Showing posts with label Enchanted Knits. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Enchanted Knits. Show all posts

Monday, 11 August 2014

Enchanted Knits 2014: A Review

Interweave Press has released a special issue called Enchanted Knits, which features 27 projects that reference well-known fairy tales and literary works of fantasy. Let's have a look at them, shall we?

The Among the Birches Shawl. This project was inspired by Norwegian folk tales of the Hidden Folk, who sometimes lure adults and children into the woods for nefarious ends. It's a nice piece and the texture is lovely. But I wouldn't recommend it that you wear it for any excursions into the woods as it will catch on everything.

The Bamboo Princess Baby Blanket and Hat. This design is based on a Japanese fairy tale that begins when an old Japanese bamboo cutter finds a tiny baby girl in a stalk of bamboo — note the green, the leaf-like lace patterns, the fibre used. Very meta, and it's a nice set in itself. That is one pretty blanket.

The Butterfly Fairy Tank. Very pretty and wearable summer top. I like that this designer found a way to incorporate butterflies into this design in a fashion that isn't too twee for a grown woman.

The back view and part of the front of the Chloris Sontag. Hoo boy. From the description on the Ravelry pattern page:

This wrap is inspired by the nymph better known by the Latin name Flora. Goddess of flowers, greenness, and growth, she was said to be the wife of Zephyrus, the West Wind. Mixing crochet with knitting, this lush piece takes a utilitarian bit of warmth from the past — the sontag, or bosom friend — and updates it with plush reversed textures, lacy motifs, and thick and thin yarn combinations for a signature accessory that will still ward off a bit of chill.

Wear this and you'll look and feel like a goddess of flowers, albeit one who has just had an epic battle with a weed whacker. As for practicality, you'll notice that the description refers to a "bit of warmth" and says it will "ward off a bit of chill". Only a bit, mind you. The front does look much more promising, but we can't see very much of it in any of the pictures provided.

The Colubrida Wrap. This piece references the snake that figures so often in mythology — and fortunately in a not too-literal way. It's a nice piece. It lies well and that "serpentine" lace border is something different and interesting.

The Eglantine Sleeves allude to the briars that surrounded Sleeping Beauty's castle for the duration of her century's sleep. And they're a beautiful piece of work, but I'm trying to figure out how one would style them. I can see they'd be useful to wear with a shawl or cloak, but if the weather is cold enough to require both, wouldn't you just put on a jacket instead?

The Giant Slayer's Vine Scarf is, of course, based on the tale of Jack and the Beanstalk. It's a beautiful piece. The mohair-silk yarn choice works especially well, as it gives it such an luxurious and ethereal look and feel. But then I may be biased, as I seem to have a fetish for mohair.

The Hansel and Gretel socks are meant to represent the candy house where they are imprisoned by a witch. I'm a not a big fan of mismatched socks, even when they are clearly paired by a reversal of design, because to a casual glance they look like the result of doing laundry while drunk, but these are cute and one could knit them both the same way if one wanted.

The Hervor's Undermittens are named for a Norse mythological character named Hervor. I like the design on the whole as it's a nice blend of lines and curves and I do like a elongated glove as it's both more aesthetic (it creates a clean line at the wrist) and more practical (no wrist exposed to the elements). Not a fan of the colour scheme used here, but that can be changed.

The Honest Woodsman Pullover is named after the Aesop's fable about a woodcutter who loses his axe in the river. Very much like this sweater. It's something a bit different with interesting visual lines and texture while being a design even a very conventionally dressed man (and isn't that most men?) would care to wear.

The name of the Hunger for Rampion Pullover refers to the root that Rpaunzel's mother asked her husband to steal for her from a neighbouring witch's garden, while the cables on the sweater are meant to evoke Rapunzel's hair. It's a lovely piece, though I would make the sleeves wrist-length rather than this length. Unless you plan to dangle your arms temptingly out the window for the benefit of any passing princes.

The Into the Magic Forest Blanket is another beautiful baby blanket, this time based on Labyrinth. Love the spirals and cabled devices along the border. Warning: this baby afghan might make you think about David Bowie every time you use it.

The Kitsunetsuki Cardigan refers to the kitsune, or fox spirits, of Japanese mythology, which sometimes have multiple tails. Not thrilled by this one. Those seams in the front looks rough and unfinished and the cables in the back look random. The whole thing looks like a design experiment that didn't work out rather than a finished design.

The Maleficant's Cloak design. Maleficent is the name assigned to the witch in Sleeping Beauty. This piece is pure costume, but maybe some people like to have a physical prop when they're pretending to be Angelina Jolie.

The Merlin Sweater. This Merlin plainly favours traditional cabled sweaters and saves his creative moments for his incantations. Nothing wrong with that.

The Riddles with Dragons Shawl does seem to hang well, and the lace pattern is attractive, but that edging looks rather unfinished. This design looks like it needs a little more work before it's done.

Rumplestiltskin's Wrap. Oooh, quite like this one. It's beautifully detailed and gracefully shaped.

Singeli's Silver Slippers. Love these too. I do like a slipper that has a bit of style and elegance to it, and between the shape and the embroidery on this design, these slippers have both.

The Snowdrop and Rose Red Cowl. In my pattern reviews, I often criticized the way cowls sit, comparing them to flat tires or cakes. This cowl could teach a class in masterful cowl sitting. It has a very romantic feel to it, and yet it's totally wearable for a contemporary woman. Nice work!

The String of Flowers Circlet. This is... pretty enough for what it is, that being an accessory for the younger and more boho among us. I'd consider making something like this as a headband for a little girl.

The Sylvania Cardigan. Lovely classic sweater with an especially beautiful back detail.

The Taking Flight Kerchief. Pretty little kerchief for wearing around the house as you do all those chores at the behest of your evil stepmother.

The Entwife's Coat, so named after "beautiful Entwives were partners to the Ents of Middle-earth" in J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy. I'm torn on this one, because there is much I like about it, such as the detail and the front shaping and that awesome rose button. But the jacket as a whole is so very bulky it's not flattering, and those extra flounces at the back aren't helping. I'd be inclined to rework this design entirely to make it more streamlined.

This is Thumbelina's Dress. It doesn't say on the Ravelry page for the pattern what use this dress will be. I would want to make it to fit a particular-sized doll, such as a Barbie. Such a pretty, fanciful piece needs to be used and enjoyed.

The Undine Shawlette, named for a water-spirit of German legend. This is a beautiful piece, although I do question how well it's going to stay around one's shoulders.

The White Queen Stole is inspired by Jadis (AKA the White Witch) of C.S. Lewis's Narnian series, and it's a gorgeous piece fit for a bride. Just don't offer any Turkish Delight candy to any small children when you're wearing it.

The Woodcutter's Socks. Nice socks. Appropriately enough for the name they bear, they are simple and workmanlike.