Review: The Unofficial Harry Potter Knits

004Interweave Knits has brought us another specialty issue of their magazine, in the vein of their Jane Austen Knits series. When rumors surfaced that there was going to be a specialty issue devoted not only to the Harry Potter universe, but also to Downton Abbey, I admit I was really excited. (I totally admit to being a huge Potterhead. I know I’ve admitted in the podcast that I’ve named my car Fawkes. Heh.)

Due to copyright infringement issues they have named this The Unofficial Harry Potter Knits and are only selling this in the United States. Unfortunately, if you are elsewhere in the world, you will have to find an obliging soul to buy it and send it to you from the US. (They will be doing the same for the Downton series, so if you are interested, line those US friends up now!) I got my copy at my LYS the day they received them in the store – and they sold out fairly soon after, which seems to have been the case throughout the US. (I did see a number of copies at the local Barnes & Noble, hidden behind the other knitting magazines, so I know that they have no clue what they have on their shelves, lol!)

So, onto the review. Overall, I liked the direction they went with the magazine, dividing it into five distinct categories, each a class at Hogwarts: History of Magic, Care of Magical Creatures, Transfiguration, Charms, and Defense of the Dark Arts. Naturally, some of my favorite patterns are the socks. 🙂 There is a great variety of patterns in the magazine: sweaters (for both men and women!), socks (again, for both sexes, woot!), gloves/mittens, shawls, and other accessories. It’s nice to see that Interweave has chosen a variety of patterns (and models) for this magazine.

I love that there are blatant shout-outs to the books; so many times you have something that is, in every respect, something from a book, but is something different. However, here we have Hagrid’s Sweater – the same yellow sweater he was knitting on the Underground while taking Harry to Diagon Alley! (Really, that may have sold me on the whole magazine. Even if it doesn’t look just as I had imagined it. Truth.)

The photography, for the most part, is good. Not excellent, but good. The outdoor shots are arts-y, and try to evoke a feeling of the books. The indoor shots… well, are not great. The lighting in a lot of them is horrible and you can’t make out features of the items being shown. The section least well shot was the Defense Against the Dark Arts – I understand, that they were trying to evoke a gloomy, dark feel – and I love some of the items they’re trying to show – but YOU CAN’T SEE THEM. FAIL, Interweave. When you are trying to “sell” a garment, you need to have light. Period. If I had gotten the digital copy instead of the print copy (which I did consider), I would have been so upset.

The patterns are wonderful – the variety is awesome and I can see me knitting a few of these as it gets colder here, but the photography leaves a lot to be desired. I certainly hope that the photography for the Downton Abbey issue is better – because, yes, I’ll be buying it.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Episode 16: Missing Mom

Hey there, everyone! So, it’s been a few days since I last recorded (a couple of weeks??)… and there’s just not a lot of knitting content going on around these parts lately. I’ve been good and trying to get a couple finishing projects done – even if I’m not a fan of the yarn. *sigh* I keep going by reminding myself that the sooner I get this sweater done, the sooner I can get back to my stuff!

Current Roster 

  • Celestarium by Audry Nicklin. No, no work has been done on this, but I decided to show it anyway… Maybe it’ll kick start me into actually working on it? (Yes, Elspeth, I know, I know. We can keep each other going – if only I pick it up again.) Knit out of Skein Top Draw Sock, which is 100% BFL, in the Pearl colorway. I wonder where those other two skeins have gotten to?? Hmmm…
  • Bowties are Cool Socks by Mandie Harrington. After not knowing where it was for the last episode, I found it in the car. In the passenger seat. Yeah, I’m not quite sure how that happened, either. Or how I missed it when I was looking for it. (Hey, I have a Car Stash, after all!) I had no clue what it was knit out of when I recorded, but I found the info in my show notes from Episode 14! Yay, show notes! These are being knit out of The Uncommon Thread’s BFL sock in the Debauchery colorway. This is the yarn that had a knot almost dead center in the skein, so it’s been wound into two separate balls… the downside? I can’t find the second ball. Oops.
  • Allons-y! Socks by me. (No, there’s not a Rav link yet – soon!) If you haven’t guessed, these are the Doctor Who Inspired Socks from Episode 14. I’ve been working on writing the pattern, so keep an eye out for the test knitter thread to go up on the Rav group – once it’s up, it means it’ll go out to test knitters immediately! I’ve got two people who have volunteered to knit it already, but I know that a few of you out there are also interested – which is really very sweet and extremely humbling. 🙂 I really big-puffy-heart y’all. The first sock is finished and the second is cast-on… I have a HO! WOOT!!

Injured Reserve (IR) 

  • Célia by Arianne Caron-Lacoste. I really want to love this sweater and I think I will… eventually. I decided that because it’s such a slog lately, that it’s just not worth knitting it right now, so it’s gone into hibernation and will come back out at some point. I love the yarn, MadTosh Twist DK in Tart, but that’s not even keeping my interest. *sigh* I’m trying not to feel guilty about not finishing it, but I need something that will keep me interested.

Scouting Report: Reviews! 

  • The new Interweave Knits (Summer 2013)… Love the top on the cover – HATE the finishing. HATE, HATE, HATE. It looks sloppy. I know they’re going for “deconstructed”, but when you backstitch the pieces together and have the raw edges – with yarn carried up them – showing, I hate it. That being said, I am thinking about knitting it – but I’ll do a simple mattress stitch to seam it up – and I will love it. I hope. That’s pretty much it in the magazine. The lace motifs article is well-written and interesting, but the designs are just kind of meh.
  • Burr by Veronik Avery for Brooklyn Tweed. I’m working on this for a finishing project. I’m currently working on the shawl collar/buttonband, using Brooklyn Tweed Loft, held double. On US5s. My hands are not happy at all. However, my Netflix queue is loving it. The pattern makes simple things a lot more complicated – and no good pictures of the collar kept me stymied for ages because of the YOs in the collar increases. Oy. I also may be the only person in the world who does not like knitting with Loft. I’m okay with that, though.

What’s Making Me Happy 

  • What’s making me happy is also making me so, so sad… My mom left the US on Friday (the day after my Dad’s birthday) to head to Bolivia on her first trip there in 39 years! She’s called a few times and sounds exhausted, but happy to see her family – Daddy and I are already planning to work on our Spanish to go with her next year. We’ve been missing her like crazy – the cats are even out of sorts about it – they keep wandering around looking for her and are super clingy. She gets back on the 9th and we’re both looking forward to it.
  • I have date night with Michelle (travelingknitter on Rav) on Wednesday – we get to see one of my favorite musicals at Signature Theatre: Company by Steven Sondheim (who is a genius. Just sayin’. I would totally fangirl if I ever met him. LOL)
  • Work is FINALLY settling down – I might have a chance to have some time for me again…. We’ll see!

Have a great week, everyone! Hopefully, I’ll have some progress to report next time!

xo, Holly

Episode 5: The Doctor Helps Me Knit

Hi everyone! So, this week’s episode is up a little late due to a scheduled day off (I recorded much earlier) and technical issues. Sorry for the delay! I got a few messages last week about the high-pitched buzzing and as I listened to this week’s episode, there’s some in there as well, though not as much (I don’t think, at least). I tried to lessen the buzzing as much as I could, even going to cutting some of the long pauses out when it was at its worst, so there are some jumpy cuts in there – all I cut out was pausing and a couple of “um”s. Lots of knitting was accomplished this week – hooray! – and, as you can tell by the title, a lot of it was done with help from the Doctor.

Current Roster 

  • Owls sweater by Kate Davies. Lots of progress has been made – I’ve joined both sleeves to the body and have started the first row of the owls chart. Hooray! How did I get this far? Lots of watching of the good Doctor. I finished Season Two Saturday night after completing one project (more on that later) and one sleeve. I’m still a little nervous about the amount of yarn… while I show that I really should have enough, it would be just enough.
  • Simple Stripey Socks. I’ve made some more progress on these with lots of podcast watching and nighttime knitting. I’m two stripes away from inserting the yarn for my afterthought heel, which should be done in the next day or so, depending on if I get knitting time.

Alumni Roster 

  • Franken-Buckingham-Hat. Woot!! This got finished, finally! I made up the decreases as I went along – I’m not sure if I like ’em, but we’ll see. They work, and that’s a good thing. This will probably still be too big for my guy’s head, but whatever. It’s done and I’m happy. If I could sort out those decreases and make them look better, I wonder if the world needs a K13, P3 hat? Still thinking about this one.

Scouting Report 

  • Book review of knitbot essentials. All in all, I’m not a fan. Mostly because the patterns are all available on Ravelry individually and they mostly are written for the very small. Most of the patterns go up to a 50″ bust, but in most cases it’s a case of “just ’cause you can, doesn’t mean you should.”

What’s Making Me Happy 

  • Date nights with my closest friends – especially when they involve musical theatre! One of my friends and I saw “Dreamgirls” at Signature Theatre here in town. AMAZING! If you’re ever in the DC area and want to see some wonderful theater, you must visit here.
  • I ❤ my Tivo something fierce. Having lived without it for over a year, I’m so looking forward to hooking it up again and being able to watch Netflix on my TV instead of my computer screen. It’ll be even better when I can use it for my cable box too…
  • Thank you for all the kind words and all the hellos I got at fibre space’s Black Friday sale! I had so much fun keeping the line “managed” (because, really, there wasn’t too much to manage – most people were in really great moods and pretty relaxed) and giving away prizes!

Have a great week, everyone! I hope you had a great Thanksgiving, if you celebrated. 🙂 Don’t forget to join the Rav group, if you haven’t already. I’ll see you all next week!

xo, Holly