edges are de rigueur for post-apocalyptic fashion, but after all, we're not there yet.

Suture. Not a bad little cap. The ruching effect works well.

Bulletproof. Quite like this one. The zippered straps give it a cool, sexy edge, and it's well-shaped and wearable.

Apocketmitts. These look very wearable, and also feature small pockets that could hold your phone, keys, or bus pass.

Lunar Progression. I can't say I care much for this design as an accessory, but it has a built-in, useable lunar calendar and that idea is so completely freaking cool that it justifies the scarf's existence beyond the point of debate.

Ringmaster. A very dandified jacket for the elite class of the survivors of the apocalypse. This is likely another item that will appeal to steampunk types, if any of those survive.

Utility Corset. This corset is meant to be the feminine equivalent of a handyman's belt, with lots of pockets and loops added to keep one's arrows, knives, flint, and other survival gear handy. I'm having trouble picturing this item being worn anywhere but on some Hunger Games-like movie set, but I suppose some hipster chickadee somewhere will enjoy claiming she was into utility corsets before they were cool. Or necessary.

Quaintrelle. This vest is... okay. I think I'd want to find better fasteners for it than the bone ones used here. Some metal clasps might be nice, or the right statement buttons.

Battle Ready. The vest is an interesting and amazingly detailed piece of design. I wasn't sure how I felt about the square side cut outs at first, but I think they work and that this is a wearable piece for a woman with a contemporary dress sense. The gloves I am less positive about. They look like they belong on someone named Brandee who's headed off for an evening shift of pole dancing as well as certain other activities for which she has a graduated price list.

Oryx. Nice piece. Modern and wearable for most women.

Thrumviator. I do find this thrummed aviator cap kind of cute, though it wouldn't be for every woman. It could work on the right sort of person, such as a hipster Amelia Earhart type.

Rattlebone. Rather a nice-looking pair of armwarmers. I like the detailing, especially the picot edging at the top.

Wayfarer. Rather a nice shawl, though those loose lace strings hanging down from the center strip would drive me mad. I'd shorten those or tie them up in some way.

Forager. This is one of those unstructured sweaters that don't tend to sit well on non-models in ordinary life.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Forced Intimacy and Other Knitting Fables

Eleanor was convinced that it was by no accident that her name was what it was and that she was in fact the reincarnation of Eleanor of Aquitane and had shone as queen of both England and France, though those 16 years of house arrest had been a total drag.

Malcolm and Janine were trying to keep their minds open regarding their marriage therapists "forced intimacy" techniques, but sometimes they were ready to write him off as being completely full of shit.

Vincent tried spending an evening relaxing with his knitting as advised by his sister, and it ended up being the usual Saturday night of contemplating the barren, arid wasteland of his life and talking to the cat. But then, as his sister assured him when he complained to her about it, he'd done it wrong. He was supposed to spend the evening actually knitting, not wearing an unfinished and flawed project. Couldn't he just stuff the project gone wrong under his bed and start another project like normal knitters?

When Bethea's entire family came over for the annual Easter family do that she always hosted, they agreed that she had really outdone herself on the decorations this year.

Albert felt that an epic Mohawk called for an epic cowl.

Designer Iris was crushed when Jennifer Lopez turned down her new red carpet design for "not being revealing enough" and vowed never to make the mistake of being too demure in her designs again.

Alejandro topped off his latest knitwear creation with a fascinator constructed from a cheap wig, a kitchen canister, and two knitting needles. Sometimes he felt he'd missed his calling and should have been a milliner rather than a knitwear designer.

Augustus's pom pom philosophy was "I Magno aut in domum cede", or when roughly translated into plebeian English, "Go Big or Go Home".

One of these days, Mai thought, her boyfriend Christopher was going to insist on doing sheep cosplay once too often and she was going to dump his woolly, bob-tailed ass.

Petra had grown up worshiping Mary Kate and Ashley Olesen and her designs reflected her residual spite at fate for not making her a twin.

Monday, 18 May 2015

One String

In this video, created by Joe Penna, AKA YouTube user MysteryGuitarMan, gives us a narrative brought to life by a single skein of yarn that has been rearranged 703 times. According to this CNet article, it "took just under three weeks of work to create the minute-and-a-half-long animation, with two to five people working on it 10 hours a day" to create this video.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Knitscene Accessories 2015: A Review

Interweave Press has just released their Knitscene Accessories 2015 issue, and with very exceptions, they've hit it out of the park with the designs in this issue. Let's have a look at it, shall we?

Harper Shawl. Interesting and even rather cool.

Beacon Shawl. Very striking and totally cool.

Cait Shawl. This one's more basic, but it's pleasing and useful in its own, quieter way.

Sarcasm Shawl. Sharp and to the point, as sarcasm should be.

Ship That Shawl. This one has promise, but I don't think it got the colourway it deserved.

Knit a Bit Wall Hanging. This is hokey but I do agree with the sentiment.

Cask Baskets. There are many much more attractive knitted basket patterns out there.

Zagtarsia Blanket. This one's okay. It has a contemporary appeal. I'd have some fun with planning the colourway on this one.

Rhodesian Pillow (in front) and Polar Morn Pillow (in back). Good texture on these.

Cobblestone Throw. I do love a simple, single colour, textured throw.

Wallis Shawl. Pretty, and it sits really well.

Grace Clutch. Stylish and useful clutch. I'm impressed — this is probably the best handmade clutch I've ever seen.

Cara Scarf. Simple yet elegant and distinctive scarf.

Sabrina Socks. Lovely socks.

High Street Ascot. This is a bit too bare bones for my liking, but I do admire the stylish way it sits. This cowl isn't wrapped in place — it's designed to sit like this.

Nicole Necklace. This is too "Cindy Goes to Craft Camp" for my tastes.

Regina Hat. This hat is over the top, but gloriously so. If you're the type who loves and can carry off humongous hats, go for broke, girl!

Awry Hat and Awry Mitts. These are very cool, and the perfect way to add a bit of interest and colour to a very basic monochrome outfit.

Ostia Hat and Ear Warmer. Nice design that comes with hardtop and sunroof options.

Remiges Hat and Remiges Mittens. Striking and attractive hat and mitten set.

Opulent Cowl. Love this piece which, though it has that "sad flat tire" look when worn singly around the neck, looks amazing worn doubled. So elegant and sophisticated.

Antica Cowl. Like the textured outside and faux fur inside of this cowl, but I do have my concerns about the way it sits when the model isn't tugging on it as she's doing in every photo shown here.

Nocked Socks. Some nice and rather unique detailing on these.

Catalyst Cowl. This one's... okay. I'd go for interesting buttons rather than buttons that are simply huge here.