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Archive for March, 2013

Knit to Flatter on Craftsy

Full disclosure:  Amy and I have been friends for several years.

I was pregnant and my shape was rapidly changing back when Amy was working out the original Fit to Flatter tutorials, and I have benefited greatly from what amounts to ongoing personal consultations over the course of several years.

I watched (and informally modeled, on more than one occasion) as Amy knit the book sweaters.  Through this process I’ve learned a lot about what works with my shape, and how to tailor sweaters to both fit well and flatter my unique body shape.

I say this, because I want you to know that although I am already familiar with the material, and have already put the techniques into practice to produce wardrobe staples, I found Amy’s Knit to Flatter class on Craftsy to be a truly worthwhile experience.  I cannot express with words how much I wish there had been something like this when I first began knitting 10 years ago – it would have saved me about 6 or 7 years of knitting failures.*

Knit to Flatter

These beautiful photos by Karen Pearson are from the book Knit to Flatter by Amy Herzog, due out on April 2nd.

I was deeply moved by the class discussion on body image (and our distorted view thereof) and the role clothing plays in our self-presentation.  I was impressed by how detailed and informative it is (more on that next).  It’s not new material to me – I’ve been discussing these ideas with Amy for a long time.  But the class still blew me away.

I found Amy’s discussion of silhouette and the basic principles to creating visual balance within your particular silhouette useful not only for knitting, but for selecting my clothing in general.

Her instructions and reasoning on using set-in sleeve construction were game-changing for me.  Within the knitting community, there is a strong move toward seamless knitting, to avoid finishing/seaming/armholes, etc.  I was included in that – I was intimidated by seaming, and by set-in sleeves.  Also, I wanted to spend my crafting time actually knitting, not seaming.  Once I got over that fear and just did it already, I am fully converted to the benefits of a seamed garment with set-in sleeves.

Moreover, the idea of using shoulders as the base measurement was particularly poignant for me, as a broad shouldered, small-busted figure, anything that is sized for my bust is guaranteed to be too small everywhere else.  (I feel like the Incredible Hulk, bursting out of the armhole seams.)

This is also directly applicable to women with large busts – their bust measurement has no correlation to shoulder size or waist size, and so choosing a sweater on bust size alone is actually foolish when you come to think of it.

And her step-by-step instructions on how to actually make the modifications are the final gem of the course.  Amy takes the mystery out of creating beautifully tailored sweaters.

Having gotten to spend some quality time with the book, what I can see now is how the class and the book work together. Much like school (although, probably more useful than about 98% of the classes we took in school) the book serves almost as a text book companion to the material covered in class, with practical exercises (the sweater patterns). In class, Amy brings those concepts to life – you can see her passion on the subject as she personally walks you through each step from the most basic ideas of body image to the most detailed of modification calculations.

But the book gives you physical materials to refer back to, make notes in, and pull off the shelf each time you see a sweater pattern you love… because you know it’s not worth knitting an entire sweater (the time! the money!) unless it’s going to fit you perfectly, and customized to flatter your unique figure.

You know how we each have that one knitting friend who is a prolific knitter of beautiful, well-fitting sweaters?  And you wonder why you can’t do it, but you figure it’s just because you’re not a sweater knitter?  That’s not actually true.  This class will help you become the sweater knitter you never thought you could be.

———-

*There’s a pervasive attitude that we might spend all this time knitting on projects but that it’s kind of a craps shoot on how it might turn out.  Knitters spend so much money on yarn, spend so much time knitting a project, and even if the project turns out beautifully, it’s often a mystery if the project will end up being something we’re happy with.  Or a mystery why this beautifully knit sweater ends up making us feel uncomfortable.

We loved it in the pattern picture, right?  We knit it with the right yarn, to gauge, and with great skill.  Then why don’t we wear it?  The pages of Ravelry are littered with these projects, my own included (although I recently cleared much of them out, because I hated looking back at all that waste).

It doesn’t have to be that way.  This is the class that breaks that cycle.

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