Saturday, 29 June 2013

Knitscene Fall 2013: A Review

Knitscene has published their Fall 2013 issue! Let's have a look at it.

We begin well. The Rosemary Cardigan is a simple little affair with some interesting detail.

I quite like the Alison Pullover. It's so simple and flattering and yet I've never seen anything quite like it.

I have seen fingerless mitts very like the June Mitts, but it's a nice enough pattern.

Hello, Emmylou Shawl. The shawl is so skimpy in its proportions that I would be inclined to wear it as a scarf as it's styled in the first photo, but it is a very nice scarf. Love the border detail.

I'm not a fan of the Peruvian hat, but I must admit the Forester Hat design is probably the nicest Peruvian hat design I've ever seen.

I quite like the Impression Vest. It's a simple, flattering, wearable shape with some eye-catching detail. A woman could get a lot of wear out of this vest because it could be worn on its own or layered over a blouse or a t-shirt.

I'm not sure about the Correlation Cardigan. I love the interesting pattern in it, which is lacy without being too open, and the flattering neckline. But I've got some concerns about the shaping, which looks a bit smock-like, and that's not a good direction in which to take a worsted yarn.

I definitely feel like I've seen the Fabrication Pullover before, but then knitting designers can hardly keep reinventing the wheel every time. This is a good classic-style pattern, and I like the interlaced effect of the front panel, which is more interesting than plain diamonds would have been.

Quite like the Terrace Socks, which is a clever use of gradient yarn. Socks really are a great way to showcase interesting variegated yarn.

I'm amazed at how striking the Ziggarut Scarf is given that it's so simple. I mean, garter stitch, alternating triangles of colour... this could look like a total beginner project and yet it's really sharp and graphic. This is an inspired use of variegated yarn.

After all the complaining I've done about ponchos, ripple patterns, and items of knitwear that look like afghans, I should totally hate the Amalfi Poncho.... and yet I don't. I think it's the colours, which are so pretty in an off-beat way that they're sucking me in. It also helps that the ripple pattern is vertical rather than horizontal, and that the poncho drapes as well as a poncho possibly could, with an effective cowl neckline. It's not at all something I'd wear and yet I can imagine it working on a few of the women I know.

It's amazing how important colour is in the presentation of a knitted design. I remember training myself to look beyond the colours of designs in my copies of Vogue Knitting back when I was 15 or so, because of course... the items we knit can be any colour we want... but all these years later I still have a hard time getting past the colour of the sample in the magazine pictures. The Varese Pullover is a very good pattern with a good shape and an incredibly innovative stitch pattern, but I'm having a hard time really appreciating it because I don't personally care for that bubblegum-on-oatmeal colourway.

The Emammanuelle Sweater is a dead simple affair with one little gimmick as its main selling point. But I have to admit, I rather like this. It's fun and eye-catching and would be a fun little sweater to throw on with jeans.

I'm not crazy about the Gallarate Beret and Mitts, but I think it's the colourway that's putting me off. That oatmeal colour has a deadening effect here.

The Teresa Shawl uses more of that oatmeal yarn, although it's working a bit better in this case. It's not a bad pattern, but I think, again, that there are better colourways for this item.

You know, if I saw the Zahara Cardigan in a vintage photo on a model with a bouffant hairdo and go-go boots, I'd include it in one of my knitting fable posts and the fable would be about a girl named Zahara who was torn between two loves: the night life and hideous seventies crafts. It's the combination of the ripple pattern and the retro colourway that's giving this design the look of a seventies handknit, I think. I would definitely make this one in another colourway. Any other colourway.

I can't sign off on the Penny Candy Cardigan, which looks less like a deliberate design than like a ratty old sweater that shrunk in the wash.

I do like the simple Rock Candy design, but I'd make it in a hand-dyed or variegated yarn rather than in a solid tone neutral. It looks a bit bland here, like it needs a little something more.

I like the Confectionary Pullover quite a lot, but it would look better worn a little looser than what you see here. This sample looks to be about a size too small and as though the chain detailing on the front is getting pulled askew.

I like the Praline Pullover on the whole, although the ribbed bars just below the bustline look a little random and pointless. And again, this design would probably look better in a slightly looser fit.


  1. Thanks to your reviews, I don't have to stand in the stores to know whether or not I want to buy a magazine! I will be getting this one--several patterns that I "need."

  2. I love your reviews and so does my daughter (we find them when you post of FaceBook) please keep up the good work as you perform an incredibly valuable service.

  3. agreed - please don't stop. Love your reviews and your posts.

  4. I also love your reviews. One bit of info that I'm always interested in: who is the designer? Although you don't include that information, I appreciate the links that can lead me to that info. There's a whole new crop of designers coming up through the mags!

    I also note that negative ease is the new go-to sizing standard, much as oversized was the rule for too much of the 80's. This body needs a middle ground!

  5. Thank you all! I do put quite a bit of time into writing these review posts (usually three hours each), and it's wonderful to hear that you'r finding them useful.

    Scifiknitter, I don't tend to include the name of the designer in review posts because if I'm giving the pattern a negative review it seems too much like a personal attack to name the designer, and moreover if I do so it will mean that my criticisms will come up on Google searches for his or her name forever after. I could name the designers whose work I like, but again it would seem too pointed to just not name certain designers. I like to keep my criticisms limited to the specific design involved so it doesn't sound as though I'm trashing the designer or his or her entire body of work, which is not my intent. So I'm going to be sticking to my practice of only naming designers when their work is truly superlative. I wish it weren't this problematic — I would like to name all the designers so as to be more aware of their individual bodies of work.

  6. For me, the Zahara cardi made me thing of Charlie Brown!