Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Twist Collective Fall 2014: A Review

Twist Collective has published their Fall 2014 issue, and it's a very solid effort from them. I don't think there's a single pattern in it that I wouldn't be willing to make myself, and I don't know when I've ever said that before. Let's have a look at it.

The Weft Cardigan. It's quite smart, and the shape is good.

The Hulabaloo socks. Nice pair of socks, but I don't really get the trend of styling such socks with pumps. Do women really wear socks with pumps, and if so, are they doing some ZZ Top video cosplaying?

The Kokliko scarf, cowl, and mittens set. It's very pretty, but I always do find a three-knitted set to be one piece too much. I'd knit just two of these.

The Smarty cardigan is wearable, well-shaped, and has striking, interesting detail.

The Safra design. This one has directions for making either the shawl or the scarf. They're both really lovely with some great detail, and will keep you warm without catching on everything as the design is not too lacy.

The Calais design is a nice piece of work. It's both distinctive and a piece that could be worn to death because it'll go nearly anywhere.

The Petersham mittens. Very much like these. I don't think I've ever seen the crossed wires design on mittens before, which makes them seem like something fresh and new.

The Oleada cap and mittens set. Fairly basic, but quite attractively so.

The Roxton pullover. Very much like this one. That front panel is an interesting look.

The Latifolia hat and mittens are very pretty. I know it may seem a too-obvious choice for a leaf-themed knit, but I picture these done in green.

The Akebia pullover is beautiful. I love a special yoke, and that line of red at neck, hem, and cuffs is just the finishing touch this design needs.

The Caledonia cardigan. Nice piece, and it can be done in either cotton or wool as it'll work for either a summer or a winter sweater.

The Grania tam and mittens. Very sharp and striking.

The Corvina cardigan. Lovely detailing on this one.

The Fluence shawl. Interesting and eye-catching piece for the more modern wardrobe. The interlocking zigzag edging is a really original touch.

The Ashling vest. I've seen a few designs recently with these kind of slits in them. It must be a mini-trend. It's not a trend I find unappealing, though it does require an underlayer. The cowl neckline and overall shape are good.

The Fynele hat and mittens. Another pretty little hat and mitts set.

The Sixpence shawl is a distinctive piece, and it's rare for me to say so of a shawl, because I see a lot of lovely lace shawls. The circular bands and the "sixpence" webbing at the border are both unusual, and an even more unusual combination, and yet it totally works.

The Heydey pullover. I quite like this one overall (good shape and great detail), though I would either keep those flaps at the neck tied, or even omit the ties and instead add a decorative metal clasp to it. Leaving the flaps open and the strings dangling is just too half-dressed an effect for me.

The Candlesmoke mittens. Love these. I am definitely more of a "curved lines" design person than a "graphic lines" design person, and these look Art Nouveau-esque.

The Hausti shawl. Very pretty.

The Falkirk cardigan. Nice piece. The colour scheme doesn't grab me, but that's personal preference because it is a combination that works, objectively speaking.

The Wheat Fields. Good-looking scarf. I think I'd add a fringe or a crocheted edging to this one. It looks a little unfinished as is.

The Greenery pullover. Love this one. The yoke's great, and using the same diamond pattern again at the hips is an creative, interesting touch.

The Cahoots cardigan. This is a really simple, classic piece. The contrast buttons are a way to spice it up, but it will work on its own merits with matched buttons too, especially if you knit it in a beautiful yarn and in a colour you love.

The Vasalisa mittens are lovely. Twist Collective does seem to love to do intricately designed accessories.

The Ravenscrag pullover is a lovely classic piece.

The Paria pullover is one of those designs that are simple enough to be wearable anywhere (as it is here with jeans and in a boat, or in the office with a wool skirt), and yet have just enough original detail to be sophisticated. This is an accomplished design.

The Tignish shawl. Beautiful piece, and I love that old rose colour, which is the only shade in the pink range that I can wear.

The Portiere pullover. Another reliable classic piece.

The Courant shawl. Wow. The colourwork and lacework in this one is something very unique. It looks like the detailing you'd find on the walls of some ancient mosque. Very impressive.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Pom Pom Quarterly Autumn 2014: A Review

Pom Pom Quarterly has released their Autumn 2014 issue. Let's have a look, shall we?

The Coronis design. Hmm, this is very retro as to shape and modern as to the stripes and colourway. It's not a bad piece but that very cropped length is difficult to pull off, so if you don't have a small bustline and/or a waist you want to emphasize, I'd lengthen it.

The Arionette socks. They're nice. Interesting houndstooth pattern.

The Delita Shawl. At first glance I didn't like this, but I think it's that grimy-looking yellow yarn that's putting me off, because otherwise this is an attractive and cleverly constructed piece. The edging is lovely and the contrast edging is a nice touch.

The Selsey scarf. Not a bad piece. It has some interesting detail and it will be fun to pick out the colours for it.

The Wenlock pullover. Oooh, I very much like this one and might just have to add it to my Ravelry favourites. The shape is good and that is one flattering, effective neckline. This is a sweater that will be striking even done in a single colour.

The Seyella mittens. These are cute. They're more than a little twee for me, but then I think Pom Pom Quarterly's target demographic is probably skewed very young. I have a couple of teenaged nieces who would probably be quite happy to wear a pair of these mittens, and who would look very fetching while doing so.

The Endellion pullover. Nice piece, though again it's not going to be the most universally flattering item. Like the Coronis design above, it'll need to be tweaked for those who are well-endowed in the chest department and/or don't care to define their waists too much (i.e., the high-rise ribbed panel can be turned into a waist band). You know, Pom Pom Quarterly, I'm aware that you are designing for very young women, but even very young women aren't always small-breasted.

The Florilegium shrug. I don't care how it's styled or how many ennui-afflicted hipster models they drape it over, I'm really not buying the whole granny square chic thing.

The Kallista cowl. Rather like this one. It has a nice texture and the contrast embroidery is an interesting and effective touch.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Interweave Knits Fall 2014: A Review

The Interweave Knits Fall 2014 issue is out! Let's have a look at it.

This is the Ropemaker Pullover. It's the kind of "classic with a twist" design that most appeals to me. It's wearable and yet there's something new and interesting about it, the twist in this particular case being the angled bottom of the front cabled panel that is a very clever way to incorporate pockets.

The Hitch Pullover. The overall design of this is fine, but the cropped sleeve length and the placket that is probably not designed to button in front make make the sweater look too small rather than looking like deliberate design decisions.

The Polo Pullover. I like this one on the whole, but am not sure about that broken rib yoke. I think maybe it needs a strip of some other contrasting stitchwork along the bottom to make it look finished off, rather than just stopping randomly as it does.

The Redfern Cardigan. Very much like this one. It's got quite lot of interesting detail and is totally wearable for daily life.

The Bee Stitch Cardigan. This says "depressed and frumpy sixties housewife" to me. It's shapeless and unfinished-looking.

The Zipper Cowl. The graphic design of this is very attractive, but the shape is perhaps not quite working. Cowls do have a certain unfortunate tendency to get that "flat tire hung around the neck" look. I'd maybe scale this one down a little.

The Wheaten Pullover. This isn't bad, but it is a tad on the boxy and sloppy side. I'd raise the dropped shoulders and add a little waist shaping.

The Meadow Tunic. I like this one although I am not sure about the built-in sleeveless glove gimmick on the cuffs. I'm assuming the half-gloves will fold back to look like cuffs, which will be useful should the wearer want to, say, eat a sandwich or use the toilet, but I do have other concerns. I know I've previously praised a jacket design that had attached fingerless gloves, but that was a jacket. This sweater looks meant for indoor wear and it doesn't make much sense to wear gloves all day long when you're indoors, unless you're the type who is always cold, but even then the gloves give the item a depressive look. This sweater looks like part of Sandra Bullock's wardrobe from While You Were Sleeping, in which she plays a dispirited forlorn type who always wears her sweater sleeves down to her knuckles and sits around eating cookies she's dipped into her cat's milk bowl. Which had a certain charm, but we all wanted her to move on from that, right?

The Tandem Scarf is convertible: it can be worn as a cowl as you see here or, when unbuttoned, as a scarf. It's a clever idea, and I love the intricate cables used here. I'm not sure the secondary colour adds anything, though. I would probably do this one in a single colour.

The Saddleback Cardigan. Classic beautifully detailed piece. Nothing to criticize here.

The Whitewood Beret and Mittens. Lovely cabled tam and fingerless mitts set.

The Tugboater Pullover is an attractive man's sweater. As a Torontonian, all I can think of is it looks like an adult, unobtrusive version of a Maple Leafs hockey sweater. Strangely though for a team that hasn't brought home the Stanley Cup in most of its fanbase's lifetime, its fans usually have little interest in being unobtrusive.

The Blush Cardigan. I don't care for this one, though I think it would look much better if it had been styled differently. Worn over an empire-waisted dress, or one without seams in the front, it would be much more attractive. One of the biggest problems with these cropped length cardigans is that they chop the figure up visually by creating too many horizontal lines in a way that isn't flattering to any woman. About the sweater itself, I do like the detailing around the neck, and the beautiful yarn used. The bottom hem and cuffs have been left looking a little too plain and unfinished looking.

The Erstwhile Scarf. This is another "convertible" cowl/scarf with buttons. It's quite lovely, with great texture, and it lies so well as a cowl. No flat tire here.

The Rock Quarry Stole is quite a nice piece. The linen stitch and bobbled edge are an interesting new combination.

The Milkweed Shawl is a lovely little item. It will be useful either as a shawl and as a scarf.

The Fiddlesticks Cowl. The copy for this design says it "uses a twisted stitch found in traditional Austrian and Bavarian knits. Twisted stitches are essentially mini-cables, giving the fabric the textural interest of cabling without the cable needle." Interesting, because I had initially thought this was cabled. Nice piece with great texture.

The Roosevelt Cardigan. Another lovely classic cardigan. As in the Ropemaker Pullover above, the pockets are ingeniously integrated into the cable design.

The Black Baccara Cardigan. This is a very decent piece of work overall, but I think the neckline detracts. It looks unfinished and even a little ragged.

The Climbing Rose Henley. I love the concept of a henley with pretty, feminine touches, but not quite sure I care for the execution. The roses are lovely, but I'm not sure the contrast colour used at the neckline, cuffs, and waistband is quite the best direction to go here. I think I might do the piping and the ruffled neckline band in the rose colour, do the waistband and cuffs in the main colour, and omit the ruffles at the wrists.

The Archway Hat. Nice little cap.