About Woolly Wits

I am a hand-knitting designer and teacher. See and purchase my published designs on Ravelry.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Wooly-Wits Reviews IK Fall 2013

Last week I mentioned that I was disappointed with the Fall 2013 issue of Interweave Knits.  Why?  Editorial choices.

It is not a secret that the tastes and preferences of an editor are reflected in their magazine.  After all, they are paid to make choices, right?  As a result, a knitting mag editor who wears wild color combinations produces a magazine with bright, contrasting colored sweaters.  And a slim, petite female editor chooses sweaters that would flatter her.  So, while the lovely Eunny Jang edited IK, there were lots of crew neck sweaters perfect for Colorado weather.  But, they were sweater selections not so great for non-petite, non-slim women.  Which is not so say they were not gorgeous sweaters which would be a joy to knit.  They would just look lousy on our bodies.

This issue is the first under full control of the new editor, Lisa Shroyer, who formerly edited Knitscene.  Lisa is a beautiful woman complete with curves.  And, that was often reflected in her choice of patterns.  The Central Park Hoodie, from 2006, continues to be wildly popular because it looks good on virtually everyone.  So, when I picked up IK Fall 2013, I was hoping to see more of that.  Disappointment.

Update:  Thanks to a Webs podcast with Lisa Shroyer, I learned that Lisa only took ownership of this issue with the photo session.  So, my complaints about the choice of designs still lays on the shoulders of the former editor.  That means that I can again be very hopeful for future issues to offer a greater number of designs selected to fit a wide range of body types and sizes.

IK Fall 2013 has fifteen sweaters for women.  Of those, eleven have necklines which do not elongate the figure, i.e. crew necks, boat necks and turtlenecks.  Why aren’t they good?  Because they square off the torso, and who wants to look boxy?  These necklines do create a strong shoulder line, and that can work for women who carry weight in their hips and thighs because it helps to balance their upper half.  But, they still don’t elongate and visually slim the torso.

Lets look at the four more flattering neckline choices:  three v-necks and a scoop.  The Joan of Arc sweater by Deborah Helmke is right on trend for fall 2013.  That is a red flag for me, because if I invest my time in knitting a sweater, I don't want it to be classic.  The scoop neckline does do a nice job of opening up her chest and elongating the neck.  But, the curious effect of the reverse scoop at the hemline makes the model look short waisted.  It also puts a lot of focus on her hips and thighs, so I would not recommend this sweater if that's your problem area.
The first of the v-necks is an asymmetrical one by Maria Leigh (right).  That's about the only thing I like about this sweater, and I am really struggling to come up with a body type this would flatter.  

The Prisma Dolman by Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark (left) is another story.  Lovely deep v-neck, fitted shape, lightweight yarn, vertical design lines, ahhh . . .   The only element marring the perfection is the excess fabric under the arms resulting from the Dolman shaping.  See the fold at her right armpit?  There's a reason the other photos show the model with her arms away from her body.  Excess fabric adds visual weight, and as a person with a generous bust and fat arms, I don't need more weight on that horizontal plain.  But, if those are not your issue, this is a very nice design for your consideration.  I would think about making it a little longer to be more on trend, but, as always, work to your best sweater length.

The last of the v-necks is the cover design, the Plowman Cardigan by Alex Capshaw-Taylor.  This is my favorite.  Which are the slimming design elements?  Cardigan, wrap, shawl collar, vertical color work, vertical garter stitch at hem.  What don't I love?  Again, me with the fat arms doesn't need a double layer of fabric and a button tab to draw attention there.  But, it would be an easy fix to work a vertical garter hem.  I would also lengthen the sleeve to the elbow.  More and more I find I am drawn to short sleeved cardigans in an outerwear weight.  They aren't too warm to wear indoors, but are often the perfect weight for outdoors in early fall or late spring.  They can even be worn over a lightweight long-sleeved sweater without creating too much bulk.  A winner for me.  And perhaps Lisa Shroyer's editorial influence can be seen in selecting it as the cover design?

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