Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Revisiting the revistsas

Every once in a while, just as I go through my yarn stash to remind myself how much yarn I own, I go through my magazines to remind myself of cute patterns I've noted in the past. As you can see from the post below, that's a lot of magazines. I have Knitter's from 1996 until 2004, when I stopped subscribing, Vogue Knitting from inception until now (thanks to back issues I bought from a long-ago knitlister) albeit with some gaps, Piecework and Threads from about 1996 until 2001, the complete Interweave Knits, KnitSimple, Interweave Crochet and Family Circle (Easy) Knitting. I have a year of Anna from the late 90's and Burda Moden from 1990 until 2001. Plus assorted random knit and crochet magazines.

All told, I must have over 1,000 knitting and crochet patterns. I think that almost half of them are cabled sweaters; it's amazing how many variations on a theme one can come up with. Looking at them all in a short period of time, as I did last week, left me with some new impressions, aside from just how many cabled sweater patterns there are in the world.

My favorite magazine, in terms of the quality of the designs, in Interweave Knits, although VK is a close second, followed by the Nancy Thomas era of Knitter's. The shapes are fitted, the details are fine, as are many of the yarns. I also like best the layout of the pre-Eunny Jang IK, once they settled down with the typography after the first couple years. I like the models and the photography, and I don't think that the new grouping of designs into stories is an improvement. Vogue Knitting has always done it, but going from standalone designs to smaller groupings instead of issue-long themes hasn't worked for me, either with IK or Knitter's.

The less said about Rick Mondragon's chunky, oddly-seamed, garishly colored pattern choices, the better. He's a wonderful person, and has a lot to say about design, but I've not seen anything I'd be tempted to make in Knitter's for most of this century.

There are more crochet patterns out there than I remembered, especially in Family Circle Easy Knitting.

The 1990's Burda Moden was also my main source for sewing patterns. and I'd be tempted by the food photography, but never got over the European measurements and oven settings. But 95% of their knitting patterns are drop shoulder, mid-thigh length sweaters with some sort of either cable (of course) or all-over stitch pattern. They were my main exposure to knitting patterns when I first started to knit seriously, but I've never made one. The few patterns that don't fit the mold really stand out, and I have a couple of them queued in my head now, especially ones that combine knitting and crochet.

I'm not sure why I subscribed to KnitSimple. Maybe I can switch the subscription to Knit.1.

Piecework mainly tempts me to embroider, as does Anna (which, since it's published by Burda, has the same problem with its knitting patterns.) I'm surprised that Piecework never featured techniques like broomstick, daisy loom, hairpin or Tunisian crochet.

It's pretty awe-inspiring how much technical information was crammed into magazines in the 80's and early 90's. Back when VK was the only game in town, it had several meaty articles every issue. And Threads has articles to return to again and again, about fitting and design and techniques.

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