After rhapsodizing in my last post over how much I (almost) love Shiri Mor's hourglass cardigan in my last post, today I am taking a different twist and chatting about horizontal design lines. If you've ever been to this blog before, you are likely aware that I am violently opposed to horizontal lines in garments. The reason why is that they cause your eyes to move across the body, and that visually widens you. And, who wants to look wider than they are? Well . . . . there is a body type that can benefit from a well-place horizontal line.
I am reminded of the virtue of horizontals by my friend Mary, who has been my partner in giving 'What Not to Knit' talks at our LYS and local guilds. Her body type is just about as opposite of mine as could be - narrow shoulders, smaller bust & chest, no waist, no booty and broader through the hips and thighs. (I don't think that I have lost her friendship forever by revealing this information. We're both pretty upfront about how our bodies deviate from the 'average'.) Mary loves horizontally striped sweaters because by visually widening her upper torso, her wider hips are brought into balance. The trick is to do the horizontals the right way. And, there are a few sweaters in this issue of VK that do just that.
The first is Laura Zukaite's sparkly and sheer party pullover. The striped combination of sheer and denser lacy stripes ends just where it should - well above the waist. This keeps the focus on the upper torso and away from the hips. The slash at center front makes for a strong vertical design element, as do the more subtle stripes of the ribbing. The only thing I would tweak about this design is to shorten the hem to a high hip length, since you never want to have a horizontal hem line fall at your widest dimension.
The other design that I think makes good use of horizontals is Robin Melanson's cabled cardi. One of Mary's biggest complaints is about sweaters that want to slide off her shoulders. Not this one! The three buttons at the neckband and upper chest, along with the wide collar and stripes create a very strong shoulder line to balance width below. At the same time, the striped front bands create a strong vertical line, and the cables a more subtle vertical. What might I tweak here? For a fuller busted figure, I would add two more buttons to prevent gaping. And, for a prominent tummy, I would add buttons all the way down for the same reason.
So, what makes these two designs examples of successful use of horizontals? They introduce a vertical design element into horizontal fabric patterning. They also stop well short of the hips (or would after my suggest tweak). And if I know Mary, she's got some beautiful Noro yarn in her stash to cast on Robin's cabled cardi right away.