Interweave Knits Spring 2011 Review

IK had a promotion about six months ago with a special price for a year of the magazine, so I said sure and sent them a check.  Months later, I wasn’t even certain I had actually sent the money, because no issues of the magazine had showed up.  Saturday, though, at long last–several weeks after the issue hit the shelves–my spring Interweave Knits finally arrived.  So here we go!

The only article I found memorable is the one on picking colors for Fair Isles-type colorwork.  It seemed like a pretty good overview for easing people in to the process without being intimidating.  And it dispensed with all the color wheels and split complimentaries and rigamarole that your average color-basics source has; this is a mixed blessing, because it makes things simpler while also leaving all sorts of room for color schemes that just don’t go.  Still, worth having.

On to projects.

Echo by Kristin Omdahl: Three cables, with dropped-stitch ladders between them, in a really really bulky yarn.  It’s reversible, which is nice, and has buttons rather than being fastened in the möbius configuration.  A nifty piece, and probably fun to knit, but not even kinda my style.  You’d have to be way more boho than me to get away with it.

En Pointe Pullover by Alice Tang: This is close to being a nice sweater.  It’s a fuzzy laceweight, which means it’s great for warmth without adding lots of bulk, and almost anyone looks good in coral so the color choice was good too.  It even makes some stabs at a flattering shape.  But there’s a huge drapey thing right over the center of the torso that ruins the whole effect unless you’re really skinny.  And the drapey part is not optional; it’s knitted into the sweater and as it’s a pullover you can’t even unbutton or whatever.  I think the designer decided to go for “interesting to knit” over “useful finished product”.  Plus it’s cuff-to-cuff, which is just asking for all sorts of stretching out of shape in loose stockinette–though the fuzziness of the yarn might help avoid that.

V-Yoke Cardigan by Amy Cristoffers: In both the shots of this one, the transition between the front hem and the back is hidden by the model’s arm.  I have to wonder if that’s deliberate, because the back is rather longer, like shirttail length, and it might look funny at the sides.  That said, it’s got a nice deep V-neck that’s flattering for those of us of the ample persuasion, and the yoke construction looks neat from what I can glean out of the picture and schematic.  Having points on the sleeves is a nice touch, too.  I’d go with a color other than ashes-of-roses, myself, but I’m weird like that.

Gathered Front Tank by Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark: No one will look good in this.  The construction is very clever, so that all the stitches radiate from a central half-length button band; that means that it’s all nice and baggy in the front, just where no one needs it.  Nice green, though.

Heliotropic Pullover by Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark: I’m not sure how many people look really good in a very wide boat-neck with a broad yoke; the model’s doing an OK job but you get the feeling she’s reluctant to move her arms lest a shoulder make a break for it–SCAdians, think “really extreme cotehardie neckline” and you’ll have the idea.  It looks as if that neckline might be impressively wide on me, and I’ve got shoulders like a three-quarter scale linebacker.  I imagine it’d be salvagable with a little tinkering to add a few rounds at the beginning.  Nice flattering orange, too, for those who can wear orange.

Swirl Crop Jacket by Andrea Babb: OK, again, coral is a good color, and a short jacket for transitional seasons is not a bad idea.  I happen to hate big floofy necklines, however, and this thing really has one.  If you don’t hate floofy necklines, it’s worth looking at.

Garden Plot Dress by Victoria Myers: A very cute dress for a little girl.  Sleeveless, and I think I might carry the cream from the lace panels in the skirt up into the bodice a little more, but very cute.  The shirt they have her wearing under it does not match in a really epic way, but  she’s about 7; who cares?  In the summer, it’d be wearable without a shirt under, but for spring the extra warmth is handy.

Cranberry Island Throw by Amanda Scheuzger: There’s no actual intarsia going on in this, despite all appearances; you knit a central circle, then knit fairly short rows (but not, you know, short rows) around the edge of it, then do actual short rows to fill in the corners to make squares.  Very fun construction.  I might consider it, though I’d have to do something about the colors, which are painfully dull.  (Also, as an aside: I possess a fairly epic last name, so I feel for the designer here.  After a while you get to feel like your last name is “Scheuzger, that’s ess-cee-aitch…”)

Hourglass Pillows by Daniela Nii: These are actual intarsia.  Nifty mod effect; I don’t like them, because I don’t like mod.  Others’ tastes may vary.

Rain on the Prairie Scarf by Maureen Hefti: I admit I don’t see the point of scarves that are so short they’re always in danger of slipping off.  However, this one is a simple, pretty openwork pattern that I’m sure could be expanded if you liked it that much.  The yarn’s very pretty, too, in shades of gold and brown.

Leaf and Picot Cardigan by Laura Grutzeck: There are no good shots of this, but the overall impression is reasonable.  It’s hard to go wrong with a basic cardigan in an attractive lace pattern.  The only thing I don’t like is the color; it’s yellow, which is hard for many people to wear.  But color is probably the easiest thing to change in a sweater.

Rose Lace Stole by Susanna Ic: Pretty lace, though the motif is nothing particularly rosy; I think she went with the color rather than the look of the lace.  Knitters wear shawls; it’s a thing I don’t get, but that doesn’t make it unworthy.

Tatiana’s Sweater by Raye Schwartz: There is something just off about this sweater, and I can’t tell you what.  Maybe it’s just the way the model is standing, which, as the Samurai Knitter would say, demonstrates that she knows how to work it.  I mean, the texture pattern is very interesting, and it really ought to look nice, but it’s just…off.  Maybe I don’t like the neckline?  Too open to be a V-neck, too deep for a boat neck, I dunno.

Drop Mesh Tee by Cathy Carron: If there’s a total loser in this issue, it’s this.  The body’s a mesh, created with deliberate dropped stitches; the sleeves are solid.  The combination makes the raglan decreases look sloppy and the sweater as a whole seem unfinished, plus what good is a light, summery garment you have to wear over something to avoid indecent exposure?  And the color is a really unattractive yellowy green.

Curvy Squares by Bonnie Paul:  I’m torn.  Entrelac is fun, and seems to be used to good effect here; on the other hand, it makes the model look like she has no waist.  And it has cap sleeves, despite being knitted in a fairly heavy yarn.  All in all I’m gonna have to go with a thumbs-down.

Hexagon Petal Tee by Maria Leigh: I want to love this one, because the fuchsia yarn makes me so very happy, but it has many of the same problems the entrelac one does.  The yarn, at least, is cotton, so having no sleeves is less of an issue, but despite the model’s efforts to the contrary it’s clear the hexagons it’s constructed of left no way to make a waist.  Still, the rail-thin could wear it and look good in it.  And hey, now I know Cascade Ultra Pima comes in fuchsia.

Diminishing Gore Skirt by Gwen Bortner:  Nifty and neato, with the increases for a full skirt hidden in the entrelac construction.  Assuming one can avoid the pitfalls of knitted skirts, it’s worth a look.

Pinkerton Shawl by Susan Dittrich: This would probably be all sorts of fun to knit, with funky direction changes and stuff…but then you have a smallish scarf in an awkward shape, and what do you do with it?  I’d expect this kind of thing in Vogue Knitting, where no one cares if it’s practical.

Lara Bubble Top by Faina Goberstein: OK, for one thing the Samurai Knitter would call this “big butt length”, and to make it more fun there’s a nice tight band at the bottom.  Sleeveless boatnecks are not flattering on anyone, and to top it off the body drapes in the perfect way to make the wearer look pregnant.  Heck, even the schematic looks like a 30s cartoon of a really curvy woman. It’s not the unmitigated disaster of the mesh thing, but all the same no thanks.

Draped Vest by Carol Feller: A racerback vest, that doesn’t meet in the middle?  We can tell the model’s hands are the only thing holding it closed, thanks.  And I dunno what’s up with the yarn, but it looks like it’s only half-spun.  Bleh.

Ruched Yoke Tee by Annelena Mattison: Comes in sizes suitable for a little girl as well as an adult, there’s some waist shaping, and the yoke is neat.  I wish it had sleeves, it might be worth knitting.

Gossamer Smocked Tunic by Shelley Gerber: I don’t quite like this one, but it’s not actually ugly; just not to my tastes.  Sleeveless–sigh–but the color’s pretty and there’s some semblance of a waist even without the model bending.  It’s transparent, though, so it’d have to be worn over something.

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I Am A Snob

I hate quilting blogs.

Knitting blogs are pretty bad, but there are some gems: Samurai Knitter, Yarn Harlot, Knitting on Impulse.  But quilting blogs?

Bad backgrounds.  Bad layouts.  Comic Sans.  Stupid signatures on every post, like we don’t know who writes the damn thing.  Bad grammar, bad spelling, inability to distinguish homophones, grocer’s apostrophes, lack of capitalization, run-on sentences and fragments where they’re not stylistically called for…

I know I’m a snob.  But seriously people, get some standards.

Any Day Now

Still too cold for biking.  I am sad.

I Want Points

Specifically, grownup points.

I have paid all the bills I need to pay on this paycycle, which is fine, but also I just got my tax refund.  So if I emptied myself out, I could buy a new laptop.  Of course this would mean living on ramen and beans for the next two weeks, when instead I could just wait the two weeks and buy the laptop then.  Assuming nothing goes catastrophically wrong before then that would take what I’ve got saved up.

I am not buying a laptop right now.  But that doesn’t mean I have to not have a saved cart at the Dell website.

Incommunicado

I won’t be checking my email this weekend, starting at about 4 this afternoon, so if you want to get in touch with me call my cell.

If I want to hear from you, you already know my cell number. 🙂

Friday Five

1 – If you could change only one of the following four things about your life, which would it be? (Explanation optional).

Your health
Your job
Your home
Your significant other

Job, hands down.

2 – Facebook, Twitter or both?

Why isn’t “neither” an option?

3 – Favorite Charlie Sheen Quote?

“I am on a drug; it’s called ‘Charlie Sheen’!”

4 – What are you looking forward to this weekend?

Nothing specific, beyond it being a weekend.  There’s a 40% off coupon at the bookstore…

5 – What was your favorite childhood toy?

I’m bad at favorites.

Theory

I would absolutely love to know how the pysanky here was created.

Those of you who’ve done this craft are aware how it usually works.  First, you draw on in wax all the places you want to be white, and dip the egg in yellow.  Then you draw on all the bits you want to have yellow, and dip in orange.  And so forth, working from light colors to dark.  As a result, the “structural” lines of pysanky designs, the ones that everything else is worked around, tend to be in white because that’s the first set of lines drawn.

On the one above (which I adore, and if anyone wants to get me a present…), almost all the important lines are in black.  It is not impossible that whoever did it just filled in around the areas that would end up being black, I suppose, though it would take huge amounts of control.  I find it more likely that the egg was dyed black, the lines were drawn, and then they bleached or washed the uncovered black back off again before doing a more traditional progression of colors.  It gives a very nifty stained-glass sort of look to the end product.

I’ve been thinking I needed to do some more eggs for the Etsy shop; maybe I’ll try dyeing and bleaching on one.