See that link above? If you click on it you will go to SageYarn’s Ravelry page and see a sweater that I absolutely adore. It was designed by the devine Nicky Epstein and I love her for doing it. I love that sweater. Love, love, love it. I love it so much that if I made it I would never take it off. Well, I would but then I would hang it up in my living room so I could look at it all day. Two things wrong with it though. 1) Feathers. Anyone who has cats want to explain what happens when cats and feathers mix? Yeah. I have two large cats. How long do you think that feather boa would last. How long do you think the sweater would last and if it was on my body when they decided that they had to have feathers, how long do you think I would last. Precisely. And 2) it is made for a much younger and, I think, slimmer person than me.
This is a problem I have when picking out a sweater to knit or even clothes to buy. I’ve read all the tips on how to choose clothes to fit your body type. I’ve read all the designers tips on how to adjust a pattern to get a sweater that fits. I’ve even taken a few classes in fitting clothes properly but nothing, nothing actually addresses the simple problem that clothes are made for taller, thinner women. And younger, too, but that isn’t much of an issue unless you want to shop at H&M or Top Shop or Zara. Even then you can find some pieces that work. Thank God for jeans!
Anyway, the problem with knitting patterns is the same problem that we women have with fashion in general, namely that they are not modelled by real women. There are a lot of patterns I would love to knit but I have a hard time visualizing them on me. Firstly, even when I was thin I was hard to fit because knitting patterns were never small enough and now that I’m…well…*ahem*…bigger, I’m still having issues. It’s nice that they make patterns now that fit larger busts but it doesn’t help when the pattern is still plotted out on a frame that’s over 5’5″. I’m, shall I say, a tad shorter. A lot shorter. Ok, people used to sing “Short People” to me. If you don’t know the song look it up because He Whose Name Cannot Be Spoken is still on my list of people I will stab in the eye when the apocalypse comes. One day I’ll have to sit down and write out a list just to see how many knitting needles I’m going to have to buy.
People are always telling me that knitting top-down is the only way to get a good fit and mostly I agree. Some sweaters lend themselves to top-down knitting and some don’t. If you don’t believe me take a look at some of the projects people have knit on Ravelry. I would never criticize anyone’s handknitting because, please, it’s handknitting, a craft that really needs some good PR. However, there are times that I wonder what the person was thinking. But back to my point. I think raglans suffer the worse when knitting top down. Yes, you get a really good fit in the yolk and shoulders but they always seem to droop making the person wearing it look like they are slouching. But maybe that’s just raglans in general. I tend not to knit them because I don’t look good in them. And really, few people do. Just my opinion. You can take aim and shoot at me if you want but I’m not changing it.
I love Ravelry, though, because you can look up that sweater, dress, skirt, or whatever pattern and see how other people look in it. You can also see what modifications people have made, for good and ill, and see what it looks like in different yarns. I do have to wonder what makes someone knit a sweater in cotton when it calls for alpaca/silk. It’s just not going to look right and over time that cotton is going to stretch out of shape. But back to that gorgeous sweater.
As I said I love it. I want to wear it to my Christmas party at work in two weeks. Ain’t gonna happen because no matter how I look at it, I’m not going to shed twenty pounds by then. Not. Going. To. Happen. I mean, I could if I wanted to starve myself and run 5K every day…Bwaaaahaahahahahahahahah!!!!!…Ooops, sorry. Lets be realistic here. Actually, I have done that for worse reasons when I was younger. But anyway, yeah. If I knit that sweater and wore it I know I would look like somebody pushed me down a snowy hill in a velcro suit. Or I would look like the Michelin man’s wife. Point is it’s not going to be a good look no matter how I try to talk myself into it.
So now comes the hard part. What is going to look good on a short, dumpy person and still look elegant and sophisticated enough for a party. I’ve decided on a black pencil skirt or black pants. And I’ve pretty much decided that I will spring for a really nice white shirt (I love white shirts. They go with everything and you can dress them up or down easily). But what kind of sweater do I want to wear with it? I have a few in mind and I’m swatching to see which I like best. Yes, I know I said I never swatch, and I generally don’t but this is kind of an exception since it would just take too much time to cast on for the back of three or four different sweaters and knit enough to measure. So swatch I will.
I would love to make something with the Paton’s Silk/Bamboo that I bought. It’s a colourway called “Sapphire” and looks perfect for an evening sweater or maybe shawl. There it is. Another thing I don’t knit. Shawls. Mainly because I would never wear one but this might be the right time to start. Just something more like a stole in an all over lace pattern. I would be able to design it myself so I wouldn’t have to worry about following a chart. Hmmm, this bears some thought although I have to get busy because the party is on the 19th. And, yes, I can knit a sweater in ten days. I’ve done it before. Sleep is over-rated.