Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Knitting Traditions Fall 2017: A Review

Knitting Traditions has released their Fall 2017 issue. Let's have a look at it, shall we?

Aviatrix Pullover. Not a bad piece. The grommets and leather laces give it a bit of edge. I'd be inclined to fix the dropped shoulders, and possibly to try the effect of replacing the leather cord with ribbon.

Camera Bag. This one is fun. Those vintage camera bags often do make smart and useful tote bags, so why not a hipsterish knitted version?

Crystal Palace Shawl. This lovely shawl was inspired by the famous entry hall of Victorian England's Great Exhibition's Crystal Palace. I don't suppose that Prince Albert ever expected that his grand project would still be inspiring creative artists over a century and a half later.

Cuirassier's Cardigan. This one sits rather poorly and is bulgy in the front.

Flying Car Bolero. Cute piece. I'm liking the steampunk vibe.

Graven Wrap. A beautiful wrap with some architectural cables.

Haubergeon Sweater. A classic, wearable piece with some nice detailing on the sleeves.

Incognito Spats. These have the look of toilet paper cosies for the feet.

Jacquard Boot Toppers. These also remind me of toilet paper cosies, though in this case I do love the contrast slip stitch effect used here and would very interested to see the effect employed in another design.

Kashmiri Shawl. What a gorgeous piece of work.

Manchester Pullover. Nice piece. I'd be inclined to do this one in a soft wool yarn rather than a cotton yarn (which tends to have a crisper look) for a more romantic effect.

Morris Flower & Vine Mitts. These are a pretty bit of needlework -- I love the beautiful motifs on the back and the lace is lovely -- though I am at somewhat of a loss as to what one would wear with them. I suppose they'd look fine on someone with a romantic bohemian dress sense.

Nottingham Socks. Oooh, love these plaid socks, with their fun, sporty feel.

Samurai Cowl. Another beautiful lacy piece, and it's quite versatile as it can be worn as a cowl, a poncho, or a hood.

Scarab Cowl. Fun, attractive, and eye-catching.

Shebeke Tam. An attractive stained glass-inspired tam that looks good from all angles. I'm not so crazy about the colourway, but that's easily remedied.

Steampunk Pullover. Love this one. The shaping is excellent and the gears motif is well-designed and smart.

Thousand Miles Purse. This is quite pretty, and will prove equally useful to those who are into Victorian costuming, steam punk enthusiasts, and those who just want an attractive evening bag.

Monday, 28 August 2017

Vogue Knitting Fall 2017: A Review

Vogue Knitting has released its Fall 2017 issue, which just so happens to also be their 35th anniversary issue. I'm a little alarmed by the fact that I not only remember buying their 10th anniversary issue twenty-five years ago but that I was also old enough to legally vote, drive a vehicle, and purchase alcoholic beverages at the time. Time, you thief!

The traditional 35th anniversary gift is coral or jade, and the Vogue Knitting editors, who have been marking its anniversary issues by producing a theme issue for that anniversary's gift (for the 30th anniversary they featured a special issue yarn made out of pearls), have celebrated this one by offering us a selection of knitwear designs in a range of jade-like shades. Let's have a look at these special anniversary designs.

Pattern #1, Sleeveless Turtleneck. Quite basic, but wearable enough.

Pattern #2, Turtleneck Poncho. I'm a hard sell on ponchos, but this one strikes me as not bad. It drapes well and has some texture and style.

Pattern #3, Sleeve Scarf/Wrap. This one strikes me as an inventive and interesting contemporary update on the sontag shawl. It looks good and will stay in place in both its cowl neck and sontag incarnations.

Just a side note.... If you're not familiar with the term, the sontag shawl was a mid-Victorian fashion that was essentially a shawl worn crossed over the front of the torso and fastened in the back. There are modern versions of this style available, though they tend not to be called by that name, and the modern versions are usually knitted seamless, or grafted together at the ends, so that they're slipped on over the wearer's head rather than arranged and then tied in place. I like reviving existing, if archaic, terms for clothing designs, as I did on this blog with the spencer (a very cropped, fitted cardigan or jacket originally popular in the early 1800s) when it came back in some years back. Why call designs by vague names like "cross over wrap" when we already have a specific term in the dictionaries?

Pattern #4, Honeycomb Pullover. A nice classic piece.

Pattern #5, Honeycombe Hat. An attractive classic cabled hat, and that looks like one luscious cashmere yarn. Both the colour and lush look of it have me drooling.

Pattern #6, Cabled Tube Scarf. Some good cable work here, and I like that it's knitted in a tube, so that there's no wrong side.

Pattern #7, Mystic Forest. This a characteristically whimsical design from Nicky Epstein, and it's the kind of thing I'd prefer to put on an afghan rather than wear, but it's certainly an eye-catching and delightful scene -- the little owl in the tree makes me smile. I would, however, neaten up the fit a little by making it narrower through the body, and raise the dropped shoulders as much as I could without interfering with the tree motifs.

Pattern #8, Cabled Pullover. This is the kind of thing that will make all the other druids in your local order green with envy. I kid, of course. This piece may be a little costumey, but it has great texture and is one of those pieces that make an impact when worn with a little panache.

Pattern #9, Patchwork Tunic. The texture's good, but I'd make this a little neater fitting and nix the tassels.

Pattern #10, A-Line Tunic. Try as I will to be more open-minded about huge sweaters, I simply can't get past the conviction that they don't do anyone any favours. I'd scale this piece down to just one size above the wearer's usual size, which will give it a relaxed, comfortable look and fit, rather making it tent-sized.

Pattern #11, Fringe Pullover. This one looks like an afghan that cheated on its vocational aptitude test in high school.

Pattern #12, Aran Shawl. A beautiful piece of work, though again I'd think it more becoming to one's couch than one's person.

Pattern #13, Lace Texture Pullover. I'd clean up the proportions and the fit on this one, because the cabled section is so long that it's visually dragging down the look and the back is baggy.

Pattern #14, Hex Pattern Scarf. This one is quite unique and a lot of fun. If it reminds you a little too much of the interlocking foam mats from children's playrooms, you can make it in non-primary colours.

Pattern #15, Stained Glass Blanket. The octogon shape and graphic design of this afghan is also fun and different, but I can't help imagining it in other colourways.

Pattern #16, Tuck Stitch Cowl. A simple, vivid cowl.

Pattern #17, Embroidered Yoke Pullover. I like the concept of a an elaborately embroidered yoke, but this execution of it is a gaudy eyesore.

Pattern #18, Woven Wrap. This wrap looks not so much designed as randomly tacked together.

Pattern #19, Colorblocked Pullover. This sweater's a fun pop of colour, though I wouldn't pair it with this skirt.

Pattern #20, Striped Pullover. I like this one too. It's a bit Muppet-y, but in the best possible way.

Pattern #21, Star Sweater. This one's another fun, wearable piece. I'm really liking this run of designs that are playful without being so twee that a grown woman can't wear them.

Pattern #22, Mohair Shawl. Beautiful. I love the interwoven cables effect, and I'm always up for having my raging mohair fetish catered to.

Pattern #23, Ruffled Top. Oooh, my just-mentioned mohair fetish just got served. This piece is charming. I'm imagining it in many a colourway and with variegated yarns, which would really change up the look, though this fuschia and purple combination is fetching.

Pattern #24, Eyelet Pullover. Yeah, no. This pullover makes even this lovely professional model looks like a fire hydrant.

Pattern #25, Flame Stitch Cardigan. This pattern is the cover design from Vogue Knitting's inaugural issue back in September 1982, and is shown in both the original cover photo and in a recent version made for this issue. Vogue Knitting's editorial staff chose to recreate the original colourway as close as possible, and also to style it in a early eighties period-appropriate way, but I'm mentally playing with the colourway and the styling. The cardigan has a smart, jacket-like shape and could easily be made to suit a 2017 wearer.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Knit Simple Fall 2017: A Review

Knit Simple has released its Fall 2017 issue! Let's have a look at it, shall we?

Cute simple cap.

The combination of the colour and the shaping gives the impression that this woman is sporting a particularly friendly squid.

This scarf needs a fringe.

This scarf could also use a fringe.

I like faux fur pom poms, but not on this particular hat and scarf set, which are a little too rough-looking to be a good match for it. This set would have been better served by tassels worked in the same yarn.

Kind of fun for the under 25 set.

Not a bad capelet, for all it's so simple. The shaping is good, there's some texture, and the colour is beautiful.

A very effective tartan check effect, created with just garter stitch.

This one's pretty striking. I'm enjoying imagining all the different colour schemes this could be done in.

This afghan is also nice. I'm liking that the designer used one solid and one variegated yarn, which gives the piece more visual interest than two solids would have.

I quite like the visual effect of loosely interwoven strips, but not the colour scheme.

I don't feel that I can properly assess this one, given that I can't see the front. It's not a bad pullover from what I can tell.

A handsome scarf and cap set.

Very basic socks.

An attractive, classic vest.

The caption above this sweater says, "Flattering silhouettes in wear-with-everything shades." I don't disagree that the colourway is attractively neutral, but that is not a flattering silhouette or shape.

A very decent cabled cardigan.

Not a bad cardigan, but I would fix those dropped shoulders.

This isn't sitting particularly well -- it has a bulky effect.

I quite like this one. The shaping is good and that diagonal cable effect is interesting and effective.

Not bad overall, but I would neaten up the shape a bit.

A nice shawl with some good stitchwork.

An attractive shawl design that deserved to be made with a more attractive yarn.

This striped shawl is pretty and eye-catching.

I'm very much liking this one. It never fails to surprise me how much varying stripe widths can do for a striped pattern's visual interest.

This fluffy heart-shaped pillow would be a cute and useful piece for a child's room.

I like the stripes on this pullover's sleeves, but the heart on the front looks a little too crude. I'd improve the shape of the heart and knit it into the front of the sweater.

This hat and mittens set isn't quite pulling together. I'd make them both in the same main and contrast colours, put smaller hearts on the back of the mittens, and skip the picot trim on the mitten cuffs.

Cute set. I spent a minute debating whether I might work those hearts into the scarf with intarsia, but the appliqué effect is cute as well.