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Friday, August 16, 2013

Review: Interweave Knits Fall 2013 Issue

I've been wanting to start reviewing each issue of Interweave Knits as it arrives in my mailbox for a while now but...time. However, I've decided to give it a go.

Let me start by saying that this review is my opinion, and reflects my personal taste. I highly respect the work done by the knitwear designers to create these patterns and don't mean to offend. However, I am going to be honest about whether or not I like them. Starting with the Fall 2013 issue. This is the new editor's second issue and, um, wow I hope they get better. Link to the issue and photos is below.

My first thought upon finding the issue in the pile of mail was, "Holy 1985, Batman!" Seriously, could the sweater on the cover be more dated and ugly? All it needs is wooden toggle buttons. With a sinking heart I flipped to the back to check out the pictorial index of patterns.

Only it's not there. I flip back to the editor's letter only to discover that they've removed this feature from the magazine and moved it online. No. This does not work for me *at all* I keep all my back issues of the magazine and when I'm looking for a new pattern to knit I go through them, flipping to the pictoral index at the back, then flip to the pattern and instructions to see if I have a yarn in my stash that would work. I use the index constantly and I don't want to have to go online to look at it. I appreciate that the new editor may want to add more content but I think this was the wrong feature to cut.

So now I'm a little annoyed. I flip to the first feature - "As the Crow Flies," to look at its patterns. There are three sweater patterns, a dress pattern, and a cowl. The three sweater patterns all look waaay too similar. They have the same style and shape - long-sleeved pullovers - and even share the same neckline. They're fine, basic sweaters, but nothing special and nothing that calls out to me "KNIT ME NOW!" The cowl isn't for me, either, having that much fabric hanging in front of my chest would drive me nuts. Plus, it would collect all the food that my two year old spills while sitting in my lap *G* The dress is fine, but close-fitting and has the potential to look awful on any woman who may have *ahem* lumps under it? Ie, if you're not super tall and skinny I don't see this as being flattering.

Now thoroughly bummed, I find the next section "A Westerly Course." The surrey jacket is cool, I love the contrast border and the shape, though I might knit it a little longer. The way it's structured now the curve upwards and the open space between the two sides of the jacket draw the eye to the tummy bump. Great. Not exactly where most women want people to look!

The minstrel stole is pretty, love the color that they chose. It does strike me, though, that none of these patterns and colors seem to really 'go' together. They're nice on their own but as a collection they look like they were randomly selected. It's a personal thing but I don't like shrugs that are basically two attached sleeves - I find that they bunch oddly around the armpits - so the No 6 Shrug is out.

The "Colorwork Pastoral" feature contains the offending cover sweater. I'm pleased that they included a child's piece but it'd only work for a girl :( I think that the Concord jacket has potential if I knit the two sides to come closer in the middle, otherwise I'd spend all day awkwardly trying to tug them together. The cap is cute, the other patterns are decidedly 'meh.'

Oh, dear, a special on dropped stitches. "Drop me Here." I rarely like the way dropped stitches look - to me they're messy and often look accidental. And the patterns that use them often require the wearing of a tank/camisole/t-shirt underneath for modesty's sake and I don't always want that bulk. The Joan of Arc sweater is cool - love the shape - but why, oh, why would a woman want to draw that much attention to her hips?!?! The Filtered Pullover also isn't bad, though it would have to be knit longer to cover the tummy area. The other patterns, well... I'm starting to feel like I'm being a little b*tchy so I'll stop there.

This issue wasn't a total loss, but it definitely wasn't Interweave's best. I am apprehensive now that the new editor's aesthetic won't match mine at all. There's no question in my mind that I wouldn't have bought this issue in a store, I'd have glanced at it and returned it to the shelf.

If you're thinking of buying this one, I'd call it a pass. If you like one or two of the patterns just wait until they release them for sale individually.

- D

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