Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A picture paints a thousand words

If a picture paints a thousand words, then why can't I paint you?

Flashback: If, the syrupy love ballad by Bread, blairs from auditorium speakers at the Francis Scott Key Junior High School dance. Michael, my very first love, teeters with me in the dark, his arms wrapped around my waist, mine around his neck. Thank God for school dances, the only socially acceptable means of groping a boy in front of your English teacher. Michael possessed everything a young girl could want: he was intelligent, funny, handsome, and really, really tall. Nothing has changed in 35 years - except that Michael married some other chick - but I would describe my 2010 boyfriend exactly the same way.

(This picture is of Michael and me in the Key Junior High production of "Cheaper by the Dozen." I played Mrs. Gilbreth because even in ninth grade, I was matronly!)

All right, enough reminiscing. Back to knitting. As I said, a picture shows a lot more than I could ever say, so let me show you a couple of things.

First, I want to give mega props to Patons and Bernat for offering nearly every pattern in sizes up to 5X/6X. These companies obviously care for the ample among us and not just because they're providing upsized versions of their designs. No. These companies are actually they revising their patterns to fit a larger body. Check out this Urban Cables Pullover from Patons Cables 500846. This sweater comes in finished bust sizes from 28 to 62 inches and finished hip sizes from 46 to 67 inches (God bless them!).

I'm not a turtleneck wearer, but this is a fashionable pattern. Cute. I like it. But what I like even more is that Patons revised its design for sizes 2X to 5X. The company didn't take a skinny-girl sweater and make it astronomically bigger. Instead, Patons customized the pullover for a larger body. Check out the schematics and you'll see just what I mean.
Look at the body shapes. The bodice tops are identical, but Patons' designers know that the smaller-size waist shaping and 6-1/2-inches of ribbing just won't work most larger women. Instead, Patons removed the waist shaping, thereby giving amples more needed body room, and decreased the ribbing to a more reasonable 3-1/2 inches.

To be honest, I'd be reticient to make this particular sweater because I don't like turtlenecks; am anxious about covering my body with cables; and am wary about even the reduced 3-1/2 inches of ribbing. But that's just me and my... uh... unusual body. I'm sure this sweater will work perfectly for many larger women - and for that, I am grateful to Patons for their sincere effort. Although that particular sweater isn't my cup of tea, I do love a couple of other designs from this book, such as the Cabled Yoke Pullover and the Aran Accent Vest. These designs come in finished bust sizes up to 66 inches.

Check out other Patons booklets with the sizing to 5X/6X: Pure Style, Luxury KnitsNext Steps Six - Learn to Cable, 9 to 5, Fall in Love, Spring Styles, Top Down Classics, Sacs and Sweaters, and more. And visit Bernat's website for more larger patterns, including Ready Set Snow, Cold Front, Then and Now, and many more. Lots of great patterns! Thank you Patons and Bernat.

One more picture. Just want to show you my Handstrikket sleeve - I've got a couple of inches to go on this sleeve and I'll be done. Don't you think it's shaped kind of funny? I'm following the Sweater Wizard pattern I created to a tee; I'm hoping it will look fine after it gets connected to the yoke. I compared the sleeve sizing to a shirt that fits me well and the measurements match at the top. But this sleeve makes it look like I should have haunches! Sigh... I hope it works...


  1. Your sleeve is really looking good.
    The shape IS a bit on the wide side, though..it seems it should be tapered a bit more.
    But then, if you got dimensions from another sweater and put those into the software, it is supposed to work!?
    When I put in my measurements it always computes out with so much 'ease' that 2 people could fit.

    I like Patons/Bernat for their inclusion and ample friendly alterations.

  2. Patons and Bernat seem to always have great patterns for a lot of body types. As far as your sleeve goes, is your gauge the same for the stranded part as it is for the plain part? Sometimes that can make a difference. Have a great day!

  3. Just wondering if you or any readers have ever knit 2 sleeves at once?

  4. Michele, the gauge is a little larger, I think... I'm going to blog about this today... stay tuned.

    Teresa, I'd love to learn to do that... I'm thinking about taking a knit-two-socks-at-a-time class at a LYS in Virginia. Once I get the gist of that, I'm sure I could figure out knitting two sleeves at once.

  5. Thank you so much, Julie, for pointing out that Paton/Bernat patterns include larger sizes that have also been proportioned correctly. Spring is always a busy time around here, and I am really looking forward to just sitting down with the pattern and starting to knit without haveing to figure out how to upsize it. You inspired me to knit my first sweater--which is 2/3 done--and now I can't think about knitting anything but more sweaters. I spent some time yesterday looking through their books on-line and found three that had several sweaters that I love and can't wait to make--Patricia in the Top Down book, Fair Isle cardigan in SWS, and my favorite: Fading Cables Cardigan in Step 6. I found Step Six at our local JoAnn's and will search more locally for the others, since online shipping costs were ridiculusly high. Thank you!

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  7. Hey Ann,

    You go, girl! It's an amazing journey to make yourself a sweater - full of challenges, lessons learned, and ultimately, the joy of success - or at least finishing! I'm proud of you for endevouring into knitting for yourself. What a concept, huh?

    I love the Patricia (show me a fair isle design and I'll automatically love it). I love the SWS Fair Isle, too but unfortunately can't put all that patterning around my giant butt. But wow... that Faded Cables Pullover is simply stunning. I love the cable work and the collar, too. Damn! So many sweater patterns, so little time.

    Hey, I found the Step 6 Book on sale at Knitter's Warehouse. With shipping, it's less than seven bucks. In case you're interested: http://store.knitting-warehouse.com/404831.html. I think I'm going to buy it.

    Please keep me posted on your progress. I'd love to see pictures if you're willing to share. Thanks, as always, for reading, Ann!

  8. Thanks for pointing out what is important in design for plus sizes. This is really difficult for a beginning knitter, or even an advanced one! I appreciate Patons and Bernat for thinking about who we are, now lets all let them know that they made the right decisions by buying them. Finally your ex boyfriend looks like that actor from the 70s show!

  9. Lisa, my boyfriend and I WERE the 70s Show! lol

    I'm glad to help - and am tremendously grateful that you read my blog. Please keep coming back!

  10. Thanks for your reply, Julie. I found the Step 6 book at JoAnn's and Michaels. Using the 40% off coupon, it was less than $3. Love a bargain! Neither store had the other two books though, so I'll check Knitter's Warehouse. JoAnn's has Paton's worsted Merino on sale next week for $4.50/ skein, although they seldom have enough in stock in any one color to make a sweater.

    Did a few more rounds on my sweater today; I'm nearly at the stage where I join the sleeves to the body and continue up the chest and shoulders. Your blog continues to be a source of inspiration for me as I knit this sweater. Thanks again.

  11. Ann, I love those 40% off coupons from Joann's. I just bought myself an electric ball winder - works great! Let me know which color you're going to buy. I like that sweater pattern so much I ordered the booklet yesterday myself!