Sunday, November 27, 2011

A conversation with Hannah Fettig

Haven't we all ooo-ed and ahhh-ed about the gorgeous new book, Coastal Knits by Hannah Fettig and Alana Dakos? We passed it around with gusto at the recent Knitting at Large meetup where Diane shared her progress on the Gnarled Oak. And I've waxed rhapsodic about it, too, blogging several times about the book and my shaping mods to the Gnarled Oak Cardigan (see Upsizing the Gnarled Oak, Placement of body shaping and darts, and What's next).

I wrote to Hannah and asked her for her thoughts about designing for ample women. The following is her interesting response:
My sweater designs are typically simple in their construction. This lends itself well to offering a wide range of sizes. I have to give credit to my technical editor, Tana Pageler. She is the one who has made this possible, both for Knitbot and for my and Alana’s designs for Coastal Knits. We’re excited about our designs, and want them to be accessible to as many knitters as possible!

One of the things with Coastal Knits that was really important to both Alana and I was offering detailed schematics. No two people are the same, really, in terms of proportions. By offering lots of different measurements for each garment, we hope it’s possible for knitters of all sizes to choose the size that is best for them, and for those who are so inclined, make adjustments based on these measurements. A tech editor friend of mine recently gave the advice to start with the sleeve circumference when considering a size, as a tight sleeve never looks good! This was good for me to hear, as I tend to like a fitted sleeve. I’ll try to stop designing that way, everyone :) I do think the sleeve circumference coupled with the chest circumference are great measurements to start with when deciding on which size garment to knit.

I think yoked cardigans look really nice on all body types. If you’re a Coastal Knits fan with larger measurements, I would highly recommend knitting Alana’s Gnarled Oak Cardigan. If you aren’t opposed to an open cardigan, Rocky Coast Cardigan would also suit many body types.

Hannah pointed out these two beautiful sweaters, but don't forget these other designs offered by Alana and Hannah in larger sizes:

The Wildflower Cardigan, also in Coastal Knits and designed by Alana, comes in sizes up to 60.5 inches (I can't wait to make this for the spring):

Another Coastal Knits lovely: the Water's Edge Cardigan which Hannah designed for a 62.75 bust:

I know many of you will just love Hannah's new shawl-collared Autumnal Cardigan which goes up to a 62-inch finished bust size:

Hannah's Calligraphy Cardigan, which originally appeared as the slightly different and smaller-sized Gooseberry Cardigan on the cover of Knitscene, fits a 60-inch bust:

And I've always like this classic Sock Yarn Pullover, modeled by Hannah herself, in sizes up to 61.25:

And there are others! Check out Hannah's patterns and Alana's patterns on Ravelry to see them all.

I know you will join me in offering hearty thank yous to these talented designers for providing so many beautiful options for the ample community. Please keep up the wonderful work, Hannah and Alana!


  1. Coastal Knits is such a beautiful book. I am going to make the Cambrian Cowl for a friend for the holidays and I can't wait to cast on ROcky Coast for myself!

  2. I love the autumnal cardigan!
    Darn it, Julie, you keep tempting me to add more sweaters to my want-to-do list!!!
    I'm already old. Now I have a list of sweaters that will take me till I'm ninety.

  3. Of all designers, I have more Hannah sweaters than any other! I bought Coastal Knits and look forward to knitting several of both Hannah's and Alana's designs.

  4. I love this book; it's one of the very, very few that I would knit multiple patterns from. (the Gnarled Oak and Wildflower cardigans). Thanks again, Julie, for taking the initiative to talk to the designer to get inside her head. :-)

    I agree 1000000% that tight sleeves SUCK. My own bicept is 19" (!!!), and every sweater I make must be adjusted. In fact, even svelte knitter friends just about always have to adjust the sleeve size to make their sweaters fit. I wish the designers would take a hint and just design the sleeves with more ease to begin with.

    Great post, as always :-)


  5. There have been several knitting books I've wanted for Christmas, but this one is probably the one I'm going to ask for. There are so many patterns I want to make, and from the previews, it's a lovely book. I love a knitting book that is enjoyable to read and enjoyable to knit from.