Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Knitting Magazine Reviews

My Knitting Experience/Overview:

I wanted to point out that I don't have any knitting magazine subscriptions at the moment. Yet. I'm still in research mode to find the knitting mags that catch my attention and interests consistently. Kind of like consistently drooling over the monthly BWOF in the sewing world. There are a lot of knitting magazines available from the US as well as from Europe. My local Barnes and Noble carries A LOT of them. I am thankful for that as I get to purchase single issues and read to my heart's content. Also makes great late night reading. :)

I am still a newbie to knitting. I only have a year's experience of perfecting the knit and purl stitches and getting my gauge spot on. I have only 4 months of garment knitting experience. I can be a loose knitter, but definitely not a tight knitter. If you are a tight knitter and happen to be hanging around me, you'd better chill and start breathing in and breathing out. Knitting relaxes me.

I've knitted a long sleeve tunic sweater, a vest, several shrugs, scarves and wristlets. I have knitted from the bottom up and from the top down.

I'm still in the collecting phase. Aren't we all? I collect yarns, knitting notions, and magazines. I like having my own tools. I've stopped purchasing books since I was laid off from my full-time job earlier this year. That's what the library is for. So, instead of purchasing expensive books, I purchase fabulous yarns instead.

So, why would I purchase a magazine?

Most of the knitting mags from the US cost about $6.99 an issue. If I see at a minimum of two patterns that I really, really like (you know, the get happy moment), I will more than likely purchase the mag. Based on my calculations, that comes out to $3.50/pattern (or less if I find more patterns I like) which is roughly equal to a pattern I might find at my LYS. The added bonus would be interesting articles about knitting techniques, new yarns, how-tos, new knitting gadgets, and ideas for future projects.

Yes, buying selective single issues is expensive. Having a one- or two-year subscription to a so-so knitting magazine is just as expensive.

What About Mistakes/Errors in the Magazine Patterns?

Patterns are not perfect. I can say that for both sewing and knitting. So far in my limited knitting experience, I have not encountered any errors in the simple patterns I've used in the magazines. On the other hand, several experienced knitters have uncovered errors in other patterns as well as the original pattern designers themselves. So, where would I go to get the errata(s) information?

If there is pattern I am interested in knitting, there are basically two sites that I will visit before I start gathering my yarns and notions for a project. I will go to the magazine's website to see if there are any errata(s) or mistakes for that particular pattern. I will also visit Ravelry and see who has made the same project and if there are any issues with the pattern.

I do the same if I purchase a pattern from a yarn manufacturer or from an independent designer. I go back to the resource (e.g. mag, yarn mfg, designer) and then to Ravelry.

My favorite knitting magazines:

So, here I go with my personal view of recent magazines (Spring and/or Summer) that I have perused. I've included the name of the magazine, the issue(s) I have in my hands and comments about each issue. All of the magazines includes ads from various yarn manufacturers and website you can visit. Some mags have book and yarn reviews.

Vogue Knitting ($6.99)
Spring/Summer 2009

Vogue is classic. I love their classic lines and styles both in the sewing and knitting world. They push the limit on garment styles, what a garment should look like and how it should wear. It's all about textures and colors. You won't find anything dowdy here. This mag has caught my attention. This would be on my radar for a subscription.

Vogue includes the pattern-experience ratings or skill levels (e.g. easy, intermediate, advanced) for each of their patterns.

Vogue does not include a "how-to" knit section nor does it include an abbreviations and symbols page (e.g. summary page). Having said that, each pattern instruction is thoroughly explained. No need for to flip back and forth to figure out notations and abbreviations. Not a bad idea.

Note: As I have talked to many knitters, most are in agreement that the latest issue with the Botanica Medallion Cardigan on the cover is one of the best issues. There are a lot of eye-catching patterns that want to make you start knitting right away.

Verena (Burda) ($6.99)
Spring 2009

Classy and unique styles. That's what comes to my mind as I flip through this magazine. Like Vogue, you will not find a boring pattern. In the Spring 2009 issue, I saw a lot of lace, cables, eyelets, fitted and flowing garments.

Verena includes abbreviations and symbols for the techniques used in the patterns. I could not find a "how-to" page. There are no skill level ratings for each pattern. This magazine assumes a certain level of knitting experience, like Intermediate.

I kind of like this format. If you see a pattern that catches your attention, chances are you going to have a real good knitting experience, learn something new, and finish your project. No need to get caught up with what experience/skill level you are at. Just knit it! :)

Interweave Knits ($6.99)
Spring 2008
Spring 2009
Summer 2009

This magazine is filled with helpful knitting information, reviews, top 10 picks for the season, articles and patterns. Some of their patterns can be elegant or casual with simple lines.

Typically, there are 20 patterns included in each issue. Patterns appear to be well written. You will typically see front and back pictures for most projects. There are no skill levels provided for each pattern. Interesting, the pattern instructions start in the middle of the magazine instead of way in the back like most mags. Each pattern instruction is presented with a color side bar picture of the garment/project along with the referenced page number where a larger picture of the modeled garment can be found. You can also find finished size, yarn, needles, and gauge information in the color bar as well. There are many color ads from yarn manufacturers and vendors scattered in between the pages of instructions. I like this format as it breaks the monotony of reading through so many pattern instructions/charts and having my eyes glaze over.

Interweave Knits also includes a glossary page that includes abbreviations and definitions, knitting gauge, reading charts, different cast on methods, increases, decreases, etc. There is a Sources for Suppliers page that list the yarn manufacturers and website information. Also on the same page is the actual size yarns that are used in each of the issues and references to project page number(s).

I agree with Trina, that the articles and tips provided in this magazine are very helpful. If I had to take a magazine with me to read, it would be Interweave Knits.

Knit Simple ($6.99)
Holiday 2008
Spring/Summer 2009

I actually enjoy flipping through this magazine. Most of their garments have simple lines and simple styles. I love the accessories they've included.

Knit Simple includes a section called Knit How. It includes knitting and crochet abbreviations, skill levels, gauge, glossary of terms, knitting needles and crochet hooks size conversions, FAQs, and yarn resources. Also, there's the Basics of Knitting that shows the knitting techniques, what the basic stitches are, how to bind off, and the standard yarn weight system (yarn categories, gauges, and associated needle sizes).

If you are starting to knit, this would be a great magazine to get.

Creative Knitting ($5.99)
May 2009

This mag is filled with patterns. Simple styles and clean lines for garments and accessories. Their pattern instructions appear to be clear and well organized. Some of their charts and line drawings are pretty large and readable.

Creative Knitting includes a Knit Techniques section that includes new or added techniques used in that particular issue. There's also a Knitting Class section for review basic knitting techniques (cast ons, increases, decreases, etc). Included are standard abbreviations, skill levels, and standard yarn weight system (yarn categories, gauge, needle sizes). There's also a section that shows you how to read the pattern instructions, measuring, gauges, working from charts, and a glossary.

I love this magazine for its format, readability, how-tos, etc. If you are starting to knit, this would be another great magazine to get.

Other magazines I have not reviewed:

Knit 'n Style ($6.99) - collection of knitting patterns for all age groups. Includes garments and accessories. They include front and back pictures of the garments.

Knitter's ($5.95)
Summer 2008

Knitting (UK) ($11.25)
April 2009

Simply Knitting (UK) ($10.50)
January 2009

Knit Scene ($7.99)

Keep visiting this post as I will be continuously updating information on the mags I haven't commented on.

Feel free to provide your own comments on any of the magazines I've posted here. I'm sure it will help others are in the collecting phase.


Rachel said...

Thank you so much for these reviews. I am going to print this out.

Trina said...

What great reviews, i'm jealous that you have such easy (and cheap!) access to all these great magazines! I subscribe to Interweave Knits - from NZ its a little expensive, but worth it - their patterns are always great, although i've yet to try one myself (I love the follow-up galleries that Knitting Daily does as well) and the articles and tips are extremely helpful.

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