Sunday, 27 October 2013

Bergère de France Magazine No. 169: A Review, Part 1

Bergère de France has published magazine no. 169. Number 169 is entitled "Yarn Generation" and is supposed to be trendy and is intended "for a new generation of yarn lovers", which makes me very much not part of the target audience, but I shall do my best with a review. There are 51 patterns in it, so I'm going to review the first 26 today and the remaining patterns tomorrow. Let's have a look at part un of the review, shall we?

Can't say I particularly care for Pattern #01, Clutch Bag. It's a clumsy shape and the yarn used isn't particularly attractive.

Pattern #02, Cushion. It's stretching the term to call this a pattern. Patterns are supposed to require some effort to write.

Pattern #03, Polo Neck Poncho. I'm no friend of the poncho, but I actually kind of like this one. The neck is good, the stitchwork is sharp, and it looks to me like those sides are stitched together at the bottom, which would keep this item in place.

Pattern #04, Tunic Sweater. I'm trying to figure out what that design on the front of this tunic is supposed to be: building or wine bottle? And I have another question: statement on the role alcohol plays in modern urban life, or bad design?

Quite like Pattern #05, Lacework Hat. It has an interesting shape and great texture.

Pattern #06, Teddy Jacket. I don't care for this one. Those lacework sleeves just don't work with the casual, sporty style or the bouclé body of the jacket.

Pattern #08, Pullover. And I thought some of the trendy patterns from the eighties were bad.

Pattern #07, Crochet Hat. This isn't much of a design and looks a bit cobbled together, but I suppose it is the kind of thing that will look cute and sporty on someone young and cute.

Pattern #09, Sports bag. This isn't a bad crocheted gym bag, though I wonder how it'll hold its shape when it's stuffed with the kind of things gym bags hold. My guess is it's been filled with tissue paper for this photo.

Pattern #10, Pocket cushion. The concept here is that one is supposed to use this cushion as a handy place to put the remote and reading materials, and it's not a bad idea at all, especially if your living room is too small to allow for a coffee table or end tables as mine is, but I keep thinking I'd forget there were non-cuddly objects in there and try to snuggle with the pillow only to have some part of me make painful contact with the remote. I hope this pattern includes charts for every letter of the alphabet so anyone who knits this can use their initial.

Pattern #11, iPod tidy. Don't care for this one. Bergere de France was aiming for a trompe-l'oeil effect here as per the famous Schiaparelli bowknot sweater, and didn't achieve it because the execution is just too thrown together and amateurish looking.

Pattern #12, iPod armband. If you must wear an iPod armband, I suppose this isn't worse looking than the usual commercially made iPod armbands.

Pattern #13, Striped Hat. Not a bad simple striped hat.

Pattern #14, Scarf. Quite like this scarf, which would be very easy to make and yet has some interest and sophistication. It's a beginner project that doesn't look like a beginner project.

Pattern #15, Teddy Jacket. This one isn't bad except for the pockets, which are focus-pulling, but not in a good way, because all I can do is stare at them and think about how out of place they look. I'd make the pockets in the charcoal colour and just trim them with a stripe or two.

Pattern #16, Snood. This snood, which I would tend to call a cowl, is really quite delicately beautiful. But I would advise women against wearing it with a sweatshirt and a huge fur cap. Bergère de France's idea of chic and edgy is not universal, I promise.

Pattern #17, Drawstring Bag. I thought this wasn't a bad bag when I saw it by itself, and was only going to say I'd leave off the lettering, or at least use another "word". ("Brr" being a sound effect rather than a word.) But then I saw how big the bag is. Drawstring bags really only look good when they're small. Enlarge them like this and they look like you're on your way to the bowling alley with your friends Myrtle, Velma, and Gladys.

Pattern #18, Long Hooded Jacket. For a minute there I thought my monitor needed cleaning. No, those are little multi-coloured bobbles deliberately yet randomly knitted into this otherwise inoffensive design. For those winter days when you want to look like a great big dollop of ice cream with candy sprinkles on it. If, like me, you have never had one of those days, the bobbles can be omitted.

Pattern #19, Rug. I don't know why there needs to be a pattern for something this incredibly basic.

Pattern #20, Long Sweater. I quite like the allover cable design on this one. This design is definitely one that will need to be tweaked for flattery though. I'd definitely raise the dropped shoulders and make the length to suit the wearer.

Oh lord. Pattern #21, Hooded Scarf is a trainwreck wrapped in an identity crisis. Scarves should have neither hoods nor pockets, and if they insist on having them they could at least not be so... baggy and sloppy about it.

Pattern #22, Hot Water Bottle Cover. This fair isle pattern and the colour combination used for it is really pretty. If you think your hot water bottle needs a sweater, you could do worse than this.

Pattern #23, Legwarmers. These legwarmers are quite pretty too. I will say I'm glad to see this fair isle pattern wasn't wasted on that... thing... a few patterns up.

Pattern #24, Cushion. Quite like this pattern, which is a simple yet sophisticated take on the basic striped pillow.

Pattern #25, Crochet Cushion. I'd like this pattern much better if it were knitted. I could say that of every crochet pattern of course, but here it seems warranted because the bands between the faux fur bands would look better if they weren't so textured. Stockinette stitch interstices would be a less noisy, less competing look, which is desirable here when the fur gives the cushion all the interest it needs.

Pattern #26, Cushion. This isn't bad, I suppose, objectively speaking. Though personally I don't care for it as the way the light hits this cushion makes me feel like I'm looking into the crocheted version of a strobe light.

The second half of this Bergère de France review will be up tomorrow morning.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Home Decor Can Be a Real Scream

Here's another selection of Halloween patterns (you can see my previous Halloween posts here). This collection of patterns are home decor items designed to make your Halloween entertainments a real scream. The design above, of an all-too-realistic knitted desiccated head, is the My Ex Is Full Of Knit, by ADHD Knitting. It's a free pattern. And as the designer is careful to explain on the Ravelry pattern page, yes that is a real cat's tooth piercing the nose of the head, and yes the tooth was one that had been removed from the designer's pet cat by a vet for medical cause. And how do you procure a tooth for this pattern if you don't happen to have one on hand? Can't help you there, I'm afraid.

Come into my parlour, said the spider to the fly, and get comfy on this spiderweb cushion! This is the Parlor Round design, by Jessi Vowels. It's a free pattern.

Having convinced the fly to ensnare itself, the spider sat comfortably back to digest its meal. The Arachnid Throw Pillow, by Jessika Lane, is a free pattern.

Here's a design to help you keep an eye on things. This is the Cyclops Pot Plant, by Dawn Finney. This pattern is available for $4.00(USD).

This 18" Jack O'Lantern pattern, by Alan Dart, will guard your porch or foyer in true Halloween style. This pattern is available for $5(USD).

This is the Morticia's Washcloth design, by Mette Buchreitz, and I can indeed imagine Morticia getting Gomez to scrub her back with it. It's a free pattern.

This Witch Tea Cosy, by Rian Anderson, looks like the perfect way to serve up a herbal brew. When you're not making tea this witch could always be used to decorate a door. This pattern is available for $4.50(AUD).

The very sight of this Wicked Witch Tea Cozy, designed by Jasmyn Cunningham, made me laugh. It's the perfect tea cozy for all Friends of Dorothy! This pattern is available for $1.00(CAD).

Let your Halloween freak flag fly by hanging up this Skeleton Banner design, by Lily/Sugar'n Cream. It's a free pattern.

This is the Pretty Punk Blanket, by Jenny Dolan, and it's a free pattern.

This Halloween Queen design by Melanie Nordberg is a chart, not a full pattern, and so could be used for anything you wish, but I see it as most likely to be used to make an afghan, and so I've included it in this post. The chart is available for free.

This Midnight chart, like the one above, is also designed by Melanie Nordberg and is available for free.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Ashley Hutchings' The Knitting Song

Have a listen to the mellow "The Knitting Song" from the album A Brilliant Light by Ashley Hutchings & Rainbow Chasers.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Halloween Knitting for Little Monsters

With Halloween less than a week away, here are some children's clothing and accessory knitting patterns designed especially for Halloween. The sweater above is the Child's Cat Sweater, by Eileen Casey. It's a free pattern and the sizes run from two to seven years.

Here's a spiderweb sweater, designed by Jessica Henshaw. The pattern is written for sizes 2 and 4, and is available for $6.95(USD).

This is the Pirate's Cutie outfit, designed by Shiri Mor. The sweater and leggings patterns are sold separately for $4(USD) each.

This Brainmonster hat, designed by Ravelry user Cyn, is a free pattern.

The Bathat design, by Monica Gausen, is a free pattern and is sized for both children and adults.

This is the Ghostskulls design, by Erssie Major. This pattern is available for £2.50(GBP) and is sized for 6 months, 18 months, and adult.

As anyone who has spent time around a crawling baby knows, their butts are often very much in evidence. These Monster longies or Monsterbukse, by Kristine Jorskogen, make the most of that. This pattern is a free Ravelry download and is sized for 6-12 months, 1-2 years, and 3-4 years.

These monsters will go on top of instead of under the bed, and make your child feel warm and safe at night. The Monster Mash design, by Susan B. Anderson, was published in 60 Quick Baby Blankets: Cute & Cuddly Knits in 220 Superwash® and 128 Superwash® from Cascade Yarns

This is the Halloween Cat Hat, by Angela Juergens. This pattern is available for $4.99(USD), and can be knit in every size from newborn to adult.

Cats, like crawling babies, often present butt first too. The White Whiskers hat pattern, by Christine de Savoie, is available for €3.50(EUR) and can be knit in every size from baby to adult.