Monday, October 26, 2009

Is Name Woman

That's what I got when I tried to Google translate the Wikipedia page for "Valpuri."
From what I can figure, she's some kind of saint. Saint of Fabulous Sweater Patterns maybe?
Well, maybe not.
Whoever at Berroco designed Valpuri, should be sainted because it isn't easy to envision one of those rare knits that seem to divinely work with many shapes and sizes to come up with something flattering, and more importantly, sexy, because (sorry Hokey Pokey) SEXY is really what it's all about. And the winner for Best Run-On Sentence goes to...

Ah, where was I? Oh yes, flattering and sexxxyyy...
Meet Jacqui, or JackieChris to you Ravellers.

Jacqui used Stylecraft Heath DK and size US 6 and 8 needles. I think this color looks great on her and she sure seems to be having fun in that sweater. She knit up the Medium size, but the cables make it fit close to her body. She could have probably knit a small, but I wouldn't want this project to be too tight because the fabric will be thicker than a sweater with no cables.
You can see from this photo there are a lot of cables involved, but most Ravellers who completed this project found it easy. This would probably be a good first or second cable project for you new knitters. Jackie added about 3 inches to the length to compensate for a longer torso. This is also a good idea for you gals with "muffin tops." You don't want your shirts hitting at the area between the waist and hip if, like me, there is something hanging over your pants in that same area.

Kathy, or katschem on Rav, knit a large out of Plymouth Jeannee Aran on US 7 needles. She said she used the 7s to compensate for a tight gauge. You'll notice in this photo how the v-neck is shallow enough to keep the girls under control. It can be difficult to find v's that are not so deep that you have to worry about the girls escaping. Kathy said the neck was a little fiddly, you might want to try other options if you decide to try this. Kathy also seems to be enjoying this sweater immensely. Do you think we've found the wool equivalent of Xanax? Might be worth knitting just to find out...

Wanabelle100 didn't show us her face, so I can't tell if she's smiling. I'd like to think with that sassy hand on her hip, she's making her best "come hither" eyes in the mirror. This aquamarine is so gorgeous. If I decide to try this pattern, I think this is the color I'd go with. Jean (IRL) knit an extra small on US 6 and 8s. She used Red Heart Super Saver (Acrylic lovers- REPRESENT!) and it only took two skeins. Jean thinks the RHSS is a little too heavy for this project because of the cables. You might consider a lighter yarn and a bigger needle if you are concerned about the sweater being too bulky. Jean couldn't exactly go down a size, but another option is following the directions for a smaller size, but using larger needles to get a looser gauge.

Ericka (Sereknity) illustrates why knitting up a heavier sweater might be desirable, other than for warmth, of course. Notice how her sweater is tighter on her body, but it doesn't show any bumps or imperfections. Also notice how her girls are walking the line- totally under control. A heavier fabric, like cables or double knits, will hold its own shape and not cling to the body so much. (Think about those sweaters or hats you knit in a bulky yarn on size 3 needles when you didn't know better, they seem to be able to stand up on their own.) This might not be so important to smaller women, but for anyone over a small, I'd err on the side of too bulky. Ericka's Valpuri is a size M, knit up on US 5 and 7s. The yarn is Lion Brand Cotton-Ease. She says the Cotton Ease shows up the cable pattern very well. She used a few mods, like cabling without a cable needle (you really need to try this if you haven't) and she used a single-crochet border around the neck instead of ribbing.

Valpuri is a winner all around. The v-neck accentuates the face, as usual, but is not so deep as to be revealing. A heavier cabled fabric holds its shape and either sucks in some lumpiness or fails to cling to every bump. You smaller gals might want to try a looser gauge if you don't want to feel constricted.

Speak Up:
Have you knit Valpuri? Did you go for a tighter or looser gauge? Is there another pattern you knit up that has a thicker fabric and hides imperfections? Do you ever change the length of your tops to mask the wierd things that happen in the no-man's land between our waistlines and hips?

Here's another beautiful sweater from Annapuh (Anna) that I just got permission to add:

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Not a V-Neck!

(Warning- I'm feeling a little fond of the asides today. This post is heavy on the parentheses)
At the time of this post, this jacket has 1079 Ravelry Project pages and is in 4515 queues, including my own. Chances are, if you're reading this, you've at least considered knitting up Drops 103-1 (I wish they'd give their projects better names.) It's a free pattern and it looks great on just about anyone. You should think about it if you haven't.

The first project up is one I'm sure you've seen. It has over 300 faves on Ravelry and is in the top 6 for number of faves for this project. Nina, aka LaNina used US 10 needles and Kraemer Yarns Maunch Chunky in Licorice Snaps. I'm not sure what size she knit up, but this looks like a small to me. Nina shows us here one way to have fun with this pattern that enhances its versatility- funky fasteners! If you look at the Rav page for this project, you'll notice most of the best jackets have huge, in-your-face buttons, toggles, or fasteners. Nina has also turned her collar down, reminiscent of CanarySanctuary's modded version (I know you've seen this version, and Canary knows I love her, so I won't go into detail on her mods here.)

Another thing the best-of-the-best have in common is great color choice. This pattern has lots of detail, but it's not too overwhelming in a bright color. Taija (or Tui to Ravellers) used Garnstudio Eskimo in a bright yellow when she knit up her size xl on US 11s. This version shows how the front detail reigns in what could be problematic bustiness in another jacket. It also illustrates a drawback, however. This is not a jacket that you can leave open.

Although the asymmetric lines and high neck highlight the face, those same lines make for a strange bulge of fabric when left unfastened.

While Taija minimized the bulkiness around her neck, that same bulkiness adds a high-fashion quality to Fragilistica's (or Magda to non Ravelers) (really, are there any non-Ravellers left?) version below. Magda is also showing us a shorter sleeve and more ease than the previous projects. Adding ease (aka knitting up a bigger size) is a good way to make the bulk look like it's coming from the jacket instead of the body. It also doesn't hurt that Magda looks like a supermodel in this photo anyway (really! Why can't I take artsy photos like this?) She used Rowan Chunky Print in Natural and US 11 needles. Magda also happens to be in the top 4 for favorites with this jacket.

And how beautiful is this next photo? Elin is freaking cute as a button (she really is, check out her blog). This photo makes me feel all back-to-schooley excited for fall. I love the boyfriend jeans and slightly baggy look of this jacket (note to self- look into boyfriend jeans). Elin used a little more ease and shorter sleeves, making her 103-1 look like something you'd curl up in after a warm bath on a cool night. Elin, is this thing really as comfy as it looks?

You can use Rowan Yorkshire Tweed Aran in Muffin and US 6 needles to try and copy Elin's jacket. She knitted a Medium with smaller needles and yarn than called for and ended up with a 38" bust. She doesn't mention if she was able to match her gauge to the pattern.

Lastly, another beautiful color to ease us into Autumn. (I just realized today is the first day of Autumn. I love Autumn.) This is Amy; she also calls herself Amelie on a certain website. Amy went for longer sleeves and a double-breasted look with six buttons. She went for the 37" size, which I'm going to assume is a Medium-ish? The neck on this jacket is not overwhelming and doesn't compete with her Bettie Page hair and funky glasses. You really have to know when to let your personality speak louder than your clothes. This is Garnstudio Eskimo in purple and she used US 11 needles.

In Conclusion:
You can play around with sleeve length, ease, and how much of a collar you want to make this jacket look sleek, casual, or down-right comfortable. (I do not use casual as a synonym for comfortable.) The detail down the front and buttons near the face draw attention away from any width you may be trying to camouflage. This jacket is also A-lined, which means it will skim the body instead of hugging curves. The simple lines of this jacket give a great opportunity to play around with color and try out the biggest, funkiest, buttons you can find. It will only enhance your face and excuses for funkiness are few and far between.

Speak Up:
Is this jacket in your queue? Have you tried to knit it up? How has ease affected your opinion of your jacket? Show us your buttons!!! Have you played around with gauge or other modifications? What colors would you choose for this jacket and why?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

For the Adventurous

I absolutely can't wait to start on this sweater myself. The adventure comes from three characteristics: a very loose gauge: you'll definitely need a cami under this one, a seriously deep v-neck; see #1, and the fact that this isn't a pattern as much as a set of guidelines.
However, just like mapping the ocean floor, this is one adventure worth taking. And don't be frightened by the lack of stitch counts and that other Hoo-Ha. Knitters with some knowledge of sweater construction will have no problem with this project.
The Cabled Sweater is a gift to us from Ravelry user, Hinke. Click on her name for her Ravelry project page, it's worth it!Readers of this blog will be able to tell in a second why this sweater attracts me. There's a sweeping v-neck and detail right under the bust that draws the eye inward and makes you focus on the slimmest part of the torso. The loose sleeve construction hides any under-arm rolls or tricep flab. Not that Hinke (above) has to worry about any of that. How hot is that picture above?!?!?! Very Abercrombie. Hinke used Phildar Kid Mohair and US 11s for this knit.

Vampiroknit, also know as Weronica, illustrates another plus for this pattern. It's knit up in a thinner yarn with a bigger guage. Here, she uses Anilux Moherek in brown on size US 15 needles! It makes me giddy thinking about how fast this knit can go. The best thing about the loose gauge is the fabric it makes is very flowy and doesn't cling to every hill and valley along the mid-section. The sheerness also adds another bit of sexy that's always a plus in hand-knits. Weronika calls this size 48. I think that's bust measurement, but I'm sure she'll correct me if it's otherwise.

Our last model, Chibitora (blog is in Japanese), AKA Yuko, used two yarns: Jaeger Mohair Art and Bouton d'Or Ondine. I'm assuming she held them together, but I'm not 100%. Yuko? Would you like to let us know in the comments? Yuko also used size US 11 needles and knit up a small. This photo illustrates the best feature of this sweater. Even in a bathroom-mirror-self-portrait, this sweater looks straight from the runway. Seriously, I haven't seen a bad one yet. While you're admiring Yuko's mad photo skills, run over to her Rav Projects Page and be prepared to turn green with envy. Yuko, you are a knitting goddess!

Here's another Red-Hot number by Frauchaotis (Blog is in German.) What is it about this sweater that all the photos look like they belong in Vogue? I'm not sure what kind of yarn she used here, but she knit it up one US 10s. I have to say, after knitting socks for a while the idea of a fast knit on big needles is making me antsy to no end. This version was knit up a little tighter than the others and it looks like a thicker yarn. I'd stick with the looser version if you're a large or bigger, but this tighter gauge is smokin' on the slimmer ladies. It just goes to show how yarn selection, gauge, and fit can work for or against a pattern. Knowing your body and what looks good on it will go miles to insure all your knits work for your shape.

The deep-v and bust detail visually squeeze in your waist and make it look as small as the area right under the bust (which is usually the smallest area on the torso, unless you are a small or extra small, but then, if you are that small, why do you care?) Loose gauge helps the fabric flow away from the body and skim over any lumps or bumps. This is a gorgeous sweater that doesn't seem to allow itself to look homemade. Smaller people can get away with doubling up yarn or using a thicker weight, but it's best to stay on the thinner side in terms of yarn. Kimono-style arms hide under-arm cleavage and flabby triceps. Go on and knit this! Right now!

Speak up:
What do you think of this sweater? How do you think color choice would affect the look of Cabled? Any yarns you're dying to try this in? How tired are you of me going on about the virtues of v-necks?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Site News

My real life has been sort of hectic lately, but I haven't forgotten about this blog. I've heard many good things from people and I have several posts in the works. People have been great about letting me feature their projects and photos. If there's a project you would like featured, let me know. If I can find more like it and it looks flattering on most, I'll be happy to give you credit for the find. Thanks again for reading. See you soon!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Much Better Use of French

Than Clapotis. I think we can all agree on that.
I remember when Cherie Amour first came out on Knitty. I knew hundreds of knitters wouldn't be able to resist. I mean, this was obviously good stuff. Deep V-neck? Check. Waist Cinching? Check? That certain Je ne sais quoi? Oiu Oiu!!!
I almost feel like I'm cheating because this pattern is so obviously flattering. Let's just get to the projects, shall we?
This version was knit by Joanna in Manos Wool Clasica on US 9s and 13s. The only mod she has listed was sewing up the front opening about 3 inches. I think that was a great move on her part because, although the waist is already cinched by the ribbed section in the middle, the shorter neckline moves the focal point up to her face. Beyond the ribbing, the top floats away from the mid section, giving proper attention to the smaller waist area.

Kim stated in her comments section on her Rav Project page that she should have knit a small instead of xs. I think this looks great on her. This version is knit in Woole Siena Big on US 9s and 13s. I don't think she made any mods. That's what's great about this top: very few mods required for it to look good. As an aside, if you are on Rav you really need to check out this woman's projects. Beautifully knit and artfully photographed. I think Kim is one of my newest knitting heroes.
And lastly, but certainly not leastly: Julia from Germany. The blog is in German, but it's worth a visit just to look at the great photos. Julia knit her Cherie in Lana Grossa Cento on US 10s and 13s. This particular top is a medium. She had to fiddle with the arms a bit, but we've all been there, right? This one looks a lot like the Knitty version. Were you a test knitter, Julia?

It's hard to go wrong with Cherie. The ribbing in the middle creates a slim waist even if you don't have one, and the v-neck (as usual) does great things for the bust while giving your face the attention it deserves. I'd like to see this in a lighter yarn and larger guage. I think that might decrease the bulk this sweater tends to have, but I'm not sure if the lighter yarn would still work the waist-illusion-action that the unmodified version has. You want to use a yarn with some body to hold the shape. I imagine cotton or silk would stretch out, again wasting the waist detail.

Speak Up:
Have any of you tried this in a lighter yarn? Why does this seem to look best in dark red? What mods might others be interested in? I'd like to see a collar variation. Anybody know of one?

Friday, July 10, 2009

There Was a House in New Orleans...
Called the "Rising Sun."
This pattern is a little controversial. It's for sale now, but a few lucky people were lucky enough to print or save it when it was free a while back. The controversy is that people who bought the particular issue of Interweave Knits, in which this jacket was pictured, feel like they should still have access to the pattern since they paid for the magazine- even though the pattern itself was not in the magazine.
Followed all that?
Whatever. Let's get to the goodies. This is the Sunrise Circle Jacket by Kate Gilbert. You can purchase it for $6 on her website if you don't already have it. This design is a hit or miss. I've seen a lot of photos of these jackets that look absolutely horrible. Lumpy, thick, and misshapen, they can make the wearer add 20 visual pounds. There are a few shining examples, though, that prove this pattern is really a goldmine in disguise, if only you know the secrets.

Secret #1: Yarn Selection. Jench1n, above, Chose Noro Silk Garden in colourway #208 and US 9s. The long color repeats of the yarn create slimming circles at the natural waist, visually cinching the jacket in at the slimmest point of the body. Please note the muted colors and softer, drapier yarn also add to the slimming effect. Bold, contrasting colors, like primary colors, and yarns with more "body" might not give you the visual effect you're looking for here. This particular version is a size 35", which, I think, works out to about a medium. The shawl collar construction (I believe she just used one fastener instead of 3 or 4) creates my favorite neckline- the V! Forcing your eye up from the cinched waist to the face. (For another beautiful collar variation see hanao on Ravelry)

Secret #2: Be wary of variegations. Mimi here was able to get a little brave with the variagated yarn due, in part, to the fact that she was knitting a size 33 1/2" (Manos Del Uruguay, Clasica in Bing Cherry; US 7s). A larger woman would not be able to carry off this much visual action. Mimi also switched up her skeins every few rows to avoid pooling. Now, I know people have different ideas about whether pooling is good or bad. If you see a pooled top that has a slimming effect on the wearer, please let me know. I have a feeling that any attractively slimming pooled sweater might be knit by the Loch Ness Monster.

Rule #3: Toggle placement. This is the most important rule to follow if you want your jacket to NOT look like a tent. There are a lot of jackets out there where the toggles are placed to high up on the front, left section. When the gathering happens at the top of this jacket, it causes the bottom to flare out in an A-line shape. Anyone who watches Clinton and Stacey knows that A-lines are great for skirts and dresses, but the inverse of that rule is that A-lines are HORRIBLE for tops. Unless you're about to pop a baby out, then you can wear whatever the hell you want (We'll call this Shannon's Corrolary to the A-line Rule.) Jenny, pictured above, used Cascade 220 in Charcoal Gray with US 8s for her jacket. She says this is the "largest size" but I'm not so sure. Unless the largest size is a medium in the real world as sometimes happens with these things. Notice how she, and the other women in this post, placed the toggles as far DOWN the front of the jacket as possible. The result is slimming and elongating, rather than the bulky teepee appearance of Sunrise Circles gone wrong.

Rule #4: Have fun with color! This rule has two prerequisites: 4a.) This does NOT apply to stripes- see rule #1. and 4b.) All other rules must be upheld. Christy used Debbie Bliss Aran Tweed in a beautiful orange color. This is the 37" version knit on US 7s. As I was researching this pattern for this review, the bold colors grabbed my eye right away. The jacket has a funky construction, so you may as well run with it, right?

This jacket is dangerous in the wrong hands. It has the ability to make you look like a large, hairy, ape if you do not follow these rules: 1. Select your yarn carefully. Don't go too bulky or stiff and 2. Be careful with stripes and variegations. 3. Location, location, location! Of the toggles, of course. Set them low on the jacket so the sides are straight. Aviod the A-line at all costs! and 4. Have fun with it! Try some funky color or embellishments. Just keep the crazy stuff away from your boobs or hips, and you should be fine.

Speak Up:
Is this in your queue? If you've knit it, how did it work out? Do you need some remedial button placement? Show us your embellishments! And, as always, let me know what you think!!!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Darn You, Economy!

I tried so hard to focus this blog on free patterns. Patterns that are accessible to anyone with the desire and yarn to take them up. Then I met Topstykke.
Not only is this pattern not free, it's only sold in a kit, and the website isn't even in English. (I know that's not a requirement for a large portion of the globe, but I'm limited to English and some French so if the pattern isn't accessible to me, I'm going to call it unaccessible.) I really tried to figure out how to order it online, with no success. Maybe some of the featured knitters will be able to give us some ideas in the comments???
"What's the big deal?" you may be asking.

Yep, that's right. Not only is this tunic adorable in all adult sizes (we'll get to those in a bit), it also looks puppiesandkittenssnugglingtogetherinateacup cute on kids. (The kids version is called "Lille Topstykke" I believe.) If you want a less-blurry view of Lille Stykke, click on the image. I tried to edit out the cute baby face for privacy's sake and it blurred the image a bit. Dorthe knit this Lille Stikke with Geilsk 100% Uld on US 6s and I think we can agree that we all want one for our daughters!
Moving up a little on the size scale...
Laila's version in the purple is knit in a size L with a loose guage, so she claims it's actually an XL. Now, unless this is one of those patterns that is so completely missized so that the Olsen twins would fit a large, that XL totally looks like a M at most on Laila. The yarn is Noda Junik in Thistledown and she used US 2.5 needles. The scoop neck draws the eye down and frames her face beautifully. The a-line shape skims her body so there are no lumps or bumps showing through. (I'm sure there are no Lumps or Bumps to show, right Laila?)

Lisbeth, here in the grey, also used Geilsk 100% Uld, which I assume is the wool that comes in the kit? Am I right, Lisbeth?
She used US 4 needles and knit a size S. Her collar isn't as deep as Laila's, but I'm not sure if that's a result of the pattern size or a modification. In any case, the shorter neckline works here with the smaller bust. More fabric gives the illusion of more girth around the girls.

Our last featured project was knit by Tineke in a size M. Check out her Ravelry project page for another adorable Lille Topstykke. Tineke used US 4 needles with the 100% Uld kit yarn for the adult-sized Topstykke pictured here. Her neckline looks a bit square compared to the others and I'm not sure if it was a mod or just a fluke of the pattern. Some of the pattern reviews mentioned some difficulty in getting the pleats started, so that might be the difference. If anyone knows, leave a comment!
ETA: Tineke wrote me to say the neckline on her version is, in fact, the "correct" version. While I don't think I gave the impression that her's was wrong, I'd like to emphasize the pattern does have a square neck. She also pointed out the correct name for the child's version and the correct spelling of her name. I've corrected the errors above.

This tunic has the magic ability to look like the same size whether you knit a small, medium, or extra large (I still don't believe that's an XL, Laila. Small needle size maybe?) And that's sooo not a bad thing!
The scoop (or square) neck and cap sleeves add interesting details around the collarbone and present the face beautifully. The A-line shaping and slanting pleat pattern camouflage the tummy and hip area, slimming the trouble spots and giving the illusion of a long, lean trunk. I wish the pattern was more accessible because I have no idea how to reverse-engineer that pleating. (Not that I encourage that sort of thing.)

Speak Up:
Have you knit a similar pleat detail? How does one order this kit? Will it break the bank? Are there other A-line tunics that slim and elongate the way Topstykke does? Does Topstykke mean anything, or is it just a name?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Shameless Self-Promotion

TeamKnits just wrote about my Shetland Not-So-Shorty. Go check it out.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Katjab Revisited

I promised you guys I'd explain why the Feb Lady in my last comparison garnered an unenthusiastic "meh" in the case of Katja, or Katjab on Rav. I invite you to examine exhibit A, below:
Well, looks like someone had quite a figure hiding under that other sweater.
Katja knit this up in the smallest size on US3 and US6 needles. She also used Euroflax Sport, which is the closest thing to spun gold inmyhumbleopinion. Don't get me wrong, it's a challenge to knit with, but oh so worth it.
Anyhoo, this pattern is called Aleita and it can be found in the Summer 2008 Interweave Knits. You might be able to find a copy in the Ravelry Destash Group.

Next up (in my favorite photo evah) (well, so far, anyway) is Gina AKA Knittwotogether. Doesn't she look like she's enjoying life there? And can you blame her? She looks great. Gina knit her Aleita in Plymouth Linen Isle on US5 and 6 needles. She made a size 42, which I suspect is on the middle to right hand side of the size spectrum. I don't have the pattern, so I can't really say how the sizes range.
What I can say is the deep v-neck and stitch pattern on the top half of the vest really draw your eyes up to that gorgeous smile (I think I would enjoy going out for Margaritas with you. You look like a fun drinking buddy.) At the same time, the waist shaping and the drape of the linen defines a waist, while keeping the fabric from hugging too tightly.

Our last example by Teri (tpasto) was knit up on US4 and 7 needles in Sublime Yarns Cashmere Merino Silk DK. This yarn seems to be more full-bodied than the linen used in the other two examples, but for Teri, it works great. If this vest were flowy on her, we'd lose her in it. As with Corona, the deep v-neck and stitch pattern here gives the chest area just enough definition and the wool/cashmere blend stays close to the waist, giving more shaping there as well. I can't even write about the color. I don't have words for how beautiful it is.

If you want to emphasize your chest or waist with this vest, go for a yarn with more structure. A linen or silk blend will let the vest skim over the waist/tummy area and can offer camoflauge there if needed. Deep V? Great for the girls as usual. Waist shaping? Do I even have to say it? None of the knitters here mentioned modifying the pattern, so that's always a plus in my book. (Don't forget to make sure you stitches aren't twisted when joining in the round!) My bustier friends might want to use a cami or tee when wearing this as a tank, smaller girls can probably get away with wearing it alone.

Speak Up:
There are over 200 Aleita projects listed on Rav. Is one of them yours? What yarn did you use? Were you knitting it as a tank, or a vest? Is there a difference? Anybody try any cool mods like sleeves, trim around the neckline, changing up the stitch pattern? I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, May 18, 2009


I've gotten a few pm's on Ravelry about this blog so far. Everyone has been very encouraging. I love to hear from all of you. So, if you have something to say, leave a comment here or pm me. My Ravelry name is ShannonAnn.
If you like what you see here, tell a friend or two (or three). You can also point me to your success stories because finding patterns to flatter a variety of shapes is no small task.
Thanks again for all the wonderful pm's and I hope to hear from you all again soon.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

She's a Lady

A February Lady, of Course!
This is kind of an easy out since the February Lady sweater has no less than 5588 projects listed on Ravelry and is in 8911 queues. I'd still like to take the time to discuss this sweater and what makes it most popular for women of all sizes.

First of all, any pattern that does this:

to a full baby-belly, earns a free pass in my book. I know all pregnancies are different, but my babies all allowed me to wear regular clothes way into the gestation, but also forced me to wear maternity long after they had exited the uterus.
NonStopKnitter used Lion Brand Cotton-Ease in the Lake Colourway and size us8 needles. I like the idea of cotton for this sweater (I'm moving into a Louisiana summer here where the thought of wool gives me hives.) but I think the acrylic in this yarn keeps it lighter than pure cotton and doesn't let it get weighed down.

Next, Rosape used Cascade 220 and size us7 needles on her xs version.
The smaller gauge and fitted size keep this sweater from becoming too boxy, which is a complaint I got from Katjab on her version (below). 220 is a great yarn for anything that needs structure and shape, so it's perfect for a fitted Feb. Lady. In a larger size, however, a more drapy fabric might be necessary to keep the sweater from hugging the wrong curves or making a baby bump where none exists.

Katjab gave me this example of a sweater that does nothing for her figure. I agree that it does nothing for her figure (and you'll see why in my next post) but it is a good example of how this pattern, with the right yarn and fit, can be a beautiful camouflage for those lumps and bumps our babies leave us.
Katjab used Dream in Color Classy Merino and size us8 needles on this xs version. This illustrates how important yarn selection and gauge are to the finished product.

The February Lady Sweater can be knit up to either hide or enhance. In a more structured yarn and smaller gauge, the sweater will be a nice fitted cardigan. Add a little drape and bigger gauge, and the sweater floats away from the body and pretty buttons can draw the eye up towards the face. This sweater probably won't give you sexy in the way Corona can, but what it lacks in sex appeal, it makes up for in versatility.

Speak Up:
What are your experiences with February Lady? Were you going for fitted or loose? Did you have more luck with Cotton or Wool? Did anyone try this in a Linen or Silk blend? Link us to your projects that either worked or fell flat.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Let's Get This Party Started!

The Corona sweater by Canary Sanctuary is not only sexy as all hell, but it looks universally great on everyone I've seen model it. I had a hard time picking out three examples of different body types because there were soooo many choices. Let's begin, class.
The first example is from the genious who created it, Canary Sanctuary herself.

This sweater was knit in Cascade 220 in white, but I don't know the exact colorway.

Can we say "Va Va Voom"?
Let me just get it out of the way and point out that, although she may be wearing a really good bra, I'm convinced it's the sweater that is creating that awesome boobage.
Don't believe me?
Well, then let's look at another fine example.

This sweater is by Ravelry member,
The Corona here (size XS) creates curves by cinching the waist between the wide band of bottom ribbing and the deep-v neckline. The cables around the neck and the hoodie collar bring the eyes up to enhance the decolletage and emphasize the collarbone and neck. Doran used Cascade 220 in the 8885 colorway. I think the 220 was an excellent choice because it keeps the cabling crisp and defined.

Ravelry member,
Lucille, used Kartopu Gokova (that's a yarn I've never heard of and I couldn't find a link) for her Corona (size M). This yarn is an acrylic/rayon blend and has a wonderful drape and doesn't cling as close to the body as the 220 in the other examples. The softer fit is forgiving around areas that we may want to camoflage, but still gives good definition to the cables around the neckline. The deep v in this example still shows off the girls in a nice way, but the sweater overall is a little softer and doesn't put the figure front and center like the sweaters knit in 220.

The Corona is for women who are comfortable attracting a little attention. If you wear this design, don't expect men (and women) to keep their focus on your eyes in a close conversation. A full-bodied yarn like 220 will give you a more structured sweater and create or accentuate curves, while a softer yarn knit a little looser will bring attention up near your face. The softer yarn also keeps the wide band of ribbing from clinging too tightly around the hips/waist/tummy.

Speak up:
What are your experiences with Corona? Did you use a softer or more structured yarn? Did you try to accentuate, create, or hide curves? Include a link to your project to demonstrate.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

It All Started Like This...

I was inspired to write this blog by a Ravelry discussion on how photographers use "theatrical poses" to make unflattering patterns look more flattering. The discussion moved on to how hard it is to figure out if a pattern will look good on a particular body type. I decided to see how many patterns I could find that would look great on anybody or any body.
I'm going to try to stick to free or individual for-purchase patterns because I don't think anyone should have to buy a book based on a single pattern suggestion. But I'll make exceptions as deemed necessary.
Comments will be moderated, so anything that's not kind- especially about a model's size or shape- will not see light of day here. You may as well not even try.
I'll try to add details about yarn, needles, and any mods if they are available.
If you have a project you would like featured, just let me know. I hope we can all use this as a resource and maybe designers can use it as an inspiration to break out of their size molds.