Friday, 7 October 2016

Creative Knitting Winter 2016: A Review

Creative Knitting has released its Winter 2016 issue. Let's have a look at it.

Cannon Hill Cardi. Wearable and fairly attractive.

Kaihora Cowl. A beautifully polished piece. Love the sophisticated stitchwork.

Anatolia Mittens. I like the Turkish-inspired design on the back, but the simple stripes don't quite measure up to it.

Have It Your Way Fingerless Mitts. Fun and wearable.

Ravenna Tam. A handsome classic.

Slouchy Cable Cloche. This looks disproportionately large and chunky.

Bobbles & Cables Pullover. This sweater will be mighty heavy to wear, but sometimes one does want a sweater that's as warm as an oven, and there's no denying the texture is impressive.

Simply Stripes & Cables Poncho. I'm not sure those stripes and cables are playing well together. The shape is good.

Swingy Cable Sampler Pullover. This is another heavy but beautifully textured piece. I wish I could see the whole thing as the description says it's A-line, and though the description also claims that A-line is flattering on all body types, I can tell you from painful personal experience that this is not true.

Uncommon Cables. Not thrilled with the concept of openwork stitches between the cables of this warm sweater, which seems tantamount to designing a parka with deliberate gaps in the seams.

Curvy Cabled Throw. An attractive piece with a southwestern-style colour palette, though I do wish the burnt orange border had been continued up the sides of the piece.

Funky Chunky Throw. This one would feel quite luxuriously snuggly and be a nice statement piece in a rustic-style or clean-lined contemporary decor.

Gold & Silver Medallions Afghan. This is well designed, but I'd be going with practically any other colourway than this one, and very possibly just doing it in a single colour.

The Magic of Reversible Cables. Very nice. It's reversible, which is a good choice for a cabled scarf, and I love the mulberry colour.

Around Town Cardigan. A practical, wearable, and attractive jacket.

Cabled Panel Sweater. A well-shaped, polished piece that can be dressed up or down.

Just Like Daddy Cabled Cardi. This looks maybe a bit cumbersomely bulky for an active small child (and aren't almost all small healthy children active), but it is cute and classic.

Marant Coat. There's a relaxed fit, and then there's fits like a house, and I'm afraid this falls into the latter category. Even for a coat, this is just too heavy and unflattering.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Knitty Deep Fall 2016: A Review

Knitty has released its Deep Fall 2016 issue. Let's get started on our look through it by checking out the first pattern, Laekur, which is also their cover look. I like the effect of the bright yoke and the monochrome stripes, but this sweater would look so much better if it fit the model properly.

Laurel. I like the texture and the cable waist detailing, but not the saggy, baggy lines.

Indigopie. The top of this cardi isn't bad, but I'm not crazy about that unfinished-looking hem, and as the other pictures of it on its pattern page make clear, this isn't an item that will look all that good when not pinned closed.

Mersea Island. I'd want to take this design a few steps further by shaping the collar so that it's bigger and sits better and reworking those pockets, because the contrast colour looks like something of an afterthought as is. I'd also raise the dropped shoulders. I wouldn't neaten up the fit as this item is meant to be worn over other things and needs to be loose and roomy.

Bottle Rocket. The shaping of this sweater is perfect, but I don't think I can get on board with the pocket. I know the concept of a beer pocket is probably going to be received with much delight by certain type of man, but at least in this example, the front pocket looks as though it's a child's sweater that melded to the front of this man's hoodie in the dryer.

Viatori. Not bad. This hooded vest was designed to go over yoga clothes and other very casual pieces, and it would work well for that and also be warm, comfortable, and practical. I think I'd still prefer something a little more polished even for that purpose, however.

Mont St. Michel. I'm way too finicky to ever wear mismatched socks, even when they are artfully mismatched socks. I'd pick one design for this pair of socks, and it would be the one on the left, as the other design is a little too mish-mash for my liking.

Candied Violets. These are ever so pretty in a delicate, fanciful way, though again I'd knit both socks in the same colour.

Wings for Nightbird. Oh, how gorgeous. And the other pictures on this item's pattern page make it clear that this shawl sits and drapes very well too.

Threefer. Attractive and very comfortable looking, with bonus excellent use of a gradient colour scheme.

Two for One. There's something so perfect about the play of shades in this one.

Crystalline. Some very impressive design work in this one, and the piece is nicely finished.

Uberib. I've never liked this very basic style of slippers, but the brioche stitch and the fun colours do give it more than a little punch.

Rain, Rain, Go Away. This hat is very cute in an adult-appropriate way.

A Gift of Thistle. What a fabulous hat and cowl set. Both the colours and the design are gorgeous.

Hands-Free Cowl. This is woven, not knitted. It's not bad. I like the contrast of the two textures. I think I'd shorten the fringe by about half.

In Gord We Trust. This sock scarf is a tribute to Canada's Gord Downie, lead singer for one of Canada's best and best-loved bands, The Tragically Hip. Gord Downie has terminal brain cancer and closed his musical career with a final tour culminating in a three-hour concert on August 20th, 2016, that was broadcast commercial-free by the CBC and personally attended by Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. It's hard to explain the significance of this event to anyone who isn't either a Canadian or a Hip fan. One third of Canadians watched the broadcast. For us it was as if U2 or Bruce Springsteen were giving a final show. During the concert, Downie wore a scarf made of socks around his throat, saying he "learned he has to keep his instrument warm", and this pattern is a tribute to him. As knitting reviewer, I can't bring myself to approve the design, but as a Canadian and a Hip fan who once wore out her cassette copy of the 1991 Hip album Road Apples, I got a little misty-eyed over the concept and the accompanying text. I love too many Hip songs to much to be able to pick a favourite, but I will leave you with a link to one of my many favourites, "Long Time Running".

Monday, 3 October 2016

Cast On Fall 2016: A Review

The Knitting Guild Association has released their Fall 2016 issue of Cast On. Let's have a look at it, shall we?

Arrah. A handsome and contemporary shawl that sits very well.

Caramel Cables. A classic cable yoke pullover.

Chevron Sweater. Great texture and shaping, and that is a very flattering ballet neckline. I would like a closer a look at the shoulder detail, but I think what's going on there is that two extended bits of neckline ribbing have been tacked together with a button on each shoulder. It's a not uninteresting concept, but I don't know if it's adding anything to this item.

Cozy Retreat Hooded Vest. I'm thinking that the cozy retreat referred to in this design's name was intended for a pet rodent rather than for the wearer, because those oversized lapels look like sleeping bags for guineau pigs or possums or something of the sort.

Deep Dive. This isn't a bad playset (with its toy fish, sea otter, sea urchin, clam, and starfish) for the very young future marine biologist in your life. I don't know what scale these toys are, but I would want to make sure they are too large to fit into the recipient's mouth and so pose a choking hazard.

Faux Cable Mitts. These look rather awkwardly bulky to me, but then they've been styled with a chambray shirt rather than with a winter coat as a woman would be much more likely to wear them.

Garter Wedge Coat. I like where this concept was going but it didn't get there. This design needed to be taken steps further -- perhaps by using the contrast colour in another couple of places on the coat -- to succeed.

Grayson the Squirrel. This is cute (as one might expect from its designer, Nicky Epstein, who does cute extraordinarily well), but I think I would want to use a softer, more fur-like yarn in the body.

Haddow Park. This is the cover design, and I quite like it. The yoke design is very effective and reminds me of Shaker and Amish art.

Mock Cable Afghan. Some fantastic stitchwork in this.

Mock Cable Cardigan. I rather like the shawl collar on this one but I am not thrilled with what's happening below that.

Mock Cable Sample Scarf. This scarf has some lovely stitchwork in it, but it does look like it needs a fringe or a more finished edge on the ends -- they appear to simply stop short as they are.

Mulled Cider. This simple, nicely shaped dress is reminding me that I've long had intentions to knit myself a dress and have never done it.

Rouleau Jacket. This will look dumpy and frumpy on most women. Even this professional model isn't able to carry it off.