The major knitting magazines – Interweave Knits, Knitter’s and Vogue in print and Knitty and The Twist Collective online – offer many clever, fun-to-knit designs. But only a fraction of these designs are truly flattering to the less-than-perfect figure, such as mine, and - maybe - yours (Supermodels can stop reading here). Of course, every figure is unique, but there is a basic set of principles that will, when applied to a garment – hand knitted or not - make the wearer appear taller and thinner. And, isn’t that what we all want? (Supermodels: I already told you to take a hike - not that you need the exercise)!
The more flattering a garment is – the better it makes us feel about our bodies – the happier we are to be when we wear it. And, knitters spend so much time and money to make a garment, they should love the result.
If you hang around a yarn shop long enough (and I have certainly logged my fair share of hours – let alone dollars), you’ll hear some variation of, “I have a closet full of [hand knit] sweaters, and I never wear them.”
So, where do knitters go wrong? Often, it’s in the choice of garment to create. We are seduced by the beauty of a sweater on the model in the photo. Or, it’s worked in a technique we always wanted to try. Or, we already have the yarn in our stash. Absolutely wrong, quite possibly wrong and definitely - potential-to-be-wrong. Knitting a sweater is a long-term relationship that must be approached with the same critical evaluation with which we choose a long-term mate. A careful examination of the strengths and weaknesses of this potential companion and how those complement or combat our own is vital to our future happiness. A hasty choice made at the yarn shop can be just as disastrous as a twenty-minute engagement culminating in a Vegas wedding officiated by an Elvis impersonator. Being swept away rarely results in a life-enhancing decision.
Of course, many things can go wrong with your sweater after the honeymoon. We found out the gauge swatch lied to us about its true nature. The pattern can’t or won’t communicate clearly with us. Or, we simply lose interest after that first hormone-induced rush has faded. But, all of these troubles can be resolved through knowledge, understanding or the help of a counselor at the yarn shop. What can’t be fixed is a sweater design that is inherently incompatible with your self.
As a hand knitting designer and teacher, I want all knitters to be confident in their choices and satisfied with the results. So, I am going to share with you all that I know about the general rules of dressing to look longer and leaner, as well as how to address specific body issues – narrow shoulders, big boobs, short-waisted, too much junk in the trunk, etc. This knowledge will guide you in choosing knitting patterns that will flatter your specific body. I’ll also show you can be misled by patterns and how to read the photos and schematic of avoid this problem. And, a thousand other tips and tricks I’ve learned since I started knitting at age seven. (Thanks mom!). But, it’s all from the perspective of a knitter, and not fashionistas. They can go to the store and try on dozens of sweaters to find the one with the perfect fit that shows off their curves and makes their blue eyes sparkle. Knitters can’t try on a pattern, so we have to be smarter. And, I know knitters are!
So, that’s a taste of what’s to come. I hope it’s not too much of a tease. But, I know there are knitters out there who can’t wait for this font of knowledge to start flowing. You’ve got to cast on. Now. So, I’m going to start with a review of patterns published in the spring issues of my favorite magazines. I’ll point out the designs which demonstrate the "what to knit" principles, any pitfalls for particular body types and possible changes to increase their flatter-ability. So, look for the next post . . .