My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 needles.


Knitting Magazines . . . the horror!

Yesterday Marit, who is in Norway, asked:

Can I ask you guys about knitting magazines? I am considering whether I should subscribe to one that I can get here in Norway, and I wonder which one(s) you would recommend? I remember you wrote about one that you thought was boring in your blog earlier, Wendy. Any others I should avoid?

Ah, knitting magazines! A thorny subject for me. Be forewarned — all of this is my personal opinion!

Knitters — avoid it like the plague! It has gone from being a great magazine in its early years to the current appalling mass of mediocre patterns. At best.
Interweave Knits — used to be great, but has deteriorated in quality. I’ll reserve judgment about it until after the new editor has taken over.
Vogue Knitting — I haven’t subscribed in years because there was never anything I wanted to knit it it. I bought a copy of the Summer issue (I think) this year and found some items of mild interest, so I’ll probably look at the Autumn issue to see if I want to buy it.

That’s it for personal magazine experience for me. I know there are others. Anyone want to jump in to recommend or un-recommend?


Still working on it, albeit slowly. I’ve not spent a lot of time knitting this week, not sure why. Due in part to my pathetic, ineffectual attempts to clean up my home. And in part to heat, humidity, and fatigue from work.

Those are my excuses, anyhow.


I think I need to jazz up this blog entry. So to close, a glamour shot!



  1. Hello Wendy!

    Having a little websurfing session, I came by to your blog and say hi. So : hi! 😉
    Only wanted to add smthg you could comment on : the Rowan Magazine, eventhough you may not truly consider it as a mag, caus’ it’s only twice a year. I would be delignted to know what you think about it, ;-).

    Love to you & Lucy,


  2. Bonjour Stéphanie!

    Nice to hear from you!

    I have little experience with the Rowan magazine, so don’t feel that I can comment on it. I used to like Rowan patterns 10-15 years ago, and bought the magazines then. The only Rowan magazine I’ve looked at recently is the All Seasons Cotton magazine that I bought to make Smooch and Parched. Other than those two designs, there was nothing else in it that I would consider making.

  3. Talking of knitting magazines – which this isn’t! Has anyone seen Wow! If only I could get patterns like these. I am sent the catalogue regularly but have never bought anything as they are so expensive but I love to look at the designs hoping that someday I might discover a similar pattern. BTW, I belong to Rowan International but have been disappointed recently as a lot of the patterns are a bit too modern for me – it would probably suit someone in their twenties or thirties which I believe most of the Rowanettes are.

  4. Hi Wendy!

    I’d love to hear more about the magazines in Norway and any others around the world! What a find that would be! Personally, I have received the Rowan journals for years and prefer the older ones. The new ones seem to appeal to the very trendy set and leave alot to be desired. Maybe we’ll see some new designs this fall worth knitting!

    Enjoy your day! And thanks so much for your blog and inspiration.

  5. An alternative view on the magazines. I often have subscriptions to the three you mention, and CastOn as well because I like the eye candy. I like Knitters because they seem to publish more unusual construction methods. IW Knits often publishes very complex patterns. Vogue is just plain weird at times, and should be put away and looked at three years after publication. In fact, I just did a tank from the 1999 issue.

  6. Arggh! Don’t get me started on these knitting mags. I am ashamed to admit I still subscribe to Knitters…oh, I might as well get outta of the stash closet b/c I subscribe to VK and IK as well. Knitters is just a tragedy. I’m happy I kept the old issues. There is little in the patterns that challenges and most of it looks tossed off Sweater Wizard after all of ten minutes fiddling with it and a stitch dictionary. I kinda like IK’s edginess, but its a little too de-construcionist for me…maybe if I were 19[sigh]. I think VK as gotten a little better, but in truth, the things I’ve produced are from kits or books I’ve collected over the years. I understand those of us who are compulsive knitters who like the mental engagement of it all are not the target audience for these mags…they are going where the broad base is located[read simple, fast, mindless here].I just keep praying that somehow the “broad base” will eventually tire of scarves and novelty and will crave something a little more…well, substantive?

  7. I basically concurr with the opinion on these magazines. I like IK – yes, it may have declined a bit in quality, but some of the patterns in the last issue were decent, and can’t wait to see wha the new editor comes up with.

    There’s INKnitters – there are plenty of good articles on techniques. The patterns aren’t too bad, some could be a bit better. They’re right where Knitters used to be in the early days. So glad I have all the back issues . . .

  8. Hi Wendy! I’m in a knitting slowdown, too. I think it’s mostly the summer heat. But I’m working on a Mystery Project (from the Knitting Beyond the Hebrides list), and it’s fun, so at least my hands aren’t getting rusty.

    I still subscribe to VK and Knitter’s. Even if I never knit any of the designs, I like to read the articles and letters, look at the pictures, and pore over the pattern directions to see how things are done.

    Thanks for the kitty pic — Lucy perks up my day!

  9. Kristin says:

    UGH! Knitting magazines…I refuse to subscribe to anymore knitting magazines until they start publishing classy, intricate patterns. Remember the good old days of VK & Knitters? I remember getting them back in the late 80’s/early 90’s and it was the exception to find something I didn’t like.

    I’d rather peruse my old collection than knit anything from the current crop out there. I can’t stand chunky sweaters made on big needles! I want complex cables, intricate fair-isle, not ugly “wannabe” knitting for newbies. I wouldn’t wear most of the stuff in the mags now if you paid me…BLECH!

    Every season, I go check out the mags in high hopes of finding them full of intriguing designs. For the past year, I’ve been highly disappointed. Hopefully things will come full circle soon and we’ll be back to great patterns again. Until then, I’m not buying them.

  10. I buy many of the mags – just got the new FCEK mag for the Men’s patterns. The rest is sooo mediocre.

    I don’t think any of them have truly grasped the reality that people are knitting things to WEAR. *Wardrobe*. For the style consciousness of 2003. No one contemporary designer stands out like the designers (who are still contributing to the current rags)such as Sasha Kagan, et. all from the 80s, heh, the last time knitting was a TREND.

    Leave the flights of fancy to the runway shows and give us something we can wear around town and look chic…

    BTW – Lucy looks a little like Barbra Streisand in this glamour shot. Owwh – what a Diva!

  11. Lucy does have a Streisand look about her doesn’t she? Those almond eyes and the long nose . . .

  12. I subscribe to IV Knits because I do kind of like that edgy look. I am an artist, with a corporate CFO hubby and tend to dress a borderline of conservative and edgy anyways. I do like to be different and wear something people would not think of or wear with conservative clothing (i.e. wear a conservative white shirt and black slacks with terrific bold dangly earrings and a beautiful wrap or purse in fuchsia or orange, or a black mohair poncho with a squash blossom necklace at a corporate function…. Mind you, I live in and a native to Seattle. EVERYONE, and yes, me too, live in REI and Eddie Bauer).

    As for the others, I do occasionally buy VK and FCEK if there is a pattern for my daughter or if I just want some mindless mag browsing. As for Knitter’s, BLECH! I have never bought one and never will. I always hope to find something interesting when it comes out and always put it back on the rack.

  13. Wendy, First, and foremost, many thanks for the photo of LL, the lovely Lucy. Second, as a visually oriented person, I used to look at the magazines. I would look and look for something to knit and be inspired by – Vogue can be too intimidating, IK can be too way out there, and Knitters has no taste what so ever – I find that knitting blogs, like in the Goldilocks story, are just right – I get inspired to knit constantly by you and your work – I have to hold myself back from knitting whatever you’re showing us on your site- so, bottom line, I get my excitement, inspiration and visual & creative “fix” from my fellow knitters, in both the real and the virtual worlds, not the mags. Thanks for the opportunity to hold forth.

  14. Hi,Wendy! Frogner is knitting along beautifully! Stranding revisited: I was gazing longingly at the other Dale 109 pattern you pictured last week.There are some areas with huge stretches between colors—would you dare to strand even there? I’d be afraid that twisting the yarns would show the darker color behind the light background. I’d be tempted to combine intarsia and stranding,but what a pain. What would Wendy do?

  15. I subscribe to most of the magazines mentioned, apparently I have more money than good taste, but I really like the German mag Sandra. I pick it up at one of the local bookstores or at Onefineyarn. There are no articles on technique or the knitting community but I find that the 30+ patterns per month are well worth my $5.50-5.99. Although it is somewhat trendy, and as a 40+ I have ceased to be too trendy, I can find many intriguing sweaters. The June and May issues had a couple of tanks with openwork accents that were great.

  16. I would agree with Gwen. Actually, there are a number of good German knitting magazines (granted, “good” has a different meaning for everybody!!). Two other well-known German magazines are Verena (my favorite, also available via Onefineyarn, but cheaper in Euros ;-)), and Rebecca (

  17. I’m surprised nobody has mentioned Rebecca. I like most of the patterns in their magazines, though I will admit they appeal to a youger, hipper crowd. But, being that I’m still just young enough to enjoy that style, it works for me. Plus, the other reason I like it is because it’s in German, and it gives me a chance to use the two semesters in high school, and two semesters in college of German I took. Though, I do get an English translation with my subscription.

    As for the other mags, there are none that I subscribe to. Instead I check them out in the book store first, and if I see a pattern that speaks to me I buy it. It’s kind of hit or miss.

  18. Hi Wendy 🙂

    Ooooh! Furlana! I’ve been meaning to track some down ever since I found out it wasn’t made from the American rodenty version. 🙂

    Re: The Mags: I also love the Rowan Magazines — for the most part they are so well done that it doesn’t matter that they only come out a couple of times a year. And the male models are all total hotties 😉 Knitters has possibly the three worst sweaters I’ve ever seen up for voting nomination. You can choose between “Deranged Entrelac Clown” or one of two “Let’s See If We Can Make You Look 10 lbs Heavier Than You Really Are” cable monstrosities. Ugh! I received an amusing note last week from the XRX subscription dept reminding me that my subscription was expiring soon and advising that I “act soon to renew”. Hehehehehe.


  19. I subscribe to Family Circle Easy Knitting (plus crochet), or FCEK+. It usually has patterns that are not too sophisticated or trendy, and stuff for the famuly. And granted, I don’t always like the patterns in there either. But I think what I like best about it is the page that shows all the yarns used in the issue. I find that really helpful when I want to substitute a yarn and am not sure enough about the weight. I really dislike VK. I feel like their patterns are not for the real world.

  20. I asked L-B if she’d knit the Knitter’s clown sweater for me, after she emailed me the link to vote of which of the three heinous covers I liked.

    XRX is anxiously reminding me that I have only one issue left . . .

  21. I thought FCEK had some neat stuff in the summer issue, but then was sorely disappointed by the fall issue. Interweave is probably still my favorite paper mag for the occasional really neat pattern and the sort of weird new-agey rambling musings on knitting they occasionally have. about blew my mind when I first saw it– they are now my new favorite knit mag of all. I get Knit-n’Style sometime (the shame!)because occasionally they’ll have something fun, and then I can laugh and laugh and continue to laugh at the amazing fugliness of the rest of them.

  22. Be careful what you ask for,Wendy! No,no,no! I just can’t do it! 🙁

  23. Suzanne says:

    We must be on the same Knitters subscription timetable Wendy. I have one more issue to go, too. I was tempted to send the time to renue your subscription card back with a “Thank God” on it but decided not to. IK is about my favorite. I just like to read it and have a sweater marked in one of the more recent (last 2 years) issues for my 14 year old niece. I still get VK but like my older issues better. I picked up FCEK today but don’t like their sizing (that goes for all of the magazines) but I do like FCEK for their mens and kids stuff.

    Lucy is adorable as usual.

  24. *snerk*

    Lolly, I just wanted to let you know that “Deranged Entrelac Clown” is one of the funniest phrases I’ve heard in a very long time. 🙂

  25. You might like to know that there is to be a new hand knitting magazine published in the UK; first issue due out on Sept 4th 2003. ‘Knitting.’ You will be able to buy it in the shops but the subscription offer is as follows:
    1 year/6 issues £13.95 (30% discount on cover price – £3.45.)
    You can subscribe by cheque or credit card to the following:
    GMC Publications
    Castle Place
    166 High Street
    East Sussex
    BN7 1ZY
    United Kingdom
    Tel: 01273 488005
    Fax: 01273 402866
    I think you could try this mail address for info

  26. Melinda says:

    I don’t subscribe to any of the magazines but will buy one if I see a pattern I like (usually IK). I’m really getting into reading all the blogs out there, especially yours. It seems to be a great jumping off place. I check most of the other blogs via yours. Thanks for updating it so frequently. I love watching your WIP.

  27. Barbara says:

    “Deranged Entrelac Clown”? LOL. Sounds like some thing the band Insane Clown Posse shoud wear. 😉

  28. Which Knitter’s sweater is the clown one? Two out of three of those sweaters are pretty clown-y looking to me. Wow, that stuff is BAD. Glad I dropped knitter’s back in 2000 or so. I remember getting the ELizabeth Zimmermann memorial issue and thinking that was no way to remember such an important member of the knitting community.

  29. Hoo boy, those are some ugly sweaters. I can’t believe that was the best they could come up with for choosing a cover! Bleah.

  30. To (mis)quote mar….lawdytunderjaysus

    I’ve never seen such fugliness for needles in my life! The thorny cables is just plain dumb. Deranged entrelac clown looks like technique for the sake of technique (heaven knows it’s not purty), and the tweedy cables looks like a schlumpf-bag of a sweater (and the model looks pissed).

    My favorite part? If you look at the percentages, it’s 7% for one, 5% for another, and 6% for the third—so that means 82% of voters are saying…….D) none of the above shite!

  31. Sweater Designer (sorry can't put my name) says:

    It is very interesting to read this thread. I began submitting designs for magazines a few years ago and have gotten some published in the magazines you mention. I am glad to read that so many people are disappointed at the designs chosen. I am too. It has happened that I have submitted designs, and the few that are chosen are usually completely changed by the editors. I am going to stop acceting commissions like this because it is deceptive to put my name on a design that is not really mine, not to mention disappointing to me to not see my original idea realized. I though that the edistors did this because “they new better what the public wants”. But now I know this is not true.

  32. lisette anderson says:

    would like to receive english translation of german magazine Verena if possible.