Monday, 28 August 2017

Vogue Knitting Fall 2017: A Review

Vogue Knitting has released its Fall 2017 issue, which just so happens to also be their 35th anniversary issue. I'm a little alarmed by the fact that I not only remember buying their 10th anniversary issue twenty-five years ago but that I was also old enough to legally vote, drive a vehicle, and purchase alcoholic beverages at the time. Time, you thief!

The traditional 35th anniversary gift is coral or jade, and the Vogue Knitting editors, who have been marking its anniversary issues by producing a theme issue for that anniversary's gift (for the 30th anniversary they featured a special issue yarn made out of pearls), have celebrated this one by offering us a selection of knitwear designs in a range of jade-like shades. Let's have a look at these special anniversary designs.

Pattern #1, Sleeveless Turtleneck. Quite basic, but wearable enough.

Pattern #2, Turtleneck Poncho. I'm a hard sell on ponchos, but this one strikes me as not bad. It drapes well and has some texture and style.

Pattern #3, Sleeve Scarf/Wrap. This one strikes me as an inventive and interesting contemporary update on the sontag shawl. It looks good and will stay in place in both its cowl neck and sontag incarnations.

Just a side note.... If you're not familiar with the term, the sontag shawl was a mid-Victorian fashion that was essentially a shawl worn crossed over the front of the torso and fastened in the back. There are modern versions of this style available, though they tend not to be called by that name, and the modern versions are usually knitted seamless, or grafted together at the ends, so that they're slipped on over the wearer's head rather than arranged and then tied in place. I like reviving existing, if archaic, terms for clothing designs, as I did on this blog with the spencer (a very cropped, fitted cardigan or jacket originally popular in the early 1800s) when it came back in some years back. Why call designs by vague names like "cross over wrap" when we already have a specific term in the dictionaries?

Pattern #4, Honeycomb Pullover. A nice classic piece.

Pattern #5, Honeycombe Hat. An attractive classic cabled hat, and that looks like one luscious cashmere yarn. Both the colour and lush look of it have me drooling.

Pattern #6, Cabled Tube Scarf. Some good cable work here, and I like that it's knitted in a tube, so that there's no wrong side.

Pattern #7, Mystic Forest. This a characteristically whimsical design from Nicky Epstein, and it's the kind of thing I'd prefer to put on an afghan rather than wear, but it's certainly an eye-catching and delightful scene -- the little owl in the tree makes me smile. I would, however, neaten up the fit a little by making it narrower through the body, and raise the dropped shoulders as much as I could without interfering with the tree motifs.

Pattern #8, Cabled Pullover. This is the kind of thing that will make all the other druids in your local order green with envy. I kid, of course. This piece may be a little costumey, but it has great texture and is one of those pieces that make an impact when worn with a little panache.

Pattern #9, Patchwork Tunic. The texture's good, but I'd make this a little neater fitting and nix the tassels.

Pattern #10, A-Line Tunic. Try as I will to be more open-minded about huge sweaters, I simply can't get past the conviction that they don't do anyone any favours. I'd scale this piece down to just one size above the wearer's usual size, which will give it a relaxed, comfortable look and fit, rather making it tent-sized.

Pattern #11, Fringe Pullover. This one looks like an afghan that cheated on its vocational aptitude test in high school.

Pattern #12, Aran Shawl. A beautiful piece of work, though again I'd think it more becoming to one's couch than one's person.

Pattern #13, Lace Texture Pullover. I'd clean up the proportions and the fit on this one, because the cabled section is so long that it's visually dragging down the look and the back is baggy.

Pattern #14, Hex Pattern Scarf. This one is quite unique and a lot of fun. If it reminds you a little too much of the interlocking foam mats from children's playrooms, you can make it in non-primary colours.

Pattern #15, Stained Glass Blanket. The octogon shape and graphic design of this afghan is also fun and different, but I can't help imagining it in other colourways.

Pattern #16, Tuck Stitch Cowl. A simple, vivid cowl.

Pattern #17, Embroidered Yoke Pullover. I like the concept of a an elaborately embroidered yoke, but this execution of it is a gaudy eyesore.

Pattern #18, Woven Wrap. This wrap looks not so much designed as randomly tacked together.

Pattern #19, Colorblocked Pullover. This sweater's a fun pop of colour, though I wouldn't pair it with this skirt.

Pattern #20, Striped Pullover. I like this one too. It's a bit Muppet-y, but in the best possible way.

Pattern #21, Star Sweater. This one's another fun, wearable piece. I'm really liking this run of designs that are playful without being so twee that a grown woman can't wear them.

Pattern #22, Mohair Shawl. Beautiful. I love the interwoven cables effect, and I'm always up for having my raging mohair fetish catered to.

Pattern #23, Ruffled Top. Oooh, my just-mentioned mohair fetish just got served. This piece is charming. I'm imagining it in many a colourway and with variegated yarns, which would really change up the look, though this fuschia and purple combination is fetching.

Pattern #24, Eyelet Pullover. Yeah, no. This pullover makes even this lovely professional model looks like a fire hydrant.

Pattern #25, Flame Stitch Cardigan. This pattern is the cover design from Vogue Knitting's inaugural issue back in September 1982, and is shown in both the original cover photo and in a recent version made for this issue. Vogue Knitting's editorial staff chose to recreate the original colourway as close as possible, and also to style it in a early eighties period-appropriate way, but I'm mentally playing with the colourway and the styling. The cardigan has a smart, jacket-like shape and could easily be made to suit a 2017 wearer.

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