Saturday, April 2, 2011

Knitting Today! magazine review

I don't like to be negative. I review a lot of things here and I usually stick to things that I really love, that I want to sing the praises of. Occasionally, though, I run across something that sucks so much that I want to prevent others from wasting their money on it like I have.

I read several knitting magazines, so when I saw an ad for a new magazine called Knitting Today! that offered subscriptions for a mere $12, I subscribed. I got my first issue, the January/February issue, which is only the magazine's second issue. I was unimpressed. Never before had I seen a sweater pattern knit in 100% acrylic yarn in a magazine, and all the patterns called for Coats & Clark, Nashua Handknits or Kertzer (who I've never heard of outside of this magazine) yarn. Most of the patterns are very basic, which is good because there's a need for basic patterns in knitting magazines, but there was too much basic. It was boring. The styles are also dowdy and not at all fashion-forward. I hoped the next issue would be better, but when it arrived, I was disappointed.

On the cover, there's another 100% acrylic sweater, which just makes me shudder. The only acrylic I can stand (and actually like) is Lion Brand Vanna's Choice, because it doesn't have the unholy, nails-on-a-chalkboard squeak-factor. Inside, all patterns once again call for Coats & Clark, Nashua Handknits or Kertzer yarn. Nothing else. So the magazine is basically a vehicle for pimping those three companies' yarn. Yarn from only three yarn manufacturers, combined with strictly basic patterns, makes for one desperately boring magazine. In two issues, I have found nothing that I want to make.

If Nashua Handknits and Debbie Stoller's awesome Stitch Nation line weren't represented in this magazine, it would consist strictly of acrylic yarns, so thank goodness for them. The March/April issue even has a baby onesie pattern that calls for a nylon/acrylic yarn. Blagghhh!! Why would you do that to a baby?

As much as I love to knit, there are two things I hate: vests and cozies. This magazine features a lot of both. Aside from tea cozies, which really make sense, most cozies are pointless. There is none more pointless than this Jump Rope Cozy.

I thought, I'm a new designer, maybe I'll submit a pattern or two and help them out, get their style out of the worst of the 50's and help them liven up a bit. I Googled for their submission guidelines and found this unbelievably unfriendly document. As I read, I was totally, 100% put off by the tone.

"Excited about sharing a project with us? Great. Just please follow our submission guidelines, which will help us respond to your inquiry much quicker.

Be warned though: Because we work far in advance, our selection process may take up to six months. Due to the large number of submissions we receive, we ask designers to refrain from calling or e-mailing us about the status of submissions. Thanks for your patience!"

They could just condense that down to "Want to submit a design to us? Don't. In fact, f*** off."

For a budding, new magazine to be so utterly off-putting is astonishing. You'd think they'd be welcoming all the ideas and innovation that they can, but they're not. Interweave Knits, the crown jewel of knitting magazines in my humble opinion, has a submission guidelines doc that could not be more friendly or more helpful. THAT is how submission guidelines should look. That openness and willingness to look at new designers, instead of relying strictly on in-house designers from yarn companies, is why they are on the cutting edge. Same with Knitty, who has similarly friendly, helpful submission guidelines, and who are also on the very edge of the cutting edge.

The only thing that saves Knitting Today! from total and utter worthlessness is the great Shannon Okey's monthly column. That column will ensure that I'll at least read the thing until my subscription runs out.

Like I said, I try to be positive all the time, but Knitting Today! is such an obvious, lame attempt at exploiting and cashing in on knitting's current popularity without offering anything worthwhile, it actually managed to piss me off. If you look at this magazine on Ravelry, you'll see that there are hardly any projects from it queued or actually in progress, so apparently others see through them, too. If they want to survive, they really need to get with the program, get their style into the present day, and have a far friendlier submissions policy that allows for fresh ideas and innovation.

Moving on...

While Knitting Today! has not shown me a single pattern that I want to knit, they did give me an idea with this one, a Dust Mop Cover. I have no idea why anyone would want to knit one in 100% acrylic yarn and fur novelty yarn... the idea horrified me, imagining how it would squueeaaaaaaak across my wood floor. However, this pattern reminded me of the fact that I need a box of dust mop cloths and was dreading spending another $7 on them and sending them all to a landfill after one use. Mason Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines has a better pattern for a dust mop cover, made in cotton like it should be. I'm too lazy to make a pretty one with buttons, though. I'm working on making some totally utilitarian ones using a leftover ball of Lion Brand Lion Cotton. It's going to be a garter stitch (for extra dust-grabbing grip!) rectangle the same size as the cloths you buy at the store. I'll post it here when I finish the first one.

In other knitting, I'm still at work on a shawl and plan to start a baby sweater design tomorrow. Fun!

4 comments:

  1. In total agreement - HATE acrylic. I have finally convinced my mom to switch over to cottons and wools...ahhhh...

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  2. No one in real life would knit a onesie in acrylic! Unless they really don't like their baby. LOL

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  3. Great review! You helped me decide whether or not to get a subscription for this on my Nook.
    Also, utterly agree about everything here said about acrylic, including that the only kind I can stand is the Vanna's Choice.

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  4. Hi Kenzie! I'm glad I could help you save the money! I just got the latest issue (the last in my subscription) and it's still just not worth subscribing. Any articles that are halfway decent are too short, there's still waaayyy too much acrylic and the projects are just impractical... the latest issue has a knitted ottoman cover in it, for instance. An ottoman cover. Really.

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