I was just discussing, on Sunday, my disappointment with recent issues of Knitty; there’s been a whole lot of big lacey scarves that aren’t really practical, and sock patterns. This issue reverses this trend somewhat, though there are still patterns that I can’t make as pictured because they use handspun yarn, and too many socks. Still, a number of things are good, practical garments that are interesting enough to not be boring, and there’s even, mirabile dictu, a pattern intended for men!
This round, I’m going to start linking the patterns directly. I don’t suppose Knitty needs the link traffic, but it’ll make it slightly easier for y’all to go see what I’m talking about if you’re so inclined.
Takoma by Julia Farwell-Clay: A large coat, which would clearly be inspired by Cowichan sweaters even if the designer’s notes didn’t say so. The color selection is pretty neat, I think; it’s not at all like the undyed/indigo that one associates with Cowichan sweaters, but has a similar rustic feel. It’s a bit startling to see sizes going up to a 60-inch chest, but this is supposed to be an outer garment, and with 6 inches of ease at that–and it’s great to see a pattern size with explicit ease noted. If this aesthetic appeals to you (it doesn’t to me), this is a great pattern to work with it.
When Sampson Met Lila by Insa Ka: The name is overly cute–I think we’re supposed to be getting a Harry Met Sally vibe out of it, but the choice of Sampson and Delilah to mix with is kind of incoherent–but the pattern itself is pretty neat. I mean, I’d never wear it and it would look pretty bad on anyone not built like the model, but it’s got a certain something. The collar looks like it would be annoying as heck to wear, and if you’re one of the people who gets cold when your elbows are uncovered you’d be right out of luck; still, there’s a nice market here and if you want the sexy-librarian look this sweater would do it for you. I think using neutral colors was a good choice, because this is one of those items where the form should take center stage.
The Candles by Weaverknits: I’m not sure what I think of this. Coatlike, and the shape’s kind of neat–though I don’t think I agree with the designer that merely changing from stockinette to stranded creates enough waist shaping. The color choice is very odd, to my eyes; rather more springlike than autumnal. Overall, the impression I get is just a little off, especially once the shaping gets to the yoke–perhaps it’s the yarn that makes the decrease rows so very clear? However, total props for steeking, because it’s really not that big a deal. As I’ve seen noted in several places lately, knitting just doesn’t like to unravel sideways.
Tenney Park by Elizabeth Morrison: I like pretty much everything about this except the colors in the entrelac panel, and color is easily changed. Even the fact that it’s seamed together at the end fails to make me unhappy, which is something of an achievement as I hate seaming (but then, doesn’t everyone?). The neckline’s a little high for the well-endowed among us, but only a little, and it ends up looking stylish and sleek. This is the kind of thing that Vogue Knitting should be featuring. And yes, entrelac can be a pain in the neck, but really knitting backwards isn’t that tough.
Friendly Grey by Jutta Buecker: My first impulse was to say “This is a trainwreck”, but really it’s not that bad; it’s just that there are a number of questionable design choices that combine to make an overall bad impression. Perhaps some of them could be overcome by putting the sweater on someone who doesn’t look quite so much like a preadolescent; as it is, the thing gives the impression of being a child’s pattern that was sized up. It’s mostly the yoke that’s at issue, I think, because it suggests smocking like on a little girl’s jumper. I do like the purple and hot pink accents on the grey, though the note that the yarn is “soaked in lavender oil” makes me think 1) Oh yeah? And how long will that last? and 2) Gee, won’t it be fun smelling lavender all the time till it wears off? Also, what’s with the random bit of ribbon hanging from the front? Overall, I think the pattern would take enough tweaks that I’d just move on. A valiant effort, though.
Flügel by Hannah Fettig: If I want a shapeless, bland sweater I’ll buy it at Target. The description of the yarn sounds extremely offputting to me: “made by blowing baby alpaca into a mesh tube of silk”. And dolman sleeves? Periodically someone tries to make those look good, and it works about five percent of the time. So really, nothing here that seems worth the effort, though at least it has an interesting neckline.
Vignette by Amy Herzog: I like three quarter sleeves, waist shaping, and v-necks, so I suspect I’m a little biased on this one. The lace columns are simple, but add a pretty detail, and are set up so that you could use a darker yarn if you wanted to and they’d still show. It’d have to be a layering piece rather than an only garment, definitely, but I can’t say as I see that as a bad thing.
Auguste by Axelle de Sauveterre: This is a lovely pattern, explicitly intended for men–though I have to say, most American men would balk at having it knitted in purple. There’s enough patterning to keep the work interesting without being overwhelming. I like it; I think most men will like it once you get them past the purple thing. That being said, what the heck is with the bad poem standing in for a pattern description? There are plenty of bad poets among the native English speakers (like me!); you don’t need to add to the problem if it’s not your first language.
Mortar by Elisabeth Parker: I admit to having a bias against bulky yarns, but this appears to be a case of using them to good advantage. Bulky is great for something that’s explicitly an outer garment, meant for warmth. And I do like the slipped-stitch pattern; it’s not as bricklike as one might think, not being staggered, but it’s cool anyway.
Semi-Precious by Joyce Fassbender: OK, so, getting over my resentment of the fact that I’d have to spend a hundred years spinning if I actually wanted a good duplicate of this shawl, this pattern is where the issue starts falling down. So far we’ve had a bunch of good patterns; now we’re back to “Great big triangles of lace”. It’s not that I object to great big triangles of lace as a class; I just wonder how many of them any one person needs. Anyway, this is all pretty and stuff.
Apis Dorsata by Anna Sudo: It’s a shawl, and it’s got a pretty hexagonal pattern. I do rather like that there are two sizes which use exactly the same pattern; it’s just that the one has twice as many stitches per inch.
Callette by Carolyn Bolger: This is very nifty and has all sorts of cool techniques that would make it great fun to knit. But then when I was done I’d have a scarf, and I basically don’t wear scarves. Kind of makes me want to design a sweater around the idea, really, because I don’t have enough to do with my life already!
Mathematix by Susan Luni: Again, a cool pattern that looks like a fun knit, leading to a shawl that I’d never use. And I think that if I made it I’d change the lighter color to something with less blue in it, because it goes oddly with the brown-grey of the darker color.
Alda by Harpa Jónsdóttir: Cute and all, especially as a hat, but you really have to have the kind of style that can pull of multicolored ruffles.
After the Rain by Mary O’Shea: Basic mittens in shape, but I dearly love the colors. Some might think it’s overkill to buy eight skeins of yarn for a pair of mittens, but you could do more than one pair or use the extra for something else, so I’m not seeing a big problem.
Ambroso by Carol Feller: At first glance these look kind of boring, but the cables are actually more complex than they appear.
Spatterdash wristwarmers by Dagmar Mora: I kind of like these, though one of the chosen yarn/button combos on the pattern page is pretty hideous, but I don’t think I need any more wristwarmers in my life.
Lithuanian Riešines by Donna Druchunas: Again, don’t need more wristwarmers, but beaded knitting is never bad.
Ogiku by Sarah Mombert: Lovely hat, and you know I’m big on stranded color.
Weeping Willow by Natalie Servant: I’m in favor of doubleknitting for warmth, and the effect on this is nice.
Kiwi by cheezombie: Knitted flightless birds, what’s not to like?