Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Knitscene Summer 2013: A Review

Many knitting magazines don't do a summer issue, prefering to reserve their fourth issue of the year for a "holiday" issue, but Knitscene has. And it's actually a bona fide summery issue with not a fingerless wool glove in sight, as there was in all the spring/summer issues of so many other knitting magazines this year.

Let's have a look at the patterns Knitscene is offering us.

The Wavelength Tunic. Nice well-shaped tank top with a zigzag pattern to keep it from being too bland.

The Eclipse Top. Another well-shaped design, this time a pullover, with a bit of lacy detailing below the neckline to keep things interesting.

I'm not clear on whether the Saturn Cardigan buttons at the top and bottom or whether it just pulls open when unbuttoned. I think it's probably the latter, but either way it's not a good look. It makes the sweater look too small, and the three-quarter sleeve length adds to the impression. This colour combination of a dirty-looking yellow combined with gray looks drab and washed out. All I can say is it's the perfect thing to wear if you're trying out for a part of one of the orphans in Annie, because it'll be a selling point if director knows the theatre can save some money on costuming you.

The VeVe Tee. This one isn't as neatly fitted as the first two designs, but that's fine. It's comfortably loose, not sloppily loose, and it still has a good shape and nice detailing.

The Love Braid Cardigan. Simple, well-shaped little cardigan with a bit of detailing. I'm not crazy about the open braid effect on the back, but it's not bad either, and I do like to see back detailing instead of just the ubiquitous plain stockinette stitch back.

The Wimbledon Hat. I don't know who wears knitted hats in summer, but this is not a bad one. The tie on the side doesn't really add to the overall effect — it looks like some sort of functional tie that shouldn't be showing rather than decoration. I'd be inclined to wear the hat with the tie at the back, replace the cord with a ribbon, or leave it off entirely.

The Ryann Tunic. Another detail consisting of too-functional looking strings. I'd be inclined to leave them off this top. The scooped back neckline should have enough flare to keep the top looking interesting.

The Adeline Camisole. More strings, but this time they're actually doing a job instead of just hanging around in the way, and they're also delicate-looking. You'll need to think about what you're going to wear under this top, but it's fetching enough. Though I like olive tones, this is a little muddy and drab for summer wear and for this particular top.

The Longboard Pullover. I hemmed and hawed over this one, but ultimately I think I like it. It's loose but not sloppy, and the cowl neck and dropped waistline tie give it some definition. It's the kind of thing you could throw on with a pair of khakis or a denim skirt and just be and look comfortable in, and yet still show some style.

The Flanders Scarf. It has an interesting texture, and it does drape elegantly. Can I just say, though, given the name and colour of this scarf and the fact that the model's standing in a field wearing a top made of poppy-shaped lace, that this picture and pattern, attractive as they otherwise are, don't evoke the happiest of associations? I like literary and historical references in knitting patterns generally, but I don't think I care for this one.

The Sundial Tee is well-shaped and very simple with just ruffled cap sleeves to keep it visually interesting.

I gather the Pandora Cardigan is intended to be worn either open with ruffled edges or as a wrap cardigan tied in the back, and we've been shown five pictures to demonstrate all the possibilities. I included all five to show that however you wear this thing, it's going to look rucked up and ill-fitting. This sweater is not going to sit well or be flattering on most women.

The Lida Top is well-shaped with an interesting texture and the keyhole back shows some skin but should still cover the wearer's bra. This is one sexy yet totally wearable top.

The Afion Cardigan. I don't particularly care for the buttonless cardigan, but must admit this one is beautiful, with its deep lace trim and gorgeous old rose colour. I do have some concerns about how this will hang if you're not clutching it closed like the model is, but then this sample sweater is too big and the sleeves are too long for this model. If you like this style on yourself and are careful to make the sweater the right size for you, it should look fine.

I'm not that enthusiastic about the Calico Shawl. I think it's the edging — it looks puckered.

The back ruffles on the Mackinac Tank are cuter than I would have expected such a detail to look, but the front neckline spoils the look of this otherwise very attractive little top, because it droops instead of drapes.

The Vine Street Tee is a dead simple little top. I wouldn't want to knit something like this, not because it wouldn't be perfectly wearable once I got it done, but because I need my projects to have some technical interest to keep them from being too boring to make and I don't really see the point of knitting a plain t-shirt when I can buy one for $15. I think the hairstylist was told it was up to him or her to give this photo some visual interest, and did his or her level best.

The Venice Beach Tank is well-shaped and its cable-trimmed neckline adds the necessary visual interest.

The Lindell Tee is cute and flattering. I like the garter stitch waistband. It's amazing how a simple little bit of detailing like that can add so much to a design.

This Melrose Tank is okay, but I don't know how many knitters would want to bother making something so generic. If you are well-endowed and/or don't have a waistline you want to emphasize, you'll want to cut down the depth of this waistband by several inches.

The Beverly Tee is cute and I have no complaints about the design itself, but I do wonder what on earth women who wear it are supposed to do for support. I guess she's supposed to shop around for some sort of coordinating sporty bandeau-style bra like the one this model is wearing, and only wear the top in very casual settings, such as the beach or a backyard BBQ. Or be too flat-chested to need any support.

Monday, 1 April 2013

How to Keep Your Knitting Projects From Looking Like an April Fool's Prank

When it came time to write a post for April Fool's Day, I cast around for some kind of knitted shenanigans. I googled for knitted jokes or knitted practical jokes to no avail; all I came up with some painfully unfunny knitting-themed cartoons and a lot of horrible projects that were probably designed and knitted in all seriousness. So I decided that today I'd feature some knitted items that look like an April Fool's jokes along with some accompanying tips to help you keep your projects from turning out like them. I got all these photos from the now defunct You Knit What??, which was operational between April 21, 2005 and August 3, 2006, and which was one of my sources of inspiration for the concept of this blog. I realized one night last November that it had been the only knitting blog I ever followed and that I still missed it more than six years after its last update.

The above picture is, of course, the first of my cautionary tales rendered in yarn. Knitting can't solve all your problems. If you suffer from self-hatred this abject, it's time to get some therapy.

One's sweater should not house more than three people.

These rainbow flag hotpants may be perfect for the Gay Pride parade, but if you're thinking of wearing them in everyday life... just remember, there are better ways to show gay pride and support for gay marriage, such as by knitting the Rainbow Pride Scarf I posted about two days ago, or by signing petitions, writing to your elected officials, and donating your money or your time to gay rights organizations. I think we can all agree that these will be more constructive and becoming actions than donning rainbow hot pants.

If you're making a sweater, make a sweater. Don't get too lazy to make the whole thing and think no one will notice.

If you're a male knitter, know that you don't have to prove your masculinity to anyone. You are armed with two pointed pieces of metal, and you can make a cashmere sweater for anyone you're dating, which will get you thanked in kind. You're not only a man, you're the man. Put away those phallic size 50mm knitting needles.

One's knitted outfit should not land one on the endangered species list.

One's knitted dress should not look like it was knitted out of bathmat.

One's knitted hat should not give anyone retina burn.

Don't think you're immune to Christmas sweaters because you're not Christian. Ugly holiday sweaters are equal opportunity.

Don't knit for your pets. Or at least not for your cat. It'll all be fun and games until you wake up in the night and find Malibu Tabby here is eating your face.

Don't let your fingerless gloves migrate to any other part of your body.

Don't get so anxious to use up your stash that you put it all into the same garment, willy nilly.

Felting is not some magical process that turns a horrible knitting project into a good one.

Sewing buttons randomly all over a badly shaped and fitted item won't turn it into a cute, smart item.

Porn stars don't have to knit their own costumes. If your director is telling you otherwise, it's time to get a new agent.

If the model has to adopt some tortured pose to keep her top from falling off, so will anyone you make this for.

Some things should never be made from yarn. Like jewelry. And hair.

If you're a female knitter, I am sure you've heard of the Sweater Curse. Well, it's nothing compared to the Poncho Curse. Knit your man any poncho, let alone one that matches yours, and suddenly he'll move to a new country because he "needs some space", then he'll change his name, join some sort of right-wing militia, and claim your two children aren't his because he's never met you before in his life and besides, that he's gay.

Adding a furry bra to a sheer sweater isn't going to make it look more modest, but rather less so. Just wear a cami tank under that bad girl.

Don't use your knitting to discipline your children. It will mean you'll have to start a therapy fund for each of them as well as a college/university fund. And you've got yarn to buy.

I hope we've all learned a little something today.