Friday, 28 April 2017
I've fallen quite seriously behind on my Bergère de France reviews in the past year but, my chronic fatigue issues willing, I'm going to try to start catching up by doing one review a week until I'm up to date. I can't start with Magazine 185 (which is a collection of summer patterns for kids) the way I would like to as there isn't a complete set of the preview photos for it available online. I shall instead have to begin with the first issue of Bergère de France's new knitting magazine, le Wooling. Bergère de France is clearly trying to freshen up their publications with a new title, but as the patterns aren't a discernible improvement over those in their old magazine, I don't know how successful their rebranding efforts are going to be. But let's get to the review.
Pattern #01, Long Jacket. The pattern description calls this a "fashion staple for late summer". I'd call it a "default outfit for a depressed and possibly drunk housewife".
Pattern #2, Shoulder button sweater. One can hardly go wrong with a classic Breton stripe sweater.
Pattern #3, Shoulder button sweater. The classic Breton sweater looks just as good in other colours, so if the classic navy and white doesn't suit you or the intended wearer, go ahead and play with the colour combination.
Pattern #4, Round neck Fair Isle sweater. I'm not sure this Fair Isle pattern is really working. It's a bit too busy and confused.
Pattern #5, Zip-up jacket. Someone at le Wooling must have discovered the Archie comic books.
Pattern #6, Raglan round neck jumper. This is as basic as it gets, but I suppose for a plain shaker knit pullover, it's fine.
Pattern #7, Round Collar Sweater. Like the previous pattern, this is basic but wearable.
Pattern #8, Cardigan. If you're going to design a double-breasted cardigan, you should design one that sits properly, rather than making a single-breasted cardigan with slightly lengthened fronts, fastening it awkwardly, and calling it a day.
Pattern #9, Hooded Jacket. This isn't bad. It's reasonably well-shaped and attractive, and it will not get the child who wears it to school beaten up.
Pattern #10, V-neck jacket. This is another piece straight out of the drunken, depressed housewife lookbook.
Pattern #11, Round collar sweater. This is a very basic pattern, but using a fun yarn in a pretty, flattering colour turned it into a sweater this child model was probably happy to wear.
Pattern #12, Hooded sweater. Not a bad-looking marled hoodie.
Pattern #13, V-neck sweater. This is a pretty decent colour-blocked pullover. It has a Mary Tyler Moore Show look to me.
Pattern #14, Poncho. This thing is a veritable sandwich board with stripes.
Pattern #15, Cross-over jacket. This is so awkward-looking and sits so poorly.
Pattern #16, Hat; and pattern #17, Wide scarf. Nice classic hat and scarf set.
Pattern #18, Fingerless gloves. I wish whoever had come up with these mitts had taken the trouble to cable them to go with the hat and scarf set above rather than making it in that lazy ridged style.
Pattern #19, Zip-up bag with cables. This has such a crude look. I would have hidden those zippers under proper flies, and figured out a better way to integrate that attached bottom.
Pattern #20, Hooded jacket. The designer really should have put some more effort into shaping this one.
Pattern #21.A, Gilet. I'd put proper buttons -- and button bands -- on this sweater. The ribbons are too delicate a look for such a sturdy, everyday sort of item.
Pattern #21.B, Booties. These are fine, but again, I'd go with another kind of tie than that narrow pink ribbon. Crocheted navy ties would look fine or, if you wish to go with ribbons, something a little wider and in navy would work.
Pattern #22, Baby's sleeping bag. Basic, but attractive enough, and fairly useful.
Pattern #23.A, Crossover cardigan. Not bad. The sit of that front edge is not great, but the sweater's cute enough on the whole that it comes across as rather pretty. I like the combination of pale pink and oatmeal.
Pattern #23.B, Hat. Nice little hat.
Pattern #24.A, Cardigan. Basic little cardigan, but it's definitely a presentable, wearable pattern.
Pattern #24.B, Booties. Basic little booties to go with the cardigan above.
Pattern #25.A, Zippered onesie. Not a bad little onesie, though I'm not sure I like the double zipper look.
Pattern #25.B, Booties. Cute simple booties.
Pattern #26.A, Wrap around. Simple but serviceable and cute, and it has quite a French look to me, because it looks like it's straight out of a Madeline storybook illustration.
Pattern #26.B. Basic hat. I won't claim it looks French.
Pattern #27, Blanket. If you want to make this basic blanket, just make it -- don't waste your money on a pattern for it. Good grief.
Pattern #28, Crochet Briefcase. My guess is that this is some sort of schoolbag intended for a child's use, and I am left wondering what is supposed to "stop". Homework assignments? Traffic? Bullying? If the latter, this briefcase seems more likely to invite bullying than to prevent it.
Pattern #29, Crochet Snack Bag. Kids carry lunchboxes to school with all their food in it. I can't imagine too many kids would want to be bothered with an additional snack bag. It's my understanding that the French simply do not snack at all, so perhaps the editorial staff of le Wooling got the idea that snacking is some sort of special rite in English-speaking countries that requires special paraphernalia.
Pattern #30, Crochet Booties. These look rough.
Pattern #31, Crochet Pencil Case. This isn't so bad as some of the previous patterns. A plain pencil case with the child's name on it is a pretty useful item. However, I think I could find much more attractive ways to put a name on a pencil case.
Friday, 21 April 2017
Knitscene has released its Summer 2017 issue. Let's have a look at it.
Blocker Tank. Wearable and sporty little tank. Though I would not wear it over a t-shirt as it is styled here.
Coney Island Shawl. I'm not sure the striped garter section and the lace section really work together in one wrap, though I like them when I consider them separately.
Crossover Tank. Not a bad little piece for summer, though I'm not sure this drab colourway is doing much for the design.
Fern Stole. A lovely piece. And the stole size is so useful, as it can be worn as either a wrap or a scarf.
Foglia. This is my kind of design: a simple, flattering shape with just that little bit of an unexpected twist in its details that makes the look interesting and distinctive.
Hannah's Racerback Tank. And this is very much not my kind of design. It's baggy and saggy and unflattering. I would have given this piece a much less dashing name, such as "Hannah's Butt Curtains".
Jammer Shorts. If I had been told in advance that someone was designing a pair of knitted jean-style shorts for this issue, I would not have had high hopes of them, but these aren't bad at all -- in fact, I am even considering making a pair for myself. They've got some good detailing and shaping and they look good in all four of the photos Knitscene has posted on the pattern's Ravelry page.
Joni's Lacy Cowl. Not bad, though that mesh would make me feel as though I was wearing a grocery shopping bag around my neck.
Kricka Top. I absolutely love the stitchwork, which is apparently a stitch called Indian Cross-stitch, but an oversized cropped pullover is going to work on very few women -- it's not a happy look even on this professional model.
Meadow Tank. I love the idea of knitted lace being made separately and then applied to a knitted body, and this is a very attractive execution of the concept.
Pivot Tank. I like this one, though I'd suggest just one tweak, which is to finish the neckline with ribbing as has been done with the other edges. It looks unfinished as is.
Rau Sweater. Very pretty. The leaf detail makes it.
Reed Market Bag. Rather a nice shoulder bag for summer. I'd interface and line it to keep it from sagging.
Sara's Cabled Hat. Cute little cabled cap.
Spearmint Shawl. The dropped/twisted stitch effect in this one looks a bit too much like runs for me.
Time-Out Tank. This one's eliciting a "meh" from me, but I think the problem is the styling. The pale pink shorts worn over mint green tights are definitely not helping this design (although for that matter I'm at a loss to think of a knitwear design they would help). The yarn choices are also a little blah. This would be a perfectly good tank done in a fresh, crisp summer colour combination and worn over jeans or khakis, or a print skirt in the same colours.