Friday 25 March 2011

Vogue/Designer Knitting Spring/Summer 2011 Review

Better late than never, here goes with a review of Vogue/Designer Knitting Spring/Summer 2011. I have taken all of the photos from the Vogue Knitting 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.

Substitute yarns I suggest are my own choice, your mileage may vary. I try to use the same fibres as the suggested yarn where possible, but will use others I think would be good if I can't find it. I have used 4 main online Irish retailers for my prices and will vary between them for fairness. I haven't priced anything using mostly acrylic, but if you want me to, let me know in the comments. Also, if you want me to say where I am getting my prices from, let me know too.

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.

On a side note, a lot of the patterns in this issue use sport weight yarn. This weight is very difficult to get here, we really only have 4ply/fingering or DK. Sometimes I'll switch between them when recommending subs if I think one might be better than another. My advice though, would be to SWATCH before using.

As always, the Meg Swansen article is worth the price of the magazine alone, IMO. She talks about the purl stitch, and it's use in colour knitting such as Bohus. Brilliant stuff.

The Nicky Epstein patterns this time are for pillows using more icord. Basically long strips of icord plaited or twisted and sewn on to existing pillows. *yawn* I couldn't get pictures of them on line. You're not missing anything.

You'll also be glad to hear there's no appearance by Josh Bennett in this issue. Perhaps he did take the hints last time and stayed away. :)

On to the good stuff now. The first section is called Knits Bloom!/It's all white now. Maybe the reference to bloom is why they stuck ginormous flowers in the pictures and on the models heads. Absolutely mad looking.

The first pattern is #1 Cardi Vest by John Brinegar:

Size: 5 sizes, 32 - 48"
Yarn: Trendsetter Dolcino, 75% acrylic 25% nylon, 50g/100yds
Weight: Bulky
Cost to Knit: $120.45 €85.13

The cost seems high for an acrylic yarn to me. However, it's a ribbon yarn so I found it hard to find a sub. I suppose Lousia Harding Sari Ribbon at a push, for €110.50. As for the cardi, it's a bit meh I think. I really don't like the rolling at the armholes.

The next pattern is #2 Scoop Neck Dress by Mari Lynn Patrick:

Size: 4 sizes, 32.5 - 39" (what a shitty size range)
Yarn: Tahki.Stacy Charles Solaris, 70% rayon 30% linen, 108yds/50g
Tahki Crystal, 75% polyester 25% cotton, 144yds/25g
Weight: Solaris: DK, Crystal: Lace
Cost to knit: $174.95 €123.94

Hmm. Crazy price to knit. I know the above pics aren't great, they don't show the whole garment. Basically it's a spaghetti stap long tunic type thing with an enormous kangaroo pouch pocket right in front of the models lady bits with some ribbing at the bottom. It's ridiculous. Very bottom heavy, you'd want to be a waif to wear it, and even then I think you'd look huge. WTF is the hairy necklace thingy she's wearing, too? Mad altogether. You could sub for Garnstudio Bomull Lin for €67.20 and Anchor Metallic for €19.35

Next is #3 Drape Neck Top by Jacqueline Van Dillen:

Size: 6 sizes, 33.5 - 48"
Yarn: Cascade Sierra 80% cotton, 20% wool, 101yds/100g
Weight: Worsted
Cost to knit: $67.50 or €47.76

First off, I love this yarn. It's great to knit with, wears brilliantly and comes in a load of lovely colours. I knit hubby's Dylan Goes Electric jumper with it 2 years ago and it still looks great. The jumper is quite nice, I like the neckline. But, the bottom of the lace panel in the centre looks weird. It ends before the garter stitch hem. I'd continue the garter stitch all the way across if it were me. Subs? How about Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece. I've no price for it at the mo as the Irish stockist is out of stock. Garnstudio Cotton Viscose would set you back €42.

#4 is V Neck Pullover by Carol Meldrum:

Size: 6 sizes, 36 - 56.5"
Yarn: Schulana Fashion Silk 85% silk, 15% polyester 120yds/50g
Weight: Bulky
Cost to knit: $322.15 or €227.88

Hahahahaha what kind of price is that for a jumper with a v so low your belly button would catch cold? A joke. Apart from the low v, it's just a boring jumper, no unusual details for me. I think Carol Meldrum is the designer who wrote Knitted Icons, which contains patterns for dolls based on famous people. If so, I definitely don't like this, as that book resulted in the ugliest FO ever for me, a David Bowie doll I made for hubby. Poor David still cries to be put out of his misery, such is the agony of his existence. A sub was hard to find for this, as I said before bulky yarns are scarce. All I could come up with was Lousia Harding Rosetti for an equally scandalous €174.15.

Next we have #5 Two Button Vest by Jacqueline Van Dillen. The second pattern for her, I hope she isn't going to become the new Josh.

Size: 6 sizes, 33 - 51.5"
Yarn: Bergere de France Origin Soja 84%cotton, 16% soy 192yds/50g
Weight: Worsted
Cost to knit: $152 or €104.96

It's ok, I guess. I think if I were to make it, I'd shorten it and add sleeves. I do like the roll neck. I'd certainly be looking for cheaper subs, though. Tivoli Cruise Aran for €44? That's more like it. Or Garnstudio Paris for €38.20.

#6 is Eyelet Wrap Top by Theresa Schabes:

Size: 4 sizes (boo) 33 - 45"
Yarn: Plymouth Covington 100% cotton 184yds/100g
Weight: Aran
Cost to knit: $82.50 or €56.97

I kinda like this one. I have a bit of a love affair with wrap tops. Pity I'd have to upsize it though. That will probably put me off it. Again, I'd also add sleeves. Even a cap sleeve would soften it a lot. Another enormous flower in this photo. Looks crazy. Subs could include Tivoli Cruise (again, it's a great workhorse cotton yarn) for €54.50, Garnstudio Paris for €49.45 or splash out with Blue Sky Alpacas Organic Cotton for €129.35. Nah, I wouldn't either.

A new section now, Under Cover. The first pattern is #7 Hooded Jacket by Rebecca Taylor:

Size: 2 sizes (pfffft) 48.5 & 58.5"
Yarn: Rowan All Seasons Cotton 60% cotton, 40% acrylic 98yds/50g
Weight: Aran
Cost to knit: $238 or €164.35

Another laughable cost to knit. And 2 sizes? A joke. But, does that mean the model is wearing a 48.5" garment? There's something hinky going on there. You should see the main photo in the magazine, the model is in a mad pose, like she's pretending to be running, but standing still and staring seductively at the camera. I bet she fell over straight after the photo was taken, she looks so uncomfortable. You could sub Wendy Traditional Aran 500g and knit this for €75.80 if you so desire.

Next is #8 Long Cardigan Vest by another resident favourite, Twinkle:

Size: 5 sizes, 37 - 52"
Yarn: Twinkle Cruise 70% silk, 30% cotton 120yds/50g
Weight: Sport
Cost to knit: $143 or €98.75

Considering the cost of previous Twinkle items to knit, this one is quite mild for her. It's an interesting enough idea, the yarn is held single for the bottom, then doubled for the top. It's a bit plain though. I'd love to stick a dramatic cable up the back (of the cardi that is). Sub? There's nothing cheap, really. Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino is €71.40 or Rowan Silk Wool for 119.25.

Another section, Sheer Beauty. The next pattern is the cover pattern, #9 Lace Poncho by Shiri Mor:

Size: 1 size (aaaah) 53.75 x 26/75"
Yarn: Patons Grace 100% cotton 136yds/50g
Weight: Sport
Cost to knit: $98.82 or €68.24

Basically it's a rectangle you put your head through. I do love it, though. Lace gets me every time. I have visions of myself as an uber skinny (hungry) waif, wearing one of the "special" garments featured later on, with this covering me and sipping champagne on a beach in Monaco. Yep, dreaming. It's the only way this garment will ever cover me! You could sub Patons 100% cotton 4ply for €41.65.

The next couple of patterns are a bit mad. This one is #10 Mesh Topper by John Brinegar. No. 2 for John. Let's not make a habit of it, shall we?

Size: 5 sizes, 36 - 55"
Yarn: Tahki Brilla Cotton/Rayon mix ( no %ages, sorry) 120yds/50g
Weight: Fingering
Cost to knit: It's on sale at at the mo. $47.76 or €32.98

Hmm. What can I say. It reminds me of this:

Yes, the string vest. Beloved of 70s men everywhere. Not something I'd be wearing any time soon. However, if you are so inclined, you could sub Lang Baby Cotton for €30.

Next we have #11 Lace Cover Up by Renee Lorion:

Size: 24 x 50"
Yarn: Claudia Hand Painted Yarns Linen 100% Linen 270yds/100g
Weight: Sport
Cost to knit: $58 or €40

It's not covering very much for a cover up, is it? I do like the models vintage togs underneath, they look kinda woven. Cool. As a shawl, it's ok I guess. You could use Garnstudio Lin instead for €25.75 if you like. I wouldn't imagine gauge would be very important here, so knock yourself out.

I'm going to take the next two patterns together, #12 Bias Lace Scarf and #13 Bias Rib Scarf by Lisa Buccellato:

Size: not relevant, really
Yarn: Fibra Natura Flax 100% Linen 137yds/50g
Weight: DK
Cost to knit: $23.70 or €16.36 each

Meh. Bland. Boring. Really hard to see any details as they're on top of each other and wrapped in knots. Really poor shot, I think. Sub away with something fun like Araucania Ruca Sugar Cane yarn (nom, tasty yarn) for €25 each scarf.

Next is #14 Lace Tunic by Brooke Nico:

Size: 3 sizes, 33 - 49.5"
Yarn: Classic Elite Katydid 100% cotton 90yds/50g
Weight: Aran
Cost to knit: $102 or €70.46

I really like this. It's like an Estonian shawl in dress form. I bet Nancy Bush (Queen of Estonian lace shawls) is raging she didn't come up with this idea before. It looks great, but all those nupps would freak the crap out of me. Nupps are not the easiest thing to do, although maybe they could be ok in Aran weight. In laceweight, they're a right bugger. Sub with the usual aran cotton suspects like Tivoli Cruise for €32.70, Garnstudio Paris for €30.10 or splash out with Blue Sky Alpacas Organic Cotton for €79.60

Now we come to the good stuff. These next two patterns are Vogue Knitting comedy gold.

#15 Gold Tie Bikini by Elizabeth Kosich:

Size: 3 sizes 29 - 33"
Yarn: Katia Gatsby Rayon/Nylon/Metallic
Weight: Sport
Cost to knit: $44 or €30.39

#16 Colour Block Bikini by Elizabeth again:

Size: As above
Yarn: as above
Weight: as above
Cost to knit: $55 or €37.99

OMG. OMG. Seriously. Did they just do that? I'm speechless. Honest. I've sat here for a while trying to think of what to type that isn't just loads of hahaha. Imagine what would happen when these got wet. The gold one has absolutely NO support up top, and is held together with an icord knot at the bottom. DISASTER. The bottom one has a nice metallic buckle in the bra, but the bottoms are mad. I bet they'd fall down just walking. Plus I feel sorry for the poor models. They look starved and frozen solid. Just wrong. If you want to knit them for the laugh, go right ahead. I don't have a sub to recommend, I just couldn't bring myself to look for any.

After those, I could do with a nice pattern to calm me down. Alas, we instead have #17 Fitted Top by Melissa Matthay:

Size: 3 sizes (gah) 33 - 39"
Yarn: Artyarns Silk Pearl 100% silk 170yds/50g
Weight: DK
Cost to knit: $156 or €107.77

I just don't know with this one. The boobage looks ENORMOUS with the garter stitch. I do like the zig zag bodice, but not the holes up the middle. But the back, oh dear. The joins of the strips to the body are a mess, especially at the top left. The whole thing looks sloppy. You couldn't wear a bra with this either, which would mean my boobage wouldn't remain in the garter "cups" for long! Sub Blue Sky Alpacas silk for €54.75 or Sublime Cashmere Merino Silk for €35.70.

The next section is called Postcards from Rio and features lively Latin colours. First up is #18 Cropped Tank Top by Jacqueline Van Dillen. This is Jacqueline's third pattern. Do we need to have words, Jackie?

Size: 5 sizes, 31 - 41"
Yarn: Manos del Uruguat Serena 60% alpaca, 40% cotton 170yds/50g
Weight: DK
Cost to knit: $52 or €35.92

A pretty top. Nice and simple, with a pleasant stitch detail on the bodice. I like it. You could sub Garnstudio Cotton Viscose for €16.80 (!) or Louisa Harding Willow Tweed for €35.70

On we go to #19 Triangle Top by Halleh Tehranifar:

Size: 3 sizes 30 - 55" (what a leap!)
Yarn: Rowan Calmer 75% cottton, 25% acrylic 175yds/50g
Weight: Worsted
Cost to knit: $111.60 or €77

An expensive little strappy top. I could have sworn Calmer was available here, but I couldn't find it. The triangles are cleverly placed, as they give the illusion of a smaller waist than might be there naturally. Sub Rowan Summer Tweed for €77.40 (ouch) or Kerry Woollen Mills Aran for €39.

Next we have #20 Striped Top by Loren Cherensky:

Size: 6 sizes 33 - 53"
Yarn: Prism Rapport 66% bamboo, 34% cotton 216yds/113g
Weight: Worsted
Cost to knit: $160 or €110.52

A scandalous price, methinks. Prism yarns are very expensive. It's a nice simple summery top, that could be lovely in the right colours. Sub a brilliant alternative in King Cole Bamboo cotton for a mere €34.65. It's a fantastically priced yarn.

On the home stretch now. #21 Wrap Effect Top by Mari Lynn Patrick again:

Size: 3 sizes 34 - 38" (I'm going Godzilla on this one)
Yarn: Aslan Trends Prima Clasico 100% cotton 111yds/50g
Weight: Worsted
Cost to knit: $115 or €79.44

Right. Bring on the crazy. Three effing sizes? And the largest is 38"? What the hell, Vogue. I am so mad with you right now. I love this top, it's a classic line, and would look great on larger figures. With sleeves, of course. So 3 sizes? Grrrrrr. I would sub with Tivoli Cruise for €32.70 if I wasn't so mad.

#22 Cable Collar Top by Norah Gaughan should calm me down:

Size: 5 sizes 33 - 50"
Yarn: Berroco Linsey 64% cotton 36% linen
Weight: Worsted
Cost to knit: $80 or €55.26

Ah, Norah. Is there nothing you can design that I wouldn't like? You are a kindred knitty spirit. I love the fold back collar, the cap sleeves and the plain body that doesn't detract from the collar. Yum, yum yum. I will sub Drops Bomull Lin for €54.60 or Rowan Summer Tweed for €64.50.
Feeling better now.

#23 Bow Tie Cable Top by Cheryl Murray is next:

Size: 6 sizes, 32 - 51"
Yarn: Knit One, Crochet Too Babyboo 55% Nylon, 45% bamboo 115yds/50g
Weight: DK
Cost to knit: $69.55 or €48

Another nice simple top, although I would make it not yellow and a bit longer. I'd sub the King Cole Bamboo Cotton again, for just €29.70. Bargain.

#24 Diagonal Front Vest by Mel Clark:

Size: 2 sizes???? 34 & 38"
Yarn: Blue Sky Alpacas Worsted Cotton
Weight: Worsted
Cost to knit: $55 or €37.99

2 sizes. 2 measly sizes. What a waste of magazine space. Not that I'd knit it anyway. It's not my kind of pattern, but I do know lots of people who would like something like this. Although, it could look cool over a shirt for meetings in work. Hmm. Maybe I do like it after all, which makes me even madder that it's offered in two crappy sizes. Grr. Y'know, Vogue, you make it hard to like you sometimes. If you do fit into one of the two sizes, you could sub Blue Sky Alpacas Organic Cotton for €49.75 or the ubiqitous Tivoli Cruise for €27.25.

Next up is #25 Lace Panel Top by Louisa Harding.

Size: 5 sizes, 31.5 - 43.5"
Yarn: Louisa Harding Ondine 100% cotton 119yds/50g
Weight: DK
Cost to knit: $87.45 or €65.45 in an Irish yarn store. The only recommended yarn in this issue that can be sourced here!

A cute top. Shame about the straps. It would be lovely if there were some shoulders and cap sleeves on this I think. And what the OMG is the necklace the model is wearing? It looks like giant slices of aubergine or cucumber on a string. Crazytown. You can use the original article, or sub for Drops Safran for a mere €21.60.

Our final section is titled Summertime Blues. The first offering is #26 Lace Top by Yoko Hatta:

Size: 4 sizes 36.5 - 51"
Yarn: Zealana Kiwi 40% merino, 30% possum, 30% cotton 149yds/40g
Weight: Fingering
Cost to knit: Could only find this on a German site, $100.82 or €69.65

I like this, a lot. Again with the crossover front. Very flattering to us largies. The stitch pattern is cute, too. I could see myself wearing this to work over a white t-shirt and looking quite smart, thank you. I'd sub Lang Baby Cotton for €22.50 or Drops Alpaca for a nice drape for €23.10

Almost done, hang in there! #27 Buttoned Lace Vest by Pat Olski:

Size: 3 sizes (!) 31.5 - 49.25"
Yarn: Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece 80% cotton 20% merino 215yds/100g
Weight: Worsted
Cost to knit: $55.20 or €38.13

I love the idea of this top. The dual colours, the stitch pattern. The sleeves? Not so much. Look at the photo on on the right, at the crappy join of the neckband. Yeah. If I were to knit this, it would take a lot of mods. The recommended yarn is lovely too, I'd use it in preference. In fact, I have 10 skeins in a tea rose shade in my stash... hmm. Subs could include Artesano Aran for €89.55, Lang Merino for a woolier garment for €60.90 or Drops Nepal for €41.60.

Our penultimate pattern, #28 Lace Cardi by Courtney Kelley:

Size: 2 sizes 30 & 40.5"
Yarn: The Fibre Company Savannah 50% merino 20% cotton 15% soy 15% linen 160yds/50g
Weight: DK
Cost to knit: $90 or €62.17

Talk about a mouthful of fibres in one skein. But the big bugbear is 2 sizes. TWO! Vogue, hang your head in shame. Lazy lazy pattern writing. I like this, but only a little. The picture on the right does it no favours, the models bum looks a tad large in it, no? The rest is nice, though. I'd sub Malabrigo Silky Merino for €62.65 or Drops Cotton Viscose for €22.40.

And so we come to the final pattern. Yay, I hear you say! I can go have a cup of tea now!
Here it is, #29 Chevron Lace Top by Mari Tabita:

Size: 4 sizes 31.5 - 40"
Yarn: Koigu Mori 50% silk 50% merino 185yds/50g
Weight: Fingering
Cost to knit: $175 or €120.89

Yeah. You read right, €120 for this top. Not gonna happen. It's a decent top. Nothing I haven't seen before, but decent enough. I'd sub Malabrigo Sock for €56.70 and spoil myself.

So that's your lot! I hope you enjoyed the review. I guess it wasn't too bad an issue overall, certainly better than the previous winter issue. But still some mad prices and lazy sizing.

Please leave me a comment and let me know what you think, if you'd like them to continue, if there are other publications you'd like reviewed, etc etc. It'd be nice to get some feedback.


Deirdre said...

Honestly I'd knit the waistcoat/top if it came in more sizes, that's my mileage. The mock wrap top on orange almost makes the model look like she's missing a boob (A true amazon?) I checked with husband and he agreed with my assessment!

The review was worth waiting for!

Emybloom said...

Wow, there's some trash going on there.

The thing that really gets me are the prices though - no wonder I don't knit big things!

Love love love these reviews though, such a funny outlook on the patterns :P

Alifeofherown said...

Thanks for the review. There were a few patterns I really liked there (especially the Norah G top). Must see if I can chase down a copy of the magazine.

Anonymous said...

Oh boy, do I love these reviews -- SO funny! Surprisingly, though, I saw several patterns I actually liked, which isn't the usual with me and VK -- that's why I unsubscribed. I think I'll actually go out and buy this one. Thanks so much for the early morning laugh!

P.S. The man in the string vest!!! Wherever did you find that?

Tara said...

I've been saving your review for when I have time to give it a good, proper read. I love your reviews!!! Vogue doesn't really "do" it for me, and Spring/Summer knitting usually leaves me somewhat "meh". So, nothing added to my queue with this issue!

Bionic Laura said...

Love your reviews! They always crack me up. It's so nice to have a review from the perspective of a real knitter. The price of the project in the recommended yarn is always an eye opener too, some of them are so expensive. Great stuff.