Thursday, March 13, 2008

Knitty Review and More

After avidly reading the Spring issue, I really think Amy over there at Knitty has hit exactly what I want in a knitting magazine. Plenty of wonderful patterns for different things with style (but not too over-the-top) that are well written and with lots of construction details and photos. Really in-depth articles on design and techniques and crafty philosophy. Reviews of books, tools, yarns and fibres that are positive yet don’t seem to be just advertising in a thin disguise. And we spinners are included and encouraged with articles and patterns geared for us. Best of all it’s free and I don’t have to go to the store to buy each issue nor do I have to store it on my burgeoning bookshelves. That’s not to say I don’t print out my most favourite patterns or keep a copy pasted into a Word file on my hard drive. You know. Just in case it should disappear before I get around to knitting it. Yes, I realize that the Knitty archives are easy to search. Errors can be fixed as they are discovered so a pattern is always as correct as possible.

In Interweave Knits, my favourite print magazine for knitting, Eunny has gotten right most of the same features that I like about Knitty. However, there are space constrictions on paper. Articles and patterns can’t go into such wonderful detail and the charts are necessarily smaller than older eyes might like. They also have to hire models, set up photo shoots, convert files and lay out pages for print. Knitty just uses the models and photography of the author/designer which, while sometimes a little lacking in professional quality, are still very adequate. At least there are usually more different views than one or two per pattern.

Which brings me to one of my pet peeves. Why do the magazines bother with setting up such elaborate photo shoots, often in distant special or exotic locations, when all we knitters really want to see is The Garment? Save some money! Give us the garment in a simple pose with a fairly neutral backdrop and appropriate accessories. Use a “normal”-sized model and don’t block the garment details with hair or other impediments. Don’t artificially pin back extra width, turn up hems and sleeves, or have them pull down the hem or pull in the front opening while posing. Instead choose a better model who actually wears the sample garment the way it was meant to fit. We want to see what it really looks like before we invest our time and money knitting the thing! Or at the very least to judge whether it needs to be adjusted for our own body. Yeah, I know I’m fighting a losing battle with the art directors and photographers here. Maybe even with some of the readers who enjoy seeing garments posed next to an antique fireplace or on a scenic beach or whatever. Personally though, that’s not what I’m looking at. You could even chop off the poor model’s head and I wouldn’t even notice. It totally makes me appreciate Knitting Daily's in-depth fitting articles and photo galleries. When you think Sandi works for the same magazine!

It’s the same with sewing patterns. I often buy Burda magazine (even though I haven’t done much sewing in the past few years). I look at the garment sketch first so I can see the lines and the seam details. And then I go to the page with the model wearing it to see what fabrics they used and how they put the outfit together. They’ve been getting so artsy in the photography lately that I can’t even tell what I’m looking at sometimes. The model is very close to the camera or too far back. There’s lots of props and background and awkward posing. The fabrics are busy prints or too dark to see the details. Argh.

So what are your favourite patterns from the new Knitty? Mine are the Yosemite short-sleeved sweater and the Laminaria shawl. Though I also would love to make the little Emma’s Unmentionables for my granddaughter. And the Marjorie sweater for me. And try out the new techniques in the sock patterns. Why do I like the Yosemite sweater so much? Because that shape, perhaps with a smidge less negative ease (one size larger than recommended), looks fairly good on me. I already have a couple of commercial cotton t-shirts with a similar line. And wouldn’t it just be yummy in something with silk or bamboo or tencel blended in rather than the cotton? Yeah, I know. Finish the Hepburn Cardi already!

Since this blog has been pretty picture-deficient for the last few posts, here’s a lovely delicious and honkingly huge apple for you — Pacific Rose™.

They’re so big I can only eat them one half at a time! Originally named “Sciros” they’re a hybrid between a Gala and a Splendour apple and, although I’m not usually fond of sweet apples (my fave usually being Granny Smith), these are really good. I think these ones are grown in Washington State on license from New Zealand.

No comments: