Thursday 16 August 2018

Review of Knitting Magazine's British Knits Special

Image courts of Knitting magazine
September 2018's edition of Knitting magazine is dedicated to knits grown, designed and made in Britain. As soon as I saw on the newsagent's shelf that it features 25 British knits I knew it was one to review for A Woolly Yarn readers.

The issue costs £5.99 and, unlike other UK knitting magazines, doesn't come bagged with free gifts. The benefit of this is that you can flick through before you buy to see if there are patterns that interest you.

The front of the magazine contains editorial; news (including a fun story about thrill-seeking pensioners leaving crafts to the millennial); details of knitting events; an interview with Allison Thistlewood and Rachel Brown who run the Great London Yarn Crawl; a feature on a fleece community project in Uist (there's a pattern that uses this yarn in the issue); book reviews and a yarn review which, strangely for this British issue, contains a tape yarn from Bergere De France.

Most of the rest of the magazine is dedicated to full-page beautifully-photographed pictures of the issue's garments and accessories and the patterns themselves. It does feel a little counter-intuitive that the patterns are separate from the glossy photos of them but that's been the style of the magazine for a long time.

The cover design, a roll-neck jumper called Rowley by Jacinta Bowie, knitted in Three Bears Yarn Bluefaced Leicester, is an eye-catcher for the colder nights that will be drawing in soon in the UK.

When doing some research for the previous post on this blog, New Season = New Yarns, I came across Moel View Yarn, whose homepage at the time of my browsing featured the fancy-yoked sweater Gwanwyn by Verena Cohrs, knitted using the company's Welsh Mule DK. From all the patterns in the British issue is my personal favourite, but I think I'd choose the Madder Pink Bright shade for a little more colour oomph.

Gwanwyn image courtesy of Moe View Yarn
Sadly I can't show you pictures of nearly all the other patterns because they're not on Ravelry or Knitting's website.  Instead I'll describe them and the British yarn they use:

Kildwick by Sarah Hatton is a classic elbow-length sleeve grey knitted jumper with some lace detailing. It's knitted with West Yorkshire Spinners' Illustrious Naturals.
Illustrious Naturals image courtesy of West Yorkshire Spinners

Shaped Hem Jumper by Jo Allport has a stocking stitch body with cabled long sleeves. Baa ram ewe's Winterburn DK in the earthy shade Muck is the yarn used.
Winterburn DK image courtesy of baa ram ewe
Devon Mariner by Helena Timms is a cute burnt orange fisherman's rib hat knitted in John Arbon Textiles' Devonia DK. In the magazine's photograph it looks rather like it has cats' ears!

Devonia DK image courtesy of John Arbon Textiles
Harper by Emma Wright is a contemporary twist on a cabled jumper. There's an inverted v-shape opening at the front that shows off the model's belly button - not great for snowy days! The yarn used is Erika Knight's British Blue 100% Bluefaced Leicester.

Erika Knight British Blue 100 image courtesy of Erika Knight
Elemental by Christine Boggis uses a combination of grey natural colours from Uist Wool. It's a wrap that looks like an oversized cowl to keep you warm on Winter days.

Sith DK image courtesy of Uist Wool
Helga by Bronagh Miskelly is a throw-on buttonless cardigan for cooler evenings.  The opening edges have a pretty cable design and the cardigan is knitted using Purl Alpaca Designs Alpaca Mist Fine.

Mist image courtesy of Purl Alpaca Designs
Wensleydale by Sarah Hazell is knitted in Wensleydale Longwool Sheep Shop Aran. It's a grey, very long scarf with an opening that can be used as an arm or neck hole. 

Aran image courtesy of Wensleydale Longwool Sheep Shop
Textured Scarf by Toft is a pattern that's already on Toft's website. The cream scarf has funky pom poms at the end and is knitted in Toft DK.

Textured scarf image courtesy of Toft

Blousey by Francesca Hughes is a v-necked buttoned-up cardigan knitted in a British wool blend hand-dyed by US indie dyer Emily Foden and sold as Viola Shadow DK. I couldn't find the yarn for sale on Viola and the Moon's website but there is a picture of it on Ravelry.

Vila Shadow DK image courtesy of Viola and the Moon and Ravelry
Ella is a design from LoveKnitting brand Willow & Lark.  It's a cropped jumper with the back a little longer than the front, and is Knitted with their Plume yarn. It's not stated where the mohair and silk for the yarn blend were sourced.

Ella image courtesy of Willow & Lark and Ravelry
Staithes by Pat Mencini is knitted in King Cole's Majestic DK, a blend of wool, acrylic and polyamide. It's a light grey gansey-inspired textured jumper.

King Cole Majestic DK image courtesy of Knitwell Wools Ltd
Elody by Jo Allport is a fine lace hat knitted using Yarntelier's Cashmere Gilli in the shade Malkin. 

Malkin image courtesy of Yarntelier
Swagger by Pat Menchini is a grey, cabled short sleeve jacket knitted using Rico Creative Soft Wool Aran in beige. 

Rico Creative Soft Wool Aran in beige image courtesy of
Plus there are:

  • A pair of cream socks knitted with West Yorkshire Spinners' Fleece UK
  • Stylecraft super chunky floor cushion
  • Two jumpers for men
  • A Martin Storey cable boy's jumper
  • Red and white heart cardigan for a little girl
  • Royal Romper suits
  • Puppy Pillow Pal cushion.
I'm impressed with the breadth of yarn and price points featured in this issue, with well-known brands sitting alongside small British yarn businesses you may not have heard of. A mention in the magazine is a great opportunity for them to reach a wider audience. Some of the cheaper yarns though, may be from a British brand, but are man-made or don't contain British wool. 

The features are interesting to read and useful - particularly the tip on how to knit jogless stripes in the round. 

All in all it's great to see an international magazine championing British wool and designers. 

1 comment:

  1. The Knitter is one of the magazines I download from my local library’s online service. Sometimes I end up buying the magazine anyway, not always easy to find a stockist even in South West London.


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