Friday, 23 November 2018

Knitscene Accents: A Review

Today on The Knitting Needle and the Damage Done, we're going to have a look at Knitscene Accents, which is a new spin-off title from the ever-prolific Interweave Press.

Vitality Wrap. Excellent textural interest in this one.

Turning Corners Wrap. Seriously cool mosaic effect in this one.

Breaker Cowl. Nice piece.

Rutted Hat. Wearable neutral piece.

Snowy Peaks Hat. Traditional fair isle hat.

Mixed Bag Cowl. This one's a little rough and ready for my liking. The yarn and the button choice are kind of pleasing at least.

Periphery Shawl. This one has a certain panache.

Midnight Cap. Classic cabled cap.

Pigments Cowl. This one's fabulous. I love that it's not only reversible but striped on the one side and fair isle on the other -- two great looks in one cowl.

Vagarious Hat. I like the pop art feel of this one.

Medleys Shawl. This one's a veritable kaleidoscope of stripes.

Blazing Leaves Mitt. Very pretty. This is one of those patterns that I really enjoy imagining in a variety colour schemes.

Trifecta Shawl. This is a fun and inventive colourblock effect.

Yellow Brick Shawl. An attractive textural effect.

Mottles Hat. This one has a fun look to it, and it appears more complex and time-consuming a knit than it is, because the designer used a variegated yarn to add all the colourful stitches that you see.

Ring-Tailed Bandit Hat. Very cute theme. This would be a good hat for us Torontonians, as we struggle to peacefully co-habit with our large trash panda population. Although I almost feel as though the hat should also feature torn window screens and stressed housecats.

Splash Cowl. This one would be a good way to use up some odds and ends of yarn.

Facile Cowl. Basic but wearable.

Heartbeat Mitts. For the cardiologist or ECG technician in your life!

Bubbly Mitts. Cute mitts!

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Making the Gradient: A Selection of Gradient Knitting Designs

Today on The Knitting Needle and the Damage Done, we're going to have a look at a selection of gradient knits. I've been finding as I write my knitting design reviews that I'm always especially drawn to a successful gradient effect. There's something so pleasing about the effect of a beautifully blended colour progression. It's a look largely dependent on its palette, as any striped or colour-block design could be used to achieve a gradient effect so long as the yarns work well together on that level. If you decide you want to try a gradient knit, be prepared for a challenge, as achieving a flow of colour in yarn can be harder than you might expect. It's a prospect that reminds me of the exercises I once had to do when I was taking a colour theory course as part of a certificate program in Visual Arts that I did at George Brown College here in Toronto in the early 2000s. We had to paint colour charts in evenly progressive gradients from white to black, or from the palest shade of a colour to its darkest shade, and any disproportionately large "jump" between any two shades stood out like a sore thumb and was ruthlessly marked down by the course instructor. But then you'll be mixing and matching yarns at your local yarn store rather than sweating over the possibility that a infinitesimal drop of added white or black paint might prove too much, and you won't be marked on your effort, so do go ahead and have fun picking out your gradient colourways. And there are also knitting design techniques that can help you integrate your selected palette of yarn, which I'll be pointing out throughout this post of selected gradient designs.

The above design is the Humphry shawl, by maylin Tri'Coterie Designs. I love the psychedelic rainbow effect, which the designer has made work by selecting an array of uniformly vivid shades and using black to offset them.

Changing Light, by Jennifer Weissman. In this gradient knit, the designer has used alternating stripes to blend adjacent shades together. Solid colour blocks with no softening transitions can look a little crude, even when one has selected a good colour range.

Gradient Dip, by Suvi Simola. Here again we have the alternating colour stripes, and the designer has restricted the gradient effect to the sleeves for a look that really pops.

Pixelated Pullover, by Jennifer Beaumont. Another technique for transitioning between two shades is this "pixelated" effect of artfully arranged random stitches of the second colour.

Metamorphic, by Lisa K. Ross. This design uses alternating stitches to "morph" from one shade to another. I've had my eye on this sweater pattern for some time and intend to make it in 2019 for my grandnephew Bug's sixth birthday.

Colorshift, by Carina Spencer. In this cowl, the designer has bridged the difference between her two yarns by knitting with two strands. This is a great technique for turning two colours of yarn into a gradient colourway, because you're creating the connecting colours.

All About Green, by Natalie V. In this design, repeating thin bands of colour are used to unite the palette of four shades of green.

Degreenify, by Josh Ryks-Robinsky. In this pattern, the designer has used the classic ripple afghan pattern (which is traditionally used to integrate numerous different colours) and added alternating stripes to ease the shade changes.

Reflected Lines, by Suvi Simola. I wouldn't have thought of putting these three colours together, but they look amazing.

The Umbra & Penumbra sweater, by Jennifer Thompson, published by Knit Picks in Burnished: 2014 Fall Collection. That's an impressive array of shades, but this would be an expensive pattern to knit, as one would need so many skeins of yarn and have so much left over.

Polar Prism Cardigan, by Jennifer Beaumont. In this cardigan, the designer has united the colours by using a neutral background colour.

Colorslide, by Nicole Nehrig. This pattern uses alternating stitches of colour to transition. These individual colours are beautiful, but I would have kept working on this palette a little more. The top three colours are warm tones and the bottom two are on the cool side, which makes for a bit of a disconnect in the midsection.

Three Greys Aurora Turtleneck, by Berta Karapetyan. I am quite sure my colour theory art instructor would have approved this grayscale.

Ombre Sweater, by Debbie Bliss. This ombre effect was created by combining strands of the different shades, and by using a mohair silk yarn, which has a halo that helps with the blending effect. The resulting effect is soft and muted and lovely. (I reviewed this design previously, as it appeared in Debbie Bliss Knitting Magazine's Fall/Winter 2014 issue, and it seems I really liked it then too.)

Posh Petals, by Rose Beck. The three gradient bands of colour interspersed with dark lines give this otherwise traditional cowl such a striking and contemporary look.

Primus, by Dawn Prickett. Here we have a shawl that's contemporary in both its colourway and its style. The designer has managed to give the pattern such interest and movement using only three shades and an arrangement of stripes.

Curio Cowl, by Kelly McClure. Linen stitch does a particularly good job of blending colours together, and I love the colours used here.

Monday, 19 November 2018

Vogue Knitting Holiday 2018: A Review

Vogue Knitting has released their Holiday 2018 issue. Let's have a look at it.

#1 Brioche Striped Pullover. This is a creative and interesting new take on the striped sweater.

#2 Brioche Rib Cardigan. Great brioche stitchwork in this, and the shaping is passable.

#3 Two-Color Brioche Shawl. Beautiful! I love the two-tone effect and the stitchwork and the shape... and well, everything about it, really.

#04 Tuck Stitch Cowl. I like the tweedy, varied effect of this one.

#5 Two-Color Brioche Raglan Pullover. Not bad. I think there are happier colourways for this one.

#6 Balaclava. I'm afraid I'll never be able to get on board with the balaclava. It has such unfortunate associations: the Crimean War, convenience store robberies, prophylactics (not that condoms are to be classed with the first two items as a bad thing, but they aren't exactly known or valued for their aesthetic).

#7 Ridge-Pattern Hood. Cowls that can function as cowls are a far more attractive option than the balaclava. This pattern was originally published in 1986, and looks ahead of its time given that it can be worn as either a hood or a cowl, and knitted cowls were unknown back then.

#8 Ribbed Hood. The pom poms on this give it a court jester look.

#9 Deep Raglan Pullover. I'd neaten up the fit a bit.

#10 Lace Trim Swing Pullover. I know this is supposed to be a swing style, but I'd alter it to fit through the torso and hips. The swing silhouette is a difficult one to carry off.

#11 Dolman Long Cardigan. This is going to be unflattering on most women. It isn't even working on this professional model.

#12 Drop Shoulder Pullover. Normally I advise fixing drop shoulders, but in this case where the dropped shoulders are the titular and almost only distinguishing feature of the design, I advise going with another pattern.

#13 Triangle Fusion Shawl. A simple wrap with just enough technical detail that it looks polished.

#14 Striped Raglan Pullover. I really am liking the look of brioche stripes that's been a theme in this issue. And in this case I also love the colourway.

#15 String of Pearls Pullover. This is something different -- perhaps unsurprisingly, as it's from Nicky Epstein, who is known for her whimsical designs. I find myself liking it. It's more of a poncho than a pullover, though with better lines than is usual for a poncho, and the colourway and the inverted stripes and the "string of pearls" stitchwork all play together so well for an eye-catching look. But I would suggest making it with a cowl rather than a flat collar.

#16 Hat and Cowl Set. An attractive and wearable set. The stitchwork is good, and the narrow edging in a contrast colour adds so much.

#17 Yoke Cowl. This is such a smart, attractive cowl I can't help wishing the designer had kept going until it was a sweater.

#18 Arc Wrap. Love the sophisticated polish of this one.

#19 Coat Cowl. This cowl looks really good with a coat over it... and really awkward without it.

#20 Brioche Striped Cardi. I remember when this design was originally published in Vogue Knitting's Winter 1992/1993, and I have the issue in my knitting pattern library. I liked it then and I like it now.