Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Early Bird shaping and cable sequencing

With the sleeves on my Early Bird finished, washed, and blocked, I'm working now on the back. I've decided to try something a little different with the Early Bird. In the past, I've made my sweaters A-line shaped to accommodate my over-ample hips. You can see the shaping in the Handstrikket, for example.

Unfortunately, the A-line shaping leaves some extraneous fabric at my waist. I'm sure you remember my mighty ass by now, but just in case, here's a reminder. Even though I'm fat, I do have a waist - a waist that is 20 inches smaller than my hips, which makes fitting much more complicated.

This time, I'm going to try hour-glass shaping. Instead of decreasing directly from the hem to the underarms, I'm going to decrease more sharply to the waist and then do increases to my bustline. I'm hoping this will give me a better, more flattering fit. This graphic shows the schematic of the Augusta cardigan (that's what I'm wearing in the photo above) and the schematic I'm using for the Early Bird.

Every sweater thus far has been an improvement over the last, at least in terms of fit, so I'm praying this approach is the right way to go.

Over the weekend, I worked out the cable placement for the back. This required some intense visualization, figuring, charting, trial, and error, but I finally came up with a cable sequence I like.

I now have a proof of concept as shown in the bottom back of my Early Bird.

I really like it, I think. You can see that I've started decreasing already. The Sweater Wizard calculations I'm using call for decreasing every other row 26 times. I hope this works. I'm still giving myself eight inches of ease at the waist - that's a lot! But I don't want to look like an overstuffed, corsetted Victorian porkchop when I'm done either.

My next worry is the length. I still don't know how long to make my sweaters. Amy Herzog told me I should make them 27 inches in the back and 26 in the front; this would eliminate the sweater wrapping around my mighty ass as shown in the green sweater above. The problem with this approach is that the shorter length doesn't cover my belly - an absolute requirement in my book. Amy says to wear longer shirts underneath with the shorter sweater on top and this is indeed becoming. But I can't always dress like this and sometimes I just want a big boyfriend sweater to cover me up. Guess that's not going to be the Early Bird though.

All this goes to show why it's so hard to find garments that fit me properly. I'm getting a lot closer to successfully making clothes specifically for my body. But the sad truth is that all the alterations in the world aren't going to make me a proportionally shaped woman who can throw anything over her head and look good. I so envy MaureeninFargo (you must see her work - she's amazing). Maureen looks spectacular in every sweater she makes, mostly because she can pull off a boxy shape so well. I unfortunately cannot. I'm a busty triangle and that's the bane of my existence.


  1. How about splitting the difference in terms of length? A little bit shorter than the green sweater, but still long enough to make you comfortable in front?

    Love the new shape, I think it will work well for you.

  2. I admire those who can patiently sit and decipher and compose knitting patterns,and charts. They sit there with rulers, calculators,graph paper, pencils ,erasers and whoknowswhatelse...just figuring things out and in 7th heaven.It takes great patience and determination.
    On the other hand, it is easy for me to sit with a manuscript and theoretically analyze and 'dissect' a Bach fugue.I enjoy it,whereas I get frustrated in making mere knitting adjustments. Both are rooted in math..both ,broadly speaking, are artistic genres, yet so different.
    I swear knitting designers have a special given ability..something already possessed but needing to be discovered, brought out and skills learned,developed and honed..
    In other words....Gifts given.
    I too admire the sweaters of Maureen in Fargo..they ALL look good on her.
    Julie..YOU GO GIRL!!!!!

  3. I am watching your experiments very closely. My hips are also 20 inches bigger than my waist. I am also very busty. In fact, I'm your U.K. figure twin !
    I don't care if the current fashion is the shrunk in the wash look, I like my cardigans and over shirts long and loose ! I have always knitted the triangle shape to accommodate my hips, so look forward to seeing how some waist shaping looks.

  4. Necessity is the mother of invention. If I weren't shaped like a busty triangle, I'd be thrilled to death to make sweaters with checking nothing but the bust measurement. That's not my reality so there's nothing I can do but figure this crap out.

    Wish I could analyze the Bach fugue though!

    Emma, my UK figure twin, thanks for reading and commiserating. It's nice to know someone out there really understand being a triangle!