Monday, 25 September 2017
Interweave Knits has released its Holiday 2017 issue. Let's have a look at it.
Alcova Scarf. How handsome! And the scarf is very attractive too. (Sorry, more than a little deprived here.)
Buckwheat Cowl. An attractive, classic piece.
Cable & Seed Knee Socks. It's hard to go wrong with such classic stitchwork. Though I would like to point out that these socks go nowhere near the model's knees. I suppose the name "calf socks" doesn't have quite the same ring.
Cookie Decorating Set. This is meant to be a play set for a child, and I suppose a child baker might have some fun playing with it. The oven mitts are too cute.
Dickensian Dolls. These are quite a good recreation of Scrooge and the three ghosts from A Christmas Carol. I'm not crazy about the blank faces, though I know perfectly well it is difficult to create likenesses with yarn. The blank face does work in the case of the Ghost of Christmas Past, because it makes him look scary, and he's supposed to be scary.
Entwined Shawl. Very nice!
Fantastic Fox Family. These don't look very much like foxes, but they are undeniably cute and cuddly.
Frost Mittens. These are pretty, and they're lined for extra warmth.
Jacquard Mittens. These are different. I don't know if they quite appeal to me, but they certainly have a lot of textural interest. In this brown yarn they have a certain "woven from straw" look.
New Growth Shawl. A lovely, even elegant, wrap.
Oslo Hat. I don't even like this style of hat, but this one is so well rendered, so nicely detailed and carefully shaped, that it's appealing.
Parallelogram Hat. Nice classic cap.
Powder Puff. This is pretty basic, but like most basic designs it's wearable and useful.
Solstice Hat. Love this one. The fair isle design is beautiful and the slightly offbeat colourway works really well.
Tree Boughs and Trails Hat. I'm really liking the combination of the pine-needle branch-like cabling and the twisting cables.
Two Cables Socks. This is a very handsome pair of classic cabled socks.
Wayworn Cap. Another classic cap.
Winter Sky Mittens. These are cute, but I do wish they had a more graceful shape and fit more snugly around the wrists. Leaving the wrists that open is not going to be too conducive to keeping the wearer's wrists and hands warm in winter.
Winter Snowflake Stocking. Really cute design. I'm liking that the designer didn't just make a classic snowflake pattern stocking, but added some interesting extra touches: the lace at the top, and the cream heel and toe with a decorative line of seed stitch in the main colour and a contrasting colour.
Winter's Chill Cowl. This is a pretty little piece. I'm liking the combination of pale blue, aqua, and white.
Woodland Lace Stole. This a fabulous piece of knitted lacework. It's modelled on traditional Shetland shawls, and indeed, it could pass for one.
Yeti for Bed. This doesn't look much like my idea of a yeti, which are usually depicted as furrier/hairier than this, but I must admit that the idea of dressing a fearsome creature in long undies (complete with a buttoned flap on the rear end) and bunny slippers is a very witty one.
Thursday, 21 September 2017
Knitty has released its Deep Fall 2017 issue. Let's have a look, shall we?
Pistachio Saffron. This is meant to be a knitted version of a sweatshirt. It's not bad. It has an understated, comfortable look. The designer suggests that if you don't wish it to be quite so roomy, that you drop down a size and/or remove the A-line increases.
Hostkappe. This a too busy mish-mash of a pattern.
Glaswegian. This is a pleasant little number.
Alicorn. Classic and wearable cowl.
Cascadilla. This is wearable and has a contemporary feel and some nice detailing.
Turbulence. I'm uncertain as to what to call this piece. Shrug would do, but this is bigger and provides more coverage than the usual shrug. "Sweater shrug" is fairly accurate but sounds a bit silly. "Slankette", or an abbreviated version of the "slanket" (a blanket with sleeves) might be another idea but is even sillier. Leaving that question aside, while I don't think I'd wear this piece as I like knitwear to have a more definite shape and structure, this isn't a bad layering piece to be worn over casual clothes.
Boo Boo. This design was born when the designer made a sweater, didn't like the way the sweater fit the model, and so cut it down into a skirt. Much as I hate to discourage creative efforts to salvage projects gone wrong and to avoid waste, and as gorgeous as the fair isle and ribbed hem are, I don't think the remodelling effort was quite successful. The skirt looks too much like a made-over, tacked-together cardigan. I'd rework it a bit more, by either by omitting that line of hand stitching that's holding it together and putting in a zipper or buttons, or by skipping that front steek altogether and keeping the solid circular construction.
Wilwarinda. This one can be worn as either a wrap skirt or as a shawl, and I'm liking the visually interesting lines and colourway.
Habanero. Oooh, nice piece. This has excellent shaping, is flattering, and would look good over so many outfits and on so many occasions.
Cowichan Waves. This designer came up with this hat and cowl because she wanted to use the Cowichan knitting techniques she'd learned in a class (and she also wrote an accompanying post about the history of Cowichan knitting). I would say these pieces are a worthy addition to the traditional Cowichan sweater style.
High Voltage. The first quip that came to mind when I looked at these socks is that they'd be perfect to wear on a date with a Flash Gordon fan, but as I looked at them more carefully the energy bolts started to look more like sperm to me. I suppose they could still be a good thing to wear on a date with a Flash Gordon fan, but... perhaps not on the first date? But that's your decision, of course. I don't know your life.
Lesula. I'm quite liking these, which have the look of old school, dapper menswear.
Welcome. This is the kind of thing one wears to host a dinner party where one wants the dinner party guests kept slightly off-kilter and bemused. Or when one is the manic pixie dream girl type and everyone knows it's simply par for the course.
A Bit of Funk. This piece was designed for the designer's mother, who informed her daughter that she "was done being normal and from now on she was going to wear clothes that didn't even try to be normal". (Which is actually awesome and reminded me of Alison Lurie's lovely little essay on the day she turned her back on fashion at the age of 60.) The designer writes that she "tried to satiate her [mother's] appetite for weirdness... while designing something that won't embarrass my kids." I'm sure her mother liked her sweater coat and that the grandchildren will be unbothered by the sight of Grandma in it, but I don't think the designer quite succeeded in creating a coherent design. Weirdness in design requires an unapologetic panache and a certain internal logic, while this design is both playing it safe and classic and timidly proffering a few off-beat details.
I'd rejig this a bit here and there. The shaping and stitchwork in the body are great. I like the old style details of clasps on the front and silver buttons on the cuffs, so those can stay too. The pocket, which is in a similar colour to the body of the coat, looks merely faded, so I'd either do it in another, contrasting colour, or the same colour as the main colour. The lace edging at the hem and cuffs is a nice concept but a little too delicate looking for a sweater, so I'd knit the lace in a fun contrasting colour, possibly matching it to the pocket colour. I'm not thrilled with that back collar, with its rolling edges, or with the way it sits at the front, so I think I might change the shape to a square collar, and maybe add some embroidery to match what's on the pocket.
Roundup Rug. This little mat, which is woven, is a nice piece in itself, but I keep seeing it as a rug in the living room of a modern-style dollhouse rather than a kitchen table mat. But then I don't know either your kitchen table or your dollhouse.
Dendritic. Quite like these. They're attractive and practical and would knit up very quickly.
Thursday, 14 September 2017
Today we're going to look at the second half of the designs in Rowan Knitting & Crochet Magazine 62, having looked at the first half three days ago.
Bradshaw. Classic cabled turtleneck.
Wilshaw. I like the detail on the body of this coat, and the back looks quite sharp, but the front looks unfinished and the sleeves look silly.
Midnight. Good shape and texture, but I think I'd make this one in a variegated yarn, as it needs just a little more visual interest.
Weeton Scarf. It's seldom I see a crocheted scarf I really like, but I do quite like this one with its pleasing woven effect.
Fumbar. This one's a refreshing take on the classic fair isle yoke pullover, the shaping is good, and I like the subtle neutral colourway.
Midnight Cowl and Dimmet. I rather like this one, which could be worn on its own or as a layering piece, and I love the versatility of the cowl and sweater set idea that I just might have to make one for myself. Though I would wear a proper belt with it, not a piece of leather cord or twine or whatever that is around the model's waist.
Almondbury. The texture's great and the colours are beautiful, but this one isn't so much a cardigan as it is an afghan with sleeves.
Farnley. This one's rather cute. I even like the pom poms, though I'd make them a little smaller.
Dusky Scarf. This is quite attractive and a good way to add some distinction to a plain outfit.
Oxton. A nice classic piece.
Gransmoor. Very pretty leaf and diamond fair isle design, though I would do it in another colourway. This combination of dark blue and pale blue is popular with designers, but for some reason it never quite pulls together for me -- it's visually just a little jarring and off-key.
Veiled. This is very simple but it's wearable enough.
Buttrick. This one is good overall, but has an unflattering boxy shape that isn't doing this professional model any favours. I'd normally advise adding waist shaping but that could be difficult to do in this case given the closely set cable pattern, so instead I'd probably just give this design a pass.
Subdued. The designer of this one seems to have tried to jazz up a too-plain item by randomly adding ties to the sleeves, and like most randomly added design elements, it's not serving its intended purpose.
Marr. Very striking mosaic patterned coat.
Sundown. A cute little cropped cardigan. This can be a difficult length to wear but they do look cute over a dress.
Bielby. This one has such a dragged out, downtrodden look that even the model it's on is looking as though she's getting a sudden urge to sit in a darkened room, wrap herself in a blanket and eat marshmallow fluff straight from the jar.
Eventide. Not bad, though these long narrow cardigans tend to be hard to wear. That's easily remedied though -- just make it in a flattering length for the intended wearer.
Thackrey Scarf. The matching hat for this scarf appeared in part one of this review, and I like the scarf just as much. It was a sound idea to knit it in a tube so that there's no "wrong" side.