Friday, January 05, 2007

Vogue Shmogue

I can remember how excited I used to get when my copy of Vogue Knitting arrived in the mail each season. It would remain in its protective plastic wrapping until I had a clear space of time to sit and give it the attention it deserved. I'd make a fresh pot of coffee and sit curled up in a favorite chair, with no television or other distractions. The patterns at the back of the magazine were usually the first place I'd look, although occassionally I would start from the beginning and slowly make my way through every page of the magazine, savoring the anticipation of the patterns - the real "meat" of the magazine - to come.

For several years, I stopped my subscription to Vogue Knitting. I'm not sure why. Perhaps just laziness with the renewal process. Perhaps I let my subscription go at some point when I was moving from state to state every few years. My subscription began again two years ago when my sweet hubby got me a two-year subscription as one of a shower of a knitting-related gifts for Christmas. Oh joy! Oh happy day!

But alas, the excitement of Vogue quickly waned. Maybe I've just become hopelessly unhip? Or perhaps my standards for knitting patterns were not quite so high several years ago? Whatever the case, I know that now I will likely not renew my subscription.

If you have a copy of the latest VK Winter 2006/07 edition, follow along with me and tell me if I'm just nuts. If you don't have a copy, sit back, close your eyes and imagine this. (Wait. No. Don't close your eyes. You can't read this and close your eyes, now can you?)

The patterns begin with three that might be classified as "romantic." I classify them as pointless. There's a lacey sweater that's gossamer all over, but looks pulled and strained at the bodice, even on a model's figure. Topping off this light, lacey look is a bulky turtleneck. Huh? Then there's a shrug with a cable pattern that's mildly interesting, but the shrug itself looks bulky and uncomfortable.

Skipping a few pages to page 72, we come to a sweater with big sloppy cable and bobbles everywhere. The neckline is shapeless and unfinished looking with bobbles spotted along the edges. The bobble madness continues with a chain of them down each sleeve. The cables are interspersed with bobbles as well. I think perhaps it would look more appropriate if the model herself had a giant bobblehead!

The skirt on page 74 is so bizarre and so incredibly ridiculous that I can't even find the words. Forget the pattern. Just make a bunch of irregularly shaped sample squares with various stitches and then do your best to patch them together into something that you can loosely call a skirt. That will do just as well as this pattern, in my opinion.

Then there's page 75 with a short cardigan in Fair Isle. The Fair Isle pattern is pretty, although I personally don't care much for the colors chosen. But the sweater itself is a bit of a mess. It looks pulled and ill-fitting. It's held closed at one point only, low in the sweater, and if you look for more than a second or two you will quickly see that the closure is placed about an inch off from one side to the other. You know the look. The way a sweater skews if you miss a button. How could they not correct this before going to press?

Then there's a hat on page 76 that looks as if one would have to hold one's head perfectly still to avoid having the thing just pop right off. Is it that ill-fitting or is this some new style that I'm unaware of? The pinhead nature of the hat is only accentuated by the big pompom on top. The hat on the following page is no better. Yes, we all like a quick-knit from time to time. But a hat knit with #15 needles at a gauge of 2 stitches per inch? Not only that, but the hideous thing folds into a cuff around the bottom, meaning it's double-thick. It's so chunky and bulky that I'll bet if I wore one, it would double the circumference of my head!

Oh my. I don't think I can go on. It's just too painful. Was VK always this way and I never noticed? I can't remember ever actually knitting any of the patterns from VK, but I do recall finding several in each issue that I planned to knit at some point. Now I'm lucky if I can find one that I might be willing to knit if someone held a gun to my head.

I suppose I should have seen it coming. Does anyone recall an issue a couple of years ago with a long coat of some sort made with chunky novelty yarns? It was so ugly I can't imagine many would have read the pattern but if you did you would have found that the instructions for attaching the furry trim along the edges directed that one glue it on. Yes, you read right. GLUE the edging on.

Oh my. Sad times indeed. I fear my VK days are truly over now. I can bear no more.


Stacey said...

I think the same thing - VK has been getting really "hip" and out there over the past few years - seems like they have gone more the way of a high fashion mag (something people would never really wear on the street) instead of great knitted items. I had a subscription also, but now subscribe to IK instead.

loribird said...

Absolutely on the mark - I haven't even received my copy yet, but looked on their website...Eeek! My VK subscription is in its last throes, and I hardly even look in it anymore - and when I do I'm most likely to think, "Who would waste time and yarn knitting this?" Was a time, though, when it was the only knit mag I could find (Now Interweave is also available, and highly preferred.)
To VK, I give a big, "What the %&!! were you thinking!!???"

Katinka said...

VK is so hit-and-miss...I rather liked the Fall 2006 issue (great socks and sweaters), but some of their designs are so ridiculously "out there". I've only seen the online preview for this latest issue, but it looked pretty scary.

Lynne E. said...

Interestingly, in the intro to the issue, the editor wrote about how much she loved that bulky Norah Gaughan shrug. IMO, it's a pattern that "tries too hard"--that is, it attempts to be different or fun to knit at the expense of being pretty.

I liked some of the designs in this issue, e.g. a striped shrug that would probably look good in FF handpaint, and the buttoned-off-center jacket/sweater. However, the editors left out the charts for some of the rose-design garments--you are directed to go online or send for them--and that always makes me foam at the mouth!

Anonymous said...

No one has ever accused me of being fashionable, so VK is a little too out there for me. I have bought a few issues, but I don't like the mag well enough to subscribe. I figure if the sweaters don't look good on the models, they certainly aren't going to look good on me.

Interweave Knits is more my style.

Anonymous said...

I agree VK is just weird to me. I guess I am just not "hip". I like classic styles. I stick with Interweave and such and any noe books that might have things that I like in them. I had to LOL at this post. I could just imagine how fugly these things are.

Kitt (Carla from Etsy) said...

VK is getting to be more like Interweave. I'm board with both and only buy one if they have a great sock pattern :0)