Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Knitty First Fall 2015: A Review

Knitty has released its First Fall 2015 issue. Let's have a look at it. This is the Baker Street scarf. It's run-of-the-mill classic, but of course because it's such a classic, it's a handsome piece of work.

Pub Crawl Cowl. This is very college/university student, but I have to admit it's cute and fun.

Dragon's Breath cowl. Pretty!

Damascena cowl. Love this one. It's both retro in a 1920s collegiate argyle sweater kind of way, and contemporary, because the variants in the argyle pattern are a new twist.

Jamestown pullover. Nice piece with an effective combination of cable and cross hatch stitches. I'd neaten up the fit a bit.

Desert Belle. This drape front cardigan was made with an optional striped bottom panel that can be zipped on or off. It is an interesting, creative concept, but this is one of those times a good concept didn't get the execution it deserved. I like the sweater much better without it.

Saint Rémy pullover. Simple and striking.

Nelina. Wow. This is really a terrific piece of design, with an unusual bias-knit construction, great shaping, and lovely stitchwork. It's flattering, wearable, attractive, and interesting. Very well done!

Stereo Echo Shawl. This one looks for all the world like a giant dish rag when seen flat, and it doesn't look much less so when on the model.

Ridge and Furrow shawl. Pleasing classic shawl.

Atomic fingerless mitts. Cute modern take on the snowflake mitten.

Knit Stitch Felted Tote. This designer created a stockinette stitch-themed tote to hold her knitting. Now that's meta. And it's a well-shaped, well-constructed, and rather snappy-looking bag to boot.

Vanilla Cake Table Scarf. This scarf is woven, not knitted, but I'm including it in the interests of having a complete review. And also because I like that fringe, which could be replicated for a knitted item.

Circles Within Circles Beret. Nice hat. Really effective, attractive stitchwork in this one.

Rhode Island Red Hat. Oh my goodness, these hats are so, so cute! And I don't even like chicken-themed stuff!

Monday, 15 June 2015

Vogue Knitting Early Fall 2015: A Review

The preview pictures of Vogue Knitting Early Fall 2015 is up. Let's have a look at them, shall we?

Pattern #1, Shoulder Cowl. Simple but pretty and wearable. This would be a good pattern to showcase a beautiful yarn in your favourite colour.

Pattern #2, Fair Isle Hat. I think I'd like to see this one in a more defined colourway. The pattern looks more muddled than muted here.

Pattern #3, Tubular Scarf. Nice, but I'd make this a bit longer. That sample is an awkward length that won't stay put.

Pattern #4, Relaxed Cardigan Top. This design seems like a nice compromise between a shawl and a sweater. It sits well and will stay in place.

Pattern #5, Open Front Cardigan. This isn't a bad little cardi, but I do have my reservations about its proportions. It looks as though it was designed not to meet in the front, which generally makes a sweater look skimpy and/or too small.

Pattern #6, Two-Color Raglan Pullover. A bit basic for my taste, and the cropped length and lack of waist shaping aren't helping.

Pattern #7, Fair Isle Vest. Like this piece. The colourway is subtle and muted without being muddled.

Pattern #8, Cabled Wrist Warmers. Attractive and useful.

Pattern #9, Oversized Cowl. Good piece. It's very effectively styled here on this classic navy blue pea coat and on a model who can rock the red.

Pattern #10, Brioche Rib. This isn't bad. I'd leave the pom pom off if the intended wearer is over 25.

Pattern #11, Cocoon Coat. This coat looks very sharp here, but I would like to see it on a non-model who isn't striking a carefully angled pose, because I have my suspicions about how well it would play in a more realistic viewing.

Pattern #12, Square Scarf. Beautiful piece, though I think I would be tempted to let my couch wear it.

Pattern #13, Fur Jacket. This one has a bit of a "headless Muppet" look to it, and even the model can't lend it much style or grace.

Pattern #14, Cabled Pullover. Classic cabled design. Add waist shaping if it doesn't have any (and it doesn't appear to) to help counteract the bulky effect.

Pattern #15, Breton Pullover. An impeccable classic.

Pattern #16, Pullover with V-Inset. This isn't terrible or without interest, but there is a certain off-putting roughness to its stitchwork.

Pattern #17, Crew Neck Pullover. This reminds me of a stitch sampler. And it's a good, carefully finished piece, but I would be inclined to knit the front and the back in the same stitch to keep the look simpler and cleaner.

Pattern #18, Lightweight Pullover. Can't say I care much for this one. All those holes aren't pulling together thematically. And the dropped shoulders, lack of waist shaping, and oversized fit aren't helping.

Pattern #19, V-Neck Cardi. Nice little cardigan for summer wear.

Pattern #20, Boat-Neck Pullover. Quite like the stitchwork employed here, which has a very sharp overall effect. I'd raise the drop shoulders and neaten up the fit a bit though.

Pattern #21, Belted Cardigan. This has some good features — the sleeves and the upper back look terrific — but I'm not liking the shape, which will be difficult for a non-model to carry off, and that limp little collar just looks sad.

Pattern #22, Ballet-Neck Cardigan. Very appealing, wearable piece with good shaping and just the right amount of detail. Any woman would look good in this sweater as long as it fit her well.

Pattern #23, Multi-Directional Cardigan. I'm loving what I can see here (that lace across the back and sleeves looks fantastic), though I do have reservations about the sit of the front collar and whatever's happening in the lower front, which we can't see, though the back view shows that the sweater gets longer in the front.

Pattern #24, Fringed Cardigan. I'm a very hard sell on draped front cardigans, but this one sits so well and has such great texture and shaping that I have to applaud its designer.

Pattern #25, Deep V-Neck Cardigan. This one's nice on the whole, but I would run the buttons all the way to the bottom and alter the neckline. The sweater looks too unfinished this way.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Mrs. Wilson's Knitting Circle

In a presentation called "Mrs. Wilson's Knitting Circle" that was recorded on February 7, 2014 in the J.C. Nichols Auditorium at the American National World War I Museum in Kansas City, Missouri, the Museum's Curator of Education, Lora Vogt, and its Registrar, Stacy Peterson, introduce World War I-era knitting patterns and discuss the history of the National World War I Museum and knitting during World War I.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Gaze Upon My Glorious Plumage: A Selection of Peacock-Themed Designs

This past weekend west end Toronto was enlivened and ornamented by sightings of an escaped peacock that had somehow managed to free itself from its pen at the High Park zoo and roam about Roncesvalles Avenue, where it was spotted leaping from rooftop and rooftop and peeking in windows. Attempts on the part of the authorities to capture the bird with nets and blankets availed them naught, and as of this writing the peacock is still at large. There was definitely something irresistibly appealing about this fugitive peacock, whose attitude was very much, "I care not for your irrelevant restrictions, petty humans! Gaze upon my glorious plumage, and don't you dare run me over with your noxious automobiles." Social media was quick to jump aboard the peacock train, and the High Park Peacock soon had its own Twitter account. I live quite near Roncy and was in hopes that the peacock would visit Swan's End. As I tweeted, I even had the perfect shoes for the occasion. Alas, there was no such luck for me. At least, not yet. At any rate, being in a peacock kind of mood, I have decided to do a special post of selected peacock-themed knitting patterns.

The first pattern, shown above, is the Peacock Tam, designed by Celeste Young, which was published in Knits of a Feather: 20 Stylish Knits Inspired by Birds in Nature. This pattern is near the top of my to do list. I've bought some peacock-coloured yarn for it and also intend to whip up a matching scarf.

There are two approaches to a peacock-inspired design: rendering the peacock in colour, or evoking a peacock's plumage through stitchwork. This gorgeous piece of lacework uses the latter approach. This is the Pretty as a Peacock Shawl, designed by Jae Koscierzynski. The pattern is available for $10(USD).

Love these pretty little beaded peacock socks. The Franconian Beadwork socks pattern, designed by Stephanie van der Linden, was published in Around the World in Knitted Socks: 26 Inspired Designs.

This is the Almanac pattern, designed by Martin Storey and published in the Rowan Pattern Book Pioneer. The feather pattern on the back is beautifully rendered, but I think I would want to do this pattern in more peacockian colours.

This is the Peacock Jumper, designed by Twisted Angle. The pattern is available for ₤3(UK). Again, I would do this in more peacockian colours, but if you'd rather imagine that the High Park Peacock got into a club this weekend and danced up a storm under the black light, and you want to commemorate his wild night out, then you have to knit what you have to knit.

I love this Peacock Feathers Pullover, designed by Diane Zangl, which has a Cowichan-like quality item to it, as though a native North American design aesthetic met Fair Isle. This pattern was published in Debbie Macomber: Blossom Street Collection, Book 1 (Leisure Arts #5268).

The Peacock Plumes Top, designed by Ravelry user Lankakomero. Very much like the pretty stitchwork on this one. It's a free pattern.

Fabulous texture on these Peacock Tail Socks, designed by Kathy Stearns. It's a free pattern.

The Peacock E-Reader Cosy, designed by Vikki Bird. Again, pretty as this gray and blue are together, this one calls for more peacock-like colours. The pattern is available for ₤2(UK).

A too-literal rendering of a peacock can look too busy, but this Peacock Cowl, designed by Stephannie Tallent, is just stylized enough that the design is vivid and eye-catching. This pattern is available individually for $6(USD) and was also published in California Revival Knits.