Monday, 22 September 2014

Creative Knitting Winter 2014: A Review

Creative Knitting has released their Winter 2014 issue. Let's have a look at all its creative offerings, shall we?

The Cadet Cardi. This is really simple and a bit on the shapeless side, but it's not unattractive and it's certainly wearable. The yarn choice does a lot for it.

Cambridge Cap & Scarf. This is a nice set except for the squared ends of the scarf, which just look strange and club-like. I'd go with a standard end and fringe.

Happy Cheer cardigan. Another plain little piece, but it's serviceable enough.

Jumping Bean hoodie. A third very basic piece. One thing to remember here is that these are items for children, and that those little twerps grow so quickly and are so hard on their clothes that there really isn't much point in making wearable works of art for them to wear to school and out in the backyard or park. So some of the things one makes for them can, and actually should, be simple, sturdy little pieces like this.

Tiptoe Slippers. I've seen this style of slippers before, and I can't say I care for it. It looks amateurish and slapped together. And can anyone tell me whether they actually stay on?

Fan the Flames cowl. Lovely, lacy piece. The yarn used here is beautiful.

Artful Splendor scarf. This is a bit on the rough-looking side, but it works for casual wear. The play of colour and texture give it a lot of visual interest.

Blizzard Hat. Simple little hat in a cheery colour.

Bobbles Beyond Compare scarf. Not a bad piece for a casual look.

Eminence Shawl. This is quite an elegant and polished piece that one could wear anywhere from running errands to a ballet performance.

French Mauve Mitts. Quite like these. They have great texture and look carefully finished and fitted.

Quartz Pullover. I like the overall concept of this one, but it does need some tweaking. I'd raise those slightly dropped shoulders and make those tiered sleeve cuffs fitted rather than flared. A close-fitting tiered sleeve would look less gimmicky and, even better, not get into the wearer's food.

Radiant Tweed Cardi. Not a bad Chanel-esque tweed-like jacket. I suspect it's a little boxy as to fit, but then those Chanel-style jackets are.

Droplets hat. This is a Franklin Habit pattern, and as is usual with his designs it's both whimsical and finished to a truly professional degree.

Echo cardigan. Note to designers: if you make a sad, baggy garment, the solution is to start over rather than attempting to distract beholders by adding a roll of crap around the neck.

Happy Fluff hat. This isn't a bad little cap, though if it is intended to be worn by a person who is over 30 you may want to omit the pom pom.

Poudre Pullover. Oooh, love this one so much I might just get myself a man to knit it for. That is one really fresh and ingenious use of striped yarn and stripes.

Wrapsody shawl. Lovely. I'm not too thrilled with the turtleneck styling of the aqua one, but after peering at the two inset photos, it looks like there are other, better options for how to wear this piece.

Atherston cowl. This is really kind of cute. I was trying to come up with some crack about how it's the perfect piece for those who are always feeling a terrible draft on their necks, and I suddenly flashed back to a time when my younger sister and I were in our early nineties high school days and a friend of hers refused to alter her 80's mullet hair do despite the urging of all her friends "because her neck would get cold". If you know anyone who is refusing to change a bad hairstyle for the same reason, by all means make them an Atherston cowl. Friends don't let friends wear mullets.

Bartlett Cowl. Not very enthused about this one. Both design and colour scheme look a little crude.

Elland cowl. This one is quite pretty.

Hayle Cowl. They haven't given us a very good look at this one (I can see more of the inside than the outside), but it looks fussy and tacky.

Lauren Capelet. I would be in love with this one if it weren't for that ribbing around the inside edge. It looks stretched out and jarringly inelegant compared to the rest of the piece. I'd be inclined to finish that edge off with something else, such as some smaller scallops.

Badin Lake Hat. I am honestly wondering if this was made out of stitched together potholders.

Fontana wrap. As I've said in many a former review, shawls should not look like afghans.

Holiday Flair purse. Yeah, no. Yarn-crafted evening bags, like yarn-crafted jewelry, almost always look too crude and homemade to work, though it's possible to knit them out of materials other than yarn, such as fine gauge wire. But then this pattern wouldn't be elegant if made in any material. It looks like a toilet paper cosy someone upcycled into a tampon case.

Junaleska Vest. This vest looks (and hangs) like it was made out of a bathmat and a towel. Seriously, designers, the modern bathroom is a fine thing, but it is not the place for crafting. Just do your business and get back to your work room or area.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Knitscene Winter 2014: A Review

Knitscene has released its Winter 2014 issue. Let's have a look at it.

The Haubergeon Sweater. Hmm. This isn't bad. It has shaping and some interesting detail and it's carefully finished. That sleeve length isn't going to be flattering on a lot of woman, but it's easily raised or lengthened.

The Cuirassier's Cardigan. Nice simple cardigan over all, but the way the front edges of this piece ride up makes it look like it shrank badly in the wash.

The Ornate Greaves legwarmers. These are nicely detailed legwarmers, but my guess is no woman who isn't either a dancer and/or under 20 would be willing to wear legwarmers out in public, and that even then she won't want to wear them styled like this. Sandals with legwarmers... really?

The Gothic Gloves. I rather like these. They're fun. But I would knit them in another colourway that does not include this dirty-looking yellow, and I'm not quite seeing how this design is at all gothic.

The Purbeck Pullover. This is a nice piece. The shape is good and the yarn choice works really well. I'm a little concerned about the way the hemline seems to curve up in front and longer in the back, but I'm hoping that's just the way the sweater happens to sit in the photos.

The Tongshan Sweater. The shaping is good, and the colour blocking at the shoulders and wrists isn't a bad idea, but I think there are much more attractive and interesting colour combinations for this sweater.

The Carrara Shawl. This is one outstanding piece of design. It's rare for stripes to look this polished and elegant.

The Siena Mittens. There are better colour schemes for these mittens, and certainly it's possible to better coordinate them with one's outfit than has been done here, but they're not bad.

The Paros Hat. Cute little hat, though again... you probably have yarn sitting in your stash that would look much more attractive than what's been used to make this sample.

The Kolmården Jacket. Very much like this piece. It has a polished look and smart lines and it would be a very useful item, looking equally right with jeans and a t-shirt or over a dress at the office.

The Malaga Pullover. Hoo boy. This sweater looks very much tacked together and homemade, as though it were made by this model's addled mother, who has never stopped treating him as though he were five and insisted that this sweater would be perfect for him to play cowboy in (he can pin his badge on the pocket!), then forced him to don not only the sweater but his old cowboy hat so she could take his picture and coo about how cute he looked.

The Ravenna Cowl. Nice piece, with nice textures in nice colours, styled nicely.

The Neon Mosaic Scarf. I like this one, though there is a right and a wrong side to this pattern and it might take some doing to keep the right side foremost.

The Otranto Cowl. Not sure about this one. The mosaic-style pattern is attractive enough, but it doesn't sit well in any of the five sample photos provided at the link. I'd be inclined to knit this one as a scarf.

The Tessellating Leaves Scarf. This is a really beautiful, striking piece.

The Thyri Pullover. This isn't a bad design on the whole, though there are more polished and pleasing versions of the circular yoke pullover, but this design marks the point where I decided I just can't even with the whole "half glove cuff" trend, open minded as I have tried to be about the concept. It makes the wearers look like they stuck their thumbs through the stretched out sleeves of some thrift shop sweater.

The Kelda Socks. Love these. I'm pretty sure that if I had a pair I would barely be able to stand putting shoes on over them.

The Hanne Sweater. Nice little piece with some interesting garter stitch detailing. It's on the simple and plain side, so this is one of those sweaters that call for an extra special yarn to elevate it a little.

The Ilsa Cardigan. I don't know about this one. Those circle and bracket motifs on the front just aren't that pleasing. It doesn't help that they look for all the world like eyeballs. Maybe it would work better in a more subtle, sophisticated colourway.

The Sanna Shawl. This is a very clever design that can look very different depending on how it's styled. It's quite modern and chic.

The Lene Vest. This is... not good. This poor model looks like she's been buttoned into something belonging to a child, perhaps by the same unhinged mom who is still forcing her grown son to play cowboy. This design looks pretty good from the back, but the way it hangs open in the front makes it look unflattering and too small.

The Rebecca Sweater. This looks like a 1980s design, and worse, like a 1980s design that should have remained in its own decade. The collar is ill-proportioned and the stripe and dot pattern looks cheesy.

The Lise Hat and Armwarmers. Cute, fun set.

The Meko Pullover. And we end well with a simple but striking classic piece with clean lines.