Showing posts with label Knit n' Style. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Knit n' Style. Show all posts

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Knit n' Style October 2013: A Review

The October 2013 issue of Knit n' Style is out, and I've made all the jokes I think I can make about their wildly mismatched dating of their magazine's issues, so let's just take a look at the designs on offer, shall we?

I don't know about Arianna Vest. It's not terrible, but it doesn't have any exemplary qualities either. It's neither unflattering or flattering, neither sharp nor ugly. Which probably means I should advise you to keep looking for a vest pattern that is smart and flattering. And I will say that if you do want to make this one, make sure the buttons don't protrude past the edge of the bodice when it's buttoned. That always makes a garment look poorly made and too small.

This is the crocheted version of the Arianna Vest above. The same comments apply. Though at least the buttons are properly placed on this one.

Here we have a Intentional Stripes Cowl that's neither great nor terrible. And I don't know how warm it will keep your neck when it's as open as this one.

The Aeryn is a well-designed classic cabled cardigan. But then you probably already have a very similar pattern in your pattern library.

I actually don't mind this Monarch Scarf. Sometimes a novelty-yarn scarf can be the perfect accessory for a simple outfit. I don't know why they paired it with a rumpled leopard pattern blazer, though. Not only is the colourway dreary, the combination makes this model look like a leopard that has just made a meal out of an ostrich.

This Teddie Hooded Vest looks like something out of a seventies-era craft magazine — and the seventies are not known for the aesthetic or technical excellence of their craft kits and patterns. A hooded open-front vest isn't a bad concept, but that blue trim is doing this pattern no favours. Are the blue lines on the front panels supposed to be asymmetrical? Because they look like an accident. If you want to make this pattern, I'd make it all in a solid colour and put some kind of fastener at the top (or all the way down the front), rather than that tie.

Oh dear. This Lacy Rib Pullover is not good. The variegated yarn used on the sleeves is just hideous. The lace pattern on the bodice is really enough detail for this sweater — it didn't need a competing visual interest, particularly an overpoweringly ugly visual interest. This sweater would look about twenty times more attractive if the whole thing had been done in just one solid colour yarn. I'm not crazy about the ruffled edgings, which look a little chintzy, but I think they might work if the sweater is done in a pale shade, or perhaps black, to give the look a feminine, lingerie-like look.

I do quite like this Bold Stripes Pullover. The colourway is good, it's striking, it's a little different, and yet it's totally wearable. My one nitpick is that the cowl doesn't lie all that well, but it does show to better advantage on the cover shot for this issue, so perhaps it just wasn't arranged well here. Yes, this design is the cover look for the October 2013 issue, which is good because it's the strongest and most eye-catching design of this issue and Knit n' Style usually doesn't put their best design on the cover for some reason.

I like this Galway Jacket design too. The collar and cuffs are so pretty and the workmanship is good overall.

I have been peering at this Diagonal Rib Pullover design for about ten minutes and I honestly can't tell what's going on with it. The sock yarn and the stitchwork combined make it look like a knitted version of camouflage. But I give it a qualified approval, as it does look like a fairly decent design, though perhaps you may wish to knit it in a solid yarn, as a intricate pattern combined with a variegated yarn can wind up looking a little muddled. And to wear it with a crew neck t-shirt, as that v-neck is a little too open and it's not exactly flattering on this model's neck.

The Stansborough Sheep Jacket is really, really basic. This is a sweater that calls for a great quality yarn in the kind of colour that makes your day, because doing it in gray makes it look just too utilitarian.

The Tweed Deluxe Pullover is another very basic design, and the shape of it is pretty seriously unflattering even on this model. I'd definitely bypass this one. A very simple sweater needs great lines.

This is the Modesto design. And I know menswear must be seriously boring to design and I'm willing to give this designer points for effort and for trying to think out of the box and come up with a fresh new concept, but this sweater looks more like a bad upcycling project than a sweater most men would like to wear.

The Fairy-Slipper Shrug actually isn't bad. It's neither shrug nor spencer but is the happy offspring of both. I know I have taken lots of potshots at spencers, but I suppose that's probably largely because I simply can't wear one myself. And I couldn't wear this either. But quite a lot of women can, and that is what matters.

The baggy cropped sleeves and those ugly buttons are doing the Vine Lace Cardi no favours, but other than that it's not bad.

The design of the Summer Days Tank isn't bad, but it's hard to see past the awfulness of the yarn selection. It's a silk yarn too. Why would anyone dye silk in those wretched colours? Were they molested by a silkworm in another life? When I do my best to look beyond the yarn, I see the tank is reasonably well-shaped, has an airy texture that should be comfortable in summer, and has nicely finished edges.

The Diagonal Stripes Vest is interesting conceptually and has obviously been designed with a lot of thought and care... but I can't see any of the women I know actually wearing it. Well, I do have one friend with a very modern dress sense whom I think could pull it off. I'm gathering from the ties at the front that this could be worn tied. I wish we'd been given a photo of how it looked worn that way.

The Nerina design looks frumpy on this model and is going to look even more so on woman with anything other than a model's figure. Baggy elbow-length sleeves are such a bad idea.

I quite like this Lace Columns Dress, though I'd like it even more if it hadn't been done in a variegated glitter yarn. It just cheapens what could be a really elegant, polished look, and limits where a woman can wear the dress.

Can't say I'm a fan of the Yorganza Scarf, which basically looks like a crumpled manuscript. The Yorganza yarn is an interesting one, but I'm not sure I've seen a good use for it yet. Usually it just looks like an amateur sewing project.

Quite like the Feathery Waves Tam. It has interesting stitchwork and a good shape.

The Trend Deluxe Scarf could definitely work on a woman who has a very modern dress sense and who tends to favour graphic patterns and lines.

The Flirtatious Bag looks like it needs to pay its bar bill and tell the bartender to call it a cab, because otherwise it's going to wake up empty in a back alley the next morning without any idea of how it got there. Novelty yarns can work for a clutch or a drawstring bag, but using it on a larger scale as in a shoulder bag like this is just too over the top and looks cheap and tacky.

Not sure about the shape of the Bressay Cowl. It looks like a hood that's on backwards.

The Fair Isle Hat is really cute. I love those little tulips. You can skip the pom-pom if you want to make the look more adult.

I like the Zigzag Cable Cowl. It sits well, it looks warm, and it's a quality piece that can be worn anywhere.

The Twist ‘n Twirl Shawlette isn't bad. It's a very summery accessory in those colours, so if you're thinking of it as a fall piece I'd go with yarn in a shade from the fall or winter palette.

This is the Yorganza Cowl, which again has that beginner sewing project look to it. Although it's not helped by the styling here. It's too light and flirty a piece to look good with a leather jacket.

The Barleycorn Socks are interesting. I like the twisted effect of it, which gives it an interesting arty appeal that works well on a small scale.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Knit n' Style August 2013: A Review

It's May, which to a purveyor of knitting magazines can only mean one thing: it's time for the August issue of Knit n' Style. Let's have a look at their latest offerings, shall we?

In the Knit Augusta Vest, we have a rather shapeless double-breasted vest knitted in a ribbon yarn in an unpleasant colourway. The four novelty buttons on the front have been added to give it some style, but that's rather too much to ask of any buttons, and particularly of these.

In the Crochet Augusta Vest, we have basically the same vest in the same kind of ribbon yarn, only in a different colour, shorter, and crocheted, with different buttons. I'm still not buying it.

The Newsprint Hat isn't a bad little cap. I like the idea of finishing off a hat knitted in a variegated yarn with a solid band knitted in one of the colours.

It took some serious squinting at the Tikal Tunic before I understand what I was looking at. At first I thought it was a cropped cardigan, but now (aided partly by the name) I realize it's a tunic, or rather what I would consider a dress as it appears to go nearly to this model's knees. I rather like the concept of a two-tone knitted tunic/dress but I don't think it's been carried out to success here. The two colours and the two designs don't really do anything for each other, and consequently the demarcation line between the skirt and the sweater is rather jarring, as though two different garments were randomly slapped together. I would have chosen two yarns that really looked as though they belonged together, and given the two halves some commonalities in design, such as adding a little lace to the skirt.

I disliked the Summer Stripes Pullover when I first saw it, but upon looking at it more closely I think it's not a bad design. The shape is very good; the tightly meshed texture is interesting. I think maybe it's the colour scheme that's bothering me, that makes it look like an item designed to be worn with a polyester pantsuit, possibly while playing shuffleboard. A more sophisticated colourway would upgrade the look of this design.

The Lime Ricky Cardi isn't bad at all — it's well shaped and has some pretty stitchwork. If knitted in a neutral or favourite colour of cotton, it will give the woman who owns it a lot of mileage for years to come.

The Regina is a classic design with a bit of interesting texture. The lines of bobbles really add to it. This is another sweater that can be reliably worn on cooler days and evenings in summer for years until it wears out.

The Laurel Anne design is another I disliked at first glance but which I'm finding to have plenty of merit upon careful study. The bottom-tie style is actually quite an innovative and interesting addition to a buttonless cardigan style: it should keep the front edges from sagging open unattractively. I also like the extended shoulder cap sleeve and the hemline — they should be flattering on many women. However, the sweater won't look good worn untied and this is a sweater that will appear to thicken a woman's midsection.

I'm not sold on the concept of the Air Cardi. The lace is pretty, the soft lilac shade is pretty, but honestly this looks for all the world like an unfinished sweater. If you want to wear a shawl, wear a shawl. If you want to wear a sweater, seam the seams.

The Karina Cardi isn't bad. I don't care for the little fold back collar edges, but I'm pretty sure that's just personal preference. This cardi has good texture and interesting lines.

The English Manor Top is very pretty. If you don't have a waistline you want to emphasize, either avoid this one or decrease the amount of lace patterning at the bottom to just a few inches deep.

The Nature Trail Cabled Pullover is another classic and wearable design.

Beautiful stole.

The asymmetrical hemline and texture of the Traverse Skirt look much less like edgy design elements than as though this skirt matted up and shrank weirdly in the dryer. Pairing it with a baggy t-shirt doesn't help, either. Outfits should not look as though they were chosen from the lost and found bin at the local laundromat.

The Cozy Bias Vest looks like a seventh grade home ec project that went even more awry than is usual. I mean, come on, this thing looks like it's falling apart and is going to be dreadfully unflattering on anyone. This professional model can't even work it.

I keep staring at the laddered strips across the sleeves of the Belisia Tee and wondering if they have ever really worked as a design element. They tend to cheapen every garment they're used in. However, the main problem with this design is that the two colours used for this top really don't belong together, that they should in fact never see each other again and forget they ever met, and I think if a good colour combination was chosen the sleeve ladder strips would look fine.

The Twilight top isn't bad, though this yarn was a bad choice for this project. The ripple pattern is an afghan-like pattern and so shouldn't be paired with an afghan-like yarn. Knit it in any non-afghan like yarn and you won't find yourself mysteriously compelled to go lie on your grandma's couch when you wear it.

The Agave Tank isn't bad. Good shape, interesting details.

Not liking the Tencel Top. It's unflatteringly boxy in shape. You could fix that, but why would you? It has no other distinguishing features.

The Tikal Bag has a good shape and a pretty lace pattern. As with all knitted bags, the important question is whether it will maintain its shape when it has stuff in it, but you can (and probably should) always line it, even if the pattern doesn't call for it to be lined.

The Neon-Striped Pullover is so eighties with its use of neon and an oversized shape. I can't quite figure out what's going on with the sleeves (maybe they're just way too big?), but it's not particularly attractive. You can find a better striped and v-shaped top pattern than this.

On the photo slideshow on the Knit n' Style website, this photo is called the "Arctic Snow Scarf", though as there's no scarf in sight I think it's the "Kingston Hat" named in the list of projects. The hat is knitted in Ty-Dy Cotton, which lets the knitter produce the pretty striped effect effortlessly. Must check out that yarn!

The Flirty Scarf is made with a yarn with fabric ruffles in it, which is an interesting and fairly recent innovation. I'm looking forward to seeing what designers do with it. So far aside from ruffled scarves I've seen it used to knit the skirt on a little's girl's dress.

Can't say I care for the Fur-Trimmed Cowl design. It looks like a Muppet wrapped itself around this woman's neck and refused to let go. NOT MUPPET-IST.

The Sea Waves Scarf isn't terrible, but it does look like a less-than-successful beginner project. I promise you that you can do better aesthetically even if you are a beginning knitter.

I quite like the Mock Cable Duo. They're simple and yet such a finished, polished-looking set. This is another design you'll be able to wear for years to come.

This Sanibel Sunset kid's cardigan and hat are probably supposed to be "fun", but I'm unsure as to whether a child would find it fun or if it's some adult's idea of what kids find fun. These two viewpoints, you understand, can be worlds apart. The deliberately mismatched sides, dropped shoulders and three-quarter sleeves combine to make it look lopsided to me. But hey, don't take my word for it. Ask the person whose opinion really matters: the child it's intended for. I would fix the dropped shoulders, though.