Magazines Old and New

It occurred to me the other day that I haven’t yet commented on the latest issue of Yarn magazine. So much was happening around the time I got my eager hands on an issue that I never got around to writing about it. Since I have reviewed a less-than-great issue before it doesn’t seem fair to miss highlighting it when it’s good.

Since I just got hold of two more magazines, I may as well comment on them as well. Not that I’m going to do full-on serious reviews. I reckon blog reviews should be in the spirit of friends telling friends if something is worth picking up, or warning that something shonky is going on (like when Crapacious Knitting started reprinting articles), or when people might be better off saving their money.

As I’ve come to expect, a good range of news, reviews and articles to get your eyes stuck into. A bit of a designery theme going, which is fun and interesting. I really want to try that method of writing a pattern based on tracing an article of clothing.

I thought the interchangeable knitting needle comparison was a bit strange, though. What’s the point of reviewing interchangeable needle sets at all if you’re not going to include a broad range of what’s on the market? The problem is, perhaps, that it’s really more a look at two new products, but it looks like a comparison. And by looking like a comparision, it implies that these are our only options. I’d love to have seen a proper comparision which included a Denise and Boye set, with maybe a bit of history included, too.

There’s a excellent range of patterns, including two caps, gloves, cape, socks, spats, two vests, jumper (thankyou for not using ‘sweater’!), coat, skirt, and a range of scarves. The spats are the obigatory silly but fun pattern, the coat is more suited to your ‘young’ chunky & quick sort of knitter, there’s plenty for the experienced knitter, but perhaps only the scarves would suit a beginning knitter. Still, there’s a great balance here. My favourite pattern is the socks, but the Ruffle Wraparound Vest and Earflap Cap are also tempting me.

Summary: The best issue yet. Definitely worth the refreshingly reasonable $8.95.

Interweave Knits Fall 2007
There are twin themes of ‘organic’ and intricate knitted art in the articles this issue. Then an article on cables leads into some cabled garment patterns that this little cable-loving knitter can’t help but drool at. I want to make the Hedgerow Coat now. And The Tyrolean Stockings. And the Tangled Yoke Cardigan. Not sure about this Concentric Vest, though. The bulk in it brought the words “life jacket” to mind.

Next there’s the pattern featured on the cover (which looks facinating, but I keep hearing the words “cold belly”), followed by more berry-coloured patterns with interesting shaping. I quite like the Minimalist Cardigan and Cinnabar Pullover. The Counterpane Pullover is beautiful but frightening. The Nomad Hat reminds me of bad experiences with historical enactment societies…

The Belle Cardigan seems more like the some of the more cringey patterns you’d normally find in Vogue, chunky with a hint of fashion victim, but I rather like the Luna Dress on the opposite page. I can almost convince myself that it wouldn’t cling to and emphasise my thigh fat rolls. Almost.

Next there are some nice colourwork patterns. I really like the Mirepoix Bodice (but what a terrible name? I know I’d always be seeing Mire-pox when I looked at the pattern). Finally, the Staff Projects are five adorable sock patterns.

Summary: Love it, want to knit too many things. Worth paying extra to get it at Borders.

Interweave Felt
Since I only got hold of this yesterday I haven’t yet read the articles, but there’s the usual range of book and product reviews, features on designers and instructional articles. It covers an impressive range of felting methodology, from fulling knitted fabric to felted beads to needle felting . I love the article on knitting from unspun roving. I now have an escape plan if I decide I don’t like spinning!

The patterns? Weeeel, the seemingly limited uses to which felt can be put to without descending into the cute or kitch has always put me off. The most common non-cringey project in here seems to be bags, and I don’t tend to use multiple bags – just the one waterproof favourite until it wears out. Still if you love bags there are some nice ones to choose from.

There’s some baby booties and a toy cat, a reasonably nice pillow and scarf. The Lock Nest Hat is the obligatory silly project (fancy wearing something that looks like a fuzzy upside down vase on your head? No, didn’t think so.) though the Berriat Lariat is the sort of thing that your mad artsy-fartsy aunt might turn up wearing at the next family do (that’ll be me one day, but I’m fighting it for as long as I can). Thankfully, there is one rather elegant project, the Lily Beret, that might convince you that felting does have serious potential.

Summary: the range of felting methods highlighted makes this a good buy if you’re interested in felting, but it’s not a great advertisment of the wonderful uses felt can be put to, but since it’s a first issue I reckon we can cut it some slack.