Thursday, January 10, 2008

Vogue Knitting Winter 2008

It's that time, kiddies. Time to look at another issue of VK. As always, I refer to the patterns by number, not page. Photos copyright VK (unless otherwise obviously not theirs), their text is in quotes if I use it.

Articles are kind of thin on the ground in this issue, but there's a Pi Shawl article from Meg Swansen that should have counted as another pattern (and is, of course, good). There's another Lily Chin article on fit - this one about sleeves. These last four or five articles of Chin's are so good, VK should compile them and offer them in a book. A short blurb announces that a new, revised "Principles of Knitting" will be published in fall '09. Trends (judging from adds) seem to be toward smaller gauges and texture patterns and interesting fit.


First section, Ocean View, "Cloaks against the briny breeze, lace shawls awash with romance dance in the spray." Fashion writing, or haiku? You be the judge. This section hurts my brain.

1. Shawlette/wrap thingie made of circular bits from Nicky Epstien. Kinda cute.

2. Dark blue lace shawl with beads. Nice enough, but not terribly earth-shattering in originality. Much of the section is like this; it's like they're trying to catch up with a two year old fashion style they just noticed (oh, wait! it is!) But the pattern's nice enough.

3. Circular shawl made of joined hexagonal medallions. On the left in the above photo. Again, nice enough, but our ancestors have been making bedspreads like this for centuries.

4. Asymmetric, shoulder-covering... thing... on the right in the above photo. By Teva Durham. Made of joined hexagonal medallions, like the last one, but the way they're joined together asymmetrically so it looks a little... strange. But judging from the pattern, you could make a more traditional wrap with the existing directions easily enough. Just move hexagons around. Ah, the joy of modular knitting.

5. Why yes, this IS your grandma's knitting! Good gods. What in hell are they thinking?

6. Yet another wrap made of joined hexagon medallions. I wonder if they requested all these hexagons, or it just happened that way. This one's symmetric at least. I bet knit with a bigger yarn it'd make a nice cape sort of thing.

7. Blue-purple square lace wrap, from Annie Modisett. More interesting than usual, because two different yarns are used to knit it. Kinda cool, really. Of course they don't post a photo of it.

8. Yet another square of lace.

Next section, Oh Cables. Har.

9. Purple cableknit with raglan seaming. At least people are starting to knit raglans in the round... I never understood why in hell you'd sew one up. Nice enough, but those types of sweaters that hang real low to add padding to your hips are not what I'd call flattering.

10. Beige cable-knit almost identical to the one above. Slightly different choice of cables, what looks like a smaller gauge, and drop shoulders and bell cuffs. The same ass-expanding length.

11. Quite possibly the most unflattering, weirdest, knit dress I've ever seen. This one sings of Seventh Grade Home Ec class. There's an odd sideways bit across the shoulders that's cabled ('cause we all need extra bulk on our shoulders, so we can look like Joan Crawford), and most of the rest is done in Trinity Stitch ('cause we all want fluffy fabric covering our butts), and horizontal striping from variegated yarn. Oh. And no sleeves. ??!!??

12. Grandma! You knit me a hat and scarf! Thanks!

13. Jacket in the apparently popular bell shape, with horizontal stripes. If you like that shape/cut, I suppose it would be flattering enough if you eliminated the horizontal stripes... what woman, other than a fashion model, would willingly put BIG. HORIZONTAL. STRIPES. on her torso? ...still think the cut will make your butt look huge, though.

14. Cable-knit hoodie. Which sounds like a fine idea (Rogue, anyone?) But there's a giant lace panel in the front, back, and sleeves, that's full of holes. Oy. So warm, for winter. When you want to wear a hoodie.

15. One of those shrugs where you knit two sleeves cuff-up toward the center of the body and keep going 'til they meet in the center of your back. At least the stripes are vertical. This cut always reminds me of welding leathers, though:

16. Fitted, shawl-collar cabled cardigan. Nice. The waist doesn't hit the model in the right place, but models are built weirdly anyway. Still, I'd consider altering the pattern a tad unless you're short through the waist. You better like seed stitch.

Next section, "Built for Tweed" ??? "Flecked jackets flex fibery muscles, revealing a robust yet ladylike strength." Robust yet ladylike. Excuse me while I go take a migraine pill, I'll be right back. Oh, and someone get me a gun.

17. Fitted biege tweed jacket. The front edging fits a bit like these circular jackets do, but the sleeves are fitted (sleeve cap, etc). It actually has a waist! Whoa! I may swoon!

18. Coco Chanel, eat your heart out. I assume 3/4 length sleeves are 'in' this winter, but I'd make them full length partly for warmth and partly to keep the jacket from looking dated so I could wear it forever. AND IT COMES IN PLUS SIZES!! Holy fuck. I think this is a sign of the apocalypse.

19. I really like this, but it's that damned ass-expanding length again. And is it just me, or do jackets with short sleeves look dorky? (Like sweaters with hoods and no sleeves?) The photo is kind of a ripoff too, because you can't see anything of the neck. Checking the pattern, I see it's collarless.

20. Fitted coat. With short sleeves. Did we discuss short sleeves on jackets and coats? Yes. Yes we did. All right then. Oh. And the yarn is one of those over-the-top tweeds that makes the coat look like it was knit with stuff found in the lint trap of my clothes dryer.

21. Fitted riding coat sorta thing. Nice. What's with the belt??

22. Sort of Peter-pan type button-up shirt. Kinda cute. Short puff sleeves, hits just at the waist, little collar. I'd knit this in cotton and wear it in summer, though. Doesn't look, you know, WARM. For, like, THE WINTER ISSUE.

Next section: Designer Touches. This is where they pay well-known designers exorbitant fees to design stupid sweaters that no one knits. They do this every issue. Search Ravelry if you don't believe me; no one knits these.

Our next sweater is the inevitable trainwreck you find in each issue.

23. Super-bulky knit long sweater/dress thingie with cables and deliberately run stitches over the torso. (Think Clapotis for the run stitches. But like a disaster instead of interesting.) This technique is really hard to do and make look good, because it's so much more often a mistake. In this case, it's all a mistake. Good grief. (Okay, I took a photo of the magazine page, and it sucks. But you get the idea.) Did I mention the yarn color reminds me of vomit?

24. Grandma! You re-knit your coat! In purple!

Actually, my grandma had more style than to wear that.

25. Coat crocheted out of a bunch of different stitches in patchwork. As far as I can see, the only thing going for it is, it's fitted. Probably okay in a single color. Oh, and THIS ISN'T VOGUE FUCKING CROCHET, MOTHERFUCKERS!


26. Striped jacket with sewn-on black fur collar. The cover sweater, on the left. (You know, the Zoolander one.) Horizontal stripes are SO flattering. And they could have color-corrected the proofs so the colors are the same on each photo. Okay, okay, and one more thing.

"Oh, snap."

27. Green textured jacket, also on cover. Weird cowl neck, but otherwise nice.

28. I can't review this sweater. Can't. Because I look at it, and all I can think is, well, this:

I think I'm mentally scarred for life.

Oh. And I hate horizontal stripes.

29. Run of the mill purple coat jacket thingie, and... and... ARGH! MUST... STOP...

Sorry. It's a compulsion. I'll get treatment for it.

30. Brandon Mably's attempt at a sweater dress. Because, as we all know, if we're gonna knit a whole fucking dress in intarsia, WE WANT IT TO BE SQUARES SO WE WILL BE BORED OUT OF OUR MINDS. There's no shaping in this. None. Even the model looks like she's wearing a sack, that's why she's posed so stupidly; trying to find her waist. (Yet another photo from the magazine, sorry it sucks.)

31. Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird, it's a plane... no... Really, it's nice. Other than the pose of the model. You could wear this under a jacket if you wanted to, or do it in cotton and wear it for summer. Not sure about the gloves, though.


Samantha said...

your vogue knitting reviews always rock, and this is no exception.

Anonymous said...

I've been waiting for this since the issue came out. Thank you for another accurate, eloquent review!

Anonymous said...

I wonder if VK has concerns about posts like this - they should because I might actually buy it if I didn't get to read about the atrocities here first!

I kinda like the white grandma shawl though. Kind of quaint.

Sheepish Annie said...

Still standing firm and not buying VK. Although, I have to admit there are a couple of things there that I don't hate and might actually be able to knit. Maybe...

Laural said...

No. 13 = Vogue version of Mrs. Weasley's sweater. Money well saved!

Alwen said...

Wow. The model's expression in #9. Wonder what she's on. Looks like it's heavy-duty.

KnittyLynn said...


It's so nice to have someone go before to make sure it's safe for others. ;)

Anonymous said...

alwen's right -- #9 looks s-t-o-n-e-d

and it's a pity they used yarn to make the sweater below-butt length instead of using it to make the sleeves go all the way down to her chilly, skinny little wrists and maybe make it come up closer to her clavicles, too.

but i guess it wouldn't be fashion if it made sense, dahhhhling.

Amy Lane said...

Okay... the zoolander thing has me ROLLING! And I'm with you on that last sweater--I thought it was chez classy. (I sort of liked that weird little knit dress you panned, though...I think it was just that wish for a gamine body...)

deirdre said...

This is why I no longer subscribe to Vogue Knitting - because I can come here and get the real scoop... and then some...

thanks, Julie!

Ellen Alexandra said...

I actually saw a close-up of the stitch pattern in Cookie A's shawl (#8), and while, yes, it is yet another square shawl, the stitch pattern is pretty cool, in my opinion. Of course, VK didn't bother to show a close-up so you could actually see it. It's on Cookie A's blog and on the pattern in Ravelry.

historicstitcher said...

Thanks for the review! I needed the humor this morning!!

And I agree- I kind of like the last one. I might actually consider it, if I didn't have a queue of about 132 other sweaters I want to make!

Cindy said...

Love the review. And I am in love with the Coco jacket. The type of classic garment you knit and can wear for years to come. I may buy this just for the Lily Chin article and the jacket. Thanks!

Unknown said...

Love your reviews!!It's hard to imagine any of these on people with breasts. Oh, wait. I just visualized the stripey puff-shouldered, u-necked thing on Dolly Parton. Eeeek!!

debsnm said...

My question is, what's with the open-below-the-waist fronts?? Like everyone doesn't have a belly to stick out like you're pregnant! I love the loose, flowing, sort of empire waist thingys that are coming out for spring, but close the front up, for heaven's sake!

Melissa said...

Yay! I always wait with bated breath for your VK reviews. They are often better than the actual magazine. Now I can't wait to go buy the issue! Thanks!

Unknown said...

I always love your magazine reviews! I had many of the same thoughts as you did while going through it. Like some of the articles, don't think I'll knit a single thing from it. This issue solidified for me that I'll let my subscription expire without renewing. Glad to see I'm not alone!

Tanja said...

I like the fact that I can read this and make an informed choice not to buy the mag. Har har. You're hilarious! And no, you are not alone in ridiculing jackets with short sleeves. Or jumpers with built-in bum-expanding length. Or stupid model poses. Maybe VK should drop by here for some pointers. Har har!

Denise said...

Yeah, there's sure a bunch of crazy designs in there - but have a peek on page 20 at the top :)

sienna said...

I actually thought you were really easy on them this time. I would have complained more about the weird communal vinyl/leather gloves and all the super-skinny models, etc, etc. But fun nonetheless. I love your photo as commentary this time!

Anonymous said...

I am struggling with the White Lace Shawl, #5. I am trying to figure out the "4-stitch repeat thing. Is there and expert in this group that can explaing this to me? Please and thank you very much.

Julie said...

Anyone else wanting to comment on this review is welcome to e-mail me at

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