Monday, 30 September 2013

"My Picture Knit Jumpers"

In this video, YouTube user TubularBelle shows us a collection of the picture knits she and her mother designed and made back in the 80s and 90s (yes, we're talking Garfield and South Park representations here), and that, as she puts it, are "now doomed to live in the land of the eternal embarrassment". It's true picture knits aren't in style now, but the sheer level of wit and skill that went into these sweaters makes them very much worth a look.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Pleasant Pheasant Fantasies and Other Knitting Fables

Lisette's new winter hoodie allowed her to indulge in some pleasant pheasant fantasy role playing, at least for awhile, until the unfortunate eye-gouging incident.

Sometimes Vera liked to put on everything she'd ever made for herself and just sit and feel herself becoming one with her knitting.

Bill was so proud of the new archery vest he'd made Ted didn't have the heart to tell him wearing a bull's eye to target practice wasn't the smartest idea.

Candra loved yarn so much, she shaved her head and had some roving implanted into her scalp. She'd heard people say she should have used some of that yarn to make a little more dress, but she put that down to spite and malice.

When Daphne's free form crochet project didn't turn into a dress as she'd hoped, she glued it to a dress. When it seemed to lack a little something, she added shoulder pads made from chair upholstery and then bought a pair of matching ankle socks. It was one of her principles to never give up on a project but just keep tweaking until it worked.

Raquel thought anything Levi Strauss & Co., could do, she could crochet better.

Raquel's twin, Raphael, didn't consider Levis very inspiring and instead liked to get naked and just start crocheting and see what happened.

Meara was determined that at least one of her ball gowns was going to keep her comfortably warm.

Violet's plan to knit herself an extra warm skirt and jacket for winter hit a snag when she underestimated her own measurements.

Carmel had never progressed beyond the knitting skill level required for the making of skinny scarves, but she didn't see why that should keep her from making herself a stunning outfit.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Knitscene Winter 2013: A Review

The Knitscene Winter 2013 issue is out. Let's have a look at it, shall we?

This the Victor Shawl. Which looks to me more like a really big scarf. Nothing wrong with that, of course, as large-scale accessories can be fun and this one has some clever stitchwork.

These are the Stereo Mittens. They're a nice pair of cabled mittens. They are plain stockinette stitch on the palms, which strikes me as practical idea because it should be easier to handle objects without the extra bulk of cables in the way.

The Quadraphonic Cardigan. Open front cardigans don't usually do it for me, but I like this one because it's designed to hang so well.

I like the Hi-Fi Pullover as well. It's very well cut and flattering. Not every woman would want a sweater this snug, of course, but it can always be knitted to fit more loosely.

There's nothing terribly exciting about the Sylvia Cardigan, but it is a nice, wearable piece.

The Tara Jacket. The back looks great, but the front looks pretty awkward regardless of how much or how little it's zipped up.

The Gemma Pullover. This one's pretty wearable, and I like the little touches of cable at the wrists and waistband. I can't quite figure out what's going on at the neckline, though, and whatever's happening there, it's making the transition between the neck ribbing and stockinette looks a little rough.

The Mauveine Henley is very pretty. If you don't like emphasizing your hips quite as much as the deep border of lace will do, just work one row of lace diamonds rather than two, or just use the sleeve border pattern around the hem of the bodice.

The Purpurpeus Shawl is very, very basic. It might be a good pattern to use for a yarn that you love so much and that it is of such excellent quality it can stand alone, but the yarn used for this sample wasn't that kind of yarn.

The Byzantium Stole is another big, attractive scarf, this time with a nice lace pattern.

The Heliotrope Hat is a pretty standard cabled cap, but it's a good example of one. It looks equally good from every angle.

The Manganese Cowl isn't bad. It has a modern feel to it. I think it would definitely need to be paired with the right kind of coat.

The Tyrian Loop is one of those cowls made long enough to be worn either single or doubled. Which is a great idea, though this one definitely looks much better worn doubled. Worn single it looks a bit like a flat tire hung around the model's neck.

The Boxelder Cardigan is another fairly standard pattern, but it's definitely a very attractive and polished cabled hoodie.

The Gambel Shawl. Not bad. I like the way the Knitscene editors have chosen to tie it on the model. I thought at first it was some new style of cowl.

The Narrowleaf Sweater. I very much like this one, except for that buckle on the shoulder, which at first glance looks like a strip of black electrical tape holding this model's sweater together. The concept of a buckled shoulder isn't bad, mind you, but I don't like this particular buckle on this particular sweater. I'd find a better one, or use buttons. By the way, have I ever expounded on my belief that it's best to buy such notions as buttons and zippers and buckles before you begin to knit an item? That way you can be sure you'll have the right thing to finish off the item, and you'll know if you need to tailor an item to suit what's available, i.e., if you can only get a half dozen of the perfect buttons, you can make six buttonholes instead of seven.

Love the Wild Plum Shawlette, which is intricate and striking.

The Hoptree Scarf uses two different weights of yarn to give an otherwise traditional lacework pattern more a different kind of look. It's not bad, though not really to my tastes — the different yarn weights make it look so cobbled together.

I quite like the Mountain Ash Pullover, which uses solid and variegated yarns in similar tones to create a striped effect. It's a subtle and fresh way to wear horizontal stripes, which can tend to look not only unflattering but rather juvenile.

I like the simple little Pinyon Vest, though to me it does look more like something I'd be more likely to make in a cotton and wear by itself in the summer than a wool piece for winter layering.

The Black Cherry Pullover. This one is rather boxy and isn't terribly flattering even on the model, but that's fixable: fix the dropped shoulders, add waist shaping, and lengthen it to hip length.

The Bristlecone Pullover. One good way to incorporate a bold pattern into knitwear is to use it just on the bodice and make the sleeves, neckband, and waistbands a coordinating colour. This looks quite sharp without being overwhelming as an all-over, large-scale houndstooth pattern would have.

The Chokecherry Scarf is another quite traditional pattern, but again it's a particularly good example of its kind.

I love the back of the Thinleaf Jacket, but I'm not at all sold on the front, which looks awkward and unflattering. It's not sitting well even on this model. I'd be inclined to turn this into a turtle- or cowl-necked pullover and run the Celtic back design up the front as well.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Ball of Yarn

Klubok, or Ball of Yarn, made in 1968, is a short animated film based on a Russian folk tale about a poor old woman and the magic ball of yarn she finds one cold winter night. The movie was directed by Nikolai Serebryakov and the music was created by Eduard Artemiev.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Just Another Knit in the Wall

A group called Knitting for Change launched a project in summer 2013 that saw a wall covered with knitting graffiti. The wall stands by Hastings Museum and Art Gallery, John’s Place, Bohemia Road, Hastings, England. The wall was created during a series of workshops attended by members of the public, and it was embroidered with slogans including: “I Love Hastings”, “Walk a mile in my shoes before you judge me”, and “Be Somebody”. The workshops and the effort to cover the wall also proved a good way to introduce children to knitting, with the children in attendance learning to knit with needles or to finger knit for the first time. For more about this project, check out the video about the project on The Hastings Observer website, and see this Hastings Online article, which was written by one of the two women who launched the project.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Knit.Wear Fall/Winter 2013: A Review

Knit.wear has released their Fall/Winter 2013 issue. Let's have a look at it, shall we?

This is the Metallic Chevron Pullover. I hemmed and hawed over this one. Was it too afghan-like, as chevron pattern stuff has a tendency to be, or was it not? I think I'm going to come down on the "not too afghan-like" side. The cream sleeves and ribbing help to tone down the chevrons, as does choosing a sophisticated colourway.

The Drawstring Pullover. I like this one. It's simple yet with distinguishing touches in the cowl and the sleeves, and it helps that it's made in a yarn that looks ever so soft and luxurious.

Can't say I care for the Eyelet Raglan. Those eyelet chains are supposed to look like a design feature but instead look like inreases and decreases that shouldn't be showing.

The Textured Shawl is elegantly understated, and this shawl looks good worn several ways.

The Tucked Pullover works because the designer didn't stop with the tucking detail but also carefully shaped the sweater to make it flattering.

I am really not liking the big floppy scarf that is a titular part of the Attached Scarf Cardigan. This is no way to treat a perfectly nice cardigan.

I very much liked the Envelope Hat, until I saw how it morphs into a Bag Hat at the back.

Not a fan of the Asymmetrical Collar Jacket. I do have a definite anti-asymmetry bias, but it can work when the asymmetry is more accomplished than this. These collars just look askew rather than as though they were taking the eye in an unexpected direction.

I love the Askew Vest until I look down at the bottom. I've honestly tried to like the bottom ribbing, and I can't. The narrow ribbing between the askew wider ribbing looks for all the world like those extra teeth that sometimes appear in people's gums above their adult teeth. The back looks great, the collar is nice, I love the diagonal cable, and I'd be finishing off the bottom of the vest with a plain band of cable just like the back.

The Bias Lace Tank is really pretty. It's a piece that would give a lot of interest to a very basic outfit consisting of a plain shirt and trousers or pencil skirt.

I love the Swaying Cables Scarf, which is only garter stitch and cables and yet somehow manages to be a statement piece, look good any way it's wrapped, and also look incredibly warm. You can't ask more than that of a scarf.

The Twelve Cables Pullover is such a terrific piece I just had to include all three photos of it. It's Aran weight but so beautifully shaped it will be reasonably easy to carry off. Those face framing cables are just jaw-dropping.

The Horizontal Cowl Pullover looks pretty good from the front but the back view leaves much to be desired.

The Pocket Hem Pullover just looks like it's on inside out.

The Kite Cardigan looks roughly made and sloppy. Even this professional model hasn't been able to lend it any grace.

I was going to say I wished the Double Knit Scarf had a better-finished edge, but the more I look at it the more I realize that any finishing technique I can think of would ruin its look. It's a conceptual yet minimalist piece, and it is just what it's supposed to be.

I quite like the Ring Collar Pullover, though I'm not thrilled with the way the cream "ring around the collar" is pulling away from the others and showing the underside. If I made this one I'd look for a way to fashion those rings so they'd lie firmly in place.

I like the Lace Insert Pullover except for one thing: the way the collar sags in front. I'd be inclined to put some other kind of collar on this one.

This is the Double Puff Dolman, and my goodness is it unflattering. It manages to look okay on the cover, but just look what will happen when you move your arms. Telling you how to fix it would involve my creating a whole new design, so I suggest you just knit something else.

I think I'd like the modern Shaped-Intarsia Tunic much better if it were in more attractive colours — gray, brown and mustard aren't exactly a colourway made in heaven.

There are several things about Dressmaker Jacket I like: the shaping, the colourway, the silver clasps. But I never can get behind cardigans that don't quite meet in the front. They always look like they are too small, though it's working better in this instance than it usually does. If you feel the same way, you can these jacket fronts wide enough in front to fit, and add in a welt on one side to cover any gaping.

I just love the High-Collar Wrap Cardigan, with its amazing front shaping and exquisite back details, except for one thing, and you can probably guess what that is: that awful pucker where there's probably an inside button. The eye just zeroes in on it. I'm trying to figure out a way to get rid of that. It would be a challenge, unless you want to use double-sided tape or something, and who wants to do that. I'm coming up with sewing a mock button on top of it (though then you'll have to add two or four more buttons down below to balance out the top ones).

Hmm. As you may already know from past reviews, I'm not one to give dropped sleeves and oversized cuts a pass. I'm inclined to let it go in the case of the Turtleneck Jacket, though. The slim sleeves keep the silhouette from looking sloppy, and the back does look so good. I think this is a piece that can work over a fitted outfit. It's the 2013 version of the swing coat.

And we end well with the Cabled Bands Pullover, which I quite like. Though I do think the cuffs need detail, but to be fair it's difficult to say what. Cables like those around the bottom and neck would be too heavy. Bands of the reversed stockinette that is used at the seams might work.