Friday, 7 March 2014

Knit Simple Spring 2014: A Review

Knit Simple has released the preview of their Spring 2014 issue. Let's have a look at it, shall we?

A mesh shrug. This is one of those patterns I have to give a qualified approval, because on the right person and with the right outfit, this could work. It sits well and has a certain minimalist style. And hey, if you finish it and don't like it on yourself, you can always use it as a tensor bandage.

I rather like this little jacket. It has good lines and looks like a handy item to have for cool spring and summer evenings.

Not a bad little short-sleeved cardi for wearing over pretty summer dresses.

This isn't a bad cowl, though I think I'd be making it for autumnal or winter wear.

Don't care for this top. It's the sleeves, which are bound to get all bunchy under the arms when they're not held up as this model's are. Sleeves should not be large enough to house both the arm and a medium-sized pet.

Clean-lined and simple little tee.

This shawl is quite eye-catching for something so simple. I like the way the two shades have been used here.

I can't understand why anyone would want to wear half gloves in the spring or summer. And I'm not even going to recommend that they be knitted for the next cold season, because this a pretty undistinguished collection of fingerless gloves. They run the gamut from too utilitarian to looking like they were made from old afghans to looking like they came from Michael Jackson's boudoir, although in the latter case at least the editors took the trouble to find complete pairs. The blue cabled pair at center left is probably the best of the lot.

Gorgeous lace shawl.

This is a lovely and interesting shawl.

This one might look fine if it were put back on the couch. Shawls should not look like afghans.

Shawls should also not look like Christmas tree skirts.

Delicately pretty.

This is a cute and rather stylish little shrug that would work over a lot of casual summer outfits.

The headband is kind of cute but I'm not thrilled with the fingerless gloves. Sticking bows on a lacklustre pattern doesn't turn it into a good or interesting design.

This is okay. Using a more interesting colour scheme would help. Not everything little girls wear has to be pink.

This is kind of cute, but again it's more my idea of winter wear.

Knit Simple likes to do these scarves with pocket on the ends and I've never understood why.

These cushions are supposed to look like bows. They don't look like bows. They look like they're wearing girdles and can't breathe.

What did I say above about putting bows randomly on lacklustre patterns?

More headbands. Knitted bows aren't a bad idea as hair accessories for little girls. You could also attach them to hair clips.

I see Knit Simple beat me to the "knitted bows attached to hair clips idea". I wouldn't use them this particular way — these look a little silly — but the idea has potential.

This afghan is rather pretty. The honeycomb shaped squares are something different.

Very much like this blanket, which is striking and graphic.

I don't care for this one, but I think it's because of the colour scheme, which strikes me as unpleasant. The design is actually very good.

Love the varying ripples in this one.

I've been seeing a number of puzzle-themed afghans and baby blankets lately. This isn't the best of the lot, but it's certainly workable.

Very effective and well-balanced use of stripes and blocks and solids.

Not crazy about this one. The colourway isn't very attractive and the diagonal stripe effect just seems to distort the afghan's shape visually.

Love this one, with its subtle gradient effect.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

27.5 Billable Psychotherapy Hours and Other Knitting Fables

"After we finish this shoot, we're going to go do a Donna Summers video. We're so excited about getting that gig because we even have a line in it. It's 'Hey Mister!'"

Sometimes Vern liked to play the "one of these things does not belong" game with his clothes and assorted props.

Jim and Clare had always felt they could carry off any juvenile picture knit they liked as long as they looked disturbingly and preternaturally happy while they did so.

Fifteen years later, Brucie would spend a total of 27.5 billable psychotherapy hours working through the issues that one Picture Day had created.

Maebelle was just so thrilled that she'd managed to figure out a way to make her knitting projects do some of her housework for her.

"You know what they say about having to kiss a lot of frogs before one turns into a prince? Well, I am making a hip and ironic reference to that bit of dating wisdom because as you can see from my man chain and tufts of chest hair, I am a prince already! Come on, ladies, who's going to be first in line? No shoving!"

"I got so tired of men staring at my breasts all day so I designed an outfit to take the emphasis off them and make them look me in the eye. No, the eyes up here in my face — what other eye could you mean?"

Oriole dealt with the tension of being a woman who had to choose between two lovers by designing a sweater. Her friend Anna, who was a psychology major, commented that the sweater seemed a little Freudian, but Oriole ignored her and went shopping for a cute hat to go with the sweater. Anna saw penises and pubic hair in everything.

Sport a big keyboard, you're the piano man
Wear the keyboard in red tonight
Yes we're all in the mood for a matching scarf
And you've got the fringes alright

Malcolm and Mallory were totally thrilled with the hat and tie sets they'd made while on their first magic mushroom trip, though as their friends warned them, the 'shrooms hadn't totally worn off yet.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Knitty Knitty Bling Bling

I love jewelry and I love knitting and I always perk up whenever I see any examples of knitted jewelry — but I usually wind up deflating again. While knitting techniques can be used to make jewelry, yarn generally does not make satisfactory jewelry. Yarn jewelry usually looks clunky and kitschy, like something made by a child during arts and crafts hour at day camp. And though, consequently, children can get away with wearing it, adults who want really wearable, elegant jewelry are best to knit it out of the kind of materials jewelry designers actually use. I've previously done posts on the wonderful and inspiring knitted jewelry of designer Niiro and also on how to use the technique of Viking knitting to make jewelry. Today I offer a selection of knitted jewelry patterns. Some of them are even among those few yarn-crafted jewelry pieces that actually work.

The necklace above is the Scallop-Edge Beaded Necklace, by Carol F. Metzger. It is knitted from yarn but looks polished enough for casual wear at least. This pattern appears in 101 Designer One-Skein Wonders: A world of possibilities inspired by just one skein.

Here's another yarn necklace I like, the Cheerio design, by Laura Nelkin, although I would substitute pretty beads for those rings, which look a little too utilitarian. This pattern is available for $5.00(USD).

Cuffs are the one category of jewelry where the use of yarn is pretty easy to pull off. But I'd still go with lots of beading to dress them up. This is the Stereo Cuff, by Laura Nelkin. This pattern is available for $5.00(USD).

I went through 20 pages of patterns tagged with "jewelry" on Ravelry in order to research this post, and this was the only knitted ring I found that I liked. This is the Bella Knit Reversible Ring, by Andi Javori. This pattern is available for $4.50(USD).

Bracelets knitted from wire and beads are probably the most common form of knitted jewelry. This pretty Bauble design, by Rosemary (Romi) Hill, is a Knitty pattern and therefore available for free.

The Emelia Lace Choker, by Jennifer Tallapaneni, is one of those pieces that are on the borderline between jewelry and accessory. It could definitely add a bit of old-school elegance to a modern outfit for those women who have enough neck to carry this look off. Alas, I regret to say I am not one of those women, being a Swan only in name. This pattern is available for $3.50(USD).

Another pretty cuff. This is the Emerald Beaded Bracelet, by Heather Murray. This pattern is available as a free Ravelry download.

Like rings, earrings seem to be a difficult item to knit successfully. Most of those I saw on Ravelry just didn't look polished enough. These are the Bijouterie earrings, by Rosemary (Romi) Hill. This is a Knitty pattern.

Dee's Bracelet, by Hannah Banana, is a variant on the wire and bead bracelet, with lots of pearls. This pattern is available for $0.99(CDN).

The Wire Knitted Bracelets, by AkashasCreations. This pattern is available for $2.00(USD). I read on another knitted wire and bead bracelet page that this style of bracelet is easy to make: just thread the beads on before you begin and knit stockinette stitch for as wide and as long as you want the finished item to be. Don’t use anything under 30 gauge wire, as it’s far too hard on the fingers. To finish the bracelet, you can do a UK single crochet around the edge and fashion a clasp from a bead and more crocheting.

This Sweet Nothing choker, by Rosemary (Romi) Hill, is a pretty little confection, with chiffon ribbon woven through the mesh and used to tie the choker in place. This pattern is available for free.

I'm not thrilled with this particular conception, but this I-Cord Necklace, by Elaine Phillips, employs a brilliantly creative technique: one strings beads in and on I-cord to make the necklace. This pattern is available for free.

Here's another interesting technique: braiding knitted beaded strips together to get a necklace that looks miles away from any braided lanyard. This is the Knitted Braids Necklace, by Marika Cowan. This pattern is available for $5.00(USD).

Romi's Gems, by Rosemary (Romi) Hill, is another piece that's on the borderline between jewelry and wearing apparel: it's both necklace and scarf, and it's elegant, distinctive, and eye-catching, yet totally wearable. This design appears in 10 Secrets of the LaidBack Knitters: A Guide to Holistic Knitting, Yarn, and Life.