Monday, 16 January 2017
Cast On has released its Winter 2016 issue. Let's have a look at it, shall we?
Arctic Cowl and Muff. These are okay as separately items, but as a set they seem a little much, as though the maker knitted two tubes and put them wherever they fit.
Aviemore Hat. An attractive classic cap.
Beaded Buttoned Bracelet. This is pretty in its way, but jewelry made out of yarn never looks like jewelry to me.
Chunky Checkerboard Scarf. I'd skip the pockets on this, which make it look a little too much like those pocket things some people hang on their couches and armchairs.
Commence. I'm quite liking this one, which between its excellent stitchwork and shaping has more than a little style to it. I love the collar especially.
Fingerslip. These mittens have an unobtrusive covered slit on the palm side that will enable its wearers to slip their fingers out of the mitten in order to manage any fine motor tasks that come their way. It's a practical idea, and the mittens are attractive and absent the clunkiness that so many mittens with fold-back tops have.
Herringbone Mitts. Very much like these, which are smart and fun and very carefully finished.
High Flight Redux. Not bad. The yoke seems rather visually heavy and dominant, but that may just be the picture's angle.
Icy Pink Vest. Classic cabled vest. I'd make this either in a light coloured cotton to be worn by itself in the summer, or in a darker, richer-toned wool for winter.
Jessica's Boyfriend Sweater. This is rather well-shaped, but I have my concerns about how flattering this length would be when it's a slim-fit piece. I'd make it a standard length.
Kendall's Sweater. Nice texture. I'd go with a beautiful or interesting yarn for this one.
Lilacs and Clemantis. This is a beautiful piece of design, but I do have my reservations about how it sits -- it's flaring out stiffly at the bottom. I think I'd add fasteners (buttons or clasps) all the way down the front to help this vest keep its shape.
Norwegian Legwarmers. Very pretty. I find myself wishing I'd had a pair like these circa 1985. I'd have been the envy of the schoolyard.
Patrician Cardigan. Oooh, how beautiful and elegant, and that yarn looks simply luscious. Good shaping, lovely lacy ruffle detailing, and the cardigan drapes so well.
Ship Side Chevron Shawl. This one is so striking as to be rather dramatic. Fantastic stitchwork.
Untwined Socks. A fun mix of patterns which works well on such a small scale.
Wilshire Boulevard Wrap. Another lovely and polished wrap. The stitchwork is really impressive.
Monday, 3 October 2016
The Knitting Guild Association has released their Fall 2016 issue of Cast On. Let's have a look at it, shall we?
Arrah. A handsome and contemporary shawl that sits very well.
Caramel Cables. A classic cable yoke pullover.
Chevron Sweater. Great texture and shaping, and that is a very flattering ballet neckline. I would like a closer a look at the shoulder detail, but I think what's going on there is that two extended bits of neckline ribbing have been tacked together with a button on each shoulder. It's a not uninteresting concept, but I don't know if it's adding anything to this item.
Cozy Retreat Hooded Vest. I'm thinking that the cozy retreat referred to in this design's name was intended for a pet rodent rather than for the wearer, because those oversized lapels look like sleeping bags for guineau pigs or possums or something of the sort.
Deep Dive. This isn't a bad playset (with its toy fish, sea otter, sea urchin, clam, and starfish) for the very young future marine biologist in your life. I don't know what scale these toys are, but I would want to make sure they are too large to fit into the recipient's mouth and so pose a choking hazard.
Faux Cable Mitts. These look rather awkwardly bulky to me, but then they've been styled with a chambray shirt rather than with a winter coat as a woman would be much more likely to wear them.
Garter Wedge Coat. I like where this concept was going but it didn't get there. This design needed to be taken steps further -- perhaps by using the contrast colour in another couple of places on the coat -- to succeed.
Grayson the Squirrel. This is cute (as one might expect from its designer, Nicky Epstein, who does cute extraordinarily well), but I think I would want to use a softer, more fur-like yarn in the body.
Haddow Park. This is the cover design, and I quite like it. The yoke design is very effective and reminds me of Shaker and Amish art.
Mock Cable Afghan. Some fantastic stitchwork in this.
Mock Cable Cardigan. I rather like the shawl collar on this one but I am not thrilled with what's happening below that.
Mock Cable Sample Scarf. This scarf has some lovely stitchwork in it, but it does look like it needs a fringe or a more finished edge on the ends -- they appear to simply stop short as they are.
Mulled Cider. This simple, nicely shaped dress is reminding me that I've long had intentions to knit myself a dress and have never done it.
Rouleau Jacket. This will look dumpy and frumpy on most women. Even this professional model isn't able to carry it off.
Monday, 5 September 2016
Cast On, which does not have preview photos on its website, has finally added its Summer 2016 issue as well as its recently released Fall 2016 issue to Ravelry's database, which means that I can review both. Let's look at the Summer 2016 issue first.
Child's Gansey. Classic child's gansey. The plain panel on the bottom does give it a little touch of distinction from every other gansey pattern.
Cordage Sweater. Nice piece with good texture, attractive detailing on the shoulders and sleeves, and excellent shaping.
Danae Sweater. Very pretty summer top. The shaping is good and I like the simple yet effective use of laceweight stripes around the yoke, which not only adds visual interest but frames the wearer's face.
Dewdrop. This top wouldn't normally be my type of thing (the mesh, the draped sleeves), but I think it works. It fits so well through the waist and hips and lies smoothly across the front that the total effect of the piece is flattering and graceful. I'd like to see this one done in a more interesting yarn.
Fisherman's Net Pillow and Sailor's Cross Pillow. These are cute. I can see these looking very much at home in a beachside cottage.
Herring Lassie. I like the gansey detailing on this one, but that sleeve length looks awkward, especially when combined with the dropped shoulder effect created by the gansey detailing.
Lacy Dress. Oh, this is pretty. Put a simple slip under this and it's lovely and special enough for a bride to wear for an informal wedding.
Mesh Interrupted Scarf (the coral scarf), Scarab Lace Scarf (blue scarf), and Windows Lace Scarf (white scarf). These are some pretty pieces. The Scarab Lace Scarf is probably the one I like best. I do like the idea of wearing three scarves knotted together like this, though if I were going to do it I'd want them to be laceweight rather than DK as these are.
Mystic Song Vest. I'm not liking this one much. It's skimpy and poorly shaped and has the look of a mesh shopping bag that this model is wearing so as to keep her hands free until she gets to the grocery store.
Nautical Colorblock. This one's cute and sporty. It does have a slightly dropped shoulder, but it works in this case because the sweater's been shaped under the arm.
North Sea Gansey. Classic gansey with some really advanced shaping -- there are gussets under the arms and at neckline. As you can see, the resulting sweater sits beautifully.
Ribbed Eyelet Crew Socks. Nice little pair of anklets.
Short and Sassy Dress. We saw this dress previously when it was worn under the lovely lace dress above. It didn't belong under that dress, and it also deserves to be worn on its own. The vertical lines detailing in the front is not only attractive and interesting but will help the dress keep its flattering shape.
Tamara Square Neck Top. There is so much about this design to love -- the neckline, the front cable detailing, the raglan sleeves -- but the fact that it's too big through the hips really detracts. This piece is supposed to be A-line but I'd change the shape to make it more fitted through the bottom.
Wednesday, 4 May 2016
I was unable to review the Spring 2016 issue of Cast On when it came out a few months ago because preview pictures weren't available on The Knitting Guild's Association website. The preview pictures still aren't available on the TKGA website, but they have appeared on Ravelry, so now I can do not only the Spring 2016 issue but also the Summer 2016 issue that has appeared since. Let's begin with the Spring 2016 issue.
Clara. I like the top, which has good shaping and nice stitchwork, but that is one unattractively muddy colour.
Eyelet Yoke Pullover. Pretty and useful little summer top.
Helix Spiral Pillow. This is what a helix looks like. This cushion does not look like a helix, but rather like something out of the back pages of a seventies homemaking magazine.
This also does not look like a helix, but rather like something that was stolen from the wardrobe department of a Muppet movie set.
Hourglass Eyelet Socks. Pretty.
Keyhole Pullover. Very simple, but it's well-shaped and the keyhole detail is eye-catching.
Love Bird Jumper. What a sweet little look. I think I'd edge the neck opening and armholes in the contrast colour though, as the top of this jumper looks a little too plain as is.
Love Birds. This is so cute without being so cutesy that a grown woman can't wear it. The shaping is great and the detailed cuffs and hem give it a nicely polished look.
Not Your Mom's Vest. Love this one, which is both polished and subtly sexy. The pictures show it styled over both a little tank and a fitted white shirt, and it looks good either way.
Openwork Pullover. Not a fan of this one, which looks stretched out and shapeless.
Opposing Spirals Pillow. This is very "granny frump", something I would expect to find on a prickly sofa, sitting against a granny square afghan, with possibly an African violet sitting on a doily beside a copy of Reader's Digest on the nearby end table.
Palindrome Headband. Not bad. I prefer silk scarves for headbands, though, as it's easier to adjust them to the needed width or snugness, and they look more polished.
Pleated Linen Shirt. Can't say I find this one appealing. It's so very plain except for the pleats in the back, which aren't really adding anything. They're just sort of... there.
Polka Dot Lace Skirt/Crop Top. The skirt here is actually two skirts: a long lacy overskirt and a mid-thigh length stockinette underskirt, which are knitted separately and then knitted together at the waistband. The lines are good, and this is rather a fetching summer look for the woman who doesn't mind showing some skin. I'd made the underskirt the same colour as the overskirt, though, as making it in white makes it look a little girdle-like.
Spring Cardi. This isn't a bad look, and it's rather a clever piece of modern design, but I don't think I could wear it, as asymmetry always aggravates my OCD-like tendencies and I'd keep tugging on it and trying to "fix it". Also, I wouldn't be able to get past the conviction that I looked as though I'd gotten dressed in the dark. While hungover.
Squiggle Lace Top. I like this one, which has good shaping and some nice side details, but I would wear it by itself rather than over a long-sleeved t-shirt. Putting the long sleeves under it gives it a dowdy, dorky look.