Thursday, March 10, 2011

Vogue Knitting, spring/summer 2011

Pictures from the web site, things in quotes are from the magazine, all else is mine.

NOTE: I AM NOT GIVING OUT FREE PATTERNS, NOW OR EVER. So don't e-mail and ask me for them. Vogue has an on-line pattern store. Go buy them. There's also a free pattern section. I don't care much about all the copyright crap, but I'm not stealing stuff, and that's what this would be. Designers deserve a break, no matter who they publish with. VOGUE PATTERN STORE. Knock yourselves out.


Meg Swansen discusses Bohus Stickning and their methods of blending colors, as well as other uses for the purl stitch. Since I am a huge Bohus fan, I consider the whole magazine worthwhile for the pictures alone. You may not. But it's a very cool article. Honestly, Meg Swansen could write about anything and I'd say it was awesome, because she is. I make no secret of my fangirl status.

Looking at the ads, there seems to be a trend of models standing all hunched over. No idea what in fuck's up with that, but it's annoying.

The 'Yarns' section once again is a wad of yarns (cotton this time) stacked up, with a list of others on the side. Supposedly everyone at VK knits, according to the editor. So why in bloody hell don't they produce a few swatches for us to look at? What, they don't have some unpaid intern out fetching coffee, they can't have them knit some swatches one day? We're talking a day's work by one person to produce actual editorial content for the magazine. Not difficult. So why do we keep getting useless piles of yarn?

Designer (?) spotlight is on a woman named Ruth Marshall who knits replicas of animal pelts and snake skins. Very interesting, but I wish Vogue had commissioned a clothing design from the woman and published it. That would have been much cooler. And made sense as to why she's in the magazine.

Nicky Epstein does macrame with I-cord.

Carol Sulcoski produces another excellent article about yarn, how it is spun, and how that affects your knitting. There's also a lot about different types of high-end fibers and blending them with other fibers. Good stuff, particularly for those of you who don't understand yarn substitution (who does, really?)


Section one: "Knits Bloom! Fresh and fanciful, warm-weather knitting is at its essence a luxury, pure and simple." Sure, luxury, even though white cotton yarn is some of the cheapest stuff out there, CONSIDERING SOME OF IT IS NO DIFFERENT FROM KITE STRING. I know lots of us wear white in summer, and that's cool, but an entire section of it, when yarn companies are working at producing new, pretty, bright summer colors? MUST WE? Plus, seriously, white cotton yarn looks like kite string.

1. Cardi vest by John Brinegar.
Five sizes from 32 to 48 inches/81 to 122 cm. The yarn's acrylic/nylon, which is cool for summer, if a bit creepy-crawly on the skin. It's a tape/ribbon for the crinkle effect seen above. Yup, it's a vest. Nice enough. Dude, what's up with the flowers?

2. Scoop neck dress by Mari Lynn Patrick.
Four sizes from 32 to 39 inches/82 to 99cm. Pullover pinafore thing with ribbing to suck in the bottom and a kangaroo pocket to make your stomach look extra poochy. Woo. Flattering. I like how the fringe-stuff around her neck obscures the pattern so you can't see what's going on with the knit.
What's the thinking that goes behind this 'fashion shot'? Whose idea was it for the model to stand on the bed waving two giant artificial flowers around? Is this supposed to be art? Whoopi Goldberg in a tub of milk is art. This is just 'do something weird so we can pretend it's art'.

3. Drape neck top by Jacqueline VanDillen.
Six sizes from 33 to 48 inches/85 to 122cm. Does that neck drape, or just stick out? I don't know. You be the judge. Don't know what's up with the model canted over in the magazine photo.Looks like a nice enough tunic.

4. V neck pullover by Carol Meldrum. "The color-blocked scheme... adds interest... and calls attention to the lovely sheen of the fiber." Uh huh.
Yet again, the web site doesn't use the magazine photo with the giant flowers. I can't imagine why. Six sizes from 36 to 56 inches/91 to 143cm. Yup. It's a V-neck pullover, all right. If you have to knit one, this is a decent pattern, though you'll always have to wear something underneath it, due to the deep V. (Not saying that's bad, just saying.) $227 USD to knit the 43in/109cm size. Plus, silk is hot.

5. Two button vest by Jacqueline VanDillen.
Six sizes from 33 to 51 inches/84 to 131cm. Hippy vest. But it has a waist!

6. Eyelet wrap top by Theresea Schabes.
Four sizes from 33 to 45 inches/84 to 114cm. Yup. It's a longish wrap top.

UNDER COVER! Vogue brings in some Names to contribute patterns. I really wish high fashion would get over the obsession with big knits, already.

7. Hooded jacket by Rebecca Taylor.
"NOTE TWO: THE CHARTS RE DRAWN FOR THE SMALL-TO-LARGE SIZE ONLY." [Emphasis mine.] Meaning that only one of the sizes has charts. NICE! (Now I've looked more closely at the charts and it seems there ARE charts for both, they're just printed on the same page. Wow. Misleading as all hell.) Two sizes, 48 and 58 inches/123 and 148 cm. I assume it's meant to be oversized. I'm not sure why anyone needs a double-breasted lace hoodie, but if you want one, here's the pattern. The front bands don't go all the way to the front hem of the jacket. The designer will likely claim this is some stylistic element of the garment, but a lot of knitters would think it looks like a mistake. Up to you. Oh- it's a raglan with all the elements knit separately and seamed together. THAT would be fun.

8. Long cardigan vest by Twinkle.
Five sizes from 37 to 52 inches/94 to 133cm. This is a really cute jacket sort of thing to keep the chill off. Kind of plain, but I think it would look better in a color. $119 USD for the medium size.

Section, uh, beach. No color yet, but at least we've moved outside, away from the overgrown flowers and neutral everything interiors. "Exquisite openwork at the water's edge: High fashion hits the beach."

9. Lace poncho by Shiri Mor.
53in/136cm wide. Yup. That's what it is. But check this out:
See how the model emphasizes the shape of her body and manages to look slim, while swathed in yards of lace? That's darn impressive. On the other hand, you won't look like that while wearing the poncho, unless you stand like that all the time.

10. Mesh topper by Renee Lorion.
Five sizes from 36 to 55 inches/91 to 139cm. Ooo! Almost color! This is a cute little, well, mesh top. I'm a fan of lace over tank top outfits for summer: It's comfortable, shows off your body, and isn't freezing cold all at the same time. This one ought to be a relatively quick knit, for those of you who also like the look.

11. Lace cover-up by John Brinegar.
24x50in/61x127cm, unfolded. Near as I can tell, this is a long scarf, with one end gathered and stitched to the other end or side. The pattern is quite vague.

12. Bias lace scarf and
13. Bias rib scarf, by Lisa Buccellato.
Both approx 72x5in/183x13cm. Yup. Scarves.

14. Lace tunic by Brooke Nico.
Three sizes from 33 to 49 in/84 to 125 cm. CONTAINS NUPPS! CODE RED! (Haha, mostly kidding, but lots of knitters find them challenging.) Nice enough white tunic. Knit in the round with grafted underarms. Cool.

Next, "So hot it sizzles. The body electric: slinky bikinis in metallic yarns make the most of a minimal amount of fabric." Every year or two, VK publishes a knit bikni or two. In terms of wearability I think it's ridiculous, but I suppose it's a must-do sort of thing. Summer equals bathing suits, after all, and you sure can't knit a standard one-piece without it looking like ass.

Both suits by Elizabeth Kosich.

15. Gold tie bikini.

16. Color block bikini.

The real problem with these is the fiber. They're knit with a viscose/nylon/metallic blend. I don't know about the metallic, but viscose sags horribly when wet, and viscose and nylon don't cope well with chlorine or salt. So we're looking at bathing suits that can't get wet. I know favorite bathing suits often don't get wet, but I still think it's kind of nuts to publish patterns for bathing suits that will disintegrate or look bad when they're soaked in beach or swimming pool water.

"Set off Sparks" is the next section, with a fitted tank.

17. Fitted top by Melissa Matthay.
Three sizes, from 33 to 39 inches/83 to 99cm. "The ribbed lattice back will stretch to fit." Um. Not THAT much. If you've got the ta-tas to roam around without a bra and not scare people, this is a great top for you. This version is knit entirely with silk, which I don't think is the best choice for summer, what with sweat and heat and all. Maybe switch out with a viscose/cotton blend. $300 to knit the medium size. Not a typo.

"Citrus brights and coral spice infuse Carnaval style into our tropical tops." Finally, some color. Woohoo.

18. Cropped tank top by Jacqueline VanDillen.
...apparently VK defines 'cropped differently than the rest of the universe. Five sizes from 31 to 41 inches/78 to 104cm. Pretty standard textured tank top. It's a same it doesn't come in more sizes, because just about everyone would look good in it.

19. Triangle top by Halleh Tehranifar.
Three sizes from 30 to 35 inches/76 to 89 cm. A halter, but for those with the bodies to wear it, the color blocks are flattering.

20. Striped top by Loren Cherensky.
Six sizes from 33 to 53 inches/84 to 134cm. If you keep the stripes very close in hue and intensity, like this, you can mostly avoid the LOOK HOW WIDE I AM effect of horizontal stripes.

21. Wrap effect top by Mari Lynn Patrick.
Three sizes from 34 to 38 inches/86 to 96cm. OH COME ON! Just about anyone would look good in that top, because of the diagonal lines! NO MORE SIZES?!?! AAAAH!

22. Cable collar top by Norah Gaughan.
Five sizes from 33 to 50 inches/83 to 127cm. I have nothing to really say. It's a cute summer top, knit with reasonably priced yarn. A very cute t-shirt style knit for summer. Goes with everything. Can't go wrong. (I am a Norah Gaughan fangirl as well as a Meg Swansen fangirl. What can I say? I love genius knitters.)

23. Bowtie cable top by Cheryl Murray.
Six sizes from 32 to 51 inches/81 to 129 cm. Cute. Another great cabled tee for summer, that goes with everything. Not everyone can wear yellow, but shoot, that takes no effort at all to fix.

24. Diagonal front vest by Mel Clark.
Two sizes (BAH). 34 and 38 inches/86 and 96 cm. I'd considered knitting this to wear over tee shirts and tanks, because it's really cute, but OH YEAH IT DOESN'T COME IN MY SIZE. 38 as the largest size, TO WEAR OVER SOMETHING ELSE, is just ridiculous.

25. Lace panel top by Louisa Harding.
Five sizes from 31 to 43 inches/80 to 111cm. Cute.

"Summertime blues. Explore the pacific palette with a lace of a crystal blue persuasion." Uh, yeah, wut?

26. Lace top by Yoko Hatta.
Four sizes from 36 to 51 inches/92 to 129 cm. Another of the 'wear it over something else' laces for summer. It's knit on a size four/3.5mm needle, so be sure you want to make the commitment it'll take to knit it.

27. Buttoned lace vest by Pat Olski.
Three sizes from 31 to 49 inches/80 to 125cm. I guess it's meant to be oversized. !! Take a good look at how this one was photographed: The edging is knit with a yarn the same color as the shirt under it. So it's really hard to tell where the vest stops and the shirt starts. Take a good look at the schematic so you're sure you want to knit it.

28. Lace cardi by Courney Kelley.
Two sizes, 30 and 40 inches/76 and 103 cm. More lace to wear over something else. I'm not sure this one would be flattering, but then I'm not sure loose lace is ever flattering.

29. Chevron lace top by Mari Tobita.
Four sizes from 31 to 40 inches/80 to 101 cm. Nice. Another sleeveless pullover for summer. This one's done in the round to the arm pits and then worked flat for the yoke.

That wraps it up for this review. I think Vogue got the message about larger sizes, but I've heard some smaller sizes saying the selection for them kind of stinks, too. No, I don't expect VK to make EVERY pattern available in EVERY size, but with thirty patterns to choose from, I'd think they could make a significant choice available in every size. There I go thinking again.


Ellen Alexandra said...

Yeah, I mainly bought this the other night for the Swanson article too, as well as the fact that at least a couple of the patterns were cute this time. I mainly like the Norah Gaughan top, the lace panel top, and the lace cardi. I thought the lace cardi was one of those basics to wear over a tank top that might look good on everyone, so I am curious about why you don't think so it would look good on many people.

Anonymous said...

Most Norah Gaughan patterns are wearable by most people. There are a couple other tops i like. Add a Meg Swanson article and i will probably buy this mag. I am a very large gal and the cousin I knit for weighs 85 lbs dripping wet, but is over 55 as well. We like nice looking clothes, too. I have to adapt often.

Louiz said...

Hmm, knitted bikini? My mum knitted a swim suit in the early 80s. It lasted fine until she actually went into the sea... and then it grew and grew and grew. kind of put me off knitted swim wear. Interesting review, thank you:)

Gauss said...

Ruth Marshall is featured in a new knitting book coming out this Fall (something about craft activism - the precise title escapes me now). Anyway, she will have a pattern in there and it's absolutely awesome (I say so because I knitted the sample item!).

Great review, as always. I wasn't very impressed with this issue of VK, but I might go and take a second look now.

Off to start knitting a metallic bikini... do you think the yarn might be scratchy?

bobbins said...

Good call on the beach poncho. The knitters without you to point out WHY it looks good on the model will be disappointed when they knit it then try it on. Anyway, when did ponchos become “cool” again?

Thanks for your review. I enjoy these immensely and learn something new each time.

roxie said...

Swimsuits used to be knitted from WOOL so they wouldn't sag indecently. Oh thank God for modern fibers!

As always, a great review!!

Donna Lee said...

I can't imagine a knitted bathing suit. I remember a well endowed young woman wearing a crocheted suit with well placed "motifs" and lots of string effect crochet.

Lots of magazines are pushing the cotton/cottonblend yarns. I know cotton is more comfortable to wear but it's a bear to work with.

NeedleTart said...

Wait! Loose lace doesn't look good on anyone? Does that include Daydream lace from the spring Knitter's? I was planning to knit it to wear to Younger son's wedding in Sept. (thankfully in an air conditioned venue).

Emily said...

I might buy this issue, thanks to your review. That that, VK!!

stranger said...

I came here, half expecting some commentary on nuclear reactors in Japan.
Instead, knitting content. Yay!

Susan said...

I quit buying VK. Their pattern support is the pits. For every errata they print there are many they do not. I just got fed up. Your reviews are the kick in the pants they need. I'm with you when it comes to Meg though. My knitting expertise took a leap when I discovered her and Elizabeth.
Knit on!

Amy Lane said...

Now see, that's one of my MAIN beefs w/VK in the summer-- it's like, $50-$300 PER knit, and it's all made in shit that will completely disintegrate. I don't get it. Ever. At all.

Roz said...

Who in the world -- in 2011 -- dare ask anyone to give them a copy of a copyrighted knitting pattern for free? Who ARE these people???

And as another person on here said, glad to see your reviews are keeping VK honest.

Jill said...

Great review! I've learned a lot about clothing design and photographic deceit from your articles. Ditto Meg Swansen. I'll probably buy the magazine just for her writing. And double ditto your comments on copyright. I'm a librarian - protecting copyright is one of our sworn duties. Given what writers and designers earn for their work, paying for a pattern is the least we can do to keep them in business.

Katie K said...

Thanks for being so thorough. Why is Vogue so out of touch? And what about the awkward seam on the back neck of the Buttoned Lace Vest by Pat Olski?

Arianne said...

Someone recently published a study that suggested that horizontal stripes were actually more slimming than vertical ones due to an optical illusion.
For example- take your average woman with a muffin top and put her in a ribbed sweater, or a vertically striped sweater- the muffiny bulge around the middle will either distend the ribbing or widen the stripes in that area as it stretches causing attention to be drawn to your least flattering bumpy bits.
Horizontal lines the author suggested stop our eyes settling on any one area because the stripes smooth over the bumpy bits and draw our eyes upwards to the face.

Can't remember WHERE I saw this so may be making it up.

But thoughts?

Judy H said...

A few years ago, I would eagerly open up my VK magazine hoping for wonderful designs. Now, sadly, like men do with their Playboys, I have to read it for the articles.
VK's designs seem to be the same stuff rehashed over & over, down to the breathless, over the top descriptions.
I'm at the point where I am more willing to pay $6 for a pattern that just bowls me over from Twist Collective or renew my subscription to Interweave Knits than to subject myself to more of the same old stuff from Vogue. (although the Norah Gaughan top is really cool)
Julie, you showed me that the empress Vogue has no clothes. So, thank you for your incisive reviews.

Anonymous said...

I was at the VK trunk show in Oradell NJ and must say that the Rebecca Taylor cardi was great, very light considering the doubled yarn and fit sizes 8 to 18! (small size). I am dying to make it for myself (plus size) and my slim nieces. I think the lace stitches eliminate the bulkiness of double strands of yarn. I'm swatching GGH's Samoa and it's gorgeous

Leah said...

So. I bought this issue of Vogue Knitting. I live in Canada, so it was about $8.00. The article from Meg Swanson was a one pager and mostly stuff I know. There was a long article about blended fibre which talked about the advantages, but did not mention the disadvantages AT ALL. Shouldn't they just mention that?

Quite frankly, for about 4 copies of the Magazine I could buy Meg's book. I would rather have the book.

In all fairness, I find that with most magazines, there is not enough information in the articles; the content is usually pretty superficial. I am sticking with books for technical information. Maybe the occasional magazine for patterns.

I have learned a lot from your reviews. It is quite fun attempting to apply your analysis to other magazines. Thanks.

Verification is 'dingesse'. Very apropo.

john said...

i thought you might want to know (since you took the time to post about every design) - that I didn't design the lace piece you reference. I designed the lace topper with the belt. Fyi.

Very entertaining commentary, though.

Anonymous said...

You're a nasty piece of shit!!!!!!