Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Twist Collective Fall 2015: A Review

Twist Collective has released its Fall 2015 issue (and incidentally is also celebrating its seventh anniversary, yay them!). Let's all twist again like we did last issue, shall we?

Leitzel. This design is so frumpy from the front. The back is somewhat better.

Meristem. Cute and useful little vest.

Bering. Lovely classic hat and stole set, though that hat does look perhaps a little on the small side compared with the generously sized wrap. I'd consider making the hat a tam, or making the stole a little smaller.

Boreas. Nice piece. It's polished and wearable and will look good on any woman.

Filigrene. Very pretty. It would be fun to come up with one's own colourway for this one.

Ballyfaron. Very nice classic set. The two pieces are perfectly in proportion with each other.

Cherrywood. Nice piece, but it does emphasize the hipline. Wear with caution.

Sherbrooke. Cute set, and I even like the toggle detail on the capelet, but I would pick just two items out of the three to make. Three matching knitted items always looks a little over the top to me.

Altiplano. Nice Peruvian hats. The colours on the right one are ever so pretty.

Trondheim. Nice cabled pullover. The diagonal cable is a nice original touch, though I'm thinking that it makes it a design for smaller-chested women.

Knothole. The contrast of delicate lace with round openwork holes is an unusual twist, but I think it works as it gives a classic shawl a modern twist.

Papagena. Love this piece. The graphic lines give it a contemporary feel, meaning that it won't be too romantic looking to wear with simple clothes. And best of all, you don't actually have to share it with a friend.

Sissone. Oooh, lovely. The collar and the centre panel are beautifully textured. I wasn't too sure about how flattering the curved front hem would be, but
then I think the styling isn't quite working here. Made long enough to completely cover one's top and worn over a fitted bottom, this cardigan would look fine.

Guimard. I absolutely love the lace pattern used in these pieces. I may even have sucked in my breath a little when I first saw it.

Brina. Pretty!

Fretwork. This is rather a dramatic piece (and would be even without the model's interpretive dance pose). I can't say I care much for the combination of pale and dark blue, but there are lots of colour combinations that would work for this design.

Fortuna. Another lovely shawl.

Brindle. This set doesn't appeal very much. It looks more than a little slapped together and roughly constructed.

Allotrope. Exquisite lace in this one.

White Wood. I wish I could get a better look at this one, but it does appear to be an attractive wrap from what I can tell. All this athleticism from the models makes me wonder if Twist Collective is trying really hard to break away from the "old ladies in shawls" stereotype.

Farallon. Attractive and wearable.

Shannonmore. Classic aran weight cabled pullover, designed in both male and female versions.

Philodendron. Ooooh, I love this one. That pattern of interlacing leaves across the front is really distinctive and the shaping is great.

Aparne. This one looks a bit like some sort of creeping sea creature that crawls over its unfortunate prey so slowly that its next meal never knows it until it's too late. I actually did some googling to see what species it was that this shawl reminded me of, and had to stop because I was learning more than I ever wanted to know about terrifying creatures that live in the deep. I mean, I could have gotten through life quite nicely without ever seeing a picture of the lamprey. Anyway, getting back to the shawl, believe it or not, I actually mean "creeping sea creature" as a compliment. This shawl is kind of cool and modern. Though now that you've read my thoughts on it, you may want to make it in some colour other than algae-like green.

Alodia. Beautifully textured wrap.

Sweetfern. Ooooh, so pretty! I absolutely adore the yarns used here.

Sachertorte. This nicely detailed little jacket reminds me of similar little jackets that were very much in style in the 1950s, except for the off-centre fastening, which is a contemporary touch. The bottom flare can be hard to carry off, but as you can see from these pictures it is possible. This is a jacket that should be paired with fitted items.

Locksmith. This is rather cute, and I like the key detailing. The shaping really isn't great though. It needs waist shaping, the sleeves are an awkward length, and that high crewneck is seriously unflattering even on the model. I'd cut the neckline down more, which will also mean moving the key panel down somewhat so that the neckline doesn't cut into it.

Feilecan. Nice set. The Celtic knot design is well-adapted to this hat and mittens.

Hemingway. Good interpretation of a classic, though I think the collar could be a bit better shaped on both versions. It looks rather skimpy here.

Monday, 3 August 2015

Baby Blanket Bonanza: A Selection of Baby Blanket Designs

Some months ago I got an email from a reader who asked me to recommend some baby blanket patterns for her. I was remiss in getting back to her, but my belated response is a post of selected baby blanket designs. This was a fun one to put together because Ravelry had 95 pages of English-language baby blanket listing goodness to choose from, and browsing through them all was a whole new experience in cute overload. However, I did manage to narrow it down to 30 patterns, and here they are. The photo above is of the Octopus Garden Blanket, designed by Georgia Vincent. The pattern is unfortunately no longer available, but it should be possible for a good knitter to recreate it using this photo. Try not to sing the eponymous Beatles song the entire time you're working on it.

This is the Olympic Forest Blanket, designed by Very Busy Monkey. The pattern is available for $4.50(USD). I love the "enchanted forest" feel of this one.

The ABC Baby Blanket, designed by Jenny Williams, is a nice simple, educational baby blanket. It's a free pattern.

If you've always admired the Duchess of Cambridge's taste for vintage baby wear and accoutrements, the very traditional Shetland lace-style The Entire Kingdom blanket, designed by Marianne Knorborg, may be for you. This pattern is available for free.

Then again, you might have a much more modern aesthetic, in which case I recommend the Fly Away baby blanket, designed by Tin Can Knits. The pattern is available for $5(USD).

The Dogwood Pattern, also by Tin Can Knits, is available individually for $5(USD) and was also published in 9 Months of Knitting: Exquisite Knits for Baby and Family.

The Dahlia Blanket, by Daniel Yuhas. I've knitted this one myself and am looking forward to making it again sometime. It's really a lovely piece of design and interesting to knit. The Dahlia pattern was published in Knitting from the Center Out: An Introduction to Revolutionary Knitting with 28 Modern Projects.

The Googly-Eyed Gator blanket, designed by Ashley Rao. For the tiny future herpetologist in your life! This pattern was published in 60 Quick Baby Blankets: Cute & Cuddly Knits in 220 Superwash® and 128 Superwash® from Cascade Yarns.

If you'd rather treat your child like royalty than like a future devotee of the science of reptiles, the Sleeping Baby's Castle Blanket, designed by Sally Dian Rainey, may be more to your liking. This pattern is available for $5(USD).

The Dreams of Granada Blanket, designed by Triona Murphy. This handsome design is one you might wind up knitting in a larger version for the couch or your own bed. The pattern is available for $5(USD).

The Pembroke Cottages Blanket, designed by Elanor King. I love this one's simple yet punchy graphic appeal. The colours used here really make it sing. This pattern is available for £3.00(GBP).

This is the simple and pretty Amore blanket, designed by Véronique Vieljeux and Nancy Waille. This pattern is available for €4.00(EUR).

If you aren't the kind of knitter who wants to fuss around with colour changes, the beautifully stitched Arrowroot blanket, by Sali Morris, might be for you. This pattern is available for £2.00(GBP).

The Beep Beep Blanket, designed by Lucinda Guy. This one really pops, visually. This pattern was published in Handknits for Kids: 25 Original Designs for Girls and Boys.

Here's another one for the traditionalists, the Dreamland Adventures Baby Blanket, designed by Mary Triplett. This pattern is available for $6(USD).

How cute is the Counting Sheep Blanket by Patons. This pattern is available for free.

The lovely and simple Tulips & Rosebuds Baby Blanket, by Eugen Beugler. This pattern is available for $6.95(USD).

For baby with a Harry Potter-themed nursery, the Professor McGonagall blanket, designed by Kristen Fanning, might hit the spot. This pattern is available for $3.50(USD).

Here's another contemporary style design, the Hip to Be Square blanket, by Stacey Gerbman. This pattern was published in 60 Quick Baby Blankets: Cute & Cuddly Knits in 220 Superwash® and 128 Superwash® from Cascade Yarns.

The Kittens and Butterflies Blanket, by Judy Lamb. My cat is never this sedate when he sees a butterfly. Fortunately despite all his leaping and pouncing, he's never been able to catch one. This is a free pattern.

The very snappy Picture-Perfect Plaid blanket, by Theresa Schabe. This pattern is another that appears in 60 Quick Baby Blankets: Cute & Cuddly Knits in 220 Superwash® and 128 Superwash® from Cascade Yarns.

The Rainbow Chain Carriage Blanket, by Erika Flory. This one could be a great way to use up some odds and ends of yarn. And it's a free pattern.

The Puzzle-Block Blanket, by Wilma Peers, looks like a another great way to use up some odd balls of yarn. This one appeared in the spring/summer 2014 issue of Knit Simple magazine, but if it isn't possible to track down a back issue of the magazine you can probably recreate the design from the picture.

The Norwegian Alphabet Blanket, by Jorid Linvik. This one must be the Cadillac of alphabet blankets. I mean.... holy cow is that a lot of work. The pattern is available for $10(USD).

This is the Such is the Quality of Bees blanket. For the Tolstoy reference-loving knitter! This pattern is available for $6.50(USD).

The Baby Dragon Blanket, designed by Sharon Winsauer. Perfect for the baby named George (or Georgette). This pattern is available for $7.50(USD).

For the knitter who's looking for an alphabet sampler pattern, but is simply not tackling the Norwegian Sampler Blanket listed above, this is the Debbie Bliss alphabet sampler blanket. This pattern was published in How to Knit: The Definitive Knitting Course Complete with Step-by-step Techniques, Stitch Libraries and Projects for Your Home and Family.

Here's a pattern that has both stitchwork and some simple colourwork. The Gingham Baby Blanket, by Hélène Rush, is available for $6.25(USD).

Very Owls in the Family, isn't it? The Owls Baby Blanket, by Simone Rees. This pattern is available for free.

And we wind up with The Giraffe Family baby blanket, designed by Vikki Bird as a reference to her very tall family. This pattern is available for $4.99(USD).