Galleries, Part 2: Knits Summer 2009
A few weeks back, we published a survey where we asked you various questions about the Galleries, and there were over 500 individual comments–and I read each and every single one.
One question was asked over and over again: "Sandi, you're writing these fit commentaries for the models after they've tried on the sweaters–how do we pick out a size to knit when we don't have the sample sweater to try on?"
The usual answer–find a favorite garment similar to the sweater you'd like to knit, and compare its measurements to those given in the pattern schematics–may not work with an unusual garment such as Linda's Wrap Vest, the cover sweater from Interweave Knits Summer 2009. Unless you have a very cool closet, it's doubtful that you own anything like this elegant wrap. So how to choose the size that's right for you?
Here's one strategy: Read through the pattern to see how the garment is constructed, study the schematic to see how the pieces fit together, and look carefully at the magazine photo. What are you looking for? You're looking for key areas of fit. In the case of Linda's Wrap Vest, the two key areas of fit are the shoulders and the bust area, because the entire garment drapes from these two places. Have a friend measure across the back of your shoulders; compare this to the schematic. If you pick a size where this measurement is too wide, the wrap will not sit securely on your frame; too narrow a measurement and the wrap will be too tight to flow and swing! Next: Compare your bust measurement to the finished bust measurements and add at least two inches of positive ease. Find the size in the pattern that most closely matches both the shoulder width and your bust measurement.
Another trick: Do you sew? If you do, then you can make a "muslin," or fabric mock-up of the garment. This is particularly effective for unusual pieces like Linda's Wrap Vest, where the garment sections have straight edges. Use t-shirt material from the fabric store (it's knitted, right?–so it will have the right sort of drape and stretch), and make pattern pieces out of paper bags, following the measurements given on the schematic. Add a quarter inch seam all around for sewing; stitch the pieces together as they would be connected in the actual knitted garment. Try on your "muslin" and see how it fits!
These approaches may take a bit of extra time–and delay that delicious moment of casting on a bit longer–but the time will be well-spent in creating a garment that you know will fit you the way you want it to!
If you haven't gotten your copy of Knits Summer 2009 yet, ask for it at your local yarn shop; or purchase it online from us.
Sandi Wiseheart is the editor of Knitting Daily.
What's on Sandi's needles? I'm swatching for baby gifts for my new nieces-to-be! Meanwhile, I'm working on a pair of socks (as usual), and I just finished spinning some lovely hand dyed wool on my handspindle. (I'm getting into all kinds of fiber trouble, apparently.)