About Woolly Wits

I am a hand-knitting designer and teacher. See and purchase my published designs on Ravelry.

Monday, April 27, 2015

More Help Finding Your Perfect Pattern

On Friday I posted notes from my presentation on finding a perfect knitting pattern for your figure.  Those highlighted the general rules for dressing to dress taller and thinner.  I am going to continue on with guidelines for specific body issues, such as large or small shoulder, bust, hips, etc.  

Peek by Kim Hargreaves
Some Specific Body Issues To Consider:

·         Thick/Short Neck
o   look for designs with strong vertical lines
o   wear open necklines like v-neck, scoops and slits
o   avoid turtlenecks – mock or regular
·         Thin/Long Neck
o   add bulk with turtlenecks and full collars
o   avoid open necklines
o   wear high collars or turn up your collar
·         Broad Shoulders
o   wear unstructured tops to soften shoulder line
o   deep necklines like v-necks and scoops distract
o   diagonal lines from raglans and halters also interrupt the strong horizontal
o   wear tank tops to cut shoulder  line
·         Narrow Shoulders
o   add width with horizontal lines
o   wear boat neck and off-the-shoulder styles
o   saddle shoulder
o   epaulets add volume
o   be careful of deep necklines – they may fall off
·         Full Upper Arms
o   wear sleeves!
o   wear loose-fitting sleeves
o   avoid cap sleeves
o   sleeve should end below fullness of arm.
o   wear off-the-shoulder tops to distract from arms
·         Large Bust
o   wear minimal texture and pattern over bust
o   necklines:  v-necks, scoops
o   wear wrap tops
o   diagonals will emphasize your curves
o   wear small collars
·         Small Bust
o   wear lots of texture,  pattern and color over bust
o   you can wear horizontal stripes
o   diagonals will emphasize the curves you have
o   enjoy wearing spaghetti straps, halters and other styles which don’t accommodate a heavy-duty bra
·         Long Waist
o   create the illusion of raising your waist and lengthening your legs
o   wear garments below hip length to disguise the fact that your legs are proportionately short
o   wear one color from waist to toe
o   layer your tops
·         Short Waist
o   lengthen the torso by wearing Empire waists (just below the bust)
o   OR put emphasis at hips 
o   don’t tuck in tops
o   wear vertical stripes
o   be professionally fitted for a  quality bra  to hoist up the girls
§  it will give more space between bust and waist
·         Poochy Belly
o   wear Empire waistlines
o   wear sweaters with ruching across belly
o   wear tops long and untucked
·         Broad Hips & Thighs
o   tops should end above or below your widest point
o   wear lots of color, pattern and texture on top – even horizontal stripes
o   you may have to adjust patterns and knit for a larger size on bottom and smaller size on top
·         Narrow Hips & Thighs
o   bring focus below the waist with pattern or texture
o   keep tops simple

o   go for structure rather than drape

Remember that this figures issues have to be considered in combinations, and that some combinations frequently go together.  For example, women with larger busts usually also have fuller upper arms.  (If the larger bust was genetically granted, that is.)  Normally these guidelines will not conflict, but you may end up with a long list of criteria to satisfy.  Where they do conflict, you will have to choose elements to highlight your best features and downplay those with which you are less comfortable.

In the presentation I go on to discuss snoop shopping, and how to use it to test these rules on your real body.  Those notes will be up next.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Pick Your Perfect Pattern

Wedding Dress by Nicky Epstein
Vogue Knitting, Fall 2012

This Tuesday evening I will be speaking at the Windy City Knitting Guild in Chicago.  My talk will be an updated version of my 'What Not to Knit' talk.  Mary Coen and I started giving this program when knitters found patterns through magazines and books.  In the post-Ravelry knitting world, we now have more patterns available to us than we could ever see - almost 112,000 garment patterns as of this morning.  So, instead of asking "does this pattern work for me?", the challenge is now to use Ravelry search features to find the designs that potentially do work for you.  

The first section of my talk is the general rules for choosing sweaters to make you look longer and leaner.  I am presenting those notes here to save hands from cramping and trees from the chainsaw. You are, of course, without my well-chosen photographic examples as well as my witty insights, but that is for the audience that drags themselves to the Sulzer Library on Tuesday evening.

The basic rule of looking taller and thinner:  
create vertical lines.
How?  Move the eye up and down the length of the body
  • One color head-to-toe
  • Vertical stripes
  • Vertical design elements, such as button bands
  • Necklines: scoop, slit, unbuttoned cardigans    
  • A trim fitting, v-neck cardigan can be the most slimming sweater you knit                
Design by Theresa Schabes
from Knit Noro book
Diagonal lines:  also great for thinning and shaping
  • Wrap sweaters
  • Diagonal patterning
  • Necklines: v-neck, shawl collar 
Horizontal lines:  they move the eye across the body and widen you!
  • For most women, horizontal stripes create the single most unflattering garments.
  • Wear horizontal stripes where you want to look broader.
  • Horizontal lines can be worn to emphasize the narrowest part of you.
  • Necklines: crew, boat neck, turtleneck 
How else to look longer and thinner?

Fitted shapes hug your curves!
  • Garments close to the body emphasize the vertical
  • Boxy, oversize shapes make you look boxy and oversize
Thinner yarns are more flattering than bulky yarns
  • Smaller gauge garments will drape and cling
  • Big gauge garments add inches and tend to be boxy
Along the same lines, watch out for texture
  • Smooth stitch patterns, such as stockinette, as more slimming
  • Highly textured stitches, such as cables, will add bulk
Watch your armholes!
  • Set in sleeves are more fitted and therefore more flattering
  • Drop shoulders create excess fabric and bulk at sides
  • Dolmans also leave extra fabric to make you look wider
  • Saddle shoulders can create a strong horizontal element at shoulder
  • Raglan sleeves create a diagonal design line. 
Do you wear your clothes or do they wear you? 
Avoid ‘high concept’ garments which attract attention without flattering you.
  • This includes holiday motif sweaters.  
A word on pattern scale -
  • Shorter, smaller boned women should stick with small scale patterns.
  • Taller, bigger boned women can wear bolder patterns. 
And, beware of . . .
Bobbles – they can make you look diseased

Motif placement – they shouldn’t be centered on your breasts or other areas which you might not want brought into focus

Friday, April 17, 2015


This weekend I will be teaching a new class, End-to-End, at YarnCon.  The class covers several techniques for avoiding knots, such as spit-splicing and the Russian join, as well as tips on knots for when they are the better option.

As an easy reference for my students, I am listing links below to tutorials for the techniques we'll be discussing.  I plan to keep these updated, so please let me know if you have an issue either with the link, or with the quality of the tutorial.

Russian Join
Invisible Braided Join (one color)
Invisible Braided Join (changing colors)
Magic Knot
Square Knot
Surgeon's Knot
Weaving in Ends As You Go

Friday, April 10, 2015


Back in February I taught at the Madison Knitter's Guild Knit-In.  It was my first teaching gig since moving to Wisconsin at the end of August, but I felt very welcome and appreciated by my students.  One of my classes was Intro to Entrelac, which got me thinking about some variations on entrelac knitting.  One of those ideas was combining entrelac with a gradient yarn.  While entrelac and yarns with long color changes, such as Noro, have had a long and illustrious history, entrelac and gradients were an idea which seemed unexplored, at least according to Ravelry.

 So, at the Knit-In marketplace I approached Jaala Spiro of knitcircus yarns with my idea.  Without a moment's hesitation she handed my a gorgeous ball of her Calliope gradient yarn in the Race to the Cookie Jar color way.  With a little math involved to make the most of this single ball, I came up with the CodaChrome cowl.  The name is a nod to both the beautiful colors and the musical inspiration of the yarn name.

The cowl will be making its debut at Chicago's YarnCon next weekend where Jaala will have kits available.  I will be teaching two classes on Saturday - End-to-End (new) and The Thrifty Knitter (second outing) - but will be hanging around her booth when not in class.  Hope to see you there!