Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Vogue Knitting Spring/Summer 2009.

I understand VK has changed their name overseas to "Designer Knitting" or somesuch. Should be the same old mag, though. Scroll down to look at some photos and see.

As always, patterns referred to by number instead of page. Anything in quotes is from the magazine, all else is my own work. Photos from the Vogue Knitting web site, obvious written-over bits were added by me.

Articles and advertising this time around were kinda interesting. Lots of henleys and similarly put together things from the yarn companies, also lots of stockinette bodices with lace or other openwork for lower body and/or sleeves. It's a nice look for a lot of the population; wise choice on their part.

One of the first things I noticed was "KnitBook". You pick out the patterns you want, and someone (Vogue? The details are sketchy) prints them out, binds them in a hardcover spiral-bound, and sends them to you. Ironically, the ad says "find out more at Vogue Knitting .com", and of course I can't find anything on the web site except a letter from the editor, even with a search of the site. Hitting Google, I found a link BACK to the VK web site, here, that gave details. Along with their copy editor/writers, they need to shoot the IT department. Anyway, looks like a good, if probably expensive, idea. No prices listed that I could find with a quick skim. Always a good sign it's affordable. Ha.

"Sweet Silks" was the section on yarns. This time around, they offer a LIST of silk yarns (that no doubt pay them advertising revenue). A photo of five balls of yarn - all the same yarn, just different colors - on the page with the list. You have to search to find out what yarn it is. No other yarns are shown. Brain. Dead.

"Frugality is the New Black". Article about knitting recycled material, like making shopping bags knit from cut-up shopping bags. You get the idea. More topical and useful to the environment than bamboo yarn, but couldn't they get a title that wasn't lameass?

Meg Swansen writes about Bohus Stickning - Schoolhouse Press has a new book/DVD set available, though it's a documentary, not patterns. The cost of the magazine is worth the one photo of the Bohus yoke (yolk? Sorry, had to, had to).

Nicky Epstein, apparently designer-in-residence at VK (hey, it's a paycheck), offers up a pattern for a scarf. It is knit of beaded silk and looks like sewn-together potholders.

The insult of the issue, "The SKINNY on Fine Yarns". Meaning sport weight or sock weight for garments. Now. Don't get me wrong. It's an excellent article, and I like the author, Carol J Sulcoski, quite a lot. Plus I agree with her to boot. It's just utter hypocrisy and a slap in the face, coming on the heels of last winter's super-bulky issue where they insisted that super-bulky knitting was IT, and now here's an article telling you that super-bulky is going to make you look like a woolly mammoth on growth hormones. Vogue, you assholes. (To repeat. Excellent article, good writer, hypocritical salesmanship from Vogue. Not the author's fault.)

Trends from the runway show lots of glitter. Sequins mostly. Yay.


First section, "Vernal Interlude". Sounds like a kind of venereal disease. "Lengthened days lead to languorous knitting." Yuh huh. The styling is rather lameass but it's not packing crates.

1. Lace pullover. Raglan shoulders and a big whack of ribbing at the neck that looks hot. Otherwise, it's a lace summer pullover. Hope you have a camisole because at that gauge, the holes are huge. Sizes from 32 in/91.5 cm to 44 in/111.5 cm bust.

2. Silk tank with star motif. Thanks to Norah Gaughan, everyone wants to knit in all directions these days, but it's trickier than it looks. (This is not one of her patterns/designs.)

See the wadded-up fabric at the shoulders? (Circled in red for your entertainment.) Unless you've got boobs on your shoulders, I'd find a way to decrease those stitches out of there 'cause right now it looks really, well, crappy. Sizes from 34 in/91.5 cm to 38 in/96.5 cm.

3. Yet more with the multi-directional knitting. It's got potential, but there is no edge except for some single crochet - which rarely prevents curling. I wonder how much starch is in this thing. Add in the button issue... what the fuck is up with the buttons?

Personally I'd stop with the third button from the top, between the breasts. That fourth button pulling the cardi all out of whack? No idea what in hell's up with that, but they should have known better than to button it. And look all the way at the bottom edge; there are more buttons there, for who knows why. It'd be impossible to walk or sit down in and look like ass with that last button buttoned. I assume it's decorative. Comes in ONE SIZE, a 31 in/78.5 cm bust. Vogue, you assholes.

4. Giant doily with arm slits. Not holes; slits. No shaping. If I were knitting this I'd arrange it so that the seam was under an arm and less noticeable, rather than RIGHT SLAP DOWN THE MIDDLE OF THE BACK. Two sizes, for what it's worth.

Section two, "Fine Art". They're claiming it's "contemporary lace". "...a gallery of posh-as-a-picture pastel openwork." Urgh. They shot it in some kind of museum or gallery with photos and paintings and statuary everywhere, which looks kind of ridiculous looming in the background.

5. Blue lace cardigan. The way the thing looks, it's like it's straining to meet across the model's torso, giving the illusion that it's four sizes too small. There's actually ease there, and the lace is shaped to do that, with the points. I imagine on anyone other than a size six model it'd make you look like you're wearing your kid's shirt and it doesn't fit. Sizes from 32 in/81 cm to 49 in/124.5 cm bust. Because plus sizes are JUST the people who need to look like they squeezed into their clothing.

6. Dress. Knit with "Silk Purse" from Alchemy Yarns. $200 USD to knit the dress, and if you look closely in the magazine, you can see the yarn is already starting to pill. I also wonder how the dress would hang if the model wasn't working it.

7. Deadhead vest. These have never been flattering. They never will be flattering. They aren't cutting edge, and I wish they'd quit putting these damn things in their magazines. Sizes from 36 in/92 cm to 50 in/125.5 cm.

8. February lady sweater with raglan shaping instead of a yoke. Still waiting for high fashion or cutting edge. Sizes from 33 in/84 cm to 44 in/111.5 cm.

9. Tank with some lace and lacing. (Is that Abraham Lincoln looking over her shoulder?) Cute enough, but I'd leave out that horizontal line of stitches straight across the tits unless you are an A cup and want to actually emphasize that you have some. Don't believe me? Let me illustrate.

HEY! LOOK AT MY TITS!! Sizes from 31 in/78.5 cm to 37 in/94 cm. Because only size smalls wear tank tops. Vogue, you assholes.

10. Cardigan of the Grandma's Bed Jacket variety. Women have been wearing these for two hundred years at least, just not in public. If I were making it, I'd alter it so the little drawstring tied under my breasts and was actually flattering. Sizes from 33.5 in/85 cm to 47 in/119 cm. I actually like this. But it's about as cutting edge as a brick.

Third section, "The Sensual Side of Pink". Well, no kidding. We don't refer to women's nether regions as 'pink bits' around here for nothing. "Feel free to blush." Oh, kiss my ass. This section does have the best styling I've seen in ages from Vogue. Gotta give them that. Even if they did probably just hop the train to Coney Island.

11. Vest sort of thing with "Boa Handpainted Ostrich and Goose Down Feathers" yarn. (Gee, I wonder if the yarn company paid to have this used...??!!??) No shaping. It is a box with feathers on it. Now. Having worn feathers (yes, yes, I've worn feathers on formal wear before. Pink, even), I am here to tell you, they are HOTTER THAN A SUMMER IN HELL. NOT what you want to be wearing in freaking summer time. This, apparently, is a feather boa sewn to the edge of the boxy sweater. Only one place is selling this yarn, in the UK, at seven pounds per meter, which, roughly, comes out to $60 USD just for the feathers to knit this silly thing. Which will then give you heat stroke. Sizes from 30 in/76 cm to 40 in/103 cm bust. At least the large sizes of the world will not have to face wearing Big Bird. Oh, the indignity.

12. A 'throw' in bamboo yarn. Now. Call me crazy, but I always thought the point of a throw was to, you know, THROW it over yourself and be warm. Why, then, would you create one with big holes in it? (It would be nice as a wrap, sized down to something wearable, though.)

13. Openwork sort-of-plaid scarf. I think the dropped stitches and seafoam lace go together to create a really cool lace/texture pattern. But scarves with supposedly summer patterns feel like a ripoff. Scarves are winter wear, for crying out loud.

14. Yet again with the directional knitting, this time for a bolero. I strongly recommend against knitting this thing... it's got some kind of problem. I think it's supposed to drape, but doesn't. Let's have a look, shall we?
See the green circle? There's really bad finishing where the sleeve is sewn into the bodice. The lace stripes don't match up (which is probably impossible to pull off, but it still doesn't look good). And I lean toward thinking, if this is the best the professionals can do, sewing in those sleeves will likely drive me insane. Plus, there's a whole lot of fabric that doesn't know where to go (again, I think it's supposed to drape and isn't). See the red line? That's at least six inches of fabric, just sticking out from the body. And the blue circle is there because there's a big clumpy fold of fabric slopped out over the shoulder seam. I'm also very suspicious about what the back of this thing looks like; I'm betting it sticks out away from the body at the hem, from what we can see in the photo. And to add to the insult, there's only one size, a 36 in/91.5 cm bust.

15. Again with the hippy vest shit. 1. This isn't Vogue Crochet, motherfuckers. 2. Maybe it looks better with a tab of acid. I'm not gonna try it and find out.

16. Dress. I suppose they're inevitable, especially in summer issues. This one's not too bad, an overgrown tank that's probably flattering to most women who would wear knitted dresses. Not that we'll ever know for sure because there's no photo of her standing in it, only the lounge shot. Personally I'd leave off the patch pockets; no one needs double fabric at their hips, even a size six. It's not like you'd put anything in the pockets anyway. In sizes from 32 in/81 cm to 37 in/94 cm bust. Assholes. I'm not saying women with sixty-inch busts need to wear knitted dresses, but there are women bigger than a thirty-seven inch bust who'd look good in a knit dress. Oh, and it's knit in silk. $446 USD to knit the medium size. No, that is not a typo. I'd consider a cotton/tencel blend from Elann, myself.

17. Another Grandma's Bed Jacket cardigan. This one with Grandma's Afghan Stitch on the edges! Whee! In sizes from 36 in/91.5 cm to 44 in/111.5 cm.

18. Cardigan That Ain't Right.

See how the knitting is stretched to the limit across her bust? That's going to - obviously - pull like crazy on all the surrounding fabric, including the shoulders (red line). Long story short, all that tension is going to pull those funky shoulders right off and they'll slide down your arms. I'm not sure if it'd be easier to keep on if it was unbuttoned, but I doubt it. This could probably be made to work with a whole lot of fitting and custom knitting to tailor it to a specific body, but as it is, the model's got her shoulders hunched forward just to keep the cardigan on. In sizes from 30 in/76 cm to 34 in/86 cm at bust. That's the problem right there; it's too fucking small.

Section, uh, next. The much-beloved designer section. "Banish the winter blahs with a cool case of the blues". Yeah, yeah, sure. But the last issue they were telling me winter was awesome. Which is it?

19. Lace tee by Anna Sui. What is the point of knitting lace, if you use a yarn that is so busy it obscures any detail whatsoever? And why is the model standing like that? I'm guessing no waist shaping. Sizes from 30 in/76 cm to 50 in/127 cm. Points for a wide range of sizes anyway. And it's nice enough for a lace tee shirt.

20. Sheer tank by Wenlan Chia. Okay. First I'm about to swoon because this isn't super bulky cotton at two stitches per inch. It's three per inch. Hahaha. There's some directional knitting that's pretty cool, and she varies the sheer-ness of the fabric by using multiple strands of yarn, fewer strands in some places. However. The part I would make sheer is NOT the front, for crying out loud. (Note to VK: If you need Photoshop to remove the model's nipples for the sake of decency, this is NOT going to go over with 99% of hand knitters. FYI.) Plus there's the Big Butt Length, but you can fix that by just not knitting so much freakin' length to bag at your waist. If you knit the whole thing opaque so your nipples don't hang out, I think it'd be a great summer sweater. Possibly the most wearable thing she's ever done. In sizes from 33 in/84 cm to 40 in/103 cm bust.

And then, the Easy Glitz section. Hang on a minute, I have to go barf. Okay. "Take your place atop the fashion podium in metal winners that knit up one... two... three." Can it get lamer? Why yes. It can. The majority of these designs are nothing but regular old shirts, knit in metallic and called fancy. Sow's ears, silk purses, you get the idea. There are a couple gems, here, though.

21. Metallic tee. Just knit it in cotton and wear it with jeans or shorts, for crying out loud. Sizes from 34 in/87 cm to 45 in/115 cm bust. Dude. Sequined pants? How very 1985 of you.

22. As always, Norah Gaughan comes through with something cool-looking. I think this would be flattering to a wide variety of figures, though you'd have to be very careful to get that ribbing to hit precisely at your waist. It's knit with linen, but anything heavy and drapey would work, like cotton, rayon, or hemp. Sizes from 34 in/86 cm to 50 in/127 cm. Go, Norah.

23. Mohair blouse with crystal beads at neck. This is lovely, really. But it's knit with something similar to Kid Silk Haze and that stuff is HOT. I'd seriously consider knitting this and wearing it as a layering piece in winter. Mohair is not the go-to fiber for summer. Pretty, though. Sizes from 33 in/85 cm to 44 in/113 cm.

24. Silk sleeveless cardigan thingie with a ruffle around the opening. Cute idea, iffy execution. For one, it's silk. Those buttons are humongous and heavy and the silk just can't support them. (Red circles.) Plus, well, LOOK.

What the fuck's up with that pose, with the shoulders straight across?? I'm betting no shoulder shaping. Knit in "Disco Lights" silk with sequins by Tilli Thomas. Around $200 USD to knit it. And I'm telling you, this kind of silk is NOT for summer. Sizes from 30 in/76 cm to 50 in/127 cm.

25. Tank top. It's a great tank top, and I want to knit about ten of these in different colors, but it's a freaking TANK TOP. Knitting it in metallic yarn doesn't make it dressy, just scratchy. Sizes from 33 in/84 cm to 44 in/111.5 cm.

26. Tee shirt with directional V-shaped knitting. Not sure those stripes are flattering... maybe. Depends on your figure. But they're awfully close to horizontal stripes, which no one needs. See above about how knitting it in metallic yarn doesn't make it dressy. Sizes from 30 in/76 cm to 38 in/96.5 cm. This would be flattering to larger sizes, if those sizes were available. Vogue, you assholes.

The last section. Thank the gods. "A Lacy Affair". If it's an affair, I want Hugh Jackman in there somewhere. Now. "...inflame a passion for ethereal openwork design." Imagine me hacking up a hairball like a cat, here. (And I like lace!)

27. Fingerless lace glove thingies. First off, I don't see the point in wearing gloves in summer, fingers or not. Secondly, these are way too bulky for the summer thing, even if you were going to go all Victorian and wear gloves. And third? I don't think they fit right.

28. Rectangular mohair lace wrap. How many patterns for these have been published in the last five years? A hundred? More? Are we tired of them yet?

29. Well, points for a wearable sock pattern. Still not sure how socks are high fashion, but they're nice socks.

30. Still don't think scarves are summer knitting or wearing. Still, if you want a beginner lace pattern, this is one.

31. Lace stockings. Fun idea, pretty execution. Get a garter belt, though; if these things stay up on their own, I'll eat the pair. (A band at the top of tight garter stitch, sideways, might keep them up. Maybe. With a garter belt.)

There you have it, then, Vogue Knitting's summer spread. Not the worst issue they've ever done; if you sift through the dross there's some nice, wearable summer knits in there.

Personally I'm still seething that they did the super-bulky issue last time and now they're telling me that super-bulky is unflattering and we should knit with sport-weight. That just galls me. I need chocolate.


Jen Anderson said...

They certainly brought the ugh this time. Though I think summer scarves might be useful for people who work in overly air conditioned offices.

Roz said...

Ditto on scarves for the office -- I'm wearing mine as I write -- but MOHAIR?????? Come on people.

Megan Hancock said...

I always enjoy reading your colorful reviews! I just checked out the 360' views of some the garments on vogue's website. ( I thought the videos prove your diagrams true, as well as give knitters a true view of how the garments really fit.

amy said...

Ha. Vernal interlude. That one made me giggle out loud. Thanks for that.

walterknitty said...

Your VK reviews always make me laugh. The star tank in this issue is almost the same as the one in "Knitting Classic Style" by Veronik Avery which was published in 2007. How's that for cutting edge. Summer and mohair is not a good combo. Sweaty, sticky, mohair. Yuck.

Louiz said...

Thank you again for reminding me why I never renewed my subscription to Designer Knits (or whatever they've renamed it here in Europe), and all those metallic ones remind me why the 1980s was such a... style icon... of a decade.

Amy Lane said...

Funny that all the dross should be hidden in that metallic gold yarn for those T-shirts.

Mohair. In winter. Oughta be a fuckin' law!

Galad said...

Once again your keen eye is dead on. Your reviews are always instructional while still being entertaining!

Leonie said...

Do they actually look at previous issues when they do the next one if they are going to make silly statements like bulky=fab followed by lightweight=fab in the next issue. Sure they are a "fashion" knitting mag and fashions do change from one season to the next but you are right some consistency would be nice. Does make you wonder how many people believe the "press" and follow the trends as dictated by this mag.....

There are a couple of lovely items there this time though and the socks do look interesting.

Alwen said...

Me, I'm still stuck wondering why this "Vernal Interlude" is knitted in white with snowflake motives both on the top and on the curtain.

Okay, I know what the vernal equinox is, Vern, know what I mean?

And ha ha ha ha! I LOVE the doily with slits in it! Look out round tablecloth, here I come with my scissors.

Emily said...

Oh boy, you made my day. I'm under the weather & blue, & you made me laugh.

What mystifies me, though....I've met some people who take this "high fashion" stuff quite seriously, and I cannot for the life of me imagine any of them knitting. How does this publication survive?

Rose Red said...

Good review - thought this issue wasn't too bad but for the ridiculously small sizing on most garments - I quite like that funny buttoned cardigan (#3 I think) but to have it come in one size only, and a ridiculous small size at that, just made me so cross.

And those white lacy stockings - love those. As socks. With ribbing at the top.

Anonymous said...

Very informative, and very entertaining.

I won't be going out and buying that one...

(who writes their titles and captions anyway? )

MLJ1954 said...

I do have a scarf for the office AND fingerless mitts . . . they are used year round . . . one of the women here walked around in a fleece thing until she was told it wasn't allowed.

I do like the tank but am with you about the strip thing . . . I just know that I would end up with all the almost horizontal strips pointing straight at my boobs!

Great reading. Thanks much.

AnneMarie from PA said...

Dear God, how I do love your Vogue reviews! I know some commenters have been less than positive in the past about it, but please, PLEASE do not stop doing these. They are not only a complete hoot, but vindicate those of us who stopped buying the magazine years ago for exactly these kinds of reasons. It's so good to know Vogue hasn't suddenly changed their colors and I'm missing something in maintaining my personal little boycott!

Roxie said...

So the only patterns worth knitting are fairly basic ones that you can get much more cheaply at your LYS. Yup. It it weren't so amusing, VK would be a waste of paper.

Carrie S. said...

You wanna know the fun thing about those lace stockings?

They require three lace charts...only one of which is actually in the mag; the other two are on the website.

Which is free, but if I'm buying a mag for a pattern, the whole pattern should actually be in there, you know?

Wingy said...

I do so love your reviews, not only are they entertaining but they save me alot of money too. I actually really like the doily with slits, it looks like something I'd wear. I'll have to look around for a similar patter with actual armholes. And I like the first lace pullover, but not the neck. Also the long lace socks, but if you watch the 360 view you can tell that they`re being held up by double sided tape or something similar. It`s already starting to come unstuck on one sock. I think I`m sensing a trend here, I like parts of certain patterns but never everything.

Anonymous said...

Oh thank you!

I thought it was just me.... you so cheered me up!

Titta said...

Of course no long socks stay up without some kind of garter or band etc. These socks have transparent elastic band on the top, not double sided tape. It's stated already on the socks' Ravelry info.

Gemma said...

I actually like VK, but I leave it alone in the spring and summer- I tend to find that most knitting magazines lose the plot in the warmer months (also, it rarely gets THAT warm over here in Blighty- or at least, not for vey long!), so I just work on my usual stuff during the summer and go back to it in autumn/winter when it's come back to its senses. An added advantage is that you're then prepared for cooler weather instead of wasting your time on knitting bikinis.

Philanthia said...

I loved your review, was spot on!

debsnm said...

Have you ever watched the videos on their web site? To see a model actually move in some of these things, and they STILL look hideous must be a marketing masterpiece!!!If you're not sure about how/if you like the 4 patterns they spotlight, these will definitely make you decide NOT. fugly!

Erin said...

Great review! It's a critical and humorous review. They should hire you to inject some practicality in their magazine layout.

Olivia Paige said...

I am kind of in love with those long lace socks, even if they are way out of my skill range. And sock glue would probably keep them up nicely. I use it on all my tall socks if they're being worn at full length.