Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Creepy Knits: A Selection of Patterns for Halloween

Happy Halloween, knitters! I have in previous years done posts of selected Halloween patterns on fun Halloween accessories, costumes, wigs, home decor, kids' knitwear, and toys. This year, since I'm out of categories for Halloween knits, I've put together a post of assorted Halloween patterns that I haven't featured before and that I thought looked cool.

The first pattern is the Eye See You Halloween Cushion, by Jane Burns. It would be like giving someone a hairy eyeball, except that it would be a woolly eyeball.

Halloween wreath, by Nicola Valiji. Cute and kid-friendly Halloween wreath. This is the wreath you put on your front door if you don't want to scare away all the little trick or treaters so you can keep all the candy for yourself.

Deathflake mittens, by Sissel KB. I love the intricate chartwork in these. And it's a free pattern!

Night Creatures Mittens, by Adrian Bizilia. These are pretty spooky, though that mouse is alarmingly large in proportion to the owl. But perhaps that's a feature not a bug.

Fangtastic, by Wendy Gaal. For the vampire aficionado, or perhaps the especially enthusiastic dental hygienist.

Flying Witch Lazy Cloth, by Wineta. I hate using these little knitted dishcloths -- just give me a j-cloth -- but I wish I liked them because there are so many super cute designs out there for them like this one that I would enjoy making.

Let's Play Murder, by Professor Fonz. This sweater pattern is based on The Wallpaper Had It Coming Again pattern designed to resemble the iconic wallpaper in the BBC's show Sherlock. They're both really great designs that I will avoid letting my Sherlock-obsessed but non-knitting sister ever see, because every knitter reading this knows how that is likely to end.

Skull Stockings, by Disorder Knits. Love these, which are both cool and warm.

Halloween Skulls, by Devorgilla's Knitting. This one could be a nice statement piece for those days when you have to deal with difficult colleagues at work.

Halloween Kitty baby hat, by Sandra Jäger. Love the glaring yellow eyes at the top.

Hairy Monster Halloween Mitts, by Black Sheep Wools. The perfect finishing touch for your monster Halloween costume... or for the person who has always secretly dreamed of being a Muppet.

Spooky Spider Earwarmer Headband for Halloween, by Sylvia Leake. The perfect gift for the budding arachnologist in your life -- or for someone who's trying to get over their arachnophobia the hard way.

Witching Hour, by Ruth Hawkin. I quite like the neat little motifs used here.

Macabre Halloween Cowl, by Bobbin Hobnobbin. The glowing orange against the stark black used here is particularly effective.

Halloween Skull Socks, by Fir Tree Knitwear. This one incorporates several Halloween motfis for a bold look.

Not just for Halloween Skully Socks, by Jane Burns. For the Halloween sock lover who prefers a more subtle look than the previous sock design.

Spüli Halloween-Katze, by Mamafri. A well-drawn silhouette of a very angry cat.

Halloween Cushion and Throw, by Sandra Rowland. Very cute, with just a little freakiness in the jack o' lantern's expression.

Skeleton Black Cat, by Tatyana Korobkova. For the macabre child. Who has probably been asking for a My Little Step Children doll for Christmas.

Monday, 29 October 2018

Messenger Bags That Send a Message

Today on The Knitting Needle and the Damage Done, we're going to look at a selection of messenger bag designs. This post is the latest in a series of posts on selected bag patterns, which also offers selected clutch/wristbag, handbag, and tote bag, and backpack posts.

The first messenger bag design, pictured above, is The Sun Satchel, designed by Stephen West. I love the sunburst design, and that West didn't go too literal with it.

Kauni Damask Understated Bag, by Karen Stelzer. This bag isn't my idea of understated, as it's too pretty to remain unnoticed. And it's a free pattern!

Woolly Bully Bag, by Lori Puthoff. Here's a contemporary classic. The decorative pin on the front flap is the perfect finishing touch.

Maple, designed by Susan Todhunter. As a Canadian, I am culturally obliged to love this one (and indeed have previously included it in a special Canada Day post), but I think I would anyway.

Tree of Life Felted Bag, by Jenny Williams. This one has a subtle charm. Stitchwork Tree of Life designs are always so attractive.

Circling Infinity Bag, by Jeanne C. Abel. Simple, attractive and serviceable shape, a commercially made strap that adds polish, and would you LOOK at those pockets that keep everything both snugly in place and accessible.

Andi Messenger Bag, by Sarah Hatton, which was published in Rowan Felted Knits. A nice-looking bag with a bit of texture.

Lucca, by Berroco Design Team. Cute bag, though I would probably nix the pom poms. It's a free pattern.

Felted Messenger Bag, by Julie Weisenberger. I like how this bag is designed to complement its strap. One of the reasons it's always a good idea to buy notions like straps, buttons, and other fastenings before you begin knitting a project is that you can then tailor your project to suit those notions.

Knitted Bag of Navajo-Churro Wool, by Susan M. Strawn. I find the combination of the diamond and stripe themes works together well.

Felted Messenger Bag, by Cheri Clark. Simple but fun use of stripes and colourblocking in this one.

Triple Pocket Bag, by Dawn Leeseman, published in Casual Elegant Knits: Classy Designs for Men and Women. This one's very smart and could easily pass for commercially made.

Old School, by Laura Birek, published in Picture Perfect Knits. A contemporary take on the argyle pattern.

Cherish, by Sue Hanmore. You can't go wrong with a nice cable arrangement.

Fab Felt Tote, by Maggie Pace. This designer has used appliqué cut from the lining fabric to tie the felted wool and lining fabric together visually, and added some embroidery to make the look even more special. Nice touch!

Signature Bag, by Berroco Design Team. This one is rather visually striking.

Not Just A Baby Bag, by Nora J. Bellows. This one's actually intended to be a diaper bag, and comes with patterns for a matching cosmetic bag and diaper changing pad, but of course like a truly good bag, it'll be useful to the parent after the baby's grown, or to the non-parent at any time. This one could be a good stash buster given the stripe pattern.

Stripey Noro Messenger Bag, by Deborah Cooke. Very pretty stripe arrangement, and it's a free pattern.

Classic bag, by Tina Barrett. This is a nice take on the Chanel-look design. Though I would recommend using better buttons for this project than these dead basic plastic ones.

Friday, 26 October 2018

Rowan Knitting & Crochet Magazine 64: A Review

Rowan Knitting & Crochet Magazine has released issue 64 of their magazine. Let's have a look at it.

Abbotts. This one's an unholy hybrid of a vest and a wrap, and it actually works surprisingly well and would be a pretty wearable way to add a warm layer to an outfit.

Alizarin. Some great texture in this coat, and I like the scalloped edges.

Beacon. The cowl in this product shot is a separate piece from the cardigan. They look pretty good worn together and with the cowl doubled, but the cowl doesn't look good worn single fold (admittedly cowls don't usually look good that way), and I can't get a sense of how the sweater looks by itself from the available photos.

Butlers. Nice cabled mitts.

Carise. Nice chartwork, but I'd reshape this one as cropped and wide is a difficult shape to wear.

Carmine. I rather like this one with its striking pattern and blanket fringe, and it looks ever so warm and comfortable. I would fix the dropped shoulders, though I'd leave the armholes larger as this needs to fit over other things in a roomy fit. This is a coat that will go with a limited number of outfits, but look what it does for a plain t-shirt and jeans.

Carnelian. This doesn't sit particularly well.

Chota. I'd shorten the proportions of this one, both regarding total length and the length of the v-neckline, as it has a dowdy look as is. Nice stitchwork though.

Cinnabar. Beautiful and inventive pattern, and the lines are good.

Claret. What a striking, attractive pattern.

Falu. Classic cabled wrap.

Folly. The adapted chartwork from the Carise design above makes for a nice-looking cowl.

Fowberry. I'd fix the dropped shoulders on this one, and perhaps add a cuff or a band of the body stitchwork to the sleeves to pull this look together a bit more.

Garnet. I'd reshape this one to look more like it was designed for the human form. There are batwing designs that work, but this doesn't happen to be one of them.

Gazebo. The shape is good and the star motif is very pretty. I'd expect no less given that this is a Kaffe Fassett design.

Hensting. A classic, wearable piece.

Houghton. The bobbles make for a fun, modern look to this cowl.

Juliaca. Very lovely stitchwork in this one. I'd lengthen this as cropped sweaters look awful on me, but some women can carry off the cropped length so your yarnage may vary depending on whom the intended wearer is.

Lightfoot. I tend to see bobbles as something that should be employed sparingly. This jacket would make me feel as though I'd been encased in bubble wrap.

Magenta. Love the stitchwork and the lines are good.

Maroon. Very pretty. That floral pattern is just so sweet.

Marshwood. I like some parts of this, such as the beautifully pattern used through the body and sleeves, but this one isn't quite pulling together as a whole. I think it would work better with a more analogous colour scheme. Putting dissimilar patterns and colours that don't really work together tends to result in a visually conflicted piece.

Mayfield. Nice wrap with some very pleasing stitchwork.

Pennybridge. I can't get past the feeling that this sweater was slashed open down the front and then badly tacked together again.

Perinone. This is the cover look, but of course the waist-up version on the cover doesn't do justice to the entirety of the design. This full-length wrap is not only lovely but brings the drama as few knitted items do, and it drapes and hangs well even in the photos where the model isn't twirling.

Popham. Not bad. The sleeve detail is interesting and the shape is good. I would like a more finished-looking cuff, and I wish I could see the neckline.

Pucallpa. A lovely, even elegant, wrap. The stitchwork is attractive and the alpaca yarn looks luxuriously soft and warm.

Redwood. I don't mind the cable and seed stitch detail on the sleeve, but I'm finding the waist cable an awkward look.

Rosewood. As I look at this, I can't help concluding that there are more graceful and attractive ways to design the tie a front-tie sweater. This woman has the look of an awkwardly wrapped present.

Rosso. Pretty and looks like it would feel luxurious and special to wear.

Rust. I must say, this design is as close to elegant as variegated ripples will ever get. It actually looks like a stylish wrap rather than like an afghan with pretensions.

Sangria. Love this one. I think you couldn't help but notice this one if someone wearing it walked by you on the street.

Tarma. This one hangs awkwardly in both the product shots that are available for it, which is not a good sign.

Teesdale. Interesting combination of patterns.

Venetian. Classic lace scarf.

Vermillion. Love the colours and the stitchwork in this crocheted scarf, but I might scale down the size of it a little. This model looks a little overwhelmed by it, and remember models tend to be quite tall and have long necks.

Woodbine. This is a fun, lively scarf. I'd put a fringe on it to make it look a bit more polished.