It's review time again! It feels like only recently I reviewed the Spring/Summer edition, but here goes with a review of Vogue/Designer Knitting Early Fall 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.
There is NO Nicky Epstein section. I am in shock. Maybe they had some big falling out over fees, or maybe she's trapped in an elevator somewhere screaming to be let out, she's missing her deadline. Or maybe she just couldn't bring herself to come up with another two page pile of nothing. Who knows. Either way, I'm not upset.
The Meg Swansen article is amazeballs, as always. This one is all about her new book, Knit One Knit All, which uses previously unpublished EZ patterns all in garter stitch. EZ has published from beyond the grave! Oh happy day. Needless to say I already knew this and my copy is winging its way to me as I speak and I wait with breathless anticipation. NEW EZ!! My cup runneth over.
There's also an interesting article on schematics by Carol Sucolski. But, another disappointment comes in the form of NO Norah Gaughan design. Come back Norah, don't leave me! It's dark and cold here without you.
I downloaded this edition of the magazine using the Vogue Knitting iPad app. The app is free, and the magazine cost € 3.99, a great saving compared to the €7.95 I pay for the print edition. I love the app, they have books and mags available, plus all the patterns have links to the 360 views on the website. Brillo! I don't know if I'll cancel my print subscription, I like having the print issues to flick through, but I could be tempted. We'll see.
Get yourself a cuppa & a biscuit and let's get going, shall we?
The first pattern is #1 Brioche Socks by Alexandra Richards:
Size: 7.5" foot circ
Yarn: MadeleineTosh Tosh Sock, 2 skeins
Cost to knit: $49 or €33.44
I love these socks. But then, I'm a sucker for socks. If I were to make these, I think I'd make them regular sock length. I've done knee high socks once, and that was enough for me, thankyouverymuch. Sub any sock yarn you like for these.
The first section is called Into The Woods, and is a spin on Red Riding Hood's cape. The first pattern is #2 Pompom Capelet by Kazekobo:
Size: 5 sizes, 38.5 - 50.5"
Yarn: Kauni Wool 100% wool, 656yds/150g, 3 skeins
Cost to knit: $61.50 or €41.98
I don't do capes/ponchos. This section is going to be hard to review for me. I think the shaping (if there is any) in this is awful, it's basically just a large tube to stick yourself into and a couple of pompoms dangling from it. Meh. Sub Cushendale 4ply yarn for just €34.50 if you dare.
Next is #3 Reindeer Capelet by Kazekobo again:
Size: 6 sizes 49 - 54"
Yarn: Manos del Uruguay Wool Classica 50% wool 50% merino, 138yds/100g, 7 skeins
Cost to knit: $97.65 or €66.79
Whenever I see colourwork reindeer, I think of this rather naughty pattern (Ravlink). I know which one I'd rather knit! It's not a bad pattern, I suppose, I like the dark & light reds together. But still, meh, a cape. Sorry. Sub with Debbie Bliss Cashermino Aran for €57.50 or Drops Alaska for a mere €30.
Next is #4 Tied Capelet by Kazekobo again. Seriously. 4 out of the 30 designs in this mag are by the same designer. What's that, 13% of the patterns in the mag by the one person? I feel a Josh Bennett coming on soon.
Size: 4 sizes, 44 - 56"
Yarn: Lornas Laces Shepherd Worsted 100% wool 225yds/113g, 3 skeins
Cost to knit: $57 or €38.98
A nice cable design, I'll give it that much. But again, it's just a tube you shove your head through. When you pull the string at the top I bet it bunches up and looks pants. Sub with Blue Faced Leicester for €24 or Brown Sheep Lambs Pride Worsted for €37.
Last of the same designer, #5 Cabled Capelet by Kazekobo:
Size: 5 sizes, 38 - 51.5"
Yarn: Plymouth Taria Tweed 40% merino, 30% silk, 30% Llama 135yds/100g, 5 skeins
Cost to knit: $75 or €51.34
An interesting yarn combo. I'd like to try this yarn if it were available here. What's around the models neck? Is it some kind of feather boa? I think this pattern is awful. Anyone with any kind of a bosom would look ridicuous with this spread either side of it like a landing strip. Never mind if it were windy, it'd be flapping over your shoulders all the time. Batman is not a good look when running for a bus. Sub with Rowan Cocoon for €59.70 or Lambs Pride Bulky for €55.50.
The last pattern in this section is #6 Zippered Cape by Mari Lynn Patrick:
Size: 3 sizes, 26 - 30" (huh?)
Yarn: Knit One, Crochet Too Nautica 85% Microfiber 15% Nylon, 98yds/50g, 9 skeins
Cost to knit: $45 or €30.81
Am I right, is this yarn acrylic? If so, that's crappy yardage. Out of all the capes I like this one the best. I think the stitch pattern is great, and the shaping is probably the most flattering. Such a shame about the weird sizes. Sub away with any Aran acrylic, or spoil yourself with natural fibres for less than the recommended yarn using Drops Nepal for €28.60 or Kerry Woollen Mills Aran for €29.25
On we go to the second section, Magical Mohair. The first pattern is #7 Mohair Lace Dress by Laura Zukaite:
Size: 5 sizes, 27 - 40"
Yarn: Artyarns Silk Mohair 60% mohair, 40% silk 312yds/25g, 5 skeins
Artyarns Beaded Mohair 73% silk, 27% mohair 114yds/50g, 2 skeins
Weight: Lace and Worsted
Cost to knit: Brace yourselves. $224.53 or €154
Wowza. That's an expensive "dress", considering you'd have to wear something underneath it to cover your modesty. It is pretty though. Perhaps modified into a cardi or just the top half? Subs were interesting for this one. For the lace, try Manos Lace for €40. The worsted was very difficult to sub. I ended up giving up and suggest Rowan Kid Silk Haze for €69.65. A weird combo, I know. BTW, what's around the models neck? Is it some road kill she found in the forest?
Moving on swiftly to #8 Sheath and Wrap by Lynette Meek:
Size: 5 sizes 35 - 47.5"
Yarn: Hand Maiden Maiden Hair 67% silk, 23% mohair, 10% nylon 200yds/100g, 6 skeins
Fleece Artist Montague 70% mohair, 30% silk 550yds/125g, 4 skeins
Weight: The hand maiden is sport, I don't know what the Fleece Artist is.
Cost to knit: Couldn't find a price for the Fleece Artist, the Hand Maiden is a whopping $234 or €160.18
This is bat shit crazy stuff. The model looks like she's on crack. It's beautifully knit though, and makes the most of the yarn's colouring. But still. Bananas. This would have looked brilliant at Woodstock. I could find no details at all about the Fleece Artist yarn, Ravelry doesn't have it, and googling for ages turned up nothing else other than the fiber content. So, subbing is impossible.
On we go to #9 Bobble Tunic by Monica Hofstadter:
Size: 4 sizes, 24 - 36" waist. A waist measurement for a tunic? Huh.
Yarn: Malabrigo Lace 100% merino, 470yds/50g, 2 skeins
Rowan Kidsilk Haze 70% mohair, 30% silk 229yds/25g, 4 skeins
Cascade Kid Seta 70% mohair, 30% silk 300yds/25g, 4 skeins
Weight: All lace weight
Cost to knit: Malabrigo lace is available here for €19, as is the kid silk haze for €39. The Cascade costs $46.40 or €31.75
I kinda like this, in a mad I'd-never-wear-it-but-kinda-wish-I-could kind of way. But, why on earth are both KidSilk Haze and Kid Seta used? They're identical! If I didn't know better, I'd think the mag had made a typo and forgotten to leave out a potential yarn sponsor. Just use all KidSilk Haze with the Mal lace and you're good to go.
The next designer has a section all to her little self. Anna Sui. Again with the obsession with one designer. The first offering is #10 Flower Hat:
Size: 21" head circumference
Yarn: Cascade Heritage 75% merino, 25% nylon 437yds/100g, 6 skeins
Cascade New Kid Seta 70% merino, 30% silk 300yds/25g, 6 skeins
Weight: Fingering and lace
Cost to knit: $141.60 or €96.92
WTF. I mean, seriously. I know you could make this for peanuts by using up leftover sock scraps but would you really want to? This takes hideous to a whole other level imo. *Shudder* Sub with leftovers, or use Schoppel Wolle Solid Sock for €41.70 and Lang Mohair Luxe for €69.50.
Next is #11 Flower Vest:
Size: 2 sizes (!) 30 & 36"
Yarn: As above
Weight: as above
Cost to knit: $153.60 or €105.13
Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, there's a top to match the hat. So, you can look like a hippy all over! I reckon those flowers would catch in everything too. Your heart would be broken picking jewellery, door handles, zippers and small children out of them. You could sub with the same yarns as above, for a total of €118.15. Yarn scraps might be preferable.
Skipping along nicely to the pick of the issue for me, #12 Granny Square Vest:
Size: One Size. Yes. ONE.
Yarn: Filatura Di Crosa Zarina Chine 100% merino 181yds/50g, 3 skeins
Filatura Di Crosa Zarina 100% merino 181yds/50g, 13 skeins
Cost to knit: $163.92 or €112.21
Oh my, where do I start? I love musicals. One of my favourites is Joseph and the amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. I don't love it enough to wear the dreamcoat though. This would look perfect on one of the Brady Bunch, maybe the one who hates Marsha, I forget her name. Perhaps I'm being a tad cruel. I do like the granny squares on the front, they could be salvaged into something slightly less horrific perhaps. If you are a fan of both the Brady Bunch & Joseph, you could sub with Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, for a total of €130.90. You'd have to really love those shows for that though, yarn scraps might be preferable. Also, why the two different yarns? I don't know what the difference between them is. Either way, this is going on my mood board under the heading good for a laugh.
A new section now, Easy Knits, Easy Fits. The first offering is #13 Cowl by Faith Hale:
Size: One size
Yarn: Bergere de France Mohair and acrylic, polyamide, mohair blend. 98yds/50g 2 skeins
Cost to knit: This yarn is discontinued
Seriously. Discontinued yarn? Ugh, sloppy. Not much to be said about this, it's a nice cowl, with an easy stitch pattern that looks well. Sub with Lang Mille Colori for €7.90 or Malabrigo Merino worsted for €11.50.
Onwards to #14 Scoop Neck Top by Faith Hale again:
Size: 4 sizes 51 - 63" (!)
Yarn: Bergere de France Origin Bambou 100% bamboo 87yds/50g, 14 skeins
Cost to knit: $154 or €105.48
hahaha. What a price. The more observant of you will notice it's the same picture as the cowl above. Nice. So, you can't see the neck coz of the cowl and you can't see the body coz of the monster handbag. Hmm. Looks fishy to me. If you like knitting in the dark and the surprise of how the garment will actually look at the end, sub with Artesano Alpaca 4 ply for €38.50. Go on. I dare you.
Next we have #15 Cropped Pullover by Lori Steinberg:
Size: 4 sizes 33 - 45"
Yarn: Berroco Bonsai 97% bamboo 3% nylon, 77yds/50g, 16 skeins
Cost to knit: $104 or €71.23
I love the models facial expression in the pic on the right, she channels the voice of Zsa Xsa Gabor in my head. "Dahlings, don't I look simply splendid? Achieving this level of beauty takes a looong time. With one pout I can have all the men under my spellllllll". I like the jumper, but the sleeves are mad stuff. Too short and too wide at the bottom. If I were to knit this, I'd rectify the sleeves and add several inches to the length. Subbing was difficult, as this is a tape yarn. I thought perhaps Rowan Pure Wool for €66.50 or Drops Bomull Lin for €58.80 could work.
Next we have #16 Boucle Vest by Lori Steinberg:
Size: 3 sizes, 18 - 22" back with. (I know, weird, huh?)
Yarn: Be Sweet Boucle 100% merino, 120yds/50g, 20 skeins
Cost to knit: $320 or €219.11
OMG. I'm in shock at the price. So much so I think I need a drink to recover. Seriously? I know Be Sweet have a great ethical policy, but sadly I can't afford to agree with it. That's mad money. Plus, I can sub with Irish spun Cushendale Boucle Mohair for €76.45. Not that I would, though. Look at how big the models hips look. Yeah. I probably wouldn't fit through a door wearing that.
The last pattern in this section is #17 Tapered Pullover by Renee Lorion:
Size: 5 sizes, 36 - 52"
Yarn: AslanTrends Artesanal 40% cotton, 30% nylon, 30% alpaca 218yds/100g, 6 skeins
Cost to knit: $61.14 or €41.88
I like this jumper. It's a pity the model is clutching herself and hiding the bustline though. It's simple and pretty, possibly one I would make. This yarn is great stuff too. It's not the first time I've noticed how keenly priced AslanTrends are. I might seek some out when I head to the States. In the meantime, I'd probably sub with Artesano Aran for €99.50, or maybe not. How about Drops Nepal for €41.60? That's more like it.
Our next section is Inversion Therapy. Sounds like a torture technique. The onlyoffering is #18 Cable Rib Jacket by Vladimir Teriokhin:
Size: 3 sizes 46 - 54"
Yarn: Schulana Sumerino 100% merino, 93yds/50g, 27 skeins (!)
Cost to knit: $348.30 or €238.60
Now I'm angry. Seriously, wtf is that price. That's absolutely outrageous. Shame on you Vogue for that kind of shitty yarn sponsorship. No way in hell will I ever spend that on a garment. I like the cable pattern and the front collar, but the drop shoulders enormous sleeves are awful. You'd probably save a ton of yarn by making them actually fit. Sub with Drops Alaska for a far more reasonable €77.50. I bet it will look better too. Sheesh. What a rip off Vogue.
Moving on swiftly to more pleasant (hopefully) offerings, another section called Lace Noir. Very French. First we have #19 Lace Pat Cardigan by Lisa Hoffman:
Size: 4 sizes 37 - 50.5"
Yarn: Koigu Mori 50% silk, 50% merino 185yds/50g, 12 skeins
Cost to knit: $180 (on sale) or €123.37
Another expensive knit. It's pretty though without being too busy. I like it. You could sub any sock yarn you like, I don't think the silk is a must ingredient. In fact, it'd probably wear better without it. If you do want to go fancy, how about Sublime Baby Cashmere Silk 4 ply for €75 or Artesano Alpaca 4 ply for €60.50.
#20 Lace Vest by Kristin Omdahl is next:
Size: 2 sizes (tut tut) 35 & 38.5"
Yarn: Tilli Thomas Symphony 63% mohair, 18% nylon, 10% silk and 9% wool 345yds/85g, 3 skeins
Cost to knit: $117 or €80.10
Hmm. Not my kind of garment I confess. I really don't like gaping fronts like that, as I'm sure you're sick of me saying. The stitch pattern is pretty though. Sub Tilli Thomas Beaded Lace for an crazy expensive €167.65 or save a bundle and add your own beads to some Einband Lopi Laceweight for a ridiculously cheap $19.75. What a bargain.
Next we have #21 Lace Trimmed Top by Shiri Mor:
Size: 4 sizes 33 - 38.5" (boo)
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino 55% merino, 33% microfibre, 12% cashmere 137yds/50g, 13 skeins
Debbie Bliss Angel 70% mohair, 24% silk 220yds/25g, 3 skeins
Weight: Sport & Lace
Cost to knit: Both are available here, for €104.20
I love this. It reminds me of Victorian costume dramas like Cranford or Bleak House. I think it's the waistband that does it. It's fab. I wish I could make this, but alas, it's only offered in wee-people sizes. *sigh* I might see if I can deconstruct the waistband and add it to a plain seater or cardi though, I think it's a great detail. If it will fit you, please make it so I can see it & poke it in real life!
On to #22 Lace Jacket by Iris Schreier:
Size: One size. They say it fits "most" Yeah. Boo.
Yarn: Artyarns Beaded Mohair 73% silk, 27% mohair 114yds/50g, 2 skeins
Cost to knit: $76 or €52
Another nice lace top that's sod all use to me. One size fits most. Mumble, grumble. Lazy if you ask me. Like before, I'd use a plain yarn and add my own beads to it. Cushendale Mohair is only €13.90 fer Gawds sake. That's a gift price.
Our final section (Yay! I hear you say) is Knit Construction. No, there are no naked sweaty builders, alas. The first pattern is #23 Welted Pullover by John Brinegar. Another VK regular:
Size: 3 sizes 35 - 41"
Yarn: Trendsetter Victory 77% nylon 23% cotton, 85yds/50g, 18 skeins
Cost to knit: $171 or €117
Another discontinued yarn as far as I can see. Sheesh.
€117 for acrylic? No thank you. But, what the eff is the model wearing on her legs? Are they some sort of industrial suspenders, leg braces or heavy metal rocker type chaps? God alone knows. As for the pattern, I like the v neck and the sleeves. I think if I were to knit it, I'd a) wear normal person trousers, and b) make it into a waist length jumper. Sub for natural fibres for a fraction of the price with Kerry Woollen Mills Aran for €48.75 if you agree. Otherwise, knit with an acrylic blend to avoid the dreaded derriere sag.
#24 Drop Shoulder Top by Rosemary Drysedale is next:
Size: 6 sizes, 43 - 58"
Yarn: Prism Tencel Tape 100% tencel 10yds/50g, 13 skeins
Cost to knit: $193.05 or €132.10
Prism yarns are something else when it comes to pricing. Really and truly. All their stuff seems like mad money. For tencel? Nah. As far as I can see, this pattern is a plain ol sweater with a "design feature" that looks like a rip in the rib with some shaping above it. If it were me, I'd be afraid people would think I'd put on some weight and had to cut the rib in order to make it fit. but then I'm weird like that. Maybe you like it. If so, sub with Drops Safran for a mere €27 or King Cole Bamboo Cotton for €34.65.
On to #25 Cabled Poncho by Daniela Nii:
Size: 3 sizes, 66 - 77" (I kid you not. It must be a length measurement)
Yarn: Blue Sky Alpacas Melange 100% Alpaca 110yds/5og, 19 skeins
Cost to knit: $182.40 or €124.86
Another mental price. And another poncho/cape thingy. Did we not have enough earlier on? Apparently not. I like the cable pattern, it could be a nice sweater if you cut out the plain bits on the side & sewed it up! Sub with Artesano Alpaca for €60.50 or Drops Alpaca for a nicer €42.35. I won't be.
On to the final 5 patterns! Yay!
#26 Boatneck Top by Sinje Ollen:
Size: 3 sizes, 50 - 67" (?)
Yarn: Classic Elite Silky Alpaca Lace 70% Alpaca 30% silk, 440yd/50g, 8 skeins
Cost to knit: $87.60 or €59.93
I love this. I wish I could wear it. It's a gorgeous stitch pattern, and sits beautifully. Over a white summer dress I think this would be fab. I love the detail on the arms, too:
It's just great. What a shame I can't make it. Although, those bananas measurements are stated to be bust measurements. Hmm. Dare I? I could sub Manos Lace for €80, Malabrigo Lace for €76, or maybe make it in sock weight yarn for a larger, drapier look?
#27 Striped Tunic is next, by the one and only Josh Bennett! I knew he'd show up eventually!
Size: 5 sizes, 47 - 55"
Yarn: Brown Sheep Lambs Pride Worsted
Cost to knit: Available here for €92.50
Meh. It's a bit manly for me. Plus, I hate contradictory garments. If it's cold enough to want a long sweater with a turtleneck, why the hell make it with short sleeves? If you like it, sub with Kerry Woollen Mills Aran for €58.50.
#28 Colorwork Poncho by Deborah Newton is next:
Size: 4 sizes 39 - 46.5"
Yarn: Pear Tree Yarn Supersoft 10ply 100% merino 180yds/100g, 17 skeins
Cost to knit: Brace yourselves. Get a chair or a coffee or a stiff drink ready. $442 or €302.50
OH MY GOD. €302 for another effing poncho? Who the hell do you think reads this magazine, the queen or Melinda Gates? That's just tipped the crazy scales. For real. The stitch pattern is your lovely basic Norwegian style colourwork, so why the lunatic price? If it were knit with Qiviut I might understand, but merino? One thing I am thankful for is it saved me from having another poncho pattern rant. That must be 10 poncho patterns in this issue. Jesus. We'll all look like Clint Eastwood in those western movies this Autumn, a knitty posse all wearing ponchos and chewing cheroots. If you like the garment, sub with the regular sub Kerry Woollen Mills Aran for €87.75 or Drops Alaska for €95.
Our penultimate pattern is #29 Long Vest by John Brinegar again. New designers will never get a look in the way Vogue over use the same ones again & again:
Size: 6 sizes. Back measurements 15.5 - 25"
Yarn: Rowan Lima 84% alpaca, 8% merino, 8% nylon 109yds/50g, 17 skeins
Cost to knit: Available here for €144.50
It's a long straight vest with a seed stitch border. Nothing else. Yawn city. And for €144? I could do WAY better myself. If you like the simplicity of it, sub with Lang Merino + for €82.65.
It's the last pattern! Hurrah! #30 Relaxed Cardigan by Mari Lynn Patrick:
Size: 6 sizes, 34 - 45"
Yarn: Zealana Heron 80% merino, 20% possum 109yds/50g, 19 skeins
Cost to knit: $169.67 or €116.15
This could have been so much more I feel. I like the collar and the closure method with the band of ribbing, but it's so shapeless it turns me right off. I could see that just hanging down from my boobs in a most unflattering way. An almost success. Plus the yarn price is another doozy. Sub with Drops Nepal for €67.60 if you like, but I'd be inclined to try and add some shaping to the waist.
So that's your lot! The over riding impressions for me from this issue are ponchos, really expensive yarn, poor sizing and over exposure to some designers. There are a couple of interesting garments with one I want to make but compared to the Spring/Summer issue, I think it's a bit of a let down. Here's hoping they improve for Winter.
Let me know what you think, and if you'd like to see any changes to my reviews.
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