Thursday, 14 September 2017

Rowan Knitting & Crochet Magazine 62: A Review, Part 2

Today we're going to look at the second half of the designs in Rowan Knitting & Crochet Magazine 62, having looked at the first half three days ago.

Bradshaw. Classic cabled turtleneck.

Wilshaw. I like the detail on the body of this coat, and the back looks quite sharp, but the front looks unfinished and the sleeves look silly.

Midnight. Good shape and texture, but I think I'd make this one in a variegated yarn, as it needs just a little more visual interest.

Weeton Scarf. It's seldom I see a crocheted scarf I really like, but I do quite like this one with its pleasing woven effect.

Fumbar. This one's a refreshing take on the classic fair isle yoke pullover, the shaping is good, and I like the subtle neutral colourway.

Midnight Cowl and Dimmet. I rather like this one, which could be worn on its own or as a layering piece, and I love the versatility of the cowl and sweater set idea that I just might have to make one for myself. Though I would wear a proper belt with it, not a piece of leather cord or twine or whatever that is around the model's waist.

Almondbury. The texture's great and the colours are beautiful, but this one isn't so much a cardigan as it is an afghan with sleeves.

Farnley. This one's rather cute. I even like the pom poms, though I'd make them a little smaller.

Dusky Scarf. This is quite attractive and a good way to add some distinction to a plain outfit.

Oxton. A nice classic piece.

Gransmoor. Very pretty leaf and diamond fair isle design, though I would do it in another colourway. This combination of dark blue and pale blue is popular with designers, but for some reason it never quite pulls together for me -- it's visually just a little jarring and off-key.

Veiled. This is very simple but it's wearable enough.

Buttrick. This one is good overall, but has an unflattering boxy shape that isn't doing this professional model any favours. I'd normally advise adding waist shaping but that could be difficult to do in this case given the closely set cable pattern, so instead I'd probably just give this design a pass.

Subdued. The designer of this one seems to have tried to jazz up a too-plain item by randomly adding ties to the sleeves, and like most randomly added design elements, it's not serving its intended purpose.

Marr. Very striking mosaic patterned coat.

Sundown. A cute little cropped cardigan. This can be a difficult length to wear but they do look cute over a dress.

Bielby. This one has such a dragged out, downtrodden look that even the model it's on is looking as though she's getting a sudden urge to sit in a darkened room, wrap herself in a blanket and eat marshmallow fluff straight from the jar.

Eventide. Not bad, though these long narrow cardigans tend to be hard to wear. That's easily remedied though -- just make it in a flattering length for the intended wearer.

Thackrey Scarf. The matching hat for this scarf appeared in part one of this review, and I like the scarf just as much. It was a sound idea to knit it in a tube so that there's no "wrong" side.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Rowan Knitting & Crochet Magazine 62: A Review, Part 1

Rowan has released issue 62 of its knitting and crochet magazine. Let's have a look at the first 21 of the 41 patterns in it, shall we? ETA: Part 2 of this review can be found here.

Twilight. Classic cabled and bobbled sweater, and it doesn't hurt that the yarn used for this sample is Kidsilk Haze and Fine Lace in a beautiful colour.

Eve. I'm liking the stripes, but the shaping of this surplice cardigan is not particularly flattering, and it also doesn't look good when worn open.

Fishlake. Oooh, I really love this fair isle, with its baseball shirt-inspired design, and would knit and wear it myself without making a single alteration to the pattern. "Classic with a bit of a twist" is my favourite look.

Whispered. A nice cowl with an attractive slip stitch texture.

Gloaming. This cardigan has dowdy lines and makes even this very attractive professional model look frumpy. The pattern description calls this a "comfortable cardigan". I'm reminded of the truism that if a real estate ad is reduced to calling a place "clean", it means there isn't much else to be said in its favour. Like cleanliness in a place offered for rent or sale, comfort should be a given in knitwear.

Greenwood. This pullover has seriously cool chartwork. It's impossible to add waist shaping to this one because it would detract too much from the pattern, but I would fix the dropped shoulders and neaten up the fit.

Hutton. This crocheted shawl is a little too afghan-y for my liking, but I do like the colourway.

Daybreak. Fairly plain, but wearable enough. I think I'd add some ribbing or a picot edging at the neckline as it looks a little unfinished as is.

Lund. Nice piece with a very effective zig zag stitchwork pattern.

Sunset. Not liking the A-line shaping of this one, which is hella unflattering. Tellingly, all the sample photos show the model at an angle, never full frontal.

Evening. I'm liking the pretty cable and bead detailing on this one, and while I'm not crazy about the shaping and would turn this into a standard fitting long- or short-sleeved pullover, I also don't hate the lines of this top as they are. It has a poncho-like effect and works pretty well as a layered piece.

Cowlam. Nice! The texture's good, and the larger than usual turtleneck and elongated cuffs give it a bit of a lift.

Eclipse. I want to like this, but I can't help feeling that the proportions and balance are off. I'd add some more lacework to this rather than having that one isolated strip of it at the bottom.

Sweeting. A good-looking and wearable jacket.

Thackrey. Very cute and smart little cap.

Afterglow. Very pretty.

Foss. Love the cables in this but man, this thing is huge. Unless your dream is to make a sweater that can double as a sleeping bag, I'd scale it way back, and also close up the very long side slits, which extend to a few inches above the model's waist. I really like the concept of a cowl that is knitted separately and can be left off or worn with other items if desired.

Eastbury. Simple but smart and wearable.

Nightfall. The shawl collar and beaded stitchwork combined with garter stitch is a great look, but the shaping is really detracting. I'd fix the dropped shoulders and add a bit of waist shaping.

Sykes. Classic cabled pullover, but again I'd fix the dropped shoulders and neaten up the fit.

Mellow. This has a certain retro appeal -- I've seen some elegant 1950s jacket patterns in a similar vein -- although the unstructured look and unfinished edges also keep it contemporary. I like it, though maybe not enough to wear it myself, and I'd fix the dropped shoulders.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Knitting Traditions Fall 2017: A Review

Knitting Traditions has released their Fall 2017 issue. Let's have a look at it, shall we?

Aviatrix Pullover. Not a bad piece. The grommets and leather laces give it a bit of edge. I'd be inclined to fix the dropped shoulders, and possibly to try the effect of replacing the leather cord with ribbon.

Camera Bag. This one is fun. Those vintage camera bags often do make smart and useful tote bags, so why not a hipsterish knitted version?

Crystal Palace Shawl. This lovely shawl was inspired by the famous entry hall of Victorian England's Great Exhibition's Crystal Palace. I don't suppose that Prince Albert ever expected that his grand project would still be inspiring creative artists over a century and a half later.

Cuirassier's Cardigan. This one sits rather poorly and is bulgy in the front.

Flying Car Bolero. Cute piece. I'm liking the steampunk vibe.

Graven Wrap. A beautiful wrap with some architectural cables.

Haubergeon Sweater. A classic, wearable piece with some nice detailing on the sleeves.

Incognito Spats. These have the look of toilet paper cosies for the feet.

Jacquard Boot Toppers. These also remind me of toilet paper cosies, though in this case I do love the contrast slip stitch effect used here and would very interested to see the effect employed in another design.

Kashmiri Shawl. What a gorgeous piece of work.

Manchester Pullover. Nice piece. I'd be inclined to do this one in a soft wool yarn rather than a cotton yarn (which tends to have a crisper look) for a more romantic effect.

Morris Flower & Vine Mitts. These are a pretty bit of needlework -- I love the beautiful motifs on the back and the lace is lovely -- though I am at somewhat of a loss as to what one would wear with them. I suppose they'd look fine on someone with a romantic bohemian dress sense.

Nottingham Socks. Oooh, love these plaid socks, with their fun, sporty feel.

Samurai Cowl. Another beautiful lacy piece, and it's quite versatile as it can be worn as a cowl, a poncho, or a hood.

Scarab Cowl. Fun, attractive, and eye-catching.

Shebeke Tam. An attractive stained glass-inspired tam that looks good from all angles. I'm not so crazy about the colourway, but that's easily remedied.

Steampunk Pullover. Love this one. The shaping is excellent and the gears motif is well-designed and smart.

Thousand Miles Purse. This is quite pretty, and will prove equally useful to those who are into Victorian costuming, steam punk enthusiasts, and those who just want an attractive evening bag.