Friday, 29 August 2014

Knitter's Magazine 116: A Review

Knitter's Magazine has released Issue 116. Let's have a look at it, shall we?

The Morphing Cables vest. This is a nice piece overall (it's hard to go wrong with classic cables), but I do have reservations about those open lower front edges. That fashion of not only leaving them open but having them sheer away from each other is never very flattering and tends to make a garment look like it's too small.

The Gutsy Grape jacket. This is not a bad piece. It is a bit bulky but the overall lines are good. I'd run the buttons all the way to the bottom for the reasons mentioned in my review of the piece just above this one.

The Alita Dress and Bolero. Oooh, love this set. The lines are good, the stitchwork is good, and the idea of making a coordinated dress and bolero set like this is an inspired one, as boleros work best over a dress. I'm gnashing my teeth that I don't have the right figure for these two pieces.

The Chocolate Ribbons hat, cowl and fingerless glove set. The cowl and the gloves are pretty good, but the hat has a rather odd shape to it.

The Hey Sport cardigan. Nice classic, wearable piece with good lines.

The Well-Grounded cowl and mitts set. I'm going to give a qualified approval of this set — qualified because I'd like to see how that cowl looks when worn as a cowl usually is, i.e., hanging down in front rather than being used by the wearer to play peek-a-boo. I do like the stranded colourwork effect.

The Power of 2 cardigan. This is quite a smart, eye-catching piece. The horizontal stripes around the waist isn't all that flattering, so this may not be the right piece for a wearer who doesn't care to emphasize her waist/hip area.

Three-to-One Windows hat and mittens set. I do have reservations about the deep brim on the cap, but that's easily changed and this is undeniably a really pretty set. The pattern and the colours used here work beautifully together. It does remind me a little of that open arches set piece from the opening sequence of The Muppet Show, but then that's a good thing.

The Layer Me Jacket. I'm not all that taken with the stitchwork and colourwork used on the body of this jacket, but the overall shape and particularly of that notched collar is excellent. I'd be inclined to knit this jacket up using the shaping from this pattern and using a colour chart from any other pattern that especially pleased me.

The Tempting Twists Coat. Lovely, classic piece overall, though I must admit that slightly asymmetrical collar bugs me a little. It looks like a mistake.

The Strategic Strands pullover. Not too impressed with this one. The front placket and the collar sit so poorly that the design looks rough and amateurish.

The Empire Shawl. Very pretty piece. The yarn used here is lovely.

The Rasta Braids top. This is quite a cute little piece. I'd be inclined to ditch the stripes and go with a beautiful solid or subtly flecked colour. This little cardi has plenty of visual interest in its lines and stitchwork and the stripes feel like overkill.

The Jazzed cardigan. I very much like this design overall, but I would totally knit this in another colourway. That candy floss pink and blue combo would be pretty difficult for an adult to carry off.

The Artist Smock. This one is too busy and boho for my tastes. It's not going to be all that flattering either. It might work on a artsy type, but I think even then I'd say that there are better uses for the lovely silk yarn used to make this item.

The Enchanted Cables cardigan is a beautifully detailed piece.

The Oh! Jackie suit. This hasn't been at all a bad issue, but it does not end well. From the unflattering lines to the mottled-looking yarn to the tacky and tattered-looking edging, this pattern is uniformly bad. The pattern description says, "The clever loop stitch at the borders adds a designer touch much like what Coco would have used", but I think Coco wouldn't have used this border and would have fired anyone else who did. All I can say is that at least this is an aptly named design. If your friend Jackie came toward you wearing this, you would almost certainly say, "Oh! Jackie."

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

To the Peasants of the Emperor

Check out this stop motion music video made by Aniboom Animation for AM Syndicate's song "To the Peasants of the Emperor", in which yarn people overcome many obstacles in their material world thanks to the potential of yarn.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Interweave Knits Gifts 2014: A Review

Interweave has released its annual Interweave Knits Gifts 2014 issue, which starts out slow but then gets to some really fantastic patterns. Let's begin.

The Fawn and Reindeer Ornaments. This design could use a little more polishing, as they are a little on the lumpy and shapeless side. I'd maybe put a cardboard square in these rather than stuffing, and make the design a bit more detailed.

The Mini Stocking pattern. This is a pretty little stocking and would make a good way to "gift wrap" a gift card, though I would shape it a touch more.

Swagger Sweater, Swagger Hats, and Snowflake Coozie. These aren't the kind of thing I would take time to make, but I have to admit they are kind of fun and would make neat little party decor items. Also if they were all made unique, they'd be a good way for your guests to keep track of which beer bottle was theirs, a sort of knitter's version of wine charms.

The Humpty Bunny design. Very cute. And there'll never be any need for all the king's horses and all the king's men to try to put this bunny together again.

Knitted Strawberries. These are a good knitted rendering of strawberries, should you need knitted strawberries to decorate anything.

The Kit and Kat Pullovers. I like these designs on the whole (and what little girl who plays with dolls at all wouldn't like a "mommy and dolly" sweater set) but the combination of worsted weight yarn and ribbing do make the little girl's sweater look more than a bit on the bulky side for my taste.

The Teatime Linen Set. This would be a cute little set to make if you feel like indulging that tea party-loving child in your life, and it will be gratifying to remember that no actual tea will ever stain your work.

Mama's Socks. These are just adorable. Love the design and the colourway.

Treasure Bags. As someone who has whipped up many a little matching purse to go with the most recent little girl's dress or sweater I've made, I'm happy to see these patterns. Very pretty lacework, and it comes in both the square and circular version.

The Sweetheart Tablet Cover and Faeroe Phone Covers. These are quite pretty, and practical too, as they are lined to protect the gadgets they cover. The tablet cover is my favourite, probably because the designer had the room to go with a more detailed design. If I had an iPad or a cell phone, I'd totally knit or sew covers for them, because so many of the commercially made covers for them are hideous.

The Fir-Cone Sachet. Oh, how lovely. There's nothing quite like the charm of a beautifully detailed little piece like this one.

The Winter Woods Hat and Gloves. Very pretty and eye-catching set. I'd make the wrists of the gloves more fitted. The designer was probably trying to tie the gloves to the hat, but slouchy gloves don't work nearly as well as a slouchy hat.

The Leaded Window Shrug. This one is objectively an outstanding piece of design, but it perhaps doesn't work as well when considered as a piece of clothing. The front's baggy shape isn't flattering, though the back looks quite good.

The Barcode Cowl. Love this one. Being able to create a polished-looking, eye-catching piece out of only garter stitch (which tends to look beginner project-ish) is a sure mark of an accomplished, talented designer.

Woodstove Slippers. Not thrilled with these. I've seen slippers very like these before, and they're a bit too frumpy grandma for me. Using an off-beat colourway might elevate them a little.

The Cottage Christmas Blanket. This design is awesome — it's another very accomplished garter stitch project — but I would go with another colour scheme. That yellow used for the trees gives them an unfortunate "yield sign with the chicken pox" look.

The Rosebud Hat. Very much like this one, but then I tend to be a sucker for any kind of rose-themed design. I'm imagining this is in various rose-like colour schemes: red, pink, peach, yellow, and white, and always in a mohair/angora blend.

The Gingham Scarf. I love this scarf so much that even though I don't like gingham I suddenly want to see more gingham-inspired knitting projects.

The Fairbanks Cowl. Nice classic cable piece.

The Captain's Return Hat. Another lovely cabled piece.

The Voussoir Hat. An impressively intricate design.

The Radcliffe Cowl. Really lovely. The texture's great, and the contrast edging really finishes it off. This is one of the most attractive cowls I've ever seen.

The Medallion Mitts. Not all that taken with these. The overall texture is very good, but the medallion part on the back of the hands looks less like a medallion than it does muddled stitchwork.

All Points East Shawl. A lovely piece.

The Galaxy Cowl. Quite like this one with its subtle play of colour. This piece would be a great way to add a touch of colour and style to a neutral, basic outfit, or conversely, a neutral tone to a colourful outfit.

Mackenzie River Hat. Nice piece. It's well-shaped and has a good texture.

The Backroad Hat. Full disclosure: I actually know Elizabeth Elliot, the designer of this piece, mostly as an "internet friend" as we are both longtime members of an internet community, but we also met in person at a Vegas wedding back in September 2006. I suppose that doesn't sound believable, but I understand there's a video of the wedding ceremony that documents not only our presence at the event but also our (and every other attendant's) expressions of dawning horror as we realized that "Elvis", who gave away the bride and sang a couple of numbers, wasn't wearing any underwear. But I digress. Nice simple hat that will be a good way to showcase a variegated yarn and will fit well because of the elastic properties of the stitchwork used.

The Stashbuster Hats. Quite like these hats, which as the design's name suggests, will be a great way to use up odds and ends of yarn while looking like a polished design rather than way to use up yarn.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014


In an Aldous Huxley-esque world of yarn creatures where yarn babies are born marked with the rank they will live with all their lives, one little yarn boy bearing a zero grows up to prove that something can be made of nothing. Directed by Christopher Kezelos, Zero has been shown in over 50 festivals and has won 15 awards including 'Best Animation' from LA Shorts Fest and the Rhode Island International Film Festival as well a nomination for an AFI Award in the 'Best Short Animation' category.

Monday, 18 August 2014

The Thread of Life and Other Knitting Fables

Ursula was thrilled that she'd finally found a good use for all that I-cord she'd made as a child.

Jolene thought wearing one's scarf around one's neck was just so been there, done that. There were plenty of other places to put it.

Calida's new outfit was perfect for going straight from the office to her new part-time job as punching bag down at the boxing gym.

Maris, like Calida, had knitted her own protective equipment for boxing. She was sure she'd never feel a punch through this breastplate and had only to knit a matching helmet for it.

Darby got halfway down the runway before a terrible draft alerted her to the fact that something was missing from her outfit. But as the other models all assured her when she came backstage in tears, anyone could forget her pants.

Moselle, who appeared two models after Darby, got cranky when the other models tried to remind her she'd forgotten not only her pants but also her shirt and bra. She hadn't. Her sweater, scarf, and tam combo was plenty warm enough on its own. Everyone knew you lost 45% of your body heat through the head.

Pansy had carefully kept all those floral decorations she'd made as decorations for her wedding reception, waiting for that happy moment of inspiration she knew would come. And when it did arrive on the day her divorce became final, she felt the resulting outfit and the matching tam she'd made constituted the perfect outfit for her first date with someone new, by expressing her personality and symbolizing new life. And she appreciated her best friend Moselle's support on the whole no-pants thing.

Annelise didn't share Pansy and Mosell's view that wearing a hat or a lot of hair eliminated the need for pants, but she had found an alternative to them. A huge tunic and legwarmers kept her warm while allowing vital airflow to her genitals.

Riva had never been one for the classic look. To her mind, classic was dead, and needed some unexpected leather patches and random fuzzy red nipple-like pom poms to bring it back to life.

Geneva's latest creation was part warm sweater, part sassy tassels, and part art installation. It came with a extra rope that was meant to be attached to a helium balloon. Geneva called this design "The Thread of Life" and gave all its purchasers special instructions for how to pull dramatically on the cord.