Saturday, March 28, 2009

Magazine Review

After searching high and low for months, and pestering the staff of two local B&N stores, I was finally able to get my mitts on a copy of the latest issue of The Knitter. I missed the first issue, since even though the B&N shops had it in their system, and should have had it on their shelves, they never did. But they also only have 3 issues at a time, so in all likelihood they disappeared before I got there.

But today I was crafty: I called ahead and the woman said they had one copy left, but that she was not allowed to hold it for me. She did, however, hide it behind several copies of a sewing magazine on an adjacent shelf and I was able to find it, no problem. Now, normally a $13 price tag would make me hesitate, but I have only heard good things about the magazine from various online sources (until, of course, I got home with my magazine yesterday and read this post), and I liked the preview photos they had up from the first issue. And if this is truly the magazine for experienced knitters, then it's worth checking out, right? Besides, it is a large magazine printed on heavy, glossy, high-quality paper. From my initial glance-through, it seemed well laid out, with some OK patterns (that would hopefully become super cute! when I spent more time looking through them at home).

Sadly, the cringe-worthy design on the cover is pretty indicative of what I found inside, too. There are only 13(!) patterns in the issue, and EIGHT of them have been published elsewhere, in many cases several years ago. For this price, and with re-purposed patterns, I would have expected some earth-shattering articles too. As you can probably guess, those were non-existent as well. There was some paltry "article" about two-handed fair isle knitting, suited more for a beginner than something I would expect to find in a magazine aimed at the experienced knitter. There was also some blurb about favorite new yarns (which I don't pay much attention to because they're really advertisements in disguise), and favorite novels (wtf?).

Even though I used a gift card from my birthday last month, I'm still annoyed that I paid full price for this magazine, instead of spending my money on the issue of Yarn Forward with the cute tee pattern that I like. I have never read Yarn Forward, so I can't speak to its quality quite yet. (With an $11 price tag, I have always hesitated before.) But I like that they are starting to publish online. It makes the issues easier to get (no more calling a store a million times and having the staff member hide the magazine for me!), and you can order back issues cheaply and easily as well. The digital store doesn't quite seem to be working yet, but I will likely purchase Issue 11 once I get the chance.


Yarndude said...

That's really unfortunate about this issue of The Knitter. The first one looked really good! I had read that negative blog post yesterday as well and almost called you to let you know. I can't believe a magazine like that would repurpose so many patterns.

Cookie said...

Now I feel guilty for not talking about that magazine the day I got.

I wonder if we saw The Knitter in blogs when it first came out because the people talking about were somehow involved with it. I read about at Mason-Dixon Knitting and they've been in both issues. Make wonder, doesn't it?

And how come the YarnDude is only lurking in my blog? Can't he say hello once in a while? ;^)

Dana KBS said...

I totally agree with your "rant" at the bottom of the post. It seems like many LYSes are analog dinosaurs in a digital world. That's why I love my LYS so much--the manager and workers are totally withit--they keep Ravelry up in the store so if you forget what you queued or what book you're looking for, you can just pop it up, and they get that customer service and friendly atmosphere is what keeps today's knitter shopping at their LYS rather than ordering online, which is, let's face it, often more fun and convenient. The OTHER two yarn shops in town, though...terrible. Rude, unwelcoming, and unreceptive to questions, plus if you are under the age of 60 they assume you are a dilettante, newbie, or clueless (or all 3). I won't shop there unless I have to.

whew, minirant myself!

Anonymous said...

Oh oh oh, how cute is that tee? Love it. Queuing it.

On the other hand, that cover photo on The Knitter is scary.

Your rant is completely justified, especially given the great lengths you've gone to in an effort to keep it local. I gave up easier and have been doing most of my caving in online. I keep the LYSes in my sights with the occasional drive-by, giving them a chance to impress me while I pick up a needle and paw some yarn. I know there are gems out there yet, but unfortunately not in my neck of the woods. They're not going to get much more than my fingerprints all over their cashmere if the service isn't any better. Making Ravelry accessible in the store? Now that's what I'm talkin' about.

See? We all have the beginnings of a rant in us.