I open the December issues of knitting magazines with some trepidation. If I'm plan to knit gifts, they will be long planned and generally not involved knitted tree decorations, nativity sets, items with reindeers or robins on, or things like tea cosies which may clog drawers rather than be useful.
So it was pleasing to see a cover line offering theatrical glamour rather than overtly Christmas options and even the accompanying gift guide's patterns are more generic clothing items (but of course lovely ones) rather than super-festive novelties.
Plus the gift guide is filled with book, accessory and haberdashery ideas for presents so I should probably leave it lying around with one or two inked circles.
As for the glamour in the patterns - well some more than others upheld the theme.
Taking the glamour prizes for me are:
Snood by Judy Furlong, AKA Jayne in Manos del Uruguay pattern
leaflet form. In a 75% Alpaca, 20% Silk, 5% Cashmere laceweight, it
drapes beautifully over the model's head and shoulders.
It is knitted in the round to avoid having to join the tube up. But the top
edging is knitted as a strip and then grafted on. I think I would experiment
with adapting the edging to a knit on version, because I'd always rather
knit than graft.
It is no secret that I'm such a fan of the vintage styling of Susan Crawford
that I have publicly denied been a stalker. So I was delighted to see an on
trend Cabled Cape in aran that maintains that golden age of Hollywood glamour.
My only problem is working out how to get the best of one as a London commuter rather than someone who needs warmth between the taxi and the party.
Also glamorous in my book, is a second snood which appears in the gift supplement. It may be the styling but the much chunkier Most Luxurious Winter Snood in Sublime W0olly Merino looks fabulous even if it is in gray and all ribbing.
Bags add to glamour and there are two great ones this month. An actual knitted Gold Kelly Bag by Sandra Hamilton is pure genius. If that's too big for you, the gift guide include a pretty Beaded Clutch by Laura Zukaite with a delicate butterfly motif in both knitting and beaded versions. Requiring no more than a couple of skeins of alpaca silk it is something that prove that ultimate stash buster for that small amount of luxury yarn you can't bear to give up.
Rowena by Erika Knight, which has already been seen in Rowan , fits the glamour mode by being a classic piece of simple vintage style - waist shaping and puffed shoulders - that could easily be dressed up by a diamante brooch or pearl choker. It does require an awful lot stocking stitch in 4ply on 3.25mm needles.
After that the selection loses its glamour for me. I can see why Sian Brown's Lace Cloak was included but this thigh-length, hooded black kidsilk cape edged in pink makes be think Halloween or panto.
I'm in two minds about Frill Nack Jacket by Suzie Lee. Lots of stocking stitch again, this time on 6mm pins using a merino/alpaca/silk blend chunky yarn, to create simple close fitting jacket with a deep V front. The V is surrounded by a wide ruffle which looks dramatic on the model but would likely have a less good effect on those of us with larger frontages.
But I can't add a fairly plain stocking stitch jumper in Artesano silk blend with cuffs and bottom frill in kidsilk haze to any list of good things. The photography doesn't help making it look shapeless and lumpy and hiding any stitch detail. A Party Sweater this is not.
And although this month's magazine tells us Norwegian knitwear is a big current trend chunky aran knits are for a different edition.
So one or two things I love and a million miles of stocking stitch. But there is one more pattern that rates a mention - there is Penguin Pete. A new blog mascot coming soon.