Monday, 20 June 2016

Creative Knitting Autumn 2016: A Review

The Autumn 2016 issue of Creative Knitting is out! Let's have a look at it.

Ingot pullover. Simple but very effective, and it would be fun to play with the colourway.

Inverted V top. This is an innovative, contemporary look (and this piece also can be worn with the simple buttoned back at the front), but also one that is hard to wear. Cropped-length pieces always add several extra visual lines to a woman's body, and it's not flattering. If you love this piece, I'd suggest wearing it over a dress with no front seamlines, or at most an empire waistline that will be hidden under the knitted piece.

Morecambe Bay Cardi. A "garter stitch hooded jacket with random blocks of colour" sounds like one of those half-assed design concepts that Bergère de France is constantly serving up half-baked, but this designer took that simple idea and turned it into a polished and wearable piece of contemporary design.

Ready for the Weekend pullover. This colour blocking doesn't quite work. It has a certain unfortunate "half a pinafore" look, and I keep wondering where the skirt went.

Ulverston Color-Block Scarf, Hat & Mitts. I rather like the hat and the mitts, but the garter stitch scarf has an undesirable "beginner project" effect.

Undulating Waves wrap. A more interesting colour choice would do a lot for this piece.

Cables & Cords pullover. The shaping is good, and the laced effect is rather eye-catching. I'd be inclined to replace the I-cord in this one with a length of ribbon, which would lighten up the look.

Intertwined Elegance cardigan. This one has potential, but it needed a little more work. The gaps between the buttons aren't a happy effect, and the bottom hem look unfinished.

Origami Wrap. This isn't bad. It has a certain flair and could have a nice effect when worn over a simple outfit.

Woodland Slouch. This has a cute shape and nice texture.

Coronado Cardi. This reasonably well-shaped classic jacket deserved a more attractive yarn.

Gaines Poncho. Love the painterly colours used here, but the shape and finishing details aren't quite there.

Hint of the Highlands. This is attractive enough, but I find myself thinking how much better it would look in a more interesting palette.

Kaleidoscope Pullover. This is the sort of innovative art piece that would work better as an afghan. On an actual human being, it's both unflattering and gives one the look of a poorly adjusted TV set.

Stranded & Striped Cardigan. The design is really quite lovely... and I'm imagining it in pretty much every other colourway than this one.

Terranova pullover. This looks like mésalliance of components that were originally created for at least three different sweaters.

Twisted-Float Cowl. I could see this working as a cute little accessory, though again it needs a different colourway.

Friday, 17 June 2016

Bergère de France 183: A Review Part Deux

We've previously had a look at the first half of the patterns in Bergère de France issue 183, so let's move on to the second half.

Pattern #23, Short Sleeve Sweater -- Soft & Luxurious Version. Frumpy and dumpy.

Pattern #24, Snood. Adding the cowl does help a little, but not enough.

Pattern #25, Dress -- Flecked Check Version. I'm liking the checked effect, and the shaping is quite good, but I think I'd make this item in either a dress or a sweater length rather than as a tunic.

Pattern #26, Dress -- Classic Sparkling Version. This is supposed to be a dress, but it is not a dress. It is, rather, a clear indication that the designer needs to go back to the drawing board and to put in some actual effort next time.

Pattern #27, Sweater-Poncho. If I were editrice of Bergère de France, I'd consign the designer of this one back to the drawing board along with the designer of the previous item.

Pattern #28, Snood. And no, the addition of this cowl would not convince me to let the designer off drawing board duty.

Pattern #29, Poncho. This would look much better on a couch than on a person.

Pattern #30, Sweater. It seems to be one of Bergère de France's pet beliefs that if you throw a lot of random "decorative" crap on a design, you'll distract possible purchasers from the basic faults and limitations of the design. Which in this case is that poorly designed collar.

Pattern #31, Bodywarmer. Come on, Bergère de France, couldn't you have made some effort to shape the front sides of this piece at least a little?

Pattern #32, Beanie; and Pattern #33, Snood. Not a bad-looking hat and cowl set.

Pattern #34, Bag. Bergère de France sells these bag-making kits, and it does look like a very decent product, but they've never come up with a decent design for them yet. This one is... okay, just okay, and certainly better than some of the past horrors Bergère de France has come up with... but the kit deserves so much better. I'd like to see this bag done in a beautiful Fair Isle or cabled design for instance, or maybe something like a houndstooth pattern.

Pattern #35, Bag. Not much of an improvement on the previous design, and that cross-stitching looks crude.

Pattern #36, Hooded Scarf. This is... wearable. I suppose it might appeal to the kind of woman who visits her sick grandmother regularly.

Pattern #37, Hooded Scarf. The same hooded scarf again, this time in taupe. I am not sure why Bergère de France decided that putting a design in a different colour qualified it for its own pattern number and page.

Pattern #38, Cap; and Pattern #39, Scarf. Not a bad-looking hat and scarf set, though I think I would add a fringe to the scarf ends.

Pattern #40, Rug. Rather a nice simple rug, but be warned this is knitted with ten strands of the recommended yarn, which could be a bit of challenge.

Pattern #41, Diamond Patterned Cushion. This isn't bad -- it's even a little effective -- but I still find myself wishing the designer had put a little more effort into it.

Pattern #42, Plain Cushion. This thing is so plain, it's a nonentity. Why on earth would anyone need or want a pattern for something this dead simple?

Pattern #43, Jacquard Cushion. Simple and striking.

Pattern #44, Jacket. This is another piece that the designer apparently slapped together with minimal effort. I have to give Bergère de France credit for styling and photographing it in a way that looks very close to chic, but this jacket would look like a frumpy, droopy, undesigned nothing in actual life.

Monday, 6 June 2016

Bergère de France 183: A Review Part Un

Bergère de France 183, which is a fall/winter collection, contains 44 patterns, so I'm going to split its review into two parts. Let's get started on the first half of the review, shall we?

Pattern #1, Roll Neck Sweater, Multicolour Version. It's hard to go wrong with a classic turtleneck, and I do like the yarn choice. I'd add waist shaping to this one.

Pattern #2, Roll-Neck Sweater, Classic Version. The same sweater in a solid. The waist shaping comment still applies.

Pattern #3, Roll Neck Sweater, Soft & Fluffy Version. Bergère de France is really getting their money's worth out of this pattern. I will say that the three variants are a good illustration of what different yarn choices can do for a pattern.

Pattern #4, Raglan Sweater, Multicolour Flecked Version. Effective and attractive use of colour blocking, and good shaping.

Pattern #5, Raglan sweater, Flecked Version. Absent the colour blocking, this isn't a very interesting sweater. Which is probably why Bergère de France has seen fit to pair it with jaguar shorts.

Pattern #6, Raglan Sweater, Classic 100% Wool Version. Another very plain version of the crewneck. This time the look is jazzed up with a pair of gold oxfords instead of with jaguar shorts. I can't deny that it was a better choice, if still not exactly a good one.

Pattern #7, Shawl Neck Sweater, Flecked Version. Classic shawl neck sweater for men that's freshened up a little by the use of toggles and the yarn choice.

Pattern #8, Button neck sweater, soft classic version. The same sweater as the previous one done in gray and with buttons instead of toggle fastenings. It's a nice variation.

Pattern #9, Jacket, long bouclé version. This looks like the kind of frumpy shapeless sweater one might have seen in an early nineties-era Canadian BiWay, along with remaindered books, discounted household items, and seedy middle-aged men buying satin boxers with gold lip prints on them. In other words, it's the furthest thing from chic.

Pattern #10, Jacket, Classic Version. Perhaps the previous version wasn't quite the furthest thing from chic, because the fastening on this one has made the design look significantly worse. When even a professional model like this one looks dumpy and frumpy in a pattern sample, it's best for the rest of us to steer clear.

Pattern #11, Crossover Cardigan, Soft Classic Version. So frumpy and badly shaped. Those buttons are too low down -- almost as though they're trying to make a run for it.

Pattern #12, Crossover Cardigan, Self-Patterning Yarn Version. Not an improvement. A good yarn choice can elevate a plain pattern, but it can't salvage a bad pattern.

Pattern #13, Jacket, Self-Patterning Yarn with Buttons Version. Nice simple pattern with a yarn choice that really works. I'm admiring the off-set stripe effect where the two sides of the front meet.

Pattern #14, Jacket, Classic Version with Zip. This is a very simple style but the lines are so good that it manages to look quite sharp.

Pattern #15, Jacket, Classic Version with Fasteners. Don't care too much for this one. It's too bland and the toggles aren't adding anything to the look.

Pattern #16, V-Neck Sweater, Flecked Version. Bland and frumpy. Even a simple v-neck sweater needs a little something to give it interest, such as flattering shaping and either a little detail or an attractive yarn choice.

Pattern #17, V-Neck Sweater, Recycled Cotton Version. The lines of this are pretty good on the whole but it does need waist shaping and any colour that isn't oatmeal.

Pattern #18, V-Neck Sweater, Light & Delicate Version. See what I mean? Any non-oatmeal colour will make a different thing of this sweater.

Pattern #19, Short Sleeve Sweater, Light & Delicate Version. Even a deconstructed piece like this needs a little more style and flattery than this one has.

Pattern #20, Snood. Turns out the collar of the last pattern was a snood that was knitted separately. I can't say that's an improvement on what I thought the construction was.

Pattern #21, Short Sleeve Sweater, Sparkling Version. Nicely shaped simple top.

Pattern #22, Snood. Honestly, these snoods look like some unfinished piece of something that the designer fastened together at the ends and slung randomly around the model's neck because she was working to deadline.