Monday, 7 November 2016

Bergère de France Magazine 184: A Review

In this post, we're going to have a look at Bergère de France Magazine 184.

Pattern #01, Tunic. This has a very "slapped together out of odds and ends of yarn look", and also makes the model look as though she's wearing the knitted version of a slinky.

Pattern #2, Crop Top. This one's rather cute. The stripes and the wrapped effect give the design some style. But I think I'd lengthen the top, or at least not wear it over something that's so gathered and full at the waist.

Pattern #03, Dress with Halter Back. This pattern surprised me by being a sewing pattern. I'm including it in the interests of completeness, and because I know many of my readers sew, as I do myself. It's not a bad little summer dress. The lines are good and the design is wearable.

Pattern #04, Short-sleeve Polo Shirt. This isn't bad at all. The lines are good. I'd perhaps add some buttons to the neck placket to make it look a little more polished.

Pattern #05, Round-Neck Sweater. Not bad. The asymmetrical cable detail works fairly well, and the shaping is good.

Pattern #06, Crochet Cardigan. This looks like a grocery shopping bag with sleeves.

Pattern #07, Short Sleeve Tunic. This design is uninteresting, and would look pretty frumpy on most women.

Pattern #08, Short Sleeve Sweater. Not bad, though I think it could use a little waist shaping and a more interesting colourway.

Pattern #09, Zipped Jacket. Very wearable and even rather smart.

Pattern #10, Cape-Style Sweater. This is another of those pieces that even a professional model can't quite carry off, which doesn't bode well for the rest of us. Making the waist more fitted would help.

Pattern #11, V-Neck Sweater. This isn't a bad take on the classic men's tennis sweater, though I think it would look better if the main colour were the classic white or ivory rather than Bergère de France's beloved oatmeal.

Pattern #12, Halter Top. A dead simple, classic halter top.

Pattern #13, Blouse with No Collar and 3/4 Sleeves; and Pattern #14, Cable Shorts. Both the sewn blouse pattern and the cable shorts are solidly middle of the road design.

Pattern #15, Wrap Around Dress. I quite like this dress, as the lines are good and the sewn cotton binding gives a nicely finished look, but I would definitely do it in a more interesting colour.

Pattern #16, Mid-Season Dress; and Pattern #23, Mid-Season Denim Dress. Not a bad simple little summer dress. Ordinarily I'd recommend making it a little longer, but that might take the look into sister wife territory, and the denim version in particular is halfway there already.

Pattern #17, V-Neck Sweater with 3/4 Sleeves. This looks like a not-quite-finished project.

Pattern #18, Sleeveless Cable Sweater. I love the off-the-shoulder section of this sweater, but the stitchwork of the bottom section is a little heavy-looking for summer.

Pattern #19, Wide Cardigan. Call me old-fashioned, but I think sweaters should look like sweaters and not like the aftermath of some fishnet mishap.

Pattern #20, Scoop Neck Top. This is very simple but the shaping, the textured yarn, and the rolled neckline and hem give it all the interest it really needs. I'd go with some non-oatmeal-like colour, though.

Pattern #21, Blouse with Peter Pan Collar & 3/4 Sleeves. This is the same blouse as we saw in pattern 13, with an added collar. It's not bad. It does sit a little stiffly, but that's probably because it's made from poplin, which is one of the crisper cotton fabrics. Muslin or voile or a light crepe or silk would sit better.

Pattern #22, Short Cardigan with Long Sleeves. The cropped length of this cardigan gives it an awkward look even on this professional model. I'd definitely recommend lengthening it.

Pattern #24, Lacy Cross Over; and Pattern #25, Pleated Skirt. The cardigan isn't bad on the model, but I question how well the sweater would stay in place. Wrap clothes that do not stay securely wrapped are a worry and a hassle no woman needs added to her day. The skirt isn't bad, but I am beginning to wonder if Bergère de France's sewing pattern design muse is Taylor Swift.

Pattern #26, Tunic with Crocheted Border. I'm inclined to like this, which has the look of vintage lingerie, but I'd think there should be a little more to it if it's meant to be worn out in public as anything other than a beach coverup. I'd make it longer and also finish that hem, possibly with some more crocheted lace.

Pattern #27, Crochet Gilet. This one's a little too "summer on the free love commune" for me.

Pattern #28, Lace Sweater with Wide Sleeves. This has such a frumpy shape. That slim fit skirt would work well with a relaxed fit top, but this one is too oversized.

Pattern #29, Short Sleeve Sweater. The shape isn't great, and I don't see the point of knitting something so very basic and uninteresting.

Pattern #30, Sleeveless V-Neck Sweater. Not bad. The yarn is interesting, the line of garter stitch down the front is effective, and the shape is relaxed but flattering.

Pattern #31, Sleeveless Long Sweater. This has a "slapped together out of an ugly yarn that someone gave me" look.

Pattern #32, Purse #2. As I've said in previous Bergère de France reviews, I think this bag kit that Bergère de France offers has lots of possibilities, but for some reason Bergère de France can't seem to come up with a design for it that isn't horrifically bad. This one looks as though it were made out of a secondhand pair of hobbit trousers.

Pattern #33, Sleeveless Cropped Sweater. Women are not cube-shaped and their clothes shouldn't be either.

Pattern #34, Purse #1. And here we have the counterpart to the bag we saw in pattern #32, by which I mean that the one above was the hobbit trousers and this one is the hobbit suspenders.

Pattern #35, Belt; and Pattern #36, Belt. These belts look as though they were made by children at a summer camp and brought proudly home to their mothers, who received them with good grace and gritted teeth, wore them once (inside the house), and then kept them on their belt racks for a few years until one day the belts silently and mysteriously disappeared.

Pattern #37, Lacy Scarf. This one has an attractive texture and drapes well.

Pattern #38, Scarf. I rather like this one, with its very light texture and subtle contrast. While I might not knit this scarf in these colours, I would pick low contrast shades in an effort to recreate the effect of this one.

Pattern #39, Long Sleeve Cardigan. The yarn is rather pretty, but the designer of this piece really ought to have put some effort in.

Friday, 4 November 2016

Kindergarten Cheat Sheet and Other Knitting Fables

Carolyn liked her afghan bathrobe so much she saw no need to ever change out of it, not even when she was running away from home.

Debbie had never really learned to do without her kindergarten cheat sheet, but she had managed to make her dependency on it less obvious.

Ariel's fishnet and bikini installation was a big hit at the Merpeople Art Gallery. As a lot of the attendees told her, it not only made an important political statement but was also wearable and a nice change from the usual seashell cup bra.

Ursula's fishnet ballgown design was equally admired, and Ariel and Ursula began to form a grudging respect for one another.

For Gwendolyn, hand dyeing her yarn was a spiritual experience.

When Sakiko, Miyo, and Toshi decided to rebrand their knitting club as an imperial court of knitting, their first step was to knit themselves suitable ceremonial robes.

Blair and Ashley thought their "sexy medieval lady knight" costumes had turned out rather well.

During her trip to the beach, Chelsea's post modern bathing cap had proven more or less satisfactory, but her knitted life preserver had turned out to be a life hazard because it immediately become waterlogged. Worse, she hadn't even happened to pick a day when the hot lifeguard was on duty.

During her day at the beach, Adrienne was disappointed that everyone was too busy rescuing Chelsea to pay attention to the new bathing suit she'd styled out of her knitted swatches.

Brenna was delighted that she had finally found a way to put her surplus fridge magnets to good use.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Knit and Crochet Toys 2017: A Review

Love of Knitting has released a special issue entitled Knit and Crochet Toys, 2017. Let's have a look at the cuteness within its covers, shall we?

Zeppelin Mobile. This is a mobile that children can play with once they get old enough to know better than to try to eat it. It's not bad. I suppose it would be just the thing for a Hindenburg-themed nursery.

Rat-a-Cuties. These are very well made -- rather too much so for my liking, I'm afraid. I can't get past my visceral reaction to rats in order to review them fairly. Shudder.

Bear Pair. These are cute. I think I'd prefer a little more shaping and detail on the bear's dresses, but you can always add that.

Puppet Pals. These aren't too bad. I can imagine them being useful on car trips. If the children can be diverted from their electronic devices for long enough, of course.

Bunny Girl. This one is quite cute. I like the little sheep sweater. It says "I'm pro-merino as opposed to pro-angora".

Sponge Buddies Bath Toys. These sponge covers are not only cute but also quite inventive and practical.

Tedmund Troll. I quite like this teddy troll. There is something irresistibly fun and witty about a cuddly version of dark side fantasy archetypes.

Hipponormous. I think this one could have used a little more detail.

Cat's Pajamas Jammy Keeper. This one would be a good way to get children to put their pajamas somewhere other than the floor, and it is a really cute and cuddly item in itself.

Patrick the Platypus. This is another one that could have used a little more detail, such as a facial expression, and a more subtly coloured body.

Mr. Robotics. Not bad, though I would make the arms and legs a little bigger in circumference, and stuff them lightly.

Serene Sea Star. This isn't badly designed, but I can't quite see a child actually playing with this, unless it's to use it to attack a sibling's Malibu Barbie.

Giant Tiger. Cute and cuddly and nicely designed.

Lost in Space Activity Board. I can't imagine children playing with this set much because it wouldn't be that much fun to simply rearrange the plants on the solar system. I think the designer should have gone steps further and turned it into some sort of game, because as it is it looks like a doily and coasters from the break room of the Star Trek Enterprise.

Checkerboard. This one I can see children playing with and enjoying, as it gives them a chance to play a very active game of checkers. I'd go with another colourway, though.

Toy Tote. This one is quite practical: it's a backpack that holds children's toys and converts into a toy mat. This one is perfect for those visits to a childless friend's house.

Do the Twist Game. This one, obviously, is a crocheted version of a game that shall not be mentioned in the advertising copy for fear of trade infringement. I'd be afraid to let children to play with this one for fear that the crocheted circles would skid out from underneath their feet, causing injury. A Twister-inspired throw might be a better idea.

Silky, Simone & Sydney. This set is really cute. I quite like that the designer has imagined the mermaids as fun, stylish tweens with a pet seal, rather than as the voluptuous merwomen one sees in most renderings of fantasy sea people -- even in Disney.

Mrs. Chicken. This one feels a little overdone, as though it were intended for a decoration for adults rather than a child's plaything.

Silly Monster Rattles. These are ever so cute, and quite practical as they would be washable.

Jackson the Jackalope. This is very well designed and original as well. I don't suppose too many children have toy jackalopes.

Aitches. These poseable letter Hs would be perfect for the little Harry or Hannah in your life.