Thursday, June 12, 2008


It's always fun to look through a new knitting/crochet magazine, and although Verena is new to the US market, it's been around a while in Europe. It's published by the folks at Burda -- a name that will be familiar to US sewists. Newsstand price was $6.99, and subscriptions are available for 1 year (5 issues) for $19.97.

I picked up a copy at Barnes & Noble, and here's a few thoughts --

The cover states it contains 50 designs and I'll take them at their word, because I'm too lazy to count. My criterion for a worthwhile magazine purchase may be a bit different from most. I don't really care if there are X number of styles I would make from the issue, since I don't always make patterns as presented anyway. What I want to see, however, is some inspiration. I loved the idea of using wide satin ribbon as a neckline facing (pattern #10) although I probably wouldn't knit it as shown. That detail may be showing up in a future Mingling Yarn production though. I would make the red, ribbed tunic (#31) although please shoot me if I try to wear it with leggings. There are several cute little halter tops, which would work for the younger set chez Mingling, but many of the other styles are things which look vaguely familiar. In particular, the "Desert Outpost" spread encourages thoughts of boxy, over sized, off-the-shoulder 80's fashions. Has that look come around again?

Instructions are in the brief, "Sandra" or "Rebecca" style, not surprising for a Burda publication, and not something that would bother me. Knitters who like a little hand holding may feel a bit left out though.

There were a few styles for kids, but again, nothing that made a big impression. If I remember correctly, there are no styles for men -- if I'm mis-remembering it's likely due to anything that is there being entirely forgettable.

The magazine has made an effort to include plus sized styles for women, I believe there were 8 of them so labeled. Anyone spending even a little time on knitting lists would know that the availability of fashions in larger sizes is a hot button for many. With the exception of one top (Lace Chevron) these all start at a finished bust width of at least 40" and range up to 62" finished width. That says to me that they have been particularly targeted for plus sizes, rather than all sizes. So, let's take a closer look, shall we?

I've culled this particular design from the herd. "Brilliantly planned sections of knitted lace and crocheted net skim the hips for a slimming effect", or so states the copy.

So, where to begin? With the long sleeves perhaps? I have to wonder why, if you really want long sleeves on a summer dress, why wouldn't you at least have used the lacy openwork stitches there, instead of at crotch level? Still, some folks get chilled in overly conditioned air, so the long sleeves are really the least of it.

How about that navel plunging neckline? No way you're going to wear that out without at least one layer underneath (the photo shows two). But wait, the 16" skirt will keep you cool -- it's nicely ventilated. Make sure you're wearing your prettiest underpants though, because they'll be on view! Of course, you could always layer on the leggings -- modesty will reign, but pass me an iced drink, 'cause I'm 'glowing' now.

The other "plus" sizes are not as extreme as the dress. However, I see lots of long sleeves, lots of openwork needing additional layers underneath, and one style with a strange asymmetrical double flap over one hip. Yes, finally, every plus gal's dream -- funny flaps over one hip -- I'd say they nailed that one!

So, thanks for the effort, Verena, but next time let's give it a little more thought, eh?

I probably will look through the next issue, and certainly those of a certain size could find some cute little things to make from this magazine. Be a careful consumer though, if your magazine budget is limited, and especially if you are in the market for flattering, plus sized fashion.

1 comment:

Beverly said...

It sounds like you really do understand the issues of the plus size knitter! So many designers think that as long as they enlarge the pattern they have covered it. Thank you for articulating the problems with that thinking so well.