Showing posts with label Jane Austen Knits. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jane Austen Knits. Show all posts

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Jane Austen Knits 2014: A Review

Interweave has released the 2014 issue for Jane Austen Knits. Let's have a look at the Georgian-inspired styles therein, shall we?

Highbury Top. A henley with a lace border would have been considered underwear in the Georgian period. A piece like this makes for wearable outerwear these days.

Wheatsheaf Carpetbag. Oooh, love this one, with its unusual and beautiful pattern and detailing. An aluminum frame is used to give the bag shape. It can be knitted as a tote if you can't find or don't care to use such a frame.

Mrs. Jennings's Country Stockings. This is my favourite kind of sock: a basically plain pattern with a bit of lovely or interesting detailing added. Very patterned socks always look a little on the goofy side to me, no matter how beautifully designed.

Men's Driving Gloves. These are nice, although I'm a little unsure about their appeal to men on the whole. They might look a little gimmicky and foppish to most men.

Eliza's Hat. This one is really eye-catching. It's the particular needle-felted floral trimming that makes it because it's really something unique, but the hat does have a pretty good shape and could be trimmed in lots of different ways.

Harriet's Little Shoulder Shawl. This shawl is a little on the too little and too simple side for me. I think I'd want to make it a little larger and add a fringe or lace edging.

Jane's Barathea Mitts. Very nice fingerless gloves. They've got great texture and are so well-shaped.

Fine Stockings. Another mostly plain pair of stockings with some lovely detailing.

A Second Chance for Mr. Rushworth Socks. Classic pair of cabled socks.

Kitty's Chemise. This top needs some detailing (any detailing, for that matter) to make it work. It's just too plain as is to be worth making.

Socks for Mr. Bennet's Leisure. Love the horizontal herringbone pattern in these socks.

Cassandra's Tea Cozy. Can't say I care for this one. It just looks kind of lumpy and cheesy.

Col. Fitzwilliam's Huswife. In the nineteenth century, a huswife, or housewife as it was also called, was a little kit of sewing supplies. I'm trying to figure out what purpose this could be put to in the twenty-first century. Interweave suggests it could hold knitting notions, but I don't think I'd care to use it for that. Maybe it could work as a vanity case or cell phone case. As to the aesthetics of it, I do like the tartan pattern but the crooked embroidered lettering is really detracting.

Kellynch Cardigan. Beautiful classic cardigan. The yarn used here, Madelinetosh Tosh merino light in "Tannenbaum", is really fabulous.

Dashwood Lace Stole. This looks much more like an afghan than a stole to me because of its size and rectangular shape, although I must say it is a beautiful afghan. Love the lace pattern. If you want to wear this, I'd recommend sizing it down and shaping it.

Strawberry Picking Shrug. Very pretty little shrug.

Sweet Hearts Reticule. This is kind of cute, but it could have done with a little more shaping at the bottom. This purse will not sit upright on its own.

Regency Blouse. Very pretty top. The shaping is good and the ballet neckline, cap sleeves, and lacework add a lot of grace to it.

Accomplished Ladies' Reticule. Pretty little purse, though I'm mentally playing with the colourway in order to make it less "tea in a country garden" style, because that style is a little too precious for most women.

Susan's Bonnet. This isn't a bad-looking bonnet, but it is a bonnet. I can't imagine any woman wearing it other than as part of a costume.

A Shawl for Emma. Lovely, delicately lacy shawl.

Abbey Mill Farm Vest. Beautiful, classic fair isle vest.

Fitzwilliam's Gift. What a gorgeous piece. The lacework, the beading and that luscious yarn all combine to make something really luxurious and extravagantly beautiful.

Almost Pretty Stockings. Creative use of lacework here. That diagonal lace stripe make these socks look simultaneously quaint and contemporary.

Brighton Shawl. Lovely and gracefully shaped shawl.

Catherine's Bonnet. The shape of this little girl's hat is ever so cute. I'm having a lot of fun mentally playing with it and figuring out different things to do with it with intarsia and Swiss darning.

Little Man Waistcoat. Not crazy about this one. I find the shaping of the neck a little on the rough and ready side, and the colourway isn't doing anything for it. Fixing the neckline and going with a different colourway should make it work though.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Jane Austen Knits 2013: A Review

Interweave has published a new issue of Jane Austen Knits. (You can read my review of Jane Austen Knits 2012 here.) Let's have a look at it, shall we?

A Most Sensible Bonnet. I rather like this bonnet, which does a good job of evoking a Regency straw bonnet while simultaneously looking like something that looks appropriately styled for 2013. I think the brim is wired (at least, the pattern calls for a yard of jewelry wire and my guess is at least some of it is in the brim) and so can be shaped to flatter one's face. These colours are a little on the dull side, but then this hat could work in any colour you want.

The Harriet Hap Shawl. This shawl is lovely, and timeless.

A Vest for Charles. I very much like this waistcoat. It's wearable and yet has some style, and it would suit many men quite well.

The Brighton Mitts are a nice-looking pair of fingerless gloves.

Marianne's Bosom Friend. Very nice stole. I like the concept of a plain stockinette scarf with a beautiful border.

Emma's Lace Skirt. I quite like this skirt, but don't care for the way it's been styled here. I think it probably needs to be worn with an underlayer as that top row of lace diamonds is veering close to crotch territory, but I'd be going with a custom-made slightly smaller, slightly shorter silk or satin slip rather than some baggy lace petticoat that's inches longer than the lace skirt. Hardly any women wear slips anymore — I haven't owned one for over twenty years — but slip etiquette remains the same. It's not supposed to snow down south.

Jane's Dancing Stockings. I'm pretty sure Jane Bennet or Jane Fairfax would have worn longer (and properly gartered) stockings for dancing in, but these are very nice-looking socks all the same.

Edmund Bertram's Monogrammed Socks. A very smart pair of socks. I don't see a monogram in this photo but I trust it's in there somewhere.

Very pretty little Beaded Summer Spencer.

Damask Mittens. The shape of these mittens is maybe a little clumsier than I would be happy with (I don't like pointy mittens or flaring cuffs), but the patterning is certainly lovely.

A Muffler for Mr. Woodhouse. This looks more 1910 college scarf than 1810 dashing suitor to me, but it would be a nice scarf in a better colourway.

Anne's Socks. Again, can't see Anne Elliot wearing these socks, but then perhaps they were the sickly Anne de Bourgh's bed socks. At any rate, they are quite nice with their diagonal lace work pattern.

The Love and Loyalty Pin Ball. Oooh, love this one. I sew, and I can tell you that it's a pleasure to use beautifully designed sewing paraphernalia like this, and that it's also of practical value. One could hang this pinball around one's neck while one is pinning a hem in order to have pins handy. Although I would consider putting it on wristband instead, because that will make access to the pin even handier and the cushion will stay flat on the wrist instead of twisting and pricking one in the bosom.

Open Carriage Gloves. Another wearable pair of fingerless gloves.

The Solicitude Bag. I'm not that enthusiastic about this bag. It's fairly attractive (though I wouldn't do the top part in that random brown that doesn't go with the rest of the bag, but in one of the colours from the floral design), but the overall size and the size of the opening look awkward to me. The picture suggests it's to be used as a work bag, but it wouldn't hold much and it wouldn't be easy to get much in and out of that small opening. Nor is the drawstring going to be long enough to allow for easy carrying of the bag. Before making this bag, I'd think about what I wanted to use it for, and possibly change the size and shape somewhat to suit that use.

Jane Bennet's Night Cap. This pixie-style cap does have its charm, but one would have to be under 25 and perhaps also a hipster to carry it off.

The Cottage Tea Cozy. I'm the wrong person to review this one as I hate kitschy stuff like this, but this tea cozy is actually pretty cute in its way and the details are well worked out.

Georgiana Darcy's Fancy Shawl. I wish I could see this shawl better (apparently it has 240 glass seed beads in it and I can't make them out at all), but it does look lovely in this photo.

The Strolling Scarf might prove awkward to wear if one is doing any actual strolling, but of course there's nothing to prevent the wearer from wearing it wrapped several times around the neck — or the knitter from making it shorter. I like the floral motif on the ends.

The Boteh Shawl is really beautiful. Love the Paisley-like design, which is a nice nod to the Kashmir shawl so much prized among nineteenth-century Western women. Remember how in Vanity Fair the widowed Amelia sold her India shawl (a gift from the faithful suitor Dobbin) for twenty guineas to buy a Christmas present of books and clothes as well as a term of schooling for her son, and overcoat for her father?

Really not favourably taken with the Ruffled Capelet. I think it would look better if done in a single colour. Using two just makes it too visually choppy.

The Benwick Cardigan must have been named in honour of Captain Benwick, and though it's nothing like what any of Austen's characters would have worn, it does have a certain military smartness while being a very wearable cardigan by today's standards. My one criticism is that it doesn't meet properly in the front, which makes it look too small. But then that's easily remedied.

I've softened up somewhat on spencers, but I am not sure I can get behind the concept of a long-sleeved spencer. Putting long sleeves with such an abbreviated bodice as in the Austen Spencer just makes it look as though half of it were missing.

Speaking of designs that look as though something is missing, the Northanger Pelisse is probably another such. I'm trying to imagine this jacket over typical 2013 outfits such as jeans or short skirts or dress trousers, and I suppose it would work in a way but I am just not liking that gaping lower front. It looks awkward. It's a nice jacket otherwise, but I would be inclined to make it a three-quarter length and button it all the way to the bottom.

The Falling Hearts Shawl is really lovely in its delicate, lacy way, though I will say I am not crazy about that rolling inner edge. I think I'd figure out a way to firm up that edge so it would lie flat.

The Sanditon Cape. This one isn't bad. It has a certain minimalist appeal. It will stay in place and keep your back, shoulders and arms warm (if not your front) and it will go well with the current unstructured, draped silhouette in clothes.

The Fairfax Reticule wouldn't make a half-bad evening bag, though I would put a smaller tassel on the bottom.

The Elegant Gloves are indeed elegant. I can see these working on a bride.

The Grecian Top doesn't exactly have the classic beauty one might expect from an item with its name. I get what the criss-crossed strings are supposed to be accomplishing here, but it's not working. The top just looks too busy and chopped up and is going to get some really unattractive bulging happening over the course of the wearer's day. I'd ditch the string ties and do this in another, more attractive colourway with buttons that actually go with the yarn.

The Oval Pelisse is probably my favourite of any in this entire issue of Jane Austen Knits. It's such a romantic and yet wearable style, and it looks like a truly original knitwear design (and let me tell you I see a LOT of patterns).

The Regency Riding Hat. This one is... not working that well. It's a shape of hat one never sees these days and would just look odd on most people. Like the pixie hood above, I think you'd have to be a very young hipster type to carry this one off. Though it might help to make the hat in another, more neutral colour, and to cut the ribbon short rather than having it trailing.

The Coquelicot Ribbons Cardigan. Not a fan of this one, which is horribly unflattering even on this very slim model (the sample sweater is a size 32). The lace bodice is so baggy, and the waist fastening is making it look like it doesn't fit. I keep staring at it and trying to figure out how to fix it but I think this isn't a pattern that can be tweaked — it needs a substantial redesign.