Thursday, January 29, 2009

"The Knitter" magazine, Issue 1

There seems to be a bloggy silence around the first issue of “The Knitter” magazine. Why are we all so shy about reviewing it, I wonder?

I had to order my copy by mail order as I don’t have access to a major newsagent. I have heard they sell it in Sainsbury’s but I don’t have one of those nearby either!

It describes itself as a coffee-table glossy for experienced UK knitters, which is pretty accurate. My initial impression is of Quality, which is not to be sneezed at. It is a “proper” magazine, without smelling pistakes or grammatical disaster-areas – thank goodness! (Naming no names.) It is quite pricey – but no more so than the US-based mags, and there is the advantage that the suggested yarns are easily-obtainable.

Controversially, I enjoyed the fact that the majority of the patterns were extracted from recent books – none of which I own. It is a good way to get a feel for these more weighty publications before taking a chance on buying the whole thing. At first I questioned the inclusion of a Patons “off the shelf” toddler slipover pattern, balanced by a Sirdar woman’s pattern – was this a tokenistic inclusion of the old skool UK yarn manufacturers? But then I realised that both patterns are eminently knittable – that plenty of knitters like me might actually be looking for an argyle slipover pattern for a 2-year old (ignoring the hideous colours of the swatches!) and that the eco-wool jumper wasn’t actually that bad. I might even knit the Teva Durham jacket, and I waved the Nevis man’s jacket at FL only half-jokingly (“It looks really good with a kilt!”).

The original patterns are… OK. I found Di Gilpin’s Abstract Sweater to be less adventurous than it set itself up to be – compared to a Norah Gaughan pattern for example. The cable-knitted cushions and bags are lovely but as FL pointed out, who wants a lumpy cushion? And I know I wouldn’t use a knitted handbag. But I could imagine using the cable designs as inspiration for other projects.

There is definitely an inspirational / aspirational element to this magazine. The yarn reviews included several brands / qualities which were new to me, sending me to Ravelry to explore the possibilities.

In a non-knitting “lifestyle” aside, I bought the Motown 50 Year Celebration CD they mentioned, that very day! (Woo hoo! It’s great! I spent the whole weekend singing and dancing along!)

The editor clearly has a mature attitude towards the internet. (If I read one more patronising “article” about “knitting on the net” as if it was something newsworthy, I will go pop!) “The Knitter” target audience is clearly made up of blog-literate, Knitty-knitting people – what a relief!

So yes, I am definitely looking forward to the next issue, which is devoted to “Colour” and includes a blanket from the Mason-Dixon girls. It would be fantastic if it evolved into a UK-centric print-version of the Twist Collective Magazine, but hey, we can’t have everything!


tea and cake said...

Well, I think I've heard of this, but I bought the wrong one today! 'The Knitter' is one I shall continue to look out for, tho' I don't get to town much either, and I already subscribe to yarn forward.

Skip Hire said...

It is a good way to get a feel for these more weighty publications before taking a chance on buying the whole thing.