Friday, July 9, 2010

Learning to knit

I've been knitting a long time, but the truth is, I hardly ever wear anything I knit. I like to think I'm a process knitter, and to a large extent that's true, but in all honesty I wouldn't mind wearing some of my hand knits, like so many of my friends do.

One of the main reasons that I don't wear what I make boils down to me not being happy with my shape. But I won't really talk about that because it's self-pitying and boring.

Another reason is poor project choice. Take for example the Autumn Rose pullover. I wanted to knit a Fair Isle, but I knew even before I knit a jumper that was miles too big around the waist, not long enough and had way too much scoop in the scooped neckline that I would never wear it. Just not my style.

Ditto the Ivel Coat. Won first prize in the Royal Easter Show in 8 ply knitting. Have I ever worn it? Maybe once. It's too long, and just isn't me.

Then, this year, I made a conscious effort to knit things that I would definitely want to wear, so I made a conscious effort to choose only flattering knits. So, out went the complicated lace, and intricate stitchwork, and in came simple lines and good detailing.

I thought the results so far were pretty good, certainly an improvement anyway. I have worn my featherweight, and I wear the Summer Solstice and the Sage Remedy all the time.

Then I saw this:

And I vowed NEVER to wear that top in public again. It's so not flattering. And that's putting it mildly.

But last week sometime, I came across something from Ingrid's blog that has changed the way I look at my knitting forever.

What a revelation! Something I'd never considered, but often considered - if that makes any sense. I've talked about it so many times with people - why does the fls look hideous on some people and good on others - why masking bulges in swathes of floaty fabric works a treat for some people but not for others - why a cropped cardi works so well for her but not for her - so may conversations had about this kind of thing, but I've never really thought much more about it.

Then I had a look at Fit to Flatter, over at Stash, Knit, Repeat. Suddenly - it became a little clearer - I'm still not positive I've assessed myself properly - but what a great little e-book!

I learned two things straight off - what I think is going to suit me and what actually suits me are two different things. And that clothes that I like are usually not the clothes that are going to suit me. I've had it pretty much all wrong all along ..

The mistake I made on the Sage Remedy was leaving the bottom rib off my version, leaving it to swing around my widest part, making it look like I'm bigger than I really am! (and who needs that when they're not small to start with??!) I want to go back and do another one now, not so oversized, and with the rib on the bottom - I can see it will look much better..

I have knitted two vests - I've really wanted to wear them to work over white shirts - but even though I thought they'd look crisp and neat, they make my top half look so shapeless, even though I have a waist .. and looking at this book, I can now see why, and how I might fix it.

I think I'll have to re-think my re-think - and learn to knit all over again ...


missfee said...

I saw this too and love the article as I have had a similar problem with my knits - more the earlier ones.
I have given quite a few away actually.
A word of warning re sage remedy - I knitted mine with the band but a bit short in the body.
I wish I had an extra inch there.

What about your modified summer solstice you look fab in that!!!!

Bells said...

the fit to flatter series is excellent isn't it?

My view of what suits me changes with each knit. By the time I'm 60 I think maybe i'll have learned enough to get by!

FWIW, I do think your sage remedy top looks good.

Rose Red said...

It's a good series, the Fit to Flatter - I've always been a fan of Trinny & Susannah, who do the same thing but obviously not focused specifically on handknitwear. I am a lot more confident about my clothing choices now than I was when I was in my late teens/early-mid twenties (even though I was slightly slimmer then than I am now).

I agree with Bells though, I think your Sage Remedy suits you - it perhaps could be a size smaller (it's hard to tell with the shawl over it) but I personally like the way it flares out a bit at the bottom.

kgirl said...

can't believe, but I've just posted about not wearing things I've knitted too! thanks for the links to the articles, am going to check them out now!

see you in Bendigo and we can discuss more ;)

Dawniegirl said...

I think you should put a wide, dark belt around your lovely grey top, to emphasise your waist. If you feel your top is too short, out it on a hanger and let it drop a bit.

dillpickle said...

It's such a helpful series, I think. I'm not fully caught up yet, but I've had several 'Oh!', 'Yes!' and 'Why didn't I realise that before?' moments already. I rarely knit for myself, partly because I don't want to put a whole lot of work into something that I wont like on once it's done, so hopefully this is another step to success in the knitting-for-self department!

drkknits said...

i love sage remedy on you, i think the flared bottom is definitely more flattering than the pull in band, but i too am learning that some tailoring is a good thing, and i dont have to hide inside a tent! great post!

Leeanne said...

We're just cuddly and never really happy with our shapes.
Ishbel on the other hand is very very pretty.

Ann said...

I have the same problem too especially with cardi & jumpers. I prefer to knit vests which are easier to fit.

travellersyarn said...

I like the Sage Remedy on you too - and I saw it in person.

I am going to keep working on the flattering knits - although it does involve quite a bit of an unvarnished look at oneself!