Pattern #01, Raglan Sleeve Top. Love the colourway; would neaten up the fit considerably.
Pattern #02, Simple Ruana. An opening in the centre of a beach blanket does not a wearable item make.
Pattern #03, Crochet Dress. This is one of those designs that, at first glance, I think I'll pan, but wind up liking upon closer study. This one requires an underlayer, of course, which makes it not so wearable as a summer dress, but it would make a cute beach coverup.
Pattern #04, Sleeveless Hoodie. The colour's a little dreary, but the lines are good.
Pattern #05, Fringed Dress. I'm looking at the mesh bodice, flap pockets, and fringed hem, and thinking that they really do not belong on the same dress because they don't work together at all. Pick your least favourite and second least favourite of those three features (protip: one of those items should be the flaps on the pockets), eliminate them, and let the third design element carry the dress.
Pattern #06, Triangular Shawl. This needs an edging of some kind as it looks a little unfinished as is.
Pattern #07, Origami Shawl. Beautiful wrap.
Pattern #08, Offset Cable Tee. Nice top which the styling isn't doing any favours -- all the other details are simply distracting. If I were to style an outfit around a piece made from Noro, I'd let the Noro item do the talking.
Pattern #09, Dropped Shoulder Tee. Cute, but I'd scale back the sizing to a relaxed fit.
Pattern #10, Tank Top. Delicately pretty.
Pattern #11, Round-Yoke Top. Not bad. I'd lengthen this, as cropped length tops flatter very few women.
Pattern #12, Raglan Poncho. I'm a hard sell on ponchos, but this one has good shaping and sits well.
Pattern #13, Honeycomb Stitch Top. Nice lines and stitchwork.
Pattern #14, Brioche T-Shirt. I rather like the idea of an off-the-shoulder neckline and the ruffles at the end of the sleeves, but I would neaten up the fit a good bit.
Pattern #15, Brioche Tank Top. I like the straps but this looks so square through the bodice. I'd add waist-shaping and lengthen the bodice.
Pattern #16, Brioche Wrap. This sits unexpectedly well. I'd make it in a non-dishwater-like colour.
Pattern #17, Chevron Cowl. This is so cute that it manages to visually hold its own against the model's hat.
Pattern #18, Modulation Cowl. Ripple stitch wraps tend to look afghan-y, but this one and the one above don't, probably because of their smart shape.
Pattern #19, Mosaic Cowl. Beautiful colourway and stitchwork.
Pattern #20, Mitered Blanket. Lovely and contemporary.
Pattern #21, Sequence Stripes Blanket. Nice in a very neutral, unobtrusive kind of way.
Pattern #22, Titled Blocks Scarf. This one does look more than a little afghan-y.
Pattern #23, Wavy Stolette. This one looks a little awkward, as though it's trying unsuccessfully to look like a sweater draped around the shoulders and tied by the arms in front.
Pattern #24, Leaf Band Hat. Cute!
Pattern #25, Mock Neck Capelet. Everything about this piece is adorable.
Pattern #26, Buttoned Vest. Pretty yarn; nondescript, even frumpy, style.
Pattern #27, Half-Sleeved Top. Interesting and rather effective style.
Pattern #28, Sleeveless V-Neck Top. I don't like the way the neckline lies. It looks unfinished and a little awkward.
Pattern #29, Cap-sleeved Top. Pretty in a classic way.
Pattern #30, Eyelet and Garter Top. LOVE the stitchwork. Would neaten up the fit.
Pattern #31, Lace Raglan Pullover. Very decent piece.
A Morris Company Design to Embroider. This one isn't knitted, of course, but I'm including it because it's pretty cool. It seems a pretty safe guess that it's based on William Morris's Arts & Craft textile designs.
Diadem Effect Beret. The embroidery on this hat is supposed to resemble fireworks, but to my mind it bears a most unfortunate resemblance to amoebas, which appear to have mobilized and to be attacking the wearer's brain.
Prometheus Top. This one's a little post modern and unstructured for my tastes -- and I can never stand to have excess fabric flapping about me -- but I must admit I can think of a friend of mine with very contemporary tastes who could rock this. This design can also be worn as a scarf, and versatility always gets points in my book.
Plasma Shawl. Very effective use of the dropped stitch technique.
Oxidation Mitts. Decent mitts on the whole, but I don't think the embroidery adds much. I'd probably just replace it with a few stripes at the wrist.
Pattern #6, Short-Sleeve V-Neck Cardigan. This is very plain, but the shaping is good and it sits well, and one can always go with an interesting yarn and/or buttons to spice up a piece if it's too utilitarian.
Pattern #7, Malibu Ripple Shawl. Normally I'd say something like this is too "granny's afghan", but the blue and white ripples are so evocative of waves on the shore that the feel is summery and beachy rather than "this belongs on a couch". The shape is also good.
Pattern #21, Romper. Very cute, but I can't help but feel that I'd just have to take this design a few steps farther by putting the bunny's backside on the back of the romper, and come up with a frontal bunny design for the right side of the romper.
Pattern #25, Carrot-Car Pullover. This design's a little crude, and I'm left with the unfortunate impression that the carrot has almost entirely eaten the bunny and is making a quick getaway with the grisly trophy of its head.
Pattern #29, Knit/Tulle Dress. Nice little wrap bodice, though the tulle skirt doesn't quite seem to belong to it. I'd be inclined to either coordinate the colour of the tulle with the bodice, or just make bodice as a sweater that can be worn on its own.
Back in 2013 I wrote a post about selected stitch markers, and I remember how looking at all those cute options felt like stitch marker porn. At that time I was using a set of commercially made plastic stitch markers myself. I never liked those stitch markers because I considered them very ugly, but I disliked their brittleness even more. They were shaped like tiny locks, but they broke so easily that I avoided locking and unlocking them, and I'd often find one had snapped from nothing more than the light pressure of my hand as it held the the needle the marker was on. I never lost any stitch markers, but one by one they cracked and split until I was down to the last eight or nine out of what had initially been two dozen or so. Then it was time to think about picking out some new ones -- and I can't say I was sorry to have the excuse to replace the old set. Finally I was going to get some pretty stitch markers!
When I revisited that old KNDD post for ideas on what stitch markers to buy, I was reminded by my own research that I could make my own stitch markers. I do some beading and had the tools and findings already, and it was just a matter of finding some suitable beads.
For this project, I looked for medium-sized, smooth beads that wouldn't snag or catch on whatever yarn I used. I tried to keep the cost to a minimum, and it is indeed quite possible to do this simple project for very little if you've got basic beading tools on hand. I also knew I wanted different colour stitch markers that I could colour code as I marked different things (i.e., a single distinct marker for the start of a row, or a matched set for the sleeve parts of a "top down" sweater project).
When I bought the beads for my grandniece's tenth birthday necklace and earring set in January, I got the string of orange Czech glass beads you see above as my "free string" in a "buy 1 string of beads, get one free" sale at Michaels. I found the two red beads and the two dyed jasper beads you see above in my box of beading supplies -- they were the only ones I had left of their kind. The remaining string of ivory beads in the photo was a necklace I bought for $2 at Value Village using a "$2 off" coupon I got from them for filling out an online survey. I was feeling quite pleased with myself for getting the beads for this project together at essentially no cost... until I actually tried making the stitch markers and it turned out that the holes in the ivory beads were too large for this project. Sigh. I bagged up those ivory beads and tucked them away in my beading box for some as yet unknown future use. Then I bought another thrift shop necklace for $2.25, and this time I checked the holes before I bought the necklace to be sure the beads were suitable.
To make your own stitch markers you need head pins, leverback earrings, and a few basic beading tools: cutters, round nose pliers, and flat pliers or crimpers (not shown). Put the bead on your head pin, add the lever-back earring, then twist the top of the pin around the needlenose pliers until it's in a small circle. Cut off the excess length of headpin with the cutters, clamp the circle you've created closed with the flat pliers or crimpers, and... you're done.
These are the finished stitch markers. Given that twenty is a plentiful supply of stitch markers for me (I seldom work on more than one knitting project at a time), they are unlikely to break, and I'm not one to lose things, they should last me for quite some time. If they look just like earrings to you, it's because they essentially are, though I would put a little more effort into earring design than I have into these stitch markers, which I wished to keep simple in order to give my yarn as little as possible to wind itself around.
I did hold back two of the orange Czech beads with the idea of possibly making them into earrings for me at some point... lest I be otherwise tempted to borrow two of my stitch markers for some special occasion involving an orange outfit.
Opportune. Nice little cover-up, and it was a good choice to do it in a fun colour. Though as you may have suspected, I am partial to orange.
Kikyo. Very pretty lacework in this piece, which the designer writes that she designed to "bring the best of both worlds together. Knitters and crocheters: it’s time to get along." (And good luck to her with that.) The wearer will need to think about what's to be worn underneath.
Slouchy Time. Oh dear. The designer of this piece created it in homage to Flashdance. And I'm all for homages to Flashdance, but that ripped sweatshirt of Jennifer Beals' is almost the last thing about it that I would choose to emulate.
Jurret. Very much like this one. The shaping is good, and I like that all the ridges flow towards the neckline, drawing attention to the face.
Vanora. Nice little summer top. The lacework is so attractive.
Ambition and Cunning. This has a "randomly cobbled together" look. When I look at it I'm left with the impression that either I'm looking through openings in the shawl to the model's sweater on the other side, or at swatches randomly appliquéd to a piece of gray jersey. I love the border ruffle and the stitchwork in the panels, but don't care for the design as a whole. It doesn't make sense visually, either in display or when on the model.
Plain Sight Socks. Nice socks! I especially like the way the lines running up the top of the foot from the toe flow into the stitchwork on the ankle.
Gothix. This is one of those designs that work especially beautifully as a showcase for a gradient yarn.
Pattern #03, Mosaic V-Neck Cardigan. This one has some very smart detailing in its mosaic yoke and contrast piping and buttons, though I am not so sure it would hang so well through the body on a non-professional model in real life.
Pattern #04, Wrap. My goodness, this one is unqualifiably fabulous. Design, palette, drape... everything about it is perfect.
Pattern #09, Gloriana Cardigan. This one is has a "Queen Elizabeth I goes gothic and then takes a turn as a Klondike dance hall girl" feel to it. It's remarkable as a technical accomplishment, even if I don't know how wearable it is.
Pattern #10, Faerie Shrug. This one's a little twee for my tastes, but there's no denying it's a delicately pretty little confection of an evening wrap.
Pattern #11, Lilian & Rose 3-Piece Set. This one is definitely over the twee line. It looks like a costume from a stage production of Midsummer Night's Dream, in which the actor is about to do a particularly sweaty interpretative "flower dance".
Pattern #17, Lace Cardigan. I spent several minutes staring at this design while I tried to decide if I liked it or not, but I think I'm going to come down on the "like" side of the question. The texture is nice, the contrast trim and belt give it a polished air, and the folding shawl collar is unusual but interesting, and it seems to sit well.
Pattern #18, Mohair Shawl. This shawl has quite a lot going on in it.... Three different "art" yarns! Glitter! Sequins! Several lace patterns! Bobbles! Garter stripes! And fringe! This could so easily have been a mess, but I actually think it works together pretty well on the whole, probably because its colour palette is limited to a well-integrated pink and gray, and it even has a certain contemporary verve. This is a piece to pair with a simple outfit, as it's a statement in itself.
Pattern #19, Striped Pullover. I'm not a friend of the mullet hem, but in this case I think it works. It's elongated enough that it looks like a design feature rather than a mistake, and the rest of the design has twists and turns (i.e., the back cable detail, the gradient colours, the stripes) that seem to naturally flow into an asymmetrical shape.
Pattern #20, Yoked Pullover. Nice! The pattern is very well worked out, and I'm sure this would look beautiful in a dark, warm colourway too, but what I possibly like best is the contrast of the fresh, bright contrast colours against the white. So summery!
Pattern #22, Color Block Pullover. I didn't like this one at first glance, but once I'd spent a little more time taking in the details, I realized that it was the colourway I was reacting to, because the design is fine.
Pattern #23, Animal Skin Motif Pullover. This pattern is from the Vogue Knitting Winter 1989/1990 issue. It's a classic shape, the neck sits well, and while animal skin prints and patterns may rise and fall some in terms of popularity/use by designers, it's never really out of style.
Woodwardia. I'm not too thrilled with the slightly boxy, cropped shape of this turtleneck, but I do like the feather-like garter detail at the seams, which gives an otherwise plain, classic piece a touch of distinction.
Vivarium. The boxy shape and dropped shoulders detract from what is otherwise a decent piece with an interestingly offbeat fair isle design.
Water Clover. This is pretty, and the shaping isn't bad, although I can't help but fear this top would feel a little stiff to the touch, as crochet tends to do compared to knitting.
Sweetfern. This one's attractive and visually interesting.
Ginkgophyte. A very stylish little tee with a contemporary vibe. That's some really striking detail.
Adiantum. A very pretty sweater with interesting stitchwork, and yet it's not so bold in design that it couldn't be paired up with a number of other pieces in a woman's wardrobe.
Aurea. Such a lovely wrap. The texture's fabulous.
Davallia. This crocheted shawl has a pretty lace pattern that feels modern and stylish -- this is a piece that could so easily have gone in an unfortunate "seventies homemaking magazine pattern" direction, but didn't at all.
Owre. This design is classified as a sweater on Ravelry. I'd have put it in the poncho category, and I consider that as a poncho it's rather a success: it drapes well, the stitchwork is lovely, the sleeves will help it stay in place, and it has a certain romantic charm.
Fritzia. I don't find the yarn choices are working together too well here, but then that's an easy fix.
Regain. Can't say I care for the very open notch on the collar of this, as it just looks like a mistake. I'd put just a solid collar band on this, and also raise the dropped shoulder -- or just choose another pattern.
Penga. Rather a cute little topper. I'd fix the dropped shoulders.
Joni. Pretty, but I don't like those unfinished, curling edges.
Restore. This looks rather fetching from the back, but it falls in folds through the lower torso in front, which is not a flattering look on most women.
Yatlen. I'd like this better if there was more of it.
Katz. I love this one for its quietly sexy translucence and back detail. (A woman who doesn't want to wear just a bra underneath this can always go with a camisole or tank.) The shaping is perfect, and the line of contrast edging adds so much.
Purpose. This one's a bit too unfinished-looking for my liking.
Rakki. The stitchwork is beautiful, the drape is beautiful, and the shaping is a travesty.
Kinetic. These long, narrow cardigans do no women any favours.
Toorie. The rabbit and mushroom motifs look a little too cutesy to me to be really suitable for a grown woman, and this is in women's sizes only.
Marisol. Not a bad simple top. The lines of dropped stitches give it a contemporary feel.
Rowan has released Rowan Knitting & Crochet Magazine 65. Let's have a look at the first half of it, shall we? (There are 42 patterns in this issue, so I have divided the patterns into two reviews, the second of which will be posted tomorrow.)
Aester. This is an interesting combination of graphic and floral-like elements. The more I look at it, the more I like it.
Torey. Love the pattern through the, uh, "body" of this, but this looks like an afghan that mutated and sprouted sleeves.
Kirkan. Quite like this one, which as you can see has enough visual interest and style that it has turned a basic outfit of t-shirt and jeans into a look. My compliments to the designer of this colour palette, who somehow managed to integrate gold, ivory, cream, green, sand, and gray, and make it work.
Yoko. This is another mutant afghan, except that instead of sprouting half-sleeves, this one has grown half-doilies. I'm starting to get a little anxious -- is this the beginning of some sort of Day of the Triffids-like uprising, only with vengeful afghans instead of triffids?