Monday, 12 March 2018

Vogue Knitting Late Winter 2018: A Review

Vogue Knitting has released its Late Winter 2018 issue, and it features actress Krysten Ritter on its cover. Ritter has appeared on the Facebook page for this blog twice previously: when she first took a journalist who was interviewing her yarn shopping with her, and then gave her knitting lesson afterwards; and then when she taught (or made a valiant attempt to teach) Stephen Colbert to knit during an appearance on The Late Show. I already liked Ritter for her appealing screen presence and admired her for her acting, so her evangelical passion for our craft is a delightful bonus. That said, let's have a look at the knitwear she models for us (and in one case, designed herself!), as well as the other designs in this issue, shall we?

Pattern #1, Turtleneck Dress. If you're a depressed and exhausted homeschooling mother of seven whose only social contact with other adults is to call your own mother every night and cry because you can't get your kids to go to bed, this is the look for you.

Pattern #2, Cable Inset Cardigan. The stitchwork in this piece is good, but the overal lines and shaping isn't. This has such a visually dragged-out, bottom-heavy, shapeless look.

Pattern #3, Colorblock Cabled Pullover. Sigh. Vogue Knitting seems to have gone full out frumpy for this issue.

Pattern #4, Cable Pullover. Classic cabled pullover.

Pattern #5, Cabled Pullover. I rather like this one, in which the designer has taken the classic cabled pullover in a slightly different direction by varying the direction of the cables.

Pattern #6, Two-Tier Pullover. The designer of this sweater went for an innovative look by including a cropped top over layer, but I don't think it works. I keep staring at it thinking that there must have been shrinkage or a yarn shortage involved in its construction, and that's never a good reaction to a knitwear design.

Pattern #7, Easy Krysten Sweater. Respect to Krysten Ritter's modelling skills, but I don't really care for her design. I think I'd fix the dropped shoulders, add a little waist-shaping, and be sure to do this sweater in an interesting yarn to give this very basic design the oomph that it will need when Krysten Ritter isn't it.

Pattern #8, Slouchy Raglan. I'd neaten up the fit on this one by quite a lot. The armhole shaping appears to start at the waist level, and even the professional model it's on can't quite carry that off.

Pattern #9, Simple Cardigan. This is another piece that is pure "depressed and exhausted homeschooling mother of seven" style.

Pattern #10, Seed Stitch Pullover. I am not opposed to a seed stitch oversized turtleneck in theory, but the reality is there's oversized that is "a relaxed, comfortable fit", and then there's oversized that "fits like a house and will knock things over every time you turn around". Guess which one this is.

Pattern #11, Pompom Wrap. This is kind of fun in its way, but I can't imagine actually wearing a wrap of this size and bulk. I'd be inclined to make this "wrap" a little larger and then leave it on the couch.

Pattern #12, Big Chill Wrap. This is a beautiful piece of work, and it's supposed to be worn as a wrap, but it would be another piece I would feel belonged on the couch.

Pattern #13, Chunky Cardigan. This thing fits and sits so poorly. I've seen tents I was more tempted to wear.

Pattern #14, Cable Pullover. Another classic cabled pullover, this time in a standard fit.

Pattern #15, Brioche Pullover. This piece is reminding me of Dakota Fanning's fabulous puffed sleeve costume ensembles in the late nineteenth century drama The Alienist, but although it is an interesting and original piece with some fantastic brioche stitchwork, it could stand a few tweaks to make it more flattering. I'd fix the dropped shoulders and make the body a little longer and neater-fitting in order to balance out those leg o' mutton sleeves.

Pattern #16, Chevron Lace Vest. The lacework and the hand-dyed yarn used here are beautiful, but these unstructured trailing pieces basically never appeal to me.

Pattern #17, Feather Cowl. Inventive, whimsical, and wearable.

Pattern #18, Waterfall Shawl. This is another shawl that looks as though it belongs on a couch, and more specifically, on your Great Aunt Myrtle's couch. Doing this piece in a solid colour or at least a less "granny afghan"-like colourway would help, as the lacework is quite attractive.

Pattern #19, Domino Shawl. A attractive, wearable and contemporary wrap that definitely looks as though it belongs on a person.

Pattern #20, Woven Scarf. Nice texture and an interesting construction on this scarf, unsurprisingly, as it was designed by the ever-inventive Nicky Epstein.

Monday, 12 February 2018

Interweave Quick + Easy Knits: A Review

Interweave has released a magazine of Quick + Easy Knits. Let's have a look at it.

Bistro and Cucina Kitchen Dish Towels. I rather like the striped one in the foreground, which is a nice take on the classic striped dish towel, but the mustard-bordered one in the background is not nearly so pleasing.

Cable Knit Wall Hanging. I know I'm a big advocate of busting down the stash to a reasonable size, but I don't think we need to be so desperate to use up our odds and ends of yarn as this.

Chunky Bandana Cowl. Cowls should look like cowls, as opposed to a repurposed test swatch randomly slung around the neck.

Chunky Knit Baskets. I've got my doubts about how well knitted baskets will hold their shape when filled with heavy items, but I suppose knitted covers would be a nice and inexpensive way to camouflage unattractive or damaged but still functional baskets or pots. These do look rather smart.

Chunky Knit Pouf. These would be so handy for a child's room.

Crispy Cowl. This isn't bad. The stitchwork is good and the play of colour is eye-catching.

Easy Two-Color, One-Row Anyone Scarf. This is presentable enough. I'd add a fringe though, as the edges look a little unfinished as is.

Effortless Legwarmers. These are basic but they'll do for a way to showcase an beautiful or interesting yarn.

Farmhouse Flats. These are... okay... though I do prefer slippers with a little more shape and style to them. But then that's hard to find.

Gully Gloves. I'd definitely go with the "garter stitch top band" version of these half gloves. The ones that are ringed from top to bottom look a little too Slinky-like.

Keaton. Cute and wearable.

Playful Stripes. This is a fun, colourful piece, and it would be a great way to do some stash busting.

Reflecting Pool. This one's a little too rough and ready for my tastes, though it's serviceable enough.

Star Garland. This garland of stars is totally cute, and would make a fun and pretty country-style Christmas decoration, or a fanciful decoration for a nursery.

Stripey Pillow Top. Not bad overall, though I have my suspicions as to how good the seam looks.

Textured Throw Pillow. Quite nice! The design on the front is simple yet very effective and handsome.

There's a Chill in De Aire Blanket. Not bad, though I don't like that unfinished-looking edge on the ends of it. Though that's easily remedied with a band of garter stitch -- to match the one at the sides.

Tube: A Super-Simple Slipper Sock. There's no denying that these are rather cute. However, those rolls of sock at the ankle compel me to say that it's better to choose a heeled sock design.

Tyson Hat. This hat is as basic as it gets, but it's wearable enough.

These mittens are basic, but the yarn used for them adds a lot to their appeal and attraction.

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Twist Collective January 2018: A Review

Twist Collective has released its January 2018 issue. Let's have a look at it.

Framework. This is a very decent contemporary take on the turtleneck.

Beringer. Classic cabled pullover.

Undercut. Some very pretty lacework in this one. I love the back.

Decalage. Another classic cabled pullover. It's hard to go wrong with this kind of design.

Sardonyx. Some beautiful stitchwork in this kimono-style cardigan, and it hangs well.

Rhona. More classic cables, this time on a cardigan rather than a pullover.

Interlaken. Now here's something different. Shaping is good, stitchwork is attractive and interesting, and the overall effect is definitely eye-catching. I think I might do this in a different colourway that didn't have such a stark difference between the body and the yoke and sleeves, because at first glance this comes across as a shrug worn over a pullover rather than an integrated sweater.

Nouveau. This is a beautiful cardigan, but I don't think I care for the ten or so inches of unbuttoned front edges below the waist, which has an awkward, "gaping open" look. I'd make this piece shorter and button it all way to the bottom.

Thunderbolt. Nice piece. Fresh, contemporary design themes for yokes seems to be turning into one of my design sweet spots.

Bilberry. A nice classic hat, mittens, and cowl set.

Aubin. Fabulous stitchwork in this one!

Cabrillo. This is also a nice set. It would be fun to pick out a colourway for this one.

Alizeh. A very attractive Celtic-themed wrap.

Vervain. These are very smart, and the pattern is so attractively intricate that it's a pleasure to look at.

Anabiel. Love the stitchwork in this one.

Mill Creek. This one looks attractive from a distance, but alas, when I take a close look at the design, I find I see some sort of... little turd creatures. Is it just me? And if so, should I find a Freudian psychoanalyst?

Rebe. Oooh, I love the elegant iris-like pattern in this one, and the way the ribbing around the edge has been angled to form part of the design. I don't like the dirty mustard colour used to make it at all, but if you share my dislike of mustard yellow, that is so easily remedied.

Mishmash. These are cute and fun.

Ribbon Candy. It would be fun to pick out colours for this one.

Yojimbo. Love the patterns on this shawl, and they work so well in combination and make for such a sharp-looking wrap.