Monday, 29 February 2016

Vogue Knitting Early Spring 2016: A Review

Vogue Knitting has released its Early Spring 2016 issue. Let's have a look at it.

Pattern #1, Crew Neck Pullover. I rather like this slight twist on the classic Breton stripe sweater.

Pattern #2, Striped Shell. Nice piece. The colourway works well, the lines are good, and vertical stripes are definitely an underexplored theme in knitwear design.

Pattern #3, Pocketed Tunic. The stripes on this one are giving me that "do not adjust your TV set" feeling, and the dropped shoulders combined with the bracelet length sleeves make the arms look stumpy.

Pattern #4, Graphic Top. This one has the look of 1930s sportswear, and I love me some 1930s sportswear.

Pattern #5, Striped Romper. There isn't a full shot of this one, and I was trying to suss out what it was exactly when I noticed the name. This is... an adult romper... which means there is... something... lurking south of the photo frame that VK hasn't seen fit to show us. That does not bode well, especially when I consider that knitted shorts don't tend to be a good idea (i.e., bags, sags). I'm not thrilled with what I can see, as it looks a bit crudely designed and unfinished.

Pattern #6, Shades Blue Wrap. This has a rather nice contemporary feel, though I'd be more inclined to put it on a couch than to wear it.

Pattern #7, Crocheted Bag. I see this one going to bingo games and shuffleboard tournaments.

Pattern #8, Crocheted Bucket Hat. This hat will accompany the crocheted bag above to the aforementioned bingo games and shuffleboard tournaments, and possibly be further accessorized with a pair of wraparound shades.

Pattern #9, Lace Coverup. This is one of those items that can look dramatic if styled way over the right outfit, and "seventies arts and craft camp counsellor" otherwise. Also, it's going to catch on everything like crazy.

Pattern #10, Star-Motif Maxi Dress. I like the lace overlay over a fabric sheath concept, but not this particular execution of it. I think it's the fact that this crocheted overlay looks so stiff and tablecloth-y.

Pattern #11, Dropstitch Openwork Wrap. This looks so rough and charmless up close.

Pattern #12, Eyelet Lace Tunic. This coverup is making me wish I hadn't just finished sewing myself a new printed cotton beach dress. Which does not look half as fetching as this well-shaped, carefully finished piece. Sigh.

Pattern #13, Open Waves Top. Not such a fan of this one, but then I don't tend to like openwork pieces. They lead to mesh-patterned sunburns, for one thing.

Pattern #14, Net Poncho. I see the respective wearers of this net poncho and the lace coverup above getting together at a arts camp staff party to share their best string art tips. Kidding! Well, partly kidding anyway. Again, like the lace wrap, it's a piece that can look good when skilfully styled, and frumpy and kooky when not.

Pattern #15, Floppy Sun Hat. VK is definitely on a seventies kick in this issue. I'd have liked to have seen this one on the model because I have my suspicions that this hat is a little too large and too floppy for visibility -- for both wearer and observers.

Pattern #16, Cable and Lace Duster. Rather a nice cover up. Though this piece also has the stumpy arm problem.

Pattern #17, Deep V-Neck Duster. Beautiful lacework in this one.

Pattern #18, Lacy Cardi. Nice piece, but I can't fathom why all those loose threads were left hanging from the centre of the diamonds in the lacework. It doesn't look like something that could be accidental, but it's not well advised as a design decision because it makes the piece look rag tag.

Pattern #19, Deep Rib Tank. Nice little basic tank, though that empire line will not be flattering on well-endowed women.

Pattern #20, Sleeveless Shell. Not a bad basic piece. If you're making this for someone who isn't particularly tall, you might wish to shorten it somewhat.

Pattern #21, Textured Vest. I wish the designer had done something a little more interesting with the texture, but this isn't a bad little top for summer.

Pattern #22, Cable Tank. This has good lines but I do wish the designer had something to finish off the neckline and armhole edges.

Pattern #23, Striped Stitch Tank. Quite like this one. It has an interesting and effective shape, construction, and texture, though again, it has an unfinished-looking neckline and armholes.

Pattern #24, Eyelet Top. This one is very simple but so well shaped and finished that it'll be the perfect way to showcase a beautiful, good quality yarn.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

I Want to Knit Aliens

To mark the end of the watchable, if lacklustre, 2016 mini-season of The X-Files, I've decided to do a post of selected alien-themed knits. Much was left hanging in the air at the finale's end, narratively and literally speaking, and those involved in The X-Files have said they are willing to do more episodes as their schedules permit, so there may be more to come. While we await further episodes (which I hope that Chris Carter will not be writing, because he's a hack, there I said it), we can always knit ourselves some cute and cuddly aliens.

The photo above is of the Alien Autopsy pattern, designed by Emily Stoneking and available for $4.50(USD). You can use it to help yourself imagine that you are Scully, happily slicing and dicing. Don't forget to order a pizza mid-autopsy, as Scully would.

If you want a alien-themed toy for the little alien-obsessed Fox Mulder in your life and the autopsy pattern doesn't seem quite suitable for a child, this toy spaceship might be more to your liking. This design is the Orbiting Oddity, by Anna Hrachovec. This pattern appeared in Knitting Mochimochi: 20 Super-Cute Strange Designs for Knitted Amigurumi.

This is the Emerson the Incognito Alien, designed by Jenna Krupar, and it would seem that Emerson has decided to try to pass as a French existentialist. This pattern is available for $6.00(USD).

This is the Alien Illusion Scarf, designed by Shetha Nolke. Can't you just see a teenaged Mulder wearing this scarf to high school and using its illusionary qualities as the basis for a monotone monologue on the existence of extra terrestrial life? This pattern appears in Stitch 'n Bitch: The Knitter's Handbook.

Here's another alien-themed scarf, and in this one the very cute alien and spaceship motifs are plain to be seen. The Anybody Out There? pattern, designed by the Galagonya Gulova workshop, is available for free.

This Aliens and Spaceship design, by Jean Woods, is so adorable that it could probably colonize the planet without anyone objecting. This pattern is available for $3.00(USD).

Speaking of adorable beings whom we're glad to have rule us, how cute this is this little guy's vest? This is the Baby Alien vest, by Barbara Gregory, and the pattern is available for $6(USD).

I find this one way cuter and funnier than the standard animal ears toddler hat. This is the Take Me To Your Leader Toddler Hat, by Sharon Mooney, and this pattern is available for $5.50(USD).

This is one far out baby blanket. The Outer Space Blanket pattern, by ShoedivaOriginals, is available for $10(USD).

These toy aliens are equal parts creepy and cute! The Aliens from the Planet Flangelzwat pattern, by Liz Wray, is available for £2.50(GBP).

The Sleep With an Alien Pillow pattern, by Christine Grant, is available for $3.25(USD). I'm thinking that if this is given to a kid, the pillow will be just as likely to be lobbed at a sibling or used for impromptu bowling games as slept with, but hey, why not.

The Cyclops Pocket Alien, by Dawn Finney, can be used not only for bowling or hurling at a sibling but also may be employed as a handy holder for such odds and ends as the remote or keys. Now that's a useful item. The pattern is available for $4(USD).

And here's a very cute little Aliens in Space sweater, designed by Sylvia Leake. This pattern is available for $5.49(USD).

Monday, 8 February 2016

Interweave Knits Spring 2016: A Review

The Spring 2016 issue of Interweave Knits is out! Let's have a look at it, shall we?

Nash Island Shawl. A lovely piece of work.

Krokos Shawl. Another nice shawl, this time with a geometric eyelet pattern.

Catskill Pullover. Very much like this one, with its smart herringbone texture and good lines. I might raise that slightly dropped shoulder just a titch.

Hampshire Shawl. A nice-looking piece. Though I will have you know that this is not what farmgirls wear when they slop the hogs.

Blue Ridge Sweater. I like this one. There's something quite pleasing about how the lace and bobble pattern is shaped into a simple ballet neckline.

Yorkshire Capelet. Not a bad piece, though it doesn't seem to belong on this particular outfit.

Phi Cowl. The other day on Twitter, a knitwear designing friend's husband scoffed that this thing is a bib and that no one would wear it, and I have to agree.

Slippery Slope Socks. The sherbet colours are pretty and the design is cool.

Spectrum Pincushion. This is a cute idea, would use up some scraps, and as a bonus, might also help its user to remember which colour schemes are analogous and which are complementary.

Spectrum Pouf. This might be a fun piece for a kid's room.

Dorchester Pullover. Very pretty -- I love the scallop stitch front panel -- but I think I would either shorten or lengthen those sleeves. That's an awkward length.

Promenade Coaster & Trivet Set. This look a little too craftsy-kitschy and grandmotherly for my tastes, but I suppose a lot would depend on how one styled one's table. A bowl of waxed fruit and an oilcloth would take these coasters in one direction, and a funky tea set and a distressed wooden table in another.

Caldecott Jacket. This is a lovely, polished piece with one distracting flaw: the front closure sits so poorly. I'd fiddle with it and perhaps add an inner fastening to make the underlying front edge sit properly and to take the stress off the outer buttons.

Orangery Shawl. This could have looked Christmas tree skirty, but it's so carefully shaped and the colourway is so well chosen that it ends up looking like quite a visually interesting and polished-looking shawl.

Hobnail Coasters. This coaster is such an inventive and skilled piece of design that it is in much less in risk of looking kitschy as the previous coasters did.

Park Lane Coaster & Trivet Set. I'm afraid we're back in waxed fruit and oilcloth territory again.

Deanery Street Centerpiece. This one is a bib for your cake plate. I don't see why a cake plate needs a bib anymore than a grown woman does.

High Tea Doily. This is a lovely piece of work, though I don't know who uses doilies for anything these days.