Monday, 5 September 2016

Cast On Summer 2016: A Review

Cast On, which does not have preview photos on its website, has finally added its Summer 2016 issue as well as its recently released Fall 2016 issue to Ravelry's database, which means that I can review both. Let's look at the Summer 2016 issue first.

Child's Gansey. Classic child's gansey. The plain panel on the bottom does give it a little touch of distinction from every other gansey pattern.

Cordage Sweater. Nice piece with good texture, attractive detailing on the shoulders and sleeves, and excellent shaping.

Danae Sweater. Very pretty summer top. The shaping is good and I like the simple yet effective use of laceweight stripes around the yoke, which not only adds visual interest but frames the wearer's face.

Dewdrop. This top wouldn't normally be my type of thing (the mesh, the draped sleeves), but I think it works. It fits so well through the waist and hips and lies smoothly across the front that the total effect of the piece is flattering and graceful. I'd like to see this one done in a more interesting yarn.

Fisherman's Net Pillow and Sailor's Cross Pillow. These are cute. I can see these looking very much at home in a beachside cottage.

Herring Lassie. I like the gansey detailing on this one, but that sleeve length looks awkward, especially when combined with the dropped shoulder effect created by the gansey detailing.

Lacy Dress. Oh, this is pretty. Put a simple slip under this and it's lovely and special enough for a bride to wear for an informal wedding.

Mesh Interrupted Scarf (the coral scarf), Scarab Lace Scarf (blue scarf), and Windows Lace Scarf (white scarf). These are some pretty pieces. The Scarab Lace Scarf is probably the one I like best. I do like the idea of wearing three scarves knotted together like this, though if I were going to do it I'd want them to be laceweight rather than DK as these are.

Mystic Song Vest. I'm not liking this one much. It's skimpy and poorly shaped and has the look of a mesh shopping bag that this model is wearing so as to keep her hands free until she gets to the grocery store.

Nautical Colorblock. This one's cute and sporty. It does have a slightly dropped shoulder, but it works in this case because the sweater's been shaped under the arm.

North Sea Gansey. Classic gansey with some really advanced shaping -- there are gussets under the arms and at neckline. As you can see, the resulting sweater sits beautifully.

Ribbed Eyelet Crew Socks. Nice little pair of anklets.

Short and Sassy Dress. We saw this dress previously when it was worn under the lovely lace dress above. It didn't belong under that dress, and it also deserves to be worn on its own. The vertical lines detailing in the front is not only attractive and interesting but will help the dress keep its flattering shape.

Tamara Square Neck Top. There is so much about this design to love -- the neckline, the front cable detailing, the raglan sleeves -- but the fact that it's too big through the hips really detracts. This piece is supposed to be A-line but I'd change the shape to make it more fitted through the bottom.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Rowan Knitting & Crochet Magazine 60: A Review

Rowan has released issue 60 of its knitting and crochet magazine. Let's have a look at it!

Ember. This is a Kaffe Fassett design -- and it's available for free from the Rowan website. I rather like this vest, but I am finding the styling choices made here to be rather inexplicable.

Tabert. This design is very "overwhelmed stay-at-home and homeschooling mother of six".

Reiver. I'm really loving the unusual and striking embroidery motifs, but I'd nix the blanket stitched edges and go with a more polished edging.

Braveheart. This scarf is some seriously innovative argyle design. I wish I could get a better look at that sweater.

Barley. Classic cabled sweater and hat with some good shaping.

Balfour. I'm loving the intricate fair isle stripes.

Glen. Some great colourwork here, and I love the cardigan, but I'm not crazy about the shaping of the vest.

Brodie. This one's fun and playful in an adult way. I'd neaten up the shaping of the sweater. The hat is good as is.

Hartwist. The pattern is beautiful, but I would neaten up the fit. Very much liking the scarf with its dots of contrast colour.

Numbus. The colourwork is interesting and evokes the 1940s. I wish I could see the neckline.

Barista. Warm and comfy with some interesting stitchwork.

Cupcake. A classic cabled cardigan that didn't get the buttons it deserved.

Echo. Very much liking the ruched cables on this sweater, which is almost more of a fabric-like effect than one common to knitwear. The shaping is very good as well.

Caliban. I can't properly evaluate this poncho because I can't see it well enough in this photo. All I can say is that it appears to drape well.

Pretzel. This doesn't look too bad when worn belted by a professional model, but I have a feeling it would take a turn for the frumpy when worn open by a civilian.

Havana. This one looks divinely comfortable and I love the loose cable devices. I'd raise the dropped shoulders and neaten up the fit a little -- but only a little, because this is a piece that calls for a relaxed fit.

Reya. Some really lovely two-tone fair isle work in this one.

Granola. Some simple yet effective stitchwork.

Torte. So frumpy, and those short sleeves look ludicrous.

Lorenzo. I like the overall stripe pattern, but would make a few tweaks. The stripes in the cuffs, neckline, and waistband don't quite work with the stripes in the body, and I would also nix that lavender and put in another colour with more oomph and contrast.

Rainey. Nice piece with a beautiful yoke.

Teacake. How perfect is the Rowan's Kidsilk Haze version of this one (inset)? It's nice in the bulkier version as well, but I would go with a more interesting colour.

Brew. Not bad. It's quite wearable at any rate. It could use a more interesting colour.

Nyla. This one has a strikingly graphic appeal.

Mara. This colourwork of this piece is incredibly innovative and cool, but the shaping is terribly unflattering. I'd take the chart and apply it to another piece entirely.

Cookie. I love the all-over leaf bobbles in this one, and the back looks good. I can't see what's going on the front and so have some reservations about it.

Biscotti. A handsome scarf.

Ariel. This is... okay. It's a bit different, and it's wearable, but somehow it isn't quite grabbing me. Perhaps it's the choppy effect of those sections on the sleeves.

Prospero. An okay cowl. It's hard to say more based on this photo because I can't see the detailing.

Umbra. This is rather an elegant coat, though I'd still prefer it to be more shaped.

Shadow Hat & Scarf. I'm liking the beanie version (inset) of the hat rather than the slouchy version, because the edges of the latter look unfinished.

Thorn. The intarsia pattern is excellent and the contrast bands really set the design off.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Vogue Knitting Fall 2016: A Review

Vogue Knitting has released their Fall 2016 preview photos. Let's have a look at them, shall we?

Pattern #1. Classic fair isle pattern, and this cape sits and drapes very well.

Pattern #2. Very smart take on the classic fair isle yoke sweater. I'd totally wear this myself.

Pattern #3. I like the fair isle pattern, and I know one must knit fair isle scarves in a tube so as not to have a wrong side, but finishing this scarf off with ribbed cuffs makes it look like the wearer tied a couple of extra sleeves around her neck.

Pattern #4. I like the fair isle pattern and the mitts, but the neck and sleeve shaping of this vest looks dowdy to me.

Pattern #5. Nice piece. I like the modern feeling combination of a fair isle front with a tartan back.

Pattern #6. Beautiful design, and the colour palette is fantastic.

Pattern #7. A very handsome cowl.

Pattern #8. Very pretty. I love the subtle shades of blue combined with that very pale pink.

Pattern #9. That's a pretty fabulous cushion.

Pattern #10. That middle section looks like a mistake. I think the problem was that it needed a more definite divider from the rest of the vest than a single hacky-looking garter stitch row.

Pattern #11. A polished, contemporary piece. I'd love to see this one done in colour blocks.

Pattern #12. Nice. A subtle but interesting pattern that will look well with many outfits and coats.

Pattern #13. I wasn't sure how I felt about the back slit at first, but I think it works. Given that the edges are well finished and the rest of the sweater is well-shaped and has good stitchwork, the overall look is that of a modern, feminine version of the tail coat, which is a great design direction, especially considering that one of the alternative paths is "mud flaps".

Pattern #14. Classic cabled sweater, updated with a sectional look.

Pattern #15. Beautiful stitchwork in this.

Pattern #16. Oooh, lovely. So flattering and polished.

Pattern #17. This one is very boxy and will be hard for most women to carry off.

Pattern #18. This one could have used a more finished-looking neckline to go with the sleeve cuffs and hem.

Pattern #19. Not bad, but I would raise those dropped shoulders.

Pattern #20. Very Gap-ish.

Pattern #21. Classic man's pullover.

Pattern #22. Some great texture in this one.

Pattern #23. Classic hat, though I don't know how many men would want that pom pom on there.