As 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.
I 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.
When 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.
And 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.
The 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!