Saturday, 22 June 2013

Creative Knitting Autumn 2013: A Review

Creative Knitting's Autumn 2013 issue on the stands. Let's have a look at the patterns in it.

Vogue Knitting had a collection of spencer sweaters in its Early Fall 2013 issue, for which I posted my review two days ago, and now Creative Knitting presents us with this little number, "Climbing Cables", an open-front spencer, which must be the most difficult possible spencer to carry off. And yes, it's an attractive design, but barely any women could successfully wear it. It's more of an exercise in knitting than a sweater.

Here we have "Dot & Dash", a cropped sweater with some texture. Cropped sweaters are difficult to wear successfully, though not so hard as an open-front spencer. Lengthen and shape this sweater if you like the look but can't pull off cropped tops.

This is the "Easy Cabled Cardi". The description says it has minimal finishing; I'd say it has subminimal finishing because it doesn't look quite done to me. Those edges just look raw and it detracts from the whole, which otherwise I think I might like.

This is the "Meriden Jacket" and I quite like it. It's so gracefully shaped, looks polished, and it would suit most women.

The lacing in this cowl make it look like a cowl the members of the Swiss Family Robinson would have worn if they'd had cowls on their island. I otherwise like this cowl, which has a great texture, but am not sure about the laces — I know I wouldn't like them dangling like that. I'd be inclined to fasten this cowl with interesting buttons instead.

This is the "Off-Kilter Cardi". I can't say I care for it, not only because it's asymmetrical which is a style not at all to my taste, but because it has a sloppy look. This isn't going to flatter many women.

This is the "On the Catwalk Cardigan". This is another look, that due to its length and oversized lines and open front, that will be difficult to be pull off. You'll probably need to be tall to wear it successfully, for one thing. And with all this talk about carrying or pulling things off, let's keep something in mind: clothes aren't supposed to be just something that don't look terrible on us. They should actively flatter us, because that is part of their job description.

The "Roxy Tank" is a tank top with side drapings. I've seen side draped designs in my reviews before, and I can only say... avoid this look unless you really think your hips could stand to look wider than they are.

The "Baby Love Capelet and Booties" is just what it says on the tin. It's not a bad concept and the execution isn't terrible, though I do wish it were a little more detailed and polished a design. Garter-stitched projects tend to look amateurish. I can't help wondering whether that capelet is going to stay in place on the baby though.

"Cia's Striped Vest", which the description declares perfect for layering over everything from jeans to a little black dress, kind of reminds me of an ubiquitous vest belonging to the principal of a school where my mother taught: the woman wore the same reversible quilted vest every day, all week, and every week, and would turn it inside out mid-week. That principal eventually got fired mid-school year. Probably not because of the vest, but I'm sure it didn't help either. This isn't a bad design, and I think there are other colourways that would do more for it, but it looks to me like a piece that will really only work over fairly casual clothes.

The "Dotted Eyelets" cardigan is another one of a certain kind of beginner project that Creative Knitting is prone to offering us. They want to give beginning knitters non-scarf projects to move on to, which is good, but to that end they offer us amateurish-looking garter stitch projects with rough shaping and design gimmicks, which is not good. This rough-looking sweater needs some finishing touches to work. As it is the ribbon looks out of placed and the eyelets just look like accidental holes.

The "From His Perspective" sweater isn't half bad. It's a little rough-looking in this yarn, but I think another colour or a variegated yarn would do a lot to help hide that. I do take exception to the title and the description, which assumes this sweater will be made by a woman for a man. Aim for gender inclusion, Creative Knitting, even if you won't quite get there (God knows I haven't), because a genuine level of effort in this area will show and be appreciated by the men who are joining the ranks of knitters.

I actually very much like the concept of the "Gone for the Weekend Tee", with its side-buttoned flap, yoke and cap sleeves. It has a very smart look. But the bottom and sleeve edges are a big let-down. The hem looks just terrible. This is a design that should have gotten the careful finishing touches that would have made it successful.

These are the "Sideways Slipper Socks", and their description suggests that the sideways construction makes them unusually comfortable. I can't assess them for comfort unworn, but they do look like they'd be interesting to make.

I quite like this "Weekender Cardigan". It's a basic yet polished piece that a woman can wear just about anywhere and over a number of her outfits.

I also very much like the look of this afghan (though would definitely use different colours for it) and the fact that it's described as "No Sew" is definitely a selling point. I'm a little alarmed by the use of "lapghan" in the description, though. Could we... please not go there?

This issue of Creative Knitting includes a how-to on knitting circles from "the inside out". Then you can use your new skill to knit coasters and trivets like this one in your favourite or décor colours.

The "Downward Spiral" beret is another use of the "circle knitting from the inside out" technique, and I quite like it. It's another "No Sew" item.

Very much like the classic "Lady in Lace" beret and scarf.

I also quite like the "Seeing Stripes Place Mats". If you have the kind of décor these go with, they'll be a nice added touch. Or you're really crazy about them you could redecorate your dining room to go with them, as I am planning an entire (and much-needed) kitchen reno around a pair of tea towels I found at the dollar store and loved on sight. True story.

I like the "Zig Zag" shawl as well. The lace pattern is really something different.

The "Bye-Bye Wintertime Blues" hat and drawstring bag set is kind of cute, and I like the colour combination in it. Peach and red actually work together when the right tones are used, though you seldom seem them combined. It has a playful, naive appeal that makes it more of a look for a young girl than one a grown woman, though.

One of the hazards of doing these reviews is that when I'm confronted over and over with examples of a trend that's either universally terrible or at least one that won't suit me personally, I start to get worn down. When I first started coming across legwarmer patterns at first all I could think is that I thought I'd left legwarmers behind in the eighties, along with acid wash and banana clips and anything day-glo and a legion of other bad sartorial ideas and it's a big HELL NO for me because I'm not some young girl who could look cute in them. Then after running across a number of legwarmer patterns, by the time I see these "Colorfully Comfy Leg Warmers", I start thinking these would look kind of cute over leggings and with flats and maybe I could... and then I beg my brain not to think such thoughts.

Quite like this "Coolest Kid on the Block" little girl's sweater and hat set. The yarn is self-striping so it isn't as much work as it looks. The off-centre front placket is a nice touch.

The "Evergreen Dream Hat & Sweater Set" is nice. Creative Knitting has styled it in a very 1930's fashion which is kind of fun to look at even if the colours are a little retina-burning and you wouldn't wear it quite this way yourself.

This "Feel-Good Cowl" looks a little afghan-y — both the open stitchwork and the variegated yarn are so in line with traditional choices for afghans. I'd consider doing it in a hand-painted yarn to bring the item more into accessory land.

I think I like the "Moret Pullover" design, but I find it hard to get past the ketchup and mustard colourway.

I absolutely love this "Nordica" pullover. The pattern and the colourway are both perfect. As a bonus, according to the description, this design is knit entirely in the round so there's no finishing required.

The "Prospect Park Capelet" is rather nice, very simple yet polished. I however do not think I will ever wear a capelet as it would make me feel, and very probably look, like a mushroom.

The "Sassy in Stripes Fingerless Mitts" aren't bad. A more subtle colourway would give them a slightly more sophisticated look for wearers over 20.

The "Tiffany" cowl has a very inventive and pretty effect. You'll only use two colours for this pattern — the second one being variegated.

Can't say I care for the "Turning Leaves Tunic". The stripes look random and the colourway is just dull.


  1. Love your reviews. Don't think I'll be buying this issue!

  2. You're too hard on the spencer length stuff! I have several items of clothing in that length, and I think they're excellent when paired with empire or underbust waist lines, or when they're used for creating underbust lines in otherwise shape free items. For a lot of larger women, the underbust is the narrowest part of the body, and their bust is their best feature, so patterns that fit and emphasize that part of them and then fall more freely from there can be *very* flattering.

    I really love the lines in that first pattern a lot, especially given that it appears to contain actual proper bust-shaping. I'd need to make quite a few adjustments to it for my purposes -- I don't like the sleeve length, for starters, and although it contains great bust-shaping, it likely won't contain *enough* great bust-shaping for my bust, and I'd probably prefer it buttoned/clasped/somethinged together at the bottom -- but I think the overall shape of the pattern is lovely.

  3. I wonder who decided that this is Spencer Season? But The Broad has an interesting point about pairing them with empire waist lines on larger women... I could maybe see that working for me.