Tag Archives: Heidi Kirrmaier

IMG_1963As my Adventure’s with June’s Cardigan would attest, I have a tendency to pick a sweater pattern, actually pay for said pattern, and proceed to tinker with the pattern beyond recognition.

That seems to be my modus operandi.

Why? Well, I think all of this is seeded in the fact that I believe that when I knit a sweater, I am creating the fabric AND the garment, so I should be able to make EXACTLY what I am picturing in my mind. It’s very much like cooking. A little of this, a little of that, I have in my mind what I want….and I go about trying to achieve it.

Well with sweaters, this could mean making many calculations. I’m not shy about making these calculations. In fact, sometimes like in cooking, I have a tendency to do this on the fly. Of course the intention as I am starting my bush wacking through a pattern that I’m going to remember my route with a few trail markers. If I’m plowing through a project (think deadline) then my memory is still relatively reliable. Should I put a project down for more than a few days though? UH…..not so much.

Just a bit about the math involved. I don’t have a particularly curvy body to fit. In fact, my body is basically a rectangle (sort of a plumper version of Jackie, who Amy talks about here). I have two pet peeves with sweater patterns. If I knit a stated size to fit my bust, it rarely fits across the shoulders. If I knit a size for my shoulders (note, not many patterns give this measurement!!!) I look like…well, a rectangle covered by knitted fabric. What I normally end up doing is monkeying with the yoke and upper arm/armhole area to make a sweater that is snug enough but not super tight. We won’t mention here that I think the sleeve cap and armhole is the one place on a sweater where calculating a length involves a curve (um, 12th grade math. This is calculus. That was a long time ago.).

I can usually get pretty close, and with a knitted fabric, which is forgiving, this usually is good enough. But I am never confident in sweater patterns, I start getting squirmish and itchy to modify patterns as I near the arm hole shaping, and I feel like each knitted sweater has an element of Hail Mary in it.

Enter Amy Herzog.

IMG_9130I met Amy last March when I attended the Green Mountain Spinnery Spring Retreat (one of my most favorite knitting retreats!) in beautiful Saxtons River, Vermont. She came to the class with 40? 50? sweaters. She came ready to demonstrate what a well fitting sweater, for your body type, could do for the shape of your body. It was fun, it was engaging, and I was full in. So full in that I decided that the sweater I was knitting was completely wrong for me, and I ripped out about 500 yards of knitting. The “new” version of this will hopefully be much better fitted, and much better suited for my body than the colorwork (yes, it was 500 yards of colorwork) body cozy I was knitting for my rectangular torso.

IMG_9132When Amy mentioned then that she was working on developing a software program that would generate patterns fit for your body measurements, given a swatch, my ears prickled. All I could think was, NO MORE SPREADSHEETS.

So, when Amy put the call out for Beta testers a couple of months ago, I raised my hand. I raised my hand VERY high and waved it around all over the place.

IMG_9128IMG_1954And guess what? Tada! A simple, but well fitting sweater in a killer yarn for me to wear every day (or until I can knit more sweaters to go into the rotation). It fits perfectly in the shoulders. The top seam for the sleeve hits exactly at the right place on the shoulder. The armhole is fitted, but not tight. When I swing my arms around, the sweater does not pull anywhere. But it is snug in all the right places, just enough to make my rectangle have some curves.

After all these years, I am conditioned to buy a certain yardage of yarn to make a sweater. The upside of a nicely fitted sweater was that I had plenty of yarn left over (yet another bonus) to knit a cowl. Presto change-o. The v-neck sweater can also play in my wardrobe as a cowl neck sweater.

IMG_1962The cowl is Circumnavigate by Heidi Kirrmaier. As with Heidi’s beautifully simple sweater designs, The cowl has just enough of a knit/purl stitch pattern to be interesting without taking away from the slight variegation I have in the yarn that I used.

As for the yarn…it is JulieSpins Silky DK in fluorite. I asked Julie how she would describe this color…and she says it is a “silver grey with a hint of yellow”. It is a strangely wonderful color. It’s grey but not really. It’s got bits of yellow and blue and in some lights the sweater looks green. Just like fluorite!

Now I’m just waiting for the weather to go my way so I can wear this sweater. Now you want a perfectly fitted sweater too, right? Well, Amy’s CustomFit software is still in beta test. But the software seems to be working, given the amazing finished object photos that are starting to pop up. I’m sure all the elves in the background who make these things work are hard at work. I will refer you to the Fit Diva’s website and link to her newsletter subscription for up to date news on the software!

PS. There are many who are finishing up their second and third sweaters….I, too, have cast on for a CustomFit-ized version of a relatively ambitious sweater in fingering weight cormo. More on this as I make progress!

I really like Heidi Kirrmaier’s sweater designs. Or I must, since I’ve knit three of them so far this year. (Buttercup, Vitamin D, and Boardwalk)






When she posted a sweater that she called Tea with Jam and Bread, I was really intrigued. It looked really comfy, and just simple perfection.

It was a pre-pattern photo. Maybe she didn’t mean to write a pattern for the sweater, but did because of the overwhelming request that she must have received after putting up her photos.

What really got me was this description of the sweater on her Ravelry project page:

“The spirit behind this design is something cozy you want to throw on top of your pyjamas for breakfast. Of course it would be also great for going to school, the grocery store, a football game, walking your dog, lounging around your home, or whatever else you love – or need – to do. It’s also a nod to the current colour blocking trend, because we all want to look stylish in our hand-knits (even if we are wearing them with our pj’s), right?!”

Of course, it made me wonder. “Hmm. What is MY ideal sweater”? Heidi’s sweater was pretty ideal. But what if I were to customize it more for me? I set out to knit an ideal sweater for myself.

  1. The design and construction. The stripes! It was so cute, and I love the color block on it, and of course, the colors were perfect: 2 shades of grey and an accent color in an orange-y yellow. Heidi let on that it was a top down knit with minimal seaming, with a couple of pockets. I loved everything about this — so I dragged out a couple of top down sweater patterns (in the end, I purchased The Bible of top down knitting, Barbara Walker’s Knitting from the Top and found Ann Budd’s Knitter’s Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters on my bookshelf), decided on a crew neck like Heidi — and decided on a raglan sleeve since that is my favorite.
  2. The yarn. Heidi used Brooklyntweed Shelter. While I am a big fan of Brooklyntweed’s colors, I have a sweater knit out of the Shelter yarn that I am not 100% happy with how it has worn. Being gun-shy now on another garment knit out of Shelter, I looked around (not very hard). And gee! The Verdant Gryphon had JUST released a new worsted base, Mondegreen, which is 60% BFL/20% Baby Camel/20% Silk. And I don’t have to remind anyone what I think about the Verdant Gryphon/Cephalopod Yarns (the former Sanguine Gryphon team) colorways. This sweater was JUST the excuse to try this yarn. Off I went, happily to order my yarn. I stayed in a close color choice as the designer’s — except my marmalade is a blood orange marmalade. I love orange, and I love grey. I was all set.
  3. The sleeves. I get the attraction to slouchy sleeves. Comfy. I don’t like ill-fitting sleeves, however, and this is probably because sleeves that are too long makes me feel short. (OK, shorter than I already am!) But I liked the idea of sleeves that came over my knuckles. So I decided to do a 2×2 rib on the entire portion of the sleeve that would go from my wrist bone to my fingers — and insert a thumb hole. This way, I can pull down the sleeves when it was cold and have the sweater look like that is what it is supposed to do — and I can fold it back on top when I was wearing the sweater otherwise.
  4. The pockets. I am a big fan of pockets. I’d rather stick things in them instead of carrying a purse. But the location of the pockets in the original sweater seemed a bit too decorative. Also, I knew that pockets have a tendency to sag (because the pocket that I added on to my Oranje sweater sags). And I decided — what am I likely to be doing when I’m relaxing??? I’m either outside with my dogs, or I am knitting. I decided to morph the pockets into a single big pouch like pocket, buttoned on the top. The pouch is big enough to carry all the accoutrements of dog walking (iPhone, keys, poop bags — although I don’t think I would put keys in these pockets), and it is big enough to hold a small skein of yarn. How perfect is that, right??? Oh and the big bonus is that this sweater is another opportunity for me to showcase some Jennie the Potter buttons! (I really thought about putting lego buttons on there, but decided that would be too childish.

I was excited about this sweater. After a few instances of ripping back to fix a few issues… totally panicking and purchasing the pattern after all in the middle of my knitting frenzy just to make sure all my measurements and calculations were at least close to Heidi’s sweater, I raced through the sweater.

I am finally done. Well, except for the 3 buttons for the top of my pocket which I will pick up from Jennie at Rhinebeck this weekend. Here it is, my version of the comfy sweater. (And that’s Finn’s favorite Mr. Bill toy in the background.)