Sunday, 30 June 2013

You Knit, You Score!!!!!!!!!

During the recent Stanley Cup playoffs and finals, I kept thinking I must do a post of hockey-themed patterns, but never got around to it before the season ended. And I suppose I should segue into some kind of joke about how I'm at least not as overdue in getting the job done as the Maple Leafs are, but I can't think of a clever way to do it at the minute, and anyway when your city's team hasn't brought home the Cup since well before you were born, those jokes get old. Forty-five years old, to be precise, which is if not old at least middle-aged.

Anyway, here's a selection of the best hockey knitting patterns I could find on the net and you'll have lots of time to get a few of them made for the 2013/2014 season. You'll have the option of tweaking any patterns you like to include your team's logo and/or colours, of course. And if your goal in making some of these accessories is to look cute enough to get caught on camera at the next game you attend, I'd say you have a chance. The hockey doll above is the first one, and it's a free pattern available on Ravelry. I'm wondering if that's supposed to be Wayne Gretzky. It does look a little like him, though back in his Oiler days Gretzky sported a mullet, not spikes. This is a doll that could be made to resemble a particular player by changing the skin tone and hair colour and stitching a name and number on the back of the sweater. I would totally have made this for my nephew when he was about four if I'd had the pattern back then.

Hockey player dishcloth. This is a $2(USD) pattern from Knitwits Heaven.

Skate baby booties, or should we call these baby skaties? These are before your baby even begins to attempt walking of course, but they're super cute. A Craftster member designed these and generously posted the pattern on Craftster for all to enjoy.

The Peruvian hat goes to the game! Hey, a lot of those small town rinks do not have heated seats. This pattern is available on Ravelry for free.

Here's a cute (and non-partisan) hockey tuque. The pattern is available on Ravelry for €3.49(EUR).

Here's another hockey player doll. This one is less suitable for turning into a particular player than the one above, but it does look more like an enforcer. This pattern is available for $2.99(CAD).

Hockey mittens. I could have used these back in the day when I went to my nephew's games and promptly turned into a rabid hockey aunt. Besides making me look the part, they might have kept me from clawing at the plexiglass. The pattern is available via Ravelry for $2(CAD).

Penguin mittens, which is a free pattern, and of course could be changed to show support for any team you like. Incidentally, have you ever noticed that people never seem to support sports teams based on the team's actual merits? I used to ask the men I dated why their favourite team was their favourite team, and the answer never had anything to do with how good the team was. The answers ran along the lines of, "I used to live in Chicago, so after I moved away I just kept cheering for the Blackhawks," or "Wherever I live, I always support the local team," or "My Dad took me to a Flyers game back in 1982 and it was the only thing he ever did with me, so I've been a Flyers fan ever since."

A Red Wing scarf that's actually pretty snazzy. This pattern is a free Ravelry download.

Stanley Cup Championship Shawl. These are the Pittsburgh Penguins colours, and are easily substituted for your team's colours. This pattern is a free Ravelry download.

Puck This! hat. Now this, hockey and knitting fans, is the perfect thing to wear to a Leafs' game. It's a free Ravelry download.

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Knitscene Fall 2013: A Review

Knitscene has published their Fall 2013 issue! Let's have a look at it.

We begin well. The Rosemary Cardigan is a simple little affair with some interesting detail.

I quite like the Alison Pullover. It's so simple and flattering and yet I've never seen anything quite like it.

I have seen fingerless mitts very like the June Mitts, but it's a nice enough pattern.

Hello, Emmylou Shawl. The shawl is so skimpy in its proportions that I would be inclined to wear it as a scarf as it's styled in the first photo, but it is a very nice scarf. Love the border detail.

I'm not a fan of the Peruvian hat, but I must admit the Forester Hat design is probably the nicest Peruvian hat design I've ever seen.

I quite like the Impression Vest. It's a simple, flattering, wearable shape with some eye-catching detail. A woman could get a lot of wear out of this vest because it could be worn on its own or layered over a blouse or a t-shirt.

I'm not sure about the Correlation Cardigan. I love the interesting pattern in it, which is lacy without being too open, and the flattering neckline. But I've got some concerns about the shaping, which looks a bit smock-like, and that's not a good direction in which to take a worsted yarn.

I definitely feel like I've seen the Fabrication Pullover before, but then knitting designers can hardly keep reinventing the wheel every time. This is a good classic-style pattern, and I like the interlaced effect of the front panel, which is more interesting than plain diamonds would have been.

Quite like the Terrace Socks, which is a clever use of gradient yarn. Socks really are a great way to showcase interesting variegated yarn.

I'm amazed at how striking the Ziggarut Scarf is given that it's so simple. I mean, garter stitch, alternating triangles of colour... this could look like a total beginner project and yet it's really sharp and graphic. This is an inspired use of variegated yarn.

After all the complaining I've done about ponchos, ripple patterns, and items of knitwear that look like afghans, I should totally hate the Amalfi Poncho.... and yet I don't. I think it's the colours, which are so pretty in an off-beat way that they're sucking me in. It also helps that the ripple pattern is vertical rather than horizontal, and that the poncho drapes as well as a poncho possibly could, with an effective cowl neckline. It's not at all something I'd wear and yet I can imagine it working on a few of the women I know.

It's amazing how important colour is in the presentation of a knitted design. I remember training myself to look beyond the colours of designs in my copies of Vogue Knitting back when I was 15 or so, because of course... the items we knit can be any colour we want... but all these years later I still have a hard time getting past the colour of the sample in the magazine pictures. The Varese Pullover is a very good pattern with a good shape and an incredibly innovative stitch pattern, but I'm having a hard time really appreciating it because I don't personally care for that bubblegum-on-oatmeal colourway.

The Emammanuelle Sweater is a dead simple affair with one little gimmick as its main selling point. But I have to admit, I rather like this. It's fun and eye-catching and would be a fun little sweater to throw on with jeans.

I'm not crazy about the Gallarate Beret and Mitts, but I think it's the colourway that's putting me off. That oatmeal colour has a deadening effect here.

The Teresa Shawl uses more of that oatmeal yarn, although it's working a bit better in this case. It's not a bad pattern, but I think, again, that there are better colourways for this item.

You know, if I saw the Zahara Cardigan in a vintage photo on a model with a bouffant hairdo and go-go boots, I'd include it in one of my knitting fable posts and the fable would be about a girl named Zahara who was torn between two loves: the night life and hideous seventies crafts. It's the combination of the ripple pattern and the retro colourway that's giving this design the look of a seventies handknit, I think. I would definitely make this one in another colourway. Any other colourway.

I can't sign off on the Penny Candy Cardigan, which looks less like a deliberate design than like a ratty old sweater that shrunk in the wash.

I do like the simple Rock Candy design, but I'd make it in a hand-dyed or variegated yarn rather than in a solid tone neutral. It looks a bit bland here, like it needs a little something more.

I like the Confectionary Pullover quite a lot, but it would look better worn a little looser than what you see here. This sample looks to be about a size too small and as though the chain detailing on the front is getting pulled askew.

I like the Praline Pullover on the whole, although the ribbed bars just below the bustline look a little random and pointless. And again, this design would probably look better in a slightly looser fit.

Friday, 28 June 2013

Sh*t Knitters Say

Today, I bring you a video called Sh*t Knitters Say.

Followed by a second video, also named Sh*t Knitters Say.

Followed by a third video, this time named Sh*t Vegan Knitters Say. I don't know if there's a video called Sh*t Knitting Bloggers Say, and given that I already recognize too many of my own words in the first two videos, I'm afraid to look, in case I find out my blog really is just like the all those thousands of knitting blogs out there. I mean, I bet the people who put those first two videos together thought they were being original too.

Coming up: Look for the Knitscene Fall 2013 issue review tomorrow morning!

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Rowan Knitting & Crochet Magazine 54: A Review, Part 2

Today's post is the second half to the review of Rowan Knitting & Crochet Magazine 54, the first half having been posted yesterday.

I rather like the Rya pattern, which has an interesting stripe pattern, a unique colourway, and is well-constructed. But with those stripes extending from arm to arm, this isn't going to be a very flattering item to wear. Notice how they don't show a full frontal shot of the model?

I'm not really sure the Milas pattern quite works. That deep v-neck invaded the chest stripe and so needed something to balance out the effect, but I'm not at all sure the collar's doing that. And the scarf worn Ascot-style isn't a good idea. I think what I would do with this item is leave the collar off, knit the entire top of the sleeves and the front and back in the second colour rather than just making it a stripe, and pair it with a t-shirt. Deep v-neck sweaters on men calls for layering so we don't see too much skin (or chest hair) there. Sorry, guys, but though your manly bare chests are welcome at the beach or in a backyard or the bedroom, they don't play well in low-cut neckline peepshows.

The Marash pattern isn't bad at all, but I think the colourway could be better.

This is the Kilim Wrap pattern, by Kaffe Fassett. I wish Rowan had shown us a full frontal view, as I find it hard to assess how this flatters the wearer. The pattern and colourway are as beautiful as they always are in Kaffe Fassett designs, but this does look a little bulky. I'd say if you want to make this for yourself to make sure the proportions are right for your figure.

The wrap front on the Izmir design looks bulky and rumpled even on the model, but that pale, subtle Harlequin pattern is quite remarkable. I'd be inclined to forego the wrap style and use the pattern charts to make a basic v-neck or turtleneck.

In any other designer's hands, the Kashmir Scarf Wrap would look exactly like an afghan with delusions of being a wrap. But if anyone could turn the ripple pattern into a clothing item, it's Kaffe Fassett. The sophisticated colourway, the use of mohair, which helps blend and soften the colours, the addition of a twisted cord motif to the ripples, and especially the belt really help make this look like a wrap. It's still not going to be a look for everyone, but then those who like it but can't wear it can always use the pattern to make, well, an afghan.

The Madame Butterfly is the second pattern in this issue which has employed the waistline tie effect, and I just can't agree that it's a workable gimmick. It makes the waistline look bulky and bunchy.

The Bizet has a lot going for it. The brocade pattern is lovely, the cuffs are such a nice touch and that collar sits just so perfectly. But I do have my concerns: the description mentions a back pleat panel detail that I wish had been shown to us, and I don't know how flattering this sweater would look in a full frontal view because it does appear to be pulling up and flaring out in the front. However, these are things that can be fixed if they do prove to be an actual problem.

The Vivaldi pattern has something different. I've always admired a wrapped neckline in blouses and dresses, but I don't think I've ever seen it in a sweater. I wonder if it could be an alternative to the turtleneck for those of us who look terrible in turtlenecks?

The Silla pattern is another design that imitates a classic blouse style: the blouse with a lace yoke and sleeves. I like the concept very much, but don't think this execution quite works — the lace components look just look a little too heavy and overbearing for the body of the sweater. Different yarn choices might make this work (gorgeous as these yarns are).

The Juliet design is a third blouse-translated-into-knitwear example (and technically into crochet too, as that middle panel is crocheted). I like this one quite a lot. It has the elegance and formality of a blouse but the comfort and warmth of a sweater.

The Rameau Wrap is a basic but nice shawl pattern.

The Corelli jacket is very nice (love that collar!), though the bagginess around the waist does concern me a little and there's a buttoned back detail not shown here. I wish there were a better pictures available that showed more detail.

I've been waiting to get to the Berenice Wrap, which is the cover look for this issue. It's a really lovely stole, with such an elegant and luxurious air.

The La Scale is another beautifully detailed jacket. I do have my worries about that one-button style — upper body wear that stands away from the midsection just doesn't tend to be flattering, but again it's hard to tell how it's going to look from this picture, and a pleated skirt and loose-fitting top were not the right items to pair with this jacket.

I very much like the Verdi pattern, but man does that tapestry-like panel begin in an unflattering place. I'd take enough rows out of it to keep it completely away from the bustline, but even then if you don't like emphasizing your waistline, this is a design to stay away from.

I love the La Boheme pattern, but I would want to fix those dropped shoulders. I know they're supposed to be a design elements but I just don't think dropped shoulder sweaters ever work on women unless they're otherwise sleeveless.

The Salome design would be pretty hanging on a hanger, but the reality is that there are very few women who would be able to carry off all those bulky ruffles at the waistline. I'd omit the top two and just leave in the one around the bottom.

The pattern on the Aida design is attractive, but I do think this pattern needs some reshaping because it would make most women look dumpy. Reshaping this top to be a standard fit and shortening the sleeves would give it a definite lift.