Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Knitscene Spring 2016: A Review

The Knitscene Spring 2016 issue is out. Let's have a look at it.

Siula Grande Sweater. Simple useful piece with some good shaping.

Salcantay Cowl. The perfect accessory for the last day of those Outward Bound excursions when the only clean clothes you have left are pieces that don't match at all. Mind you, I'm making fun of the styling, rather than the cowl, which I quite like. It has a certain understated style and would elevate many an outfit, though it's wasted on this one.

Mismi Shawl. Another nice little piece. The two-tone yarn gives it a more casual look than a single yarn colour would, though it is still not Outward Bound-level casual.

Chachani Hat. This little cap does belong on an Outward Bound expedition, as well as a lot of other places.

Robie Tank. I like this one on the whole, but I wouldn't go with this variegated yarn because it gives the design the look of a disco ball.

Glass Palace Tee. This is a cute top with some sporty-looking detailing. Though I don't know if I would recommend it as an accompaniment to a long, full, laser-cut skirt, wedge-heeled sandals, and a workbench.

Savoye Pullover. Love the large scale check pattern and the neck. Don't love the dropped shoulders, and the cropped, baggy fit of both the body and the sleeves, but if you don't like them either, it's always possible to reshape the design.

Monadnock Tank. A classic, pretty piece.

Modern Tartan Slouch. This one's quite smart. And fortunately there's no need to pair it with a floral romper.

Tribune Pullover. The slits in this one wouldn't ordinarily be my thing, but I think they work for this design by giving it a bit of a modern edge. The texture and shaping are also good.

Marina City Shawl. This is one of those understated pieces that only reveal their beauty and elegance upon closer inspection. Love the star stitch used here. This is also one versatile and practical item.

Geodesic Mitts. These are super cute in a very smart, adult way.

Natalia Sweater. Lovely design, although I think there are a myriad of better colourways for it than this one, which looks a little wan.

Dinah Pullover. Really liking this one's minimalist yet polished style.

Wanda Vest. A classic. Though I'd pick a less dreary colour for it to rid it of that "post-war army surplus yarn" look.

Helena Gloves. These are rather fetching in a vintage-y way.

Greer Cardigan. I like this design on the whole, though I do have some nitpicks. Those sleeves are rather too full in the cap, creating an almost puffed sleeve effect, and the contrast colour edgings look a little afghan-y, though might look less so in a more subtle colourway. Making the sleeves more fitted and the colourway more sophisticated would take this design to the next level.

Yelena Cardigan. Classic cardigan with beautiful stitchwork.

Sharon Tote. This is one of those good concepts that didn't get where they deserved to go. I love the idea of a tartan bag, and the bow is a cute touch, but the straps used here are so at variance with the rest of the bag that they detract from the overall look. I'd buy (or make) straps for the bag before I made my yarn selection, and then choose yarns that would work well with the straps. I'd also line the bag with fabric, and probably also a sturdy interlining, to give it stability and shape.

Peggy Sweater. I like the concept of a back-revealing sweater for summer, but can't say I care for this particular execution of it, which presents more as a "saggy wardrobe malfunction" than a deliberate "I'm bringing sexy back".

Monday, 28 December 2015

Knitty Winter 2015: A Review

Knitty has released their Winter 2015 issue. Let's have a look at it, shall we?

Tree cowl. This is a rather wearable and fun piece. It's an impressively clever rendering of a fir tree in yarn, without being so obviously a tree that it would make the wearer look silly.

Ribbon Candy scarf. This normally wouldn't be at all my type of thing, but it would be a fun accessory with the right outfit. I don't know quite how the photographer got the scarf to stand sideways on its own like Pippi Longstocking's braids for this photo, but rest assured it doesn't seem to do that of its own accord in real life.

Cache-cache cowl. What a lovely play of colour. This pattern really makes the most of a hand-painted sock yarn.

Willow cowl. Love this one. It reminds me of an Elizabethan neck ruff while being perfectly current and even innovative. It's reversible, will stay in place, and will look good worn either on its own over a simple top, or under a jacket.

Hexadot scarf. This designer accidentally discovered that linen stitch is capable of producing a polka dot design, and used the technique to make a "hexadot" scarf. The result is a good-looking scarf, and a technique I will be keeping in mind for the next time I want a polka dot effect.

Cervus cowl. Another pretty cowl with a lovely play of colour.

Cameo flower shawl. Beautiful.

Mishigos cowl. Not bad. I'm not finding that dirty yellow very attractive, but that's easily corrected, and this piece has texture and good shaping.

Electricity hat. Very pretty hat. This definitely seems to be an issue focused on patterns that are designed to make the most of a hand-painted yarn.

Bimitral hat. Very much like this one, which features bias stripes and can be knitted either as a slouchy tam or a slouchy cap, depending on your preferred degree of slouch.

Attention span hat. Cute and pretty.

Sidekick boot socks. Rather a nice-looking pair of warm winter socks. I appreciate the fact that the designer has reserved the bulky textural stitches for the ankle and kept the feet sleek. This will mean the wearer won't have to stuff her feet in her footwear.

Quinn socks. These socks combine knitted stockinette stitch and crocheted lace to good effect. They're pretty and have an interesting quaint look while being quite wearable.

Kastanienfeuer mittens. These will do, and they are certainly practical and comfortable, but I can't help but wish the designer had gone for fewer cables. This cable design is a little too crowded to be visually pleasing.

Zazie fingerless mitts. The designer of these mitts won nine little balls of yarn in a bingo game and came up with this design as a way to use them all up. This is a design in which the colourway will be important, as the design isn't all that striking. This is actually an alternate pair she made out of some odds and ends of yarn from her stash, and which I preferred to the pair made out of her bingo winnings.

Geldys pullover. This design of this sweater is as simple as it gets. You'll want to choose a really special yarn for this sweater, as a basic design like this depends on the yarn used for visual interest.

Elkko pullover. I think for this one I'd omit the lace work at the neckline, as the stripe pattern doesn't really work with it and is interesting enough on its own. The shaping is very good overall.

Helga pullover. Nicely textured pullover, though I would make it a little longer. This cropped length is a little awkward-looking.

Antipodal lopi pullover. A sweater so attractive it even looks good worn inside out.

Vintage memories pullover. This is a nice design that does have a vintage feel to it while being perfectly in keeping with modern styles. The shaping is good and the motifs are face framing. I'd go with a different colourway for it though, as this colourway is making me hear Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" in my mind.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Vogue Knitting Winter 2015/16: A Review

Vogue Knitting has released their Winter 2015/16 issue. Let's have a look at it.

Pattern #1, Turtleneck Pullover. A fabulous reinterpretation of Bohus Stickning design.

Pattern #2, Bohus Cardigan. Love it. The longer cuffs and the juxtaposition of the plain collar band and the detailed colour work around the neckline give a traditional style a fresh look.

Pattern #3, Fitted Hat. There's not quite enough definition in this cap's colourwork for my tastes, but it's attractive enough.

Pattern #4, Three Quarter Sleeve Pullover. I'm not liking the colour scheme here, and those gaps in the sleeves look like rips, but otherwise this is a good piece of design.

Pattern #5, Blanket Poncho. Bride of Sherpa.

Pattern #6, Chevron Pattern Cowl. Beautiful. Normally these ripple knits have a tendency to look too afghan-y, but in this case the colours are so beautifully blended and the item so carefully finished that the result is lovely.

Pattern #7, Welted Cowl. Rather a nice way to add a little faux fur to a simple coat.

Pattern #8, Pull-Through Wrap. I'd like this better if the two accent colours were more sophisticated shades. The hot pink and pea green accents on such a simple design gives the item an unfortunate juvenile look.

Pattern #9, Garter Stitch Capelet. And now we've bypassed juvenile effect and gone for full-on childish. This looks like something Knit Simple decided against publishing.

Pattern #10, Keyhole Scarf. This is about as basic it gets, but I have to admit it has a certain practical and minimalist appeal. Playing with the colour and yarn selection could really change it up too.

Pattern #11, Aran Pullover. There's some beautiful stitchwork in this and the yarn used is clearly gorgeous, but the shaping is unfortunate and the overall effect is frumpy. This looks like it could be one of the sweaters actress Alison Wright got stuck in for her role as the unfortunate Martha in the early eighties period piece The Americans.

Pattern #12, Sleeveless Top. Nice piece! It's totally wearable and has a cool, Mary Tyler Moore-ish retro vibe.

Pattern #13, Elbow Length Pullover. Love the stitch used here, but that is some seriously unflattering shaping.

Pattern #14, Houndstooth Mitts. Rather a sharp little accessory.

Pattern #15, Long Sleeve Pullover. So-so. I might like this better if it were in a more interesting colourway than charcoal and oatmeal.

Pattern #16, Fair Isle Cardi. Very cute, useful little piece.

Pattern #17, Plaid Cardigan. Not bad. I might neaten up the fit a touch.

Pattern #18, Plaid Fringed Wrap. Lovely.

Pattern #19, Shawl Collar Pullover. Classic piece. I'd shape the shawl collar a little more generously, as that collar does look a little skimpy from the back.

Pattern #20, Poncho Pullover. I'm too anti-poncho to fairly assess them, so all I will say is, this has beautiful stitchwork.

Pattern #21, Chunky Fair Isle Vest. Not bad, for a chunky knit. There are more interesting colourways for this project than the one used in the sample.

Pattern #22, Reversible Fur Vest. I'm totally on board with the idea of a reversible fur vest, but this is oh so shapeless.

Pattern #23, Mock Turtleneck Pullover. Awesome texture, but I'd neaten up the shape and fit a bit, though I'd be careful to preserve the relaxed fit of this one.

Pattern #24, Fair Isle Hat. Pretty and subtle.

Pattern #25, Textured Scarf. This looks like a simple classic scarf that mysteriously grew random strips of cat fur. It's a were-scarf caught mid-transition.

Pattern #26, Aran Coat with Fur Collar. Not bad, although I would not have gone with such a light coloured fur collar on an ivory coat. I'd go with a darker gray or taupe collar, with the goal of having a contrasting second colour rather one than looks mismatched.