It is our 50th issue birthday this month, I can’t quite believe it! Time has passed so quickly and there have been so many exciting issues since I took on the role of editor. I have loved working with so many fabulously talented designers and receiving and photographing so many beautiful original patterns over the past few years. Over the course of this month we will be celebrating our birthday in style with giveaways, interviews, tutorials, free patterns and more.
We're also giving a little reminder of our fabulous back catalogue of patterns. We have featured hundreds of wonderful fashion, home, accessories and kids patterns and today I have been tasked to choose some of my favourites.
I have to tell you, this was not an easy task - the projects that feature inside our pages are chosen carefully, precisely because I love them and think our readers will too. Therefore, choosing just ten favourite garment and ten favourites from the other projects (more on that in a later post...) was almost akin to choosing a favourite child. However, I have done it. And here those wonderful, wearable fashion items are, as they say in those TV talent shows, in no particular order....
1. Pleated Cardigan, Kat Goldin, Issue 48
Wow, this cardigan. Kat Goldin is an amazingly (multi) talented, prescient designer. She knows what folk want before they do, and it shows in every facet of her design life, and there are many facets! When I received the pleated cardi in the post, I knew it would be a hit as soon as I carefully unwrapped the tissue. I had to try it on straight away and as I did, my husband came into the room and said: "That's nice." That confirmed it, as he usually surveys my fashion parades with bemused apathy. The cardigan is worked in a stunning Chartreuse alpaca silk mix by the lovely Jeanette Sloan and it drapes exquisitely. The pleating at the back, where the waist is nipped in, is a joy to behold. It is so nice to see a crochet garment that has the appeal, drape and wearability of knitting, while retaining the innate structural qualities of crochet. This cardigan is the essence of what we have been trying to show everyone that crochet can be.
2. Leighton Cardigan, Emma Varnam, Issue 35
The cover item of our 50th issue, the cute retro camper van, just epitomises Emma Varnam's classic British style. Her designs are pure class with a dash of humour and quirkiness, a lot like the wonderful lady herself. I chose this cardigan out of her designs as it is a design you could make in every colour and wear practically every day. Believe me when I say this fits perfectly and is so comfortable. I have to admit that I still haven't finished my first one, despite my grand plans for one in every shade of the rainbow. I must stop commissioning so many things I want to make...there just isn't enough time for them all!
3. Bexhill Tee Vicki Brown Issue 32
Where to begin with Vicki Brown's adorable T-shirt? I could've chosen every one of Vicki's projects for this list, but obviously, that would smack of favouritism! Vicki has a great knack for designing modern classics - comfortable, wearable items which are somehow timeless and bang up to date at once, meaning you know making one of her patterns will mean that you will be investing in an item you will wear again and again. I love Vicki's colourwork projects, her Foxy Cape especially is so cute and quirky, but I eventually settled on this tee for a few reasons; It is from my first shoot after maternity leave and first with the fabulous Britt Spring; I loved styling Bexhill and our model Jess rocked the sporty vintage look we were going for; it is so versatile - worn unbelted it is casual summer wear, draw in at the waist it takes on a chic, Riviera feel and finally, I have been meaning to make it for ages as I know I will live in it come summer.
4. Torquay Sweater, Linda Skuja, Issue 43
A hit with her first pattern for the magazine, Linda also has a lovely top for summer in issue 44. This sweater is in the list because it is so versatile - make it in cotton for summer and wool for winter. The dropped stitch technique is really original and fun to work. This was the first sun we ever had on a shoot, believe it or not! The sweater was perfect wear for a balmy summers day.
5. Trophy Jacket, Simone Francis, Issue 40
Again, Simone is a designer who never seems to disappoint - she might as well stop submitting and just start sending finished items! I love her unique slant on fashion, she always pushes the boundaries and turns out garments which are wearable and so different to anything you have seen before. I love Trophy, because it is inspired by those fabulous Chanel jackets, and she has managed to use a woven techniue which plays with the tweed idea beautifully. I almost think that it shouldn't work, but boy, does it! We styled it will pearls as a further homage to Coco, but it could just as easily be pared with pale denim jeans this summer for a really on trend, casual look.
6. Walk in the Woods Cardigan, Joanne Scrace, issue 47
I am starting to realise that there are a lot of cardigans in this list! Perhaps becuase I think they are amongst the most wearble ways to use crochet within garments. This cardigan is no exception. Again, Joanne's designs could have made it more than once to the top ten, but this one slightly pips them all as it is so of the moment. We photographed this piece in hip Brick Lane, and it looked right at home! The colourwork is cute and adds a lovely, contemporary yet retro vibe placed at the yoke.
7. Flutter Cardigan Karen Ratto Whooley issue 34
Karen Ratto Whooley is a well established and respected designer in the US and so it is wonderful to have her amongst our designers. This project was stunning on the cover of issue 34 and I adore the use of the crocodile stitch as a textured edging. The cardigan is cosy and yet feels luxurious too, the perfect combination! I love the floral blouse underneath, which is a major trend for this spring too, and we paired it with some daring leather leggings. But if you wanted to wear it with a smart skirt or even jeans it would look just as gorgeous.
8. Sophie Sweater Rohn Strong Issue 37
Another of our US designers is the amazing Rohn Strong. He is a prolific designer and I love all of his designs, but I chose Sophie because it is a simple and satisfying, quick-fix sweater which will work up in no time. The addition of the simple et pretty scalloped edges in a contrasting shade work really well. The model, Jenny, is also one of my favourites, she reminds me of the Audrey's - Hepburn and Tatou - who are some of my idols, and Britt shot this on film, which gives a really dreamy, vintage quality to the shot.
9. Virgina Cardigan Amanda Perkins Issue 39.
Amanda designs beautiful, ethereal pieces women of all shapes and sizes and for that reason they have universal appeal. She is currently concentrating on blankets, so having this and her other garments in our stable is fabulous. This cardigan is simply gorgeous, with Amanda's usual style of join as you go motifs worked in a simple, flattering shape which makes it perfect to wear in so many different ways. The yarn is one of her own sublime hand dyes from The Natural Dye Studio, which is a subtle nude colour and drapes beautifully. It is pieces like this which make me hope she comes back to garments eventually, even though I love her blankets too!
10. Rainbow Jumper Ali Campbell Issue 48
Ali is a newcomer to designing crochet garments, so with this piece she wanted to create something simple for beginners to hook when progression onto fashion items. This simple but striking sweater is a real success. It is extremely wearable and flattering to a multitude of shapes and is really cosy. Ali's signature rainbow stripes are perfect for using up stash but I must admit that I am planning one of these sweaters in a more muted palette, some sort of neutral with a bright accent shade I thought. No excuses with this one, either as it will be whipped up in no time!
There could have been a lot more patterns in this compilation, but I had to restrain myself! Keep an eye out for my other non-fashion selection later this month.
I must end with a heartfelt thanks Britt Spring for all her wonderful photography and to all our readers and designers for your loyal support, ideas and input over the past 50 issues, please keep them coming for the next 50 issues and beyond!
Tell us your thoughts below.
Hi, really sorry. I love No 1 on your post, Pleated Cardigan, Kat Goldin, Issue 48, and I've looked through my issue 48 but I can't find the pattern anywhere. Any help would be appreciated!