So I decided to go ahead with the review of Interweave Knits Spring 2011. I have taken all of the photos from the Interweave Knits website unless otherwise stated.
I plan on pricing the largest size available for each pattern, as that is the one I would most likely knit. If I can get the yarn in Ireland, I use that price, otherwise Euro prices are US Dollar prices converted, not inclusive of postage.
Let me say that I love this magazine, and don't mean this review as poking fun at it, more a light hearted reflection of it, and also maybe it will make the magazine think about the cost of the sponsored yarns it uses and the sizes it offers.
Right, let's get to it. Overall I think I am underwhelmed by this issue. Layering seems to be a big trend at the moment (certainly in this magazine) and it's not a look I can pull off. I think unless you're really skinny you just end up looking like a blimp. So I look at most of these patterns with a view to removing the layers underneath. Also I think most of the garments fit the models really badly. You'll see as we go through that most of them are far too big for the models.
First up is a yarn review, focusing on cotton/wool blends. I only mention it, because of the way the yarn samples were knit up. I looked at them and the first thing I thought of was Pac-Man!
Sorry for the blurry photo, it was one I had to take myself from the magazine. Don't they look like pac-man? Apparently they are meant to be lily pads. Hmm.
The first pattern is an extract from Kristin Omdahl's book A Knitting Rhapsody. It's Echo, a reversible Drop Stitch Mobius wrap.
Size: 10" wide and 38" long.
Yarn: Tahki Stacy Charles Loop-D-Loop Granite (95% Merino wool, 5% nylon) 55 yds, 4 skeins.
Yarn weight: Super bulky.
Cost to knit: $39.40 or €28.78.
I thought Loop-D-Loop was yarn by Teva Durham? It's quite nice, and I like the fact that it's reversible. A substitute yarn could be Mirasol Ushya, but this would cost €55.80 from an Irish yarn store, so perhaps the postage would be worth it to order the Granite from the US!
The first section is called Uncommon Flax, and the first pattern is the En Pointe Pullover by Alice Tang.
Size: 32 - 50". The model is wearing size 36" with 3" positive ease.
Yarn: Louet KidLin lace weight, (49% Linen, 35% Kid Mohair, 16% Nylon) 250 yds, 4 - 6 skeins.
Cost to Knit: $80.10 or €58.55.
I don't know how this can be classed as a pullover, it'd barely cover your modesty! Maybe a pullover over a bikini. You could substitute Rowan KidSilk Haze at a cost of approx €67.50 or Garnstudio Drops KidSilk at a cost of approx €39. I imagine it would make busty people look huge. Yeah. Not going to happen.
Next we have the V-Yoke Cardigan by Amy Christoffers:
Size: 33.5 - 47". The model is wearing size 33.5" with .5" positive ease.
Yarn: Classic Elite Firefly (75% Viscose, 25% Linen) 155 yds, 8 - 14 skeins.
Cost to knit: $116.90 or €85.48
The back of this is pretty cool, it's scooped, kind of like a mans shirt. I like the sleeve cuffs too. The construction is unusual, the back & fronts are knitted from the bottom up to the shoulders, then the back is worked by picking up along the back and working down. I don't know if I'd like the seam line this leaves in the back. Interesting idea, though. I can't seem to find any European yarn with the same fibre content, but of course there are loads of sport weight yarns. I think Garnstudio Silke-Tweed would be lovely, and would cost €80 for the largest size.
Next we have Gathered Front Tank by Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark:
Size: 35 - 51" chest. Model is wearing 35" size with 2" positive ease.
Yarn: Maggiknits Maggi's Linen (52% cotton, 48% linen) 126 yds, 4 - 8 balls.
Cost to Knit: $62.80 or €45.90
I think this is horrendous. If I were to wear this I'd look absolutely ridiculous. Talk about emphasising bits you don't want to emphasise! Never mind the bust, I think it would make you look chunky in the front belly too with all the loose gathers. Definitely not a top for me, but perhaps in a smaller size it would be ok. Again with the layering. Another difficult one to find a substitute for, too. You'd have to be careful what fibre you chose, it couldn't be heavy or it would drag and look awful. I think it would be difficult to find an aran weight yarn that's light enough.
On to the Heliotropic Pullover by Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark again. (Busy lady!):
Size: 45.25 - 65.75" The model is wearing the 45.25" size, with "several" inches of ease (!!!)
Yarn: Rowan Lenpur Linen (75% Vilenpur viscose, 25% linen) 126 yds, 7 - 11 balls.
Cost to knit: $96.80 or €70.73
What. The. Holy. Hell. It's HUGE! It's looks crazy on the skinny model. The scoops at the front and back are really low, and it's almost falling off her shoulders. I reckon the top underneath is there to stop the thing falling off altogether. I just don't get this garment at all. I do like the yoke pattern, but that could easily be done with an EPS sweater (and it would fit). A similar garment is the Phyllo Yoke Pullover by Norah Gaughan from Knitting Nature, that's gorgeous. I reckon any DK yarn would work to substitute for this, as it's almost all rayon anyway. You could use Debbie Bliss Amalfi or Louisa Harding Merletto.
On we go to the Swirl Crop Jacket by Andrea Babb:
Size: 36 - 48". Model is wearing size 36" with 3" positive ease.
Yarn: Fibra Natura Flax (100% Linen) 137 yds 10 - 12 skeins.
Cost to knit: $96 or €70.29
I kinda like this shrug. It's an interesting technique, and it lies beautifully. I'm not so sure it would suit me, but it's one to consider. Although the directions kinda put me off - you start by knitting the ruffle and the sides are worked out from it. This means a cast on of (wait for it) 782 stitches for the largest size. Gulp! As far as substitution goes, there's not a lot of choice in DK linen. My best guess would be Garnstudio Drops Lin, which I know is slightly heavier weighted, but I reckon it would do the trick. This would cost about €61. Expensive shrug if done in linen. Merino would probably work very well too and be much softer and easier to knit with!
The next section is called Block by Block, and the first offering is the Garden Plot Dress by Victoria Myers.
Size: Ages 2 - 8. Model is wearing age 4.
Yarn: Lion Brand LB Collection Cotton Bamboo (52% Cotton, 48% Bamboo) 245 yds, 4 - 5 balls.
Cost to knit: $35 or €25.62
This is another example of crazy sizing. The model has two tops, a petticoat and a pair of leggings on under this dress, and it's still swimming on her! That's taking layering a bit far, imo. I have to say I don't like it either. It's a bit too cutesy for me, but I know some people love these kinds of garments. Substitution for this one is dead easy - King Cole Bamboo Cotton, hands down. A great affordable yarn that's virtually identical. It would cost the same to knit it, but it's very readily accessible here.
Onto homewares for a little bit. Here's the Cranberry Island Throw by Amanda Scheuzger.
Size: 30.5" - 44.5" wide and 30.5" - 58.5" long. Throw shown is 44.5" x 44.5".
Yarn: Brown Sheep Lambs Pride Bulky (85% wool, 15% mohair) 125 yds, 9 - 19 skeins.
Weight: Super Bulky
Cost to knit: $157.70 or €175.75
Now I don't know about you, but €175.75 for a blanket? I don't freaking think so. If I were knitting this, I'd use double knit weight acrylic and hold it double or make each square smaller by using one strand. Cost aside, it's an interesting construction, each square being knit in the round from the centre out and squares joined using 3 needle BO.
After you finish the blanket, you may want to make some co-ordinating cushions. Enter Hourglass Pillows by Daniela Nii.
Size: 14" square
Yarn: Tahki Coast (55% wool, 45% cotton) 126 yds, 12 skeins.
Cost to knit: $83.40 or €61
Again, €61 for some scatter cushions? Madness. I'd substitute acrylic or if you want natural fibres, Garnstudio Drops Paris (100% cotton) for €25.80. These are knit using intarsia. Not the most spectacular cushion pattern I've seen, but then I'm not mad on home decor, so what do I know.
The next section is called Fabric Interrupted and the first pattern is Rain on the Prairie Scarf by Maureen Hefti.
Size: 9.5" x 42"
Yarn: Buffalo Gold Moon Lite (75% tencel, 25% bison) 330yds, 1 skein.
Cost to knit: $28.75 or €21
Yawn. A very plain yo, k2tog scarf pattern. I've nothing more to say about this.
Next we have the Leaf and Picot Cardigan by Laura Grutzeck:
Size: 33 - 53.75". Model is wearing 39.75", with 7" positive ease (!)
Yarn: Harrisville Designs Silk & Wool (50% silk, 50% wool) 175 yd, 5 - 9 skeins.
Cost to knit: $76.50 or €55.77.
When I first saw this cardigan I thought it was very old fashioned. I think upon further inspection, it's the picot edging. If I were to make this, I'd omit that and do a plain button band instead. Although, here we go again with the mad sizing - 7" positive ease? That's not ease, that's a garment that's too big for the model. I think maybe the yellow colour doesn't help either, not the most flattering. The stitch pattern is nice though. I'd substitute Garnstudio Silke-Tweed or Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool for this.
On to some lace, the Rose Lace Stole by Susanna IC:
Size: 21" wide and 72" long.
Yarn: Manos del Uruguay Lace (70% baby alpaca, 25% silk, 5% cashmere) 439 yd, 2 skeins.
Cost to knit: $34 or €20
A nice stole that uses traditional Estonian rose petal stitches. It's not making my heart race to knit it, but it is pretty. Any lace weight yarn would be a perfect substitute, but the Manos Lace is quite reasonable I think.
The next pattern is Tatiana's Sweater by Raye Schwartz.
Size: 40 - 50". Model is wearing 40" with 7" positive ease.
Yarn: Valley Yarns Valley Superwash (100% merino) 97 yd, 18 - 22 balls.
Cost to knit: The Webs site (www.yarn.com) is down, so I can't get the price of this yarn.
I like this sweater, but when I saw the finer details I was raging. Only two sizes, 40 & 50" and the one on the model is 7" too big. Grr. Two sizes? Mad. A shame, as so far this is the only pattern knit in the round. Any aran weight yarn could be used for this, Kilcarra Donegal Tweed would cost €73.75.
Next up we have the Drop Mesh Tee by Cathy Carron:
Size: 36 - 48". Model is wearing 36" with 3" positive ease.
Yarn: Classic Elite Verde Collection Solstice (70% organic cotton, 30% wool) 100 yd, 5 - 6 skeins.
Cost to Knit: $42 or €30.62
Seriously. WTF. I have several concerns. First there's the massive holes along the raglan sleeve line. Then there's the neck. It appears that the neck is straight, in the ribbing pattern and it looks like it's choking the model. Overall I think it's ill fitting. I don't like holes like that in garments, to me it looks like a mistake that wasn't corrected, but then again, others do like it. I ain't knitting it! Substitution? I dunno to be honest, maybe Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece?
Next we move onto the Modular Section.
First up is the Curvy Squares Tee by Bonnie Paul:
Size: 31.5 - 50.5". Model is wearing 35", no ease given.
Yarn: Plymouth Yarn Mushishi (95% wool, 5% silk) 491 yds, 2 - 4 skeins.
Cost to knit: $120 or €87.35
Where do I start. First of all, the yarn is very expensive. You could sub with any Noro type yarn if you wanted the same effect. But, to me, the top fits really badly. It makes her belly look big and seems a bit bunched up under her bust. I would imagine this would be very unforgiving, as the entrelac squares would stretch and make you look bigger than you are. All the picking up of stitches for the entrelac would do my head in too. Not a top for me.
On we go to the Hexagon Petal Tee by Maria Leigh:
Size: 37.5 - 43.5". Model is wearing 37.5", no ease given.
Yarn: Cascade Ultra Pima (100% pima cotton) 220 yds, 4 - 5 skeins.
Cost to knit: $47.50 or €34.57
I like this top, even though I know I couldn't wear it. It consists of 20 different hexagons that are joined as you go. Mega ends weaving awaits those brave enough to attempt it. And again with the picot edging. Not my favourite edging ever. It's clever though. Any DK cotton could substitute, such as Garnstudio Drops Muskat which would cost around €27.
Next we have the Diminishing Gore Skirt by Gwen Bortner:
Size: 23 - 37.5" waist. Model is wearing 26" waist. Grr.
Yarn: Green Mountain Spinnery Cotton Comfort (80% wool, 20% organic cotton) 180 yds, 8 - 16 skeins.
Cost to knit: $180 or €131 (!)
Seriously. €131 for a skirt? Nope. Also, the name is a bit dodgy, no? Diminishing Gore? Makes me think of vampires and slasher movies. It's entrelac-ish in technique, more picking up to be done. I'd be nervous my picking up wouldn't be as good as the designers, and I'd end up with holes where I wouldn't want them. Again, not for me. Substituting for this one would be interesting. Comments about the yarn used say it is stiff, but softens once washed. I'd imagine you'd want the stiffness, the last thing you'd want is saggy bum syndrome. I'd require some thinking to come up with something suitable to use.
Next is the Pinkerton Shawl by Susan Dittrich:
Size: 48" wide at top edge and 23" high at point.
Yarn: Hazel Knits Artisan Sock (90% merino, 10% nylon) 400yds, 2 skeins.
Cost to knit: $46 or €33.48
A nice shawl. Simple yet effective. Me likey. Any sock yarn could be used for this, such as Dublin Dye Company Twinkle Toes sock yarn for €36.
The next section of patterns is called Circumnavigated.
First we have the Lara Bubble Top by Faina Goberstein:
Size: 31.25 - 53.25". Model is wearing 34.75" with 2" positive ease.
Yarn: Schulana Merino Cotton 135 (53% merino, 47% cotton) 148 yds, 7 - 13 balls.
Cost to knit: $142.35 or €103.63
Very expensive yarn, I think. There are tons of DK weight wool/cotton blends out there that I'm sure would be cheaper. I love the neckband on this, it's really pretty. But the bubble end? No. I know that's what the top is all about, but to me it's like hanging a neon sign round my neck saying LOOK AT MY HUGE HIPS!. If you're skinny, this would look great on you.
I'm moving on to the Draped Vest by Carol Feller:
Size: 35 - 55". Model is wearing 39" with 6" of ease.
Yarn: Mango Moon Dharma (100% recycled silk) 150 yds, 3 - 6 skeins.
Cost to knit: $105 or €76.45
Another design from our very own Carol. She's so talented. This vest is seamless, which I love. The designer recommends 3" ease for all sizes. Now I'm not a fan of recycled silk. I'm a bit of a neat freak in that I don't like thick & thin yarns, or uneven textures, but I can see lots of people knitting and wearing this. I wonder what it would be like knit in linen or bamboo. I'm sure it would be more reasonable too.
On we go to the next pattern, the Ruched Yoke Tee by AnneLena Mattison:
Size: 34.5 - 55.25". Model is wearing 34.5" with approx 1.5" of ease.
Yarn: Blue Sky Alpacas Skinny Cotton (100% organic cotton) 150 yds, 6 - 10 skeins.
Cost to knit: $109 or €79.34
This pattern also comes in child sizes:
Size: Ages 2 - 12. Model wears age 2.
Yarn: Blue Sky Alpacas Skinny Cotton (100% organic cotton) 150 yds, 3 - 5 skeins.
Cost to knit: $54.50 or €39.67
This pattern reminds me a lot of the Tea Leaves Cardigan by Melissa La Barre. I love love love this. My favourite pattern by far in the magazine. It's pretty, flattering and in the round! Woop! I'm making this one for me, and if Alice is good, I'll make her one, too. I may modify it and make the sleeves a bit longer though. As for yarn to sub, I'll probably use Drops Muskat. Maybe. I don't know yet. It's already in my queue.
Lastly, we have the Gossamer Smocked Tunic by Shelley Gerber:
Size: 31.25 - 48.25". Model is wearing 34.25 with 1" ease.
Yarn: Shibui Knits Silk Cloud (60% mohair, 40% silk) 330 yds, 2 - 4 skeins.
Cost to knit: $68 or €49.50
Let's all scratch together. Mohair + me = itchy itchy itchy. The pattern itself is pretty, the smocking is nice and I like where it is placed, empire waistlines are very flattering I think. If I were to knit it (which I won't) I'd like to try it using silk, maybe Hedgehog Fibres Silk Lace and add slome cap sleeves.
Phew! There you have it. I guess my overall impression is layers, layers, layers. Sleeveless and see through. Out of the 22 patterns, I'd make one straight away, the Ruched Yoke Tee.
Dateline – Toronto
11 hours ago