Monday, 15 January 2018

Knit Simple Winter 2017: A Review

In today's post, we're going to have a look at Knit Simple's Winter 2017 issue.

Pattern #1, Oversized Turtleneck. There's nothing objectively wrong with this one, but I'm pretty sure I'd feel like a lemon creamsicle in it.

Pattern #2, Textured Socks. I'm not quite liking the texture of these -- they don't look that good all stretched out on the leg.

Pattern #3, Shawl-Collar Cardigan. This one's a little too unstructured to work. The edges look as though they're turning under by accident rather than design.

Pattern #4, Cup Cozies. I've never seen the point of cup cozies, which are bound to get coffee, hot chocolate, and the like dripped or spilled on them and have to be washed.

Pattern #5, Hot Water Bottle Cover. Hot water bottles do make more sense, because they tend to be unattractive, and what's more attractive and more comforting than a hot water bottle in a cute little sweater?

Pattern #6, Cabled Poncho. This isn't bad, but as with most ponchos I can't help thinking it would look better as an afghan.

Pattern #7, Textured Pillows. Nice, useful piece, and would look good on many a couch.

Pattern #8, Lace Shawl. The lacework is beautiful, but when I've had rectangular knitted shawls like this I've always found them awkward to style.

Pattern #9, Fringed Blanket. Classic cabled afghan.

Pattern #10, Garter Stitch Cowl. This is as basic as it gets, but you can always upgrade it by making it in a beautiful, interesting yarn.

Pattern #11, Colorblock Hats. Classic striped caps are useful and a good way to use up odds and ends of yarn.

Pattern #12, Chevron Hat. That's an effective and interesting chevron pattern.

Pattern #13, Cabled Hat. Perfectly good standard cap.

Pattern #14, Fair Isle Hat. This is rather nice looking, though I would not describe it as fair isle.

Pattern #15, Bicolor Ribbed Hat. An interesting combination of texture and stripes.

Pattern #16, Pom Pom Hat. I don't much like the rolled edge on this one, which gives it an unfinished look.

Pattern #17, Tassel Hat. Not bad. I definitely like tassels more than pom poms, as I think them better suited to adults.

Pattern #18, Polar Bear Jacket, Hat, and Mitts. The mittens are cute, but I don't much care for the hat or jacket, which both have an awkward, cheesy look to them.

Pattern #19, Polar Bear Pillow. That is one square-looking polar bear.

Pattern #20, Bear Cub Hat and Pullover. This is rather cute without having the "trying too hard" look of the previous polar bear-themed sweater, hat, and mittens set.

Pattern #21, Scoop-Neck Pullover.
Nice texture, shaping, and gradient effect.

Pattern #22, Three Quarter Sleeve Cardigan. I rather like the inventive colourway of this one and the way the front edges sit, but the shaping through the body and sleeves is so loose and baggy that the overall look doesn't work.

Pattern #23, Narrow Shawl. Rather pretty. The edging pattern is interesting.

Pattern #24, Long Cowl. Pretty basic, but it'll do.

Pattern #25, Linen Stitch Scarf. I love the effect of linen stitch, but I'm not crazy about the colour palette used here. I'd also fringe this.

Pattern #26, Lattice Hat. A simple yet pretty effect.

Pattern #27, Swaddling Blanket. Not a bad way to keep your baby warm while still giving it room to kick and squirm.

Friday, 12 January 2018

Vogue Knitting Winter 2017/2018: A Review

Vogue Knitting has released its Winter 2017/2018 issue. Let's have a look at it.

Pattern #01, Yoked Pullover. Nice piece. The yoke design makes me think of hieroglyphics. (Also, I just spelled "hieroglyphics" correctly on the first try without any help from spell check or Google.)

Pattern #02, Persian Yoke Pullover. I like this one too. The colourway is vivid and unexpected.

Pattern #03, Cold Shoulder Yoke Pullover. I'm not a big fan of the cut-out effect in clothing, but I think it works here, and the piece has a fun, trendy feel that's balanced with classic shaping.

Pattern #04, Fringed Sleeve Pullover. I like this one on the whole, but I'd neaten up the fit and nix the sleeve fringe, which would drive me stark raving mad. Can you imagine trying to knit or eat a meal or for that matter use the bathroom with those fringes hanging over your hands?

Pattern #05, Reverse Yoke Pullover. This is attractive but I can't get past the feeling that it's on inside out.

Pattern #06, Chevron Pattern Yoke. This is rather pretty. I'd neaten up the fit.

Pattern #07, Modern Icelandic. Love this one, with its sharp, graphic appeal and good shaping.

Pattern #08, Fair Isle Pullover. Vogue Knitting is really going all out on interesting yoke designs in this issue. I like this one too.

Pattern #09, Viking Wrap. As regular readers of this blog will know, I am a hard sell on poncho designs, but I have to admit this one is kind of fantastic. Keeping it short in the front as the designer has done makes it flatteringly sweater-like while the back and sleeves have all the drama of a cape. And then there's the stitchwork and colourway, with the combination of mitred squares and a tartan-like effect created with grays and variegated yarn. If a woman walked by me on the street in this piece, I would definitely turn to look at her, as it is an undeniably and highly accomplished and creative design. Bravo.

Pattern #10, Boxy Crop Sweater. And now we turn from a tour de force of knitwear design to.... this one. This appears to be... a home ec project gone terribly wrong. It fits so poorly through the upper body that the ribbing is all stretched out, and there's an outright hole in the shoulder seam.

Pattern #11, Fitted Dress. This is also a home ec project, but it appears to have been created by Judy Jetson, and she would have gotten at least a B for it.

Pattern #12, Navy and White Pullover. I like this one, which has a smart, wearable look.

Pattern #13, Raglan Turtleneck Sweater. I rather like this one. The use of a larger gauge in the turtleneck and the lower body is a nice touch, and the shaping is good and flattering. This would be a good piece to use to showcase a bulky variegated yarn that you love.

Pattern #14, Brioche Rib Cowl. Smart and polished.

Pattern #15, Slouchy Pullover. This one's too baggy and dropped shouldered for my liking. Kudos to the Vogue Knitting stylist who put this look together, though. Adding a simple silk scarf made this look chic.

Pattern #16, Indigo and Ivory Boxes Ruana. I have the feeling that this is a vest that missed its calling in life and that should have become a scarf, or maybe a floor mat.

Pattern #17, Welts Pullover. Nice stitchwork in this one, but I would fix those dropped shoulders.

Pattern #18, Open Cable Cowl. Nice. I'm imagining it in a variety of beautiful variegated yarns.

Pattern #19, Mohair Cardigan. This has a sad-stretched out, look like a thrift store piece that's living in the forlorn hope that it'll get one more chance at a good home rather than wind up in a landfill.

Pattern #20, Sand Waves Poncho. This seems to be the issue where Vogue Knitting offers us poncho patterns I can't refuse. This one drapes so well, and the stitchwork is gorgeous.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Cast On Winter 2017/2018: A Review

Cast On has released its Winter 2017/2018 issue. Let's have a look at it.

A Vest for Gus. This vest has a chain of cars worked in purl stitches on a stockinette background. It's a cute idea, but the cars are so difficult to see.

Apurimac Hat. This one is fun and bright and irresistibly eye catching. The colour palette is also beautifully worked out and it's technically very accomplished.

Black and White Hat. This is so smart. I love the herringbone pattern.

Black and White Mittens. I'm not quite as thrilled with the mittens as I was with the hat. Pointy mittens always look absurd to me, even though I know it's a traditional style of very long standing.

Bubbles Tunic. I'm not sure this one is quite working. The overall style has a rather severe look and the bubble motif is a little too random and simplistic to work with it. I do like the idea of the contrast buttons at the cuffs and side vents that tie in to the intarsia design on the yoke, but I'd replace the bubbles with a more detailed motif.

Caprice. The combination of the confetti yarn square collar and cuffs against the gray body of this sweater is not working for me. It looks like something worn by a Puritan-era family oddball, such as daft Aunt Chastity, who thinks it's hilarious to recite the Ten Commandments out of order and lock people in the outhouse.

Celtic Night Cowl. Nice design, and I love that it's done in a off-beat colourway meant to represent the Northern Lights.

Destiny Fair Isle Tam. I think I like this one -- that tartan band is really well worked out -- but I wish I could see it a bit better in order to be sure.

Dragonfly Top. Oh, this is fabulous. I'm not sure I've ever seen dragonflies used as a motif in fair isle, but now I suddenly want to see more of them. The colour scheme has a misty, dreamy quality that works really well.

Dragonfly Ski Headband. I'd be inclined to work this as a tam rather than as a headband, but again the dragonfly motif is certainly very lovely regardless.

Icarus Infinity Scarf. This is quite an delicately elegant piece.

Nikko Cardigan. I'm not really liking the toggle closures on this one, as it has too crude a look for an otherwise fairly polished piece. I'd replace them with some attractive buttons, and fix the dropped shoulders, though admittedly they are only slightly dropped and could be left as is.

Nosegay Cardi. This is really lovely. I like the combination of the floral sprigs with the lattice-like lace, which gives it such a "summer afternoons in the summerhouse" feel.

Wheat Chain Socks. These are quite handsome.

Where the Snakes Went Poncho. The design is quite cool and even elegant... but as someone who is not a friend of the poncho, I can't help thinking what a nice afghan this would make.

Winter Morning Cocoa Socks. Very much like these. The snowflake and bare trees motifs encapsulated in diamonds is a really fun, creative take on the argyle sock.