Monday, 30 December 2013

Bergère de France Magazine 171: A Review

Bergère de France has released Magazine 171. Let's have a look at it, shall we?

No. 1, High Neck Sweater. I like the concept of a little faux fur knitted jacket without quite liking this particular one. I think it's all those horizontal lines, which have been created by interspersing the fur yarn with a worsted. It makes the jacket look so chopped up visually. I'd make the body entirely in fur yarn, and maybe add cuffs in the worsted.

No. 2, Round-Necked Sweater. This one's a lovely piece. It has a relaxed elegance.

No. 3, Embroidered Flowers Sweater. Another attractive design. I would fix the dropped sleeves.

No. 4, 3/4 Sleeve Sweater. This crocheted pullover is very good as well. The lines are good, and I do love a ballet neckline. Bergère de France has used silk for this sample, which is why it drapes so well.

No. 5, Short Sweater. Bergère de France does have a tendency to randomly embroider lines across sweaters, and it's a tendency I wish they'd try to rein in, because it usually does nothing for the item in question. I do rather like the sewn-on flowers (which I believe to be purchased) but that ECG-like line of embroidery isn't working. I'd replace it with some actual stripes or checks or some kind of patterning.

No. 6, Long-Line Cardigan. This one's a very nice piece of work. It won't look that good worn open (double-breasted styles almost never do), which limits its utility somewhat, but otherwise it's a very wearable item.

No. 7, V-Neck Sleeveless Top. I quite like this top, which has a nice texture and is amazingly flattering for something made out yarn that could so easily have made the wearer look like a stuffed toy. I would make those side vents much shorter. Perhaps the stylist wanted to make sure Bergère de France's readers could see more of this model's skirt, since there is little enough of it.

No. 8, Jacquard Sweater. I like this one, with its modern-feeling take on the classic fair isle.

No. 9, Sleeveless Sweater. Yikes. Did an eighties-era sweater sneak onto the photo shoot, seeking a flash of its former glory? This is one unflattering item, with its stiff, too-large shape and numerous pronounced horizontal lines, and it's none too attractive.

No. 10, Crochet Cardigan. It seems the eighties sweater just above this one brought its seventies vintage friend along when it decided to crash the Bergère de France photo shoot party. Time to tighten up security, Bergère de France.

No. 11, Sweater Cape. This item needs to decide whether it wants to be a sweater or a cape, because it cannot be both. I vote for the sweater option, because this design would be so lovely if it weren't the size of a tent.

No. 12, Jacquard Yoke Sweater. Very much like this one. The colour scheme is so appealing and the body's texture and yoke's colourwork make it look just luscious. I would shorten it to hip length though as that would be more flattering on most women than the tunic length worn by this (probably quite tall) model.

No. 13, Crochet Handbag. This bag isn't bad. It has a good shape. I would replace the tassel with a store-bought clasp or notion and knit it in another colourway to make it a little more polished and a little less boho.

No. 14, Stole. This stole is beautiful, but if I had that sample here in my hands I would nix those pom poms and the tassels so fast they wouldn't know what hit them. The only finishing touch a beautiful, luxurious piece like this needs is a distinctive shawl pin.

No. 15, Bodywarmer. This vest isn't bad. I’d consider colour matching the two yarns used here rather than going for a contrast look. And I would wear the vest with an outfit that actually goes with it instead of... this one.

No. 16, Openwork Crochet Sweater. Can't say I care for this one, which looks like it began life as an afghan and made some sort of half-hearted effort to transform itself into a sweater. That openwork band over the bustline was an especially bad life choice.

No. 17, Hooded Jacket. This is a rather nice piece. The stitch used here is quite pretty and the lines are good.

No. 18, Sleeveless Sweater. I don't think this quite works. I like the texture and the shape is almost right, but the shoulders extend too far down on the arms and detract from the overall shape, and the side lacing is somewhat too pronounced and looks a little crude and gimmicky.

No. 19, Short Sleeve Sweater. A nice, classic piece.

No. 20, Crochet Cardigan. Not thrilled with this one. I'd like to see this model standing up and facing the camera in this, because given the boxiness, wide sleeves, and possible cropped length of this item, I suspect it's a very difficult item to carry off.

No. 21, Roll Neck Sweater. A pretty, classic turtleneck.

No. 22, Crochet Beanie. This is a decent-looking basic hat.

No. 23, Openwork Sweater. I rather like this one. It would be a handy piece to pop over a tank top and shorts in the summer when the day turns unexpectedly cool.

No. 24, Scarf. A beautiful, luxurious yarn can make even a basic garter stitch scarf like this one look great. I would fringe the scarf though, to make it look a little more finished.

No. 25, Rolled Edge Sweater. This sweater is one of those perfect basics you'll wear countless times over the years until it's worn out. The shape is perfect and the rolled edges make it look finished and polished.

Friday, 27 December 2013

Knitting Strength

Scott, Shaheen, and Rob of California Strength put down their 300 lb weights in order to take a lesson in knitting. My favourite moment of the whole video begins at 1:30.

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Cirkus Cirkör's "Knitting Peace"

Cirkus Cirkör, a contemporary Swedish circus company, brings you "Knitting Peace", a stunning ensemble performance that combines acrobatics, dance, music, and yes, knitting, to explore the theme of working through complex and tangled realities to bring about peace. I chose this video as the subject of my Christmas Day post because it seemed to me to be a perfect viewing experience for everyone, regardless of whether one does or does not celebrate Christmas.

Monday, 23 December 2013

Creative Knitting Spring 2014: A Review

Creative Knitting has just published its Spring 2014 issue. Two days before Christmas may not seem like the most apropos time to start thinking about spring knitting (and I'm typing this minutes after reaching home following an umbrella-less walk through freezing rain), but I suppose it's never too soon to begin browsing through the next season's patterns and dreaming of future projects. Let's have a look.

Rather like this Accent on Asymmetry pattern. It's simple and I can think of a number of ways to style it, including wearing it as a beach cover-up.

The Crossover pullover would be fine except for whatever's going on with that hem. I assume that's a sort of reverse engineered asymmetry that's supposed to look stylish, but it just looks like a mistake.

Ethereal Delight. This sweater looks pretty good on this model, but given the clinging fit and the wide open front I suspect it's one of those sweaters that will only flatter a model-type figure and be rather brutally uncomplementary on the rest of us.

The Quickie Cardigan. Don't care for this one, which looks like it's full of dropped stitches, and will catch on everything, which will make it look like it's full of pulled dropped stitches.

The Serendipity Poncho. I think this one might work if it weren't done in such an afghan-like yarn. Knitted in a colour or a neutral, and worn over the right outfit, this might actually have a bit of style, but here it looks like the model should be accessorized with throw pillows.

Bath Time for Baby washcloths. These could be a pretty and useful addition to a bathroom, even if you don't have a baby.

The Take it From the Top Cardi. Not a bad little baby cardigan.

The Double Take Tunic. This looks rather unflatteringly baggy, and I don't like the muddy colours used here. I'd reshape it to a closer fit, shorten the sleeves, and use a more striking colour scheme.

The Kathryn Vest. This vest isn't the kind of thing I'd normally like at all, but I kind of like it in this instance. It hangs well and has an interesting texture. I'd do it in a less off-beat colourway, though. The shaping and texture give it all the visual interest it needs.

The Polka Dot Tabard. I can't sign off on this one. The baggy shape, naive pattern and child-like colourway make it look like something a kindergarten teacher would wear when she's given up on looking her best and is simply looking to wear something that will amuse the kids.

The Pop Art Afghan. I rather like this one, though I am imagining it in different colourways. It has a modern, desconstructed appeal.

The Ripple Effect top. I just can't deal with this retina-searing colourway, but I think I might like the style if it were done in an attractive one. It's a striking new approach to the empire waisted top.

The Seeds and Stripes infinity scarf. I rather like this cowl, though it wouldn't be my idea of spring wear, even in cotton.

The Skysong shawl is very pretty, and would make an interesting wrap for a simple summer outfit.

The Super-Simple Ombré Colorwork cardigan. I quite like this little summer cardigan, which is a kind of simplified Fair Isle look. It has a smart, sporty look.

The Cates top. This isn't bad. I'd consider knitting it all in one colour. The three colours make it look a little choppy.

The Columbine Cardigan. This one's classic and elegant, and yet interesting.

The First Lace Cowl is very pretty.

The Meandrous Tunic. Love this one. It's beautiful and eye-catching, and yet totally wearable.

Can't say I like the One Skein, Two Hours lace scarf, but it very well be the Taco Bell colourway that's putting me off. I wish I could get a closer look at the lace work.

The Sublime Shibori Shawl looks like a lovely piece of work.

The Bits & Pieces and Color-Dipped Leaves... what am I supposed to call this? A "design"? A "necklace"? Because it looks like something a small child brought home from summer camp and proudly presented to his or her mother, who accepted it as graciously as possible and then quietly made it disappear a few months later after it had been safely forgotten.

The Color-Block Headband. I see we're still looking at summer camp crafts, although this is one the mother can at least bring herself to wear a few times (around home) before making it disappear along with the necklace above.

A selection of knitted collars. Top left: On the Side. Top right: Pretty in Picot. Bottom left: She's So Edgy. Bottom right: Understated Simplicity. Knitted collars like these aren't bad little accessories if you put them with the right outfit and are the girly type who can carry them off.

The In the Nick of Time Neckerchief. Can't quite see the point of this one. It's not going to provide any warmth and it's not all that attractive.