Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Clutch This

In today's post I'm going to offer a selection of clutch and wrist bag patterns. I'm planning to do a series of posts on selected patterns for knitted bags over the next several weeks, starting with this post of clutch and wristlet patterns, moving on to a post on handbag patterns, and from there to a selection of tote bag patterns, and winding up with backpack and messenger bag posts. It'll be a good, useful series of posts for my readers, as well as a way to harmlessly indulge my fetish for nice bags. Because I can't knit every beautiful bag design I see, can I? (Narrator, sternly: She cannot.)

Let's start with the Grace Clutch, designed by Julie Grantz LeFrancois. How smart is this clutch? This one's not an evening bag, but would be fine for any occasion to which a woman can wear dressy street clothes: a daytime wedding, a lunch or dinner date. And as you can see it's the perfect accessory for a simple black outfit.

This is the Clutch This bag, designed by Debbie Bliss, and available in the book Knits to Give: 30 Knitted Gifts Made With Love. This little clutch would work just fine with evening wear. After checking out 15 pages of clutch and wristlet patterns on Ravelry to find patterns for this post, I can tell you that knitted evening clutches require certain yarns and findings, as clutches knitted out of regular sweater-type yarn tend to look too homely and unpolished for evening wear. You'll need to go with certain kinds of materials to wind up with an evening bag that looks right with evening wear: yarns that have a sheen or a halo, metallic yarns, novelty yarns that contain sequins or ruffles, and/or add beads or other embellishments.

Smocking Clutch, by Laura Zukaite, available in Luxe Knits: The Accessories: Couture Adornments to Knit & Crochet. This one's another daytime bag that is a little more roomy than any of the others in this post, and therefore more practical -- women tend to need to carry much more stuff with them during the workday! I'm not thrilled with the yarn choice used here (though it is an alpaca silk), but I do love the shape of this bag.

The Buckle Bag, designed by Cecily Glowik MacDonald. This pattern is available in Vogue Knitting on the Go: Bags Two! This one's another smart clutch that I'd consider best employed for daytime wear, though it could be turned into an evening bag with a different yarn and possibly buckle choice, if you can find fancier buckles.

The CoCo bag pattern, designed by Janine Le Cras, imitates the classic Chanel bag. I'd be inclined to make this one in a glossy black yarn and run a silk or velvet ribbon through the links of the chain strap, rather than yarn.

The Verdigris clutch, by Charmaine Fletcher, looks like the perfect little daytime summer clutch to make in a cotton or linen.

Envelope Clutch, by Gwen Bortner. This pattern was published in Bortner's Entrée to Entrelac: The Definitive Guide from a Biased Knitter. Another daytime/street wear clutch. I'm having fun thinking of all the different variegated yarns this one might be done in, though of course a neutral-colour clutch is the most versatile.

Ada, by Louisa Harding, published in Harding's book Knits from an English Rose: 25 Modern-Vintage Accessories. Love the stitchwork on the flap of this one.

Felted Clutch, by Jill Wright. Felting is a good direction to go with in making bags, because it's a considerable help with the sturdiness factor. And the right toggle can do a lot for a clutch.

The RYTA Felted Clutch Handbag, by Tanya Alpert. If you're like me and like the look of a nice brooch but don't like actually wearing them because they leave little brooch holes in your clothing, a felted clutch such as those shown here can be the perfect way to showcase a family heirloom brooch or a pretty inexpensive brooch that came from your local discount or thrift store.

But I Wanted Tiffany's, by Cheryl Erlandson. I'm not a big fan of frame bags, which have a rather too fussy look for my liking, but I can hardly overlook such a classic small bag style (I even own a few myself), so I'll close out this post with a selection of four of them. This is an undeniably sweet little confection of a bag.

The Cascading Ruffle Clutch, by Christina Behnke. This bag would hold its own alongside many a far more expensive, commercially made evening bag, and it's a good way to use a novelty ruffled yarn. If you'd like to save money on the frame, check thrift stores for old frame bags, as the frames can be stripped and reused.

Morning Glory, by Angela Sixian Wu. The combination of Rowan Kidsilk Haze and beads makes for a very pretty effect.

Diamonds are Forever, by Theresa Williams. This pattern was published in Williams' Bead Knitting Handbags 1. This has an Art Deco, 1930's vibe to it, and I am here for that.

Monday, 25 June 2018

Free the Feather Boas and Other Knitting Fables

Shanice felt fashion was all about balance. One could wear a too small skirt anywhere as long as one coordinated it with too much hat.

Hunter felt her Bathmat Vest was perfect for camping trips. Why pack towels or a sleeping bag when she had the perfect multi-purpose item?

Carly had done pretty well at finding a colour-blocked handbag to go with her colour blocked ensemble, but try as she would she had not been able to find the right colour-blocked shoes. But then, she reminded herself, she couldn't expect shoe designers to be ahead of the curve like her.

Molly, Jenna, and Nia were thrilled with their new "Edwardian lingerie as outerwear" looks, but agreed that for their next round of designs someone really had to go whole hog and wear the bloomers.

Tierra saw no reason why feather boas should always be confined to the neck region. Feather boas deserved to roam free! Or failing that, to at least be given the chance to be a skirt now and then.

Claire did her best to make "green" outfits by working with found materials. Her latest creation employed garbage bags, a fishing net, and part of a suit left behind by her last ex-boyfriend.

Mauve took the ordinary pale blue cabled turtleneck she'd been given for her birthday and gave it some real personality by adding ruffles and braids and hooked loops of roving. It was a bit of a drag to have to put so much work into her gifts, but her family just couldn't seem to understand her personal style. Or remember that her name was Mauve now.

Michaela was so thrilled with her new knitted pajamas that she'd sometimes levitate for sheer pleasure.

Iris got halfway down the runway before she began to wonder if the dresser had forgotten something. Could it be her pants? No, that didn't seem to be it.

Nicola so hated weaving in ends that she'd decided to just not do it and turn the ends into a design feature.

Friday, 22 June 2018

Creative Knitting Autumn 2018: A Review

Creative Knitting has released their Autumn 2018 issue. Let's have a look at it.

Apple Cider Scarf. Not bad at all. The tassels are an attractive finishing touch.

Fennel Tea Scarf. This is a handsome piece, and hoods are a good way to go for keeping your head warm, because they won't crush your hair the way a hat will.

Hazelnut Latte Shawl. A very nice-looking shawl with interesting texture.

Pumpkin Spice Hat & Mitts Set. A classic hat and mitts set.

Turmeric Tea Hat & Scarf. Very pretty. I love the lacework.

Chamomile Poncho. I'm not a big poncho fan, but there is the occasional one that strikes my fancy. This one has a gorgeous play of colour, it sits well, and it's also well-styled, because this is one of those items that speak for itself and is best worn with an otherwise simple, low-key outfit.

Espresso Poncho. The stitchwork is good, but the shape is very bulky.

Harvest Cocoon. I'm not such a fan of this one, which is so bulky in the back and gives this woman the look of being in the overly enthusiastic embrace of some sort of mollusc.

Mulberry Hooded Wrap. This one's okay. The idea of a hooded poncho is something a bit different, but it's been designed so that the hood can be worn up or as a cowl. I do like the play of colour in the yarn.

Mulled Wine Capelet. This is rather pretty and would work over a variety of outfits.

Cranberry Cider Cardigan. Nice stitchwork, the shaping is good, and this sits so well and is such a wearable, useful piece. Even the model is all, "I know, right?!"

Matcha Latte Pullover. This one, with its simple yet flattering shape and simple yet telling textural detail is one to make in a beautiful yarn in your favourite colour and wear with everything.

Plum Toddy Pullover. The colour blocking on this is quite sharp. I'm not thrilled with the shaping, but this design is one of those cases where the drop shoulder can't be fixed without impacting the design's visual impact. I'd neaten up the fit a bit though, and add waist shaping.

Spiced Cider Cardigan. This isn't bad. It's serviceable at any rate. It's a little small on the model, which is detracting from its effect, and I'd double the number of buttons and buttonholes.

Strawberry Mocha Sweater. A classic turtleneck. Though I will note, in reference to its name, that I have never seen a strawberry that colour, and if I did, I wouldn't eat it.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Noro Magazine Issue 12: A Review

Noro Magazine has released their twelfth issue. Let's have a look at it, shall we?

No. 1, Entrelac Blanket. I definitely feel like we've seen this afghan, and the next afghan, before, but then an afghan is the perfect showcase for Noro yarn, and one does want to play up the contrasts.

No. 2, Square-in-a-Square Blanket. An attractive afghan with only a slight "please do not adjust your TV set" feel to it.

No. 3, Eyelet Chevron Shawl. This is one of those pieces that were designed to be worn but that would look best on a couch.

No. 4, Eyelet Shawl. Very pretty. Love the combination of the eyelets and the lace border.

No. 5, Triangle Shawl. This one has an offbeat, contemporary vibe to it, but it works. The more subtle colourway was a good choice here, given that there are stripes and blocks involved.

No. 6, Openwork Shawl. A very traditional-style, simple shawl.

No. 7, Eyelet Scarf. A simple design. I'm not crazy about the tutti-frutti colour palette, but that's just personal preference.

No. 8, Semicircle Shawl. Classic lace shawl with some decent shaping.

No. 9, Chevron Top. I LOVE the yarn used here, but the shape and the dropped shoulders need some serious tidying up. The model is simply swamped by this piece.

No. 10, Sideways Knit Top. I like the sideways stripes and the colour palette, but that is one awkward, boxy shape.

No. 11, Garter Gusset Tee. Oooh, such pretty stripes. I'd neaten up the fit.

No. 12, Crossback Tank. Very pretty and wearable top. Love the lace work at the bottom, and the shape and fit are good.

No. 13, Scallop Stripe Tank. This one's nice too. The overall shape is good, and that broad band neckline is flattering and even a little dramatic.

No. 14, Two-Tone Tank Top. A very decent piece. It would be fun to play with the colour contrast on the neckline/body for this one.

No. 15, Two-Colour Tunic. Not bad. I like the play of texture through the body and the bottom panel, and the finishing details. This is one of those pieces that's interesting and stylish enough in itself that one can pair it with a simple skirt or pair of trousers.

No. 16, Directional Striped Top. I like this piece from the waist up, but I don't like the way the top panel lies across the lower half. It has that "these pieces stuck together in the dryer" look.

No. 17, Man's Raglan Pullover. I like this one so much I wish I had a boyfriend to make it for. (Gentlemen of the internet, I am now accepting applications.)

No. 18, Man's Henley Pullover. Not such a fan of this one. It's fine through the body, but I don't like the way that collar sits. It has an awkward thickness to it.

No. 19, Short-Sleeve Pullover. I rather like this one. Its minimalist style works well with the yarn choice -- this is a pattern that calls for a striking yarn -- and the lines are good.

No. 20, Tunic Tank Top. This one's a bit too loose around the hips. It would be fine if it fit better.

No. 21, Lace Top. Pretty! This one would be a fun, casual top to wear with jeans.

No. 22, Panel Top. This has a certain charm, but it would be a hard shape to carry off. It's good at the neckline but gets so bulky below that.

No. 23, Diagonal Rib Cardi. This one looks as though it began well and then had to be finished in a frantic, tearing hurry. It needs more finishing at the front edges and a different kind of closure.

No. 24, V-Neck Tank. This is a nice-looking piece, but that bustline level seam will be an unflattering look on women who aren't small-breasted.

No. 25, Swing Front Cardigan. This cardigan doesn't so much swing as sag. Such an awkward, frumpy number.

No. 26, Crew Neck Sweater. This one has port holes to go with its crew neck.

No. 27, Lace Waistcoat. This is rather cute, even chic. I like the three lines of buttons.

No. 28, Lace Scarf. Wish I could see this piece better, but it looks presentable enough.