Friday, 30 January 2015

Cage Knitting!

The Assisted Living Sports Network brings you the trailer for Cage Knitting 4: The Cast Off, featuring knitters Betty Hegarty and Barbara Sandwich, both of whom look like knitters to beat. And only one will walk out of the cage with a new pair of slippers.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

I See Knitwear and I Want to Paint Its Back

If adding colour to your knitting via intarsia, stranded, or even duplicate stitch techniques isn't your thing, or if you just love dabbling in paint, there is another way to add colour to your knitted items. Twist Collective offers us a tutorial on how to paint knitted pieces with dyes and foam or stencil brushes. This is a technique that will take some time to master, because dyes can create a halo effect or have sediment or blend with each other, creating a new colour that may not be what the crafter wanted — and don't forget that your "canvas" or knitted item took time to make. Twist Collective recommends that knitters trying this technique take the time to experiment with the paints on paper towels first.

Natural fibres are best for hand painting. Blogger Lynette, of Le Tissier Designs, shows us some samples of her hand painted knits and comments on how the different fibres took the dye.

It's also possible to use paint rather than dye (though dye is likely preferable to paint as paint will stiffen the knit as dye will not). In this video, YouTube user The Answer Lady demonstrates how how to paint knits using spray paint, Sharpie markers, and stencils.

In this video, The Answer Lady uses a stencil and a sponge dipped in paint to stencil her knitwear project.

In this video, The Answer Lady uses rubber stamps and an ink pad to add dragonflies to her sweater.

In this video, colour is actually removed from the knitted item with the aid of rubber stamps dipped in bleach. The bleached design can be coloured in with sharpies afterward if desired.

Then again, knitting itself can become a tool for painting on other items. This blog post tells us how to use knitted swatches to stamp knitting pattern on paper to make knitting-themed wrapping paper.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Thinking of the Moon

Thinking of the Moon, a "silent muffler" knitting animation by Miho Yata, with piano accompaniment by Mie Yanashita, tells us the story of the thief who wishes for the moon, and finally gets it through the magic of yarn. You may be interested in checking out the other silent muffer videos I've posted previously: Film Muffler and Cherish Garden.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Interweave Knits Spring 2015: A Review

Interweave Knits has released their Spring 2015 issue. Let's have a look at it, shall we?

Potter's Shawl. Simple little shawl with enough detail to make it attractive. The staging of this photo is a bit of an eye roller, because I can't think of anything less likely to mix well than a hand knit shawl and wet clay. Even Demi Moore managed to be more authentic than this when she mucked about in clay in Ghost (i.e., she went sleeveless and had a shirtless Patrick Swayze draped over her rather than a shawl).

Ribbon Tool Shawl. Pretty, and the shape lends itself to being worn a few ways and to staying in place in general.

Velum Cardigan. I usually don't care for these loose drape front cardigans as they tend to look frumpy on non-model types (which, of course, is most of us), but this one isn't too bad. It lies well and has good texture and detail. I still wouldn't recommend it for a short woman, though.

Beech Leaf Shawl. Not as taken with this one. The rolling inner edge makes it look unfinished, and the shape is a bit awkward.

One Way Tee. Cute little summer top.

Timetable Pullover. The combination of a cropped front hem, lace-trimmed mullet hem, and elbow-length long sleeves just make this one look askew and unfinished.

Five Points Shawl. Nice contemporary-looking piece.

Stone's Throw Socks. Nice! I like the combination of a variegated yarn and a subtle ripple pattern.

Sleeper Car Jacket. This open front cardigan is quite pretty in itself, but it looks frumpy even on the model. I'd be inclined to add some waist shaping and neaten up the fit a bit.

Eastbound Sweater. This shaping is so 1980s, and that's not good. This kind of boxy, oversized fit combined with dropped shoulders does no woman any favours.

See what I mean about this being 1980s shaping? It's so 80s, it's Flashdance.

Second Story Tee. Another nice summer top. The diagonal lines are an effective touch. I do think the piece could use some waist shaping, though.

Union Station Cardigan. Very much like this one, which is pretty and well-shaped, with a visually striking chevron lace pattern. This piece definitely deserved better than to be styled over overalls.

Endless Rose Cowl. The pattern on this is lovely, but the height and stiffness of the cowl does give it an unfortunate resemblance to a neck brace. I'd consider cutting this down a little to suit the neck length of the intended wearer.

Rheya Cardigan. This lacy cardigan is attractive enough, but the fit and the cropped sleeve length is giving it a shrunk-in-the-wash look, and I am having a hard time looking past the pleated shorts they've been paired with. Knife-pleated shorts, Interweave Knits? Really?

Corcoran Pullover. Not favourably impressed with this one. The stitchwork is a little too afghan-like and the model's bra is visible through it.

Miranda Cardigan. Quite like this very wearable, contemporary design. This is my idea of a good open front cardigan that would look good on most women, because the neat shape keeps it flattering and polished-looking.

Gibraltar Henley. Nice looking sweater. I'm imagining it in white or ivory and getting a lot of use as a go-to piece for those occasional chilly summer days or evenings.

Honey Pullover. Great shaping and attractive lace detailing on the sleeves is all this piece needs to make it work. This is one to make in a fresh, bright shade of the intended wearer's favourite colour so she can love wearing it all summer long.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Slip Sliding Into Slippers

I had meant to write a post on selected slippers for the northern hemisphere's first day of winter back in December, but I think I got buried under review posts that week and never got around to it. However, such a topic seems just as appropriate for a mid-January post, especially since, as I write this in Toronto, my furnace thermostat is set at 23 degrees while the actual temperature in my house is 17, and I am holding my breath and hoping against hope that my 1991 vintage furnace makes it through this winter.

There are so many, many slipper patterns out there that I won't claim this is any sort of representative or "best of" selection. It is, rather, a collection of patterns that caught my eye due to their whimsy or style. The first pattern is the one pictured above, the Monster Baby Booties, designed by Ravelry member Needyl. It's a free pattern.

These are Sengeli's Silver Slippers, designed by Lisa Jacobs. A common complaint I have about knitted slippers is how clumsy and shapeless they can look. I look for certain elegance and shapeliness in my slippers. This pair has both. One suggested mod might be to work the decorations on these in beads rather than in embroidery.

If you really love your Chucks so much you'd like to sleep in them, these Slipper socks, designed by Rea Jarvenpaa, might be for you. This pattern is available for €4.99(EUR).

I like the simple, attractive, Knotted Slipper pattern, designed by Julie Weisenberger. This pattern is available for $8(USD).

I can't say I like my feet to look like something off The Muppet Show prop table, but designs like this are fun and perfect for children. These are the Step Softly slippers, designed by Birch Hollow Cottage.

These Quiescent slippers, designed by Hunter Hammersen, have a certain smartness to them. This pattern is available for $6.50(USD).

The Toasty Toes children's slipper pattern, by Susan Mills, might be perfect for your little monster. This pattern was published in Vogue® Knitting on the Go! Felting.

These are the Twinkle Toes Slippers, by Mary Scott Huff. They are well-shaped and the embellishments are pretty. This pattern is available for free.

These cute little booties are the Peerie Weerie Booties, by Carrie Bostick Hoge, and the pattern was published in Fair Isle Style: 20 Fresh Designs for a Classic Technique.

These felted slippers, designed by Monique Rae, have a contemporary vibe. This is a free pattern.

There's nothing quite as much fun as making your small, unknowing child wear something absurd, is there? These Duck slippers, by Jeny Staiman, will be guaranteed to make everyone who looks at your baby snicker. It's a free pattern.

And we end with the elaborately embellished Ballet Flats, by Marta McCall. This pattern was published in Knitted Gifts: Irresistible Projects To Make and Give.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Rowan Knitting & Crochet Magazine 57: A Review

Rowan has published issue 57 of the Rowan Knitting & Crochet Magazine. Let's have a look at it, shall we?

Simona. Lovely little shawl.

Zarah. The front of this top looks unobjectionable, but the pattern description mentions that it's "strappy" and has "ribbon across the back", so I would need to see a back view before I sign off on it.

Mariella. Nice little surplice top for summer.

Esta. Classic lace cardigan.

Alda. Not thrilled with this one. The empire line and the loose sleeves will make it unflattering on many women.

Eloisa. This woman fought the doily, and it was an inconclusive win.

Donnie. Cropped length items flatter very few women, and the body of this sweater looks absurdly shrunken when compared to the sleeves.

Violetta. Love the textured leaf stitch used here.

Fia. Very pretty, though again the pattern mentions that this design has a "lace back" which isn't shown here.

Nicci. Not too taken with this one. It does have a forties vibe to it, which I like, and it's well-shaped, but the waistband looks a little random. This top needs some finishing details in the waistband stitch, such as a collar or cuffs, to pull it together.

Elda. The black-on-white intarsia floral motif here is lovely, but I'm not caring much for the oversized tunic shaping, which tends to look rather frumpy on most women. I'd neaten up the shaping and make this in a relaxed fit tunic instead.

Catarina. Lovely textured pullover for summer, though I would fix those dropped shoulders.

Massa. This sweater looks like it was made out of a circus tent, and not successfully.

Poppi. This top isn't bad overall, but the colour combination is doing nothing for it and I suspect it could probably use some waist shaping.

Borro. This is... okay... at least compared to the circus tent number a few designs above. I think I'd want to go with a higher contrast colourway.

Prato. The shaping could be better (I'd suggest waist shaping and a slightly neater fit), and this colourway isn't working well.

Sorano. A dull colourway, dropped shoulders, and it's huge. Next!

Arezzo. Interesting pattern and the shaping is good overall, though I would correct the dropped shoulders.

Empoli. Quite like this one. The saddle shoulder construction works well with the stripe design.

Vicchio. The design of this one is good, though I'd go with another colourway. This one is a little too close to pastel.

Sieci. Openwork crochet in a linen yarn. It looks like a shopping bag with sleeves and I'd expect it would feel chafey.

Cetona. I think I would like this crocheted top better in a solid colour. It has a decent shape and texture, and making it multi-tone is overegging the pudding.

Masotti. Quite like this one, with its open cable pattern. This stitch adds texture without adding bulk.

Olympia. Cute but needs shaping and a little more length. Cropped and boxy is a bad shape for most women.

Hestia. I like this one. The shaping of the neckline and the detail around it give an otherwise standard tunic all the interest and style it needs.

Aldephe. Nice little tank.

Delia. More than a little too shapeless.

Alexus. Not a bad little dress, though it does look like it could do with some waist shaping.

Philomena. Cute little top.

Ianthe. Simple, useful pullover.

Elektra. This piece was clearly meant to be a knitted take on the denim vest, and it's not bad. I think I might be inclined to make it in a yarn that isn't denim-like, though, like a fine wool or even a luxury mohair, as that would mean it could be worn with more items than just jeans.

Cybele. This cropped surplice sweater is unflattering even on the model.

Artemisia. The description for this item refers to it as an "open back cardigan". It's clearly not a cardigan, and my guess is it isn't open back either. It looks like a very basic pullover and seems unobjectionable.

Nemesis. Simple pullover, but what makes it special is that it's knitted in Rowan's Kidsilk Haze. Kidsilk Haze really is one luscious, beautiful yarn that elevates any project it's used for.

Arcadia. This has a couple of interesting textural details, but the oversized fit looks none too flattering even on the model.