Tuesday, September 18, 2012

New plus-size books - and a pattern giveaway, too

Good news abounds for the plus-size knitting community. Fall brings cooler weather - thank goodness! - and a variety of larger-sized pattern options, too. Today I present a small sampling of new collections, books, and patterns. And I'm also giving away a new pattern!

I've already told you about the new book from Cabin Fever's Deb Gemmell and Robin Hunter, Need a Plus Cardigan?. The Ravelry KAL began this week with much aplomb - over 150 intrepid knitters are now knitting a sweater that fits! For this group, participants may knit any sweater of their choosing from the book and make all the modifications needed and desired. It's not too late if you'd like to participate; visit the Rav group to sign up.


KnitPicks' latest collections offer patterns up to 64 inches.  I appreciate the company's efforts to support the larger among us, but given that I know so many ample knitters (myself included) who have purchased four million skeins of KP yarn, I mostly think it's time. My favorite of their new offerings: Kerin Dimeler-Laurence's Northern Lights, an e-book of five sweater patterns (plus a beautiful fair isle scarf and hat set) in sizes from 32-64 inches. Kerin possesses an incredible talent for stranded knitwear design,  including the Tuva, an extraordinary Bohus-inspired pullover created in fingering weight yarn on 1-1/2 needles. Now that would take me the rest of my life! But it would be worth it.


Sue McCain from Vermont Fiber Designs routinely designs her sweaters for larger sizes. She continues this tradition with her recently launched pattern website, Basix. The new line is, as she puts it, "dedicated to the design of only top-down set-in-sleeve patterns that are worked in Stockinette stitch. If you see a Basix pattern in a shop or online, you can be sure that it is 1) top-down, 2) set-in-sleeve, 3) worked in Stockinette stitch (except for the trim, of course), and 4) designed for sizes XXS to 6X or 7X." Basix begins with six yes-you-would-really-wear-these sweaters, including the Cambridge, a classic cardigan. I'm looking forward to making this myself because I know I'll wear it all the time. This design goes up to 72.75 inches. (My only complaint is that all the modeled sweaters are photographed headless - very strange, imho.)


If you're a crocheter, I have a great new plus-size pattern book for you:  Curvy Girl Crochet by Mary Beth Temple. "Full-figured women who love to crochet will rejoice in this fun, fresh, and pretty new book, Curvy Girl Crochet: 25 Patterns that Fit and Flatter. Instead of making adjustments to “average” sized patterns, this exciting guide celebrates larger women with 25 original crochet patterns designed specifically in plus sizes," the book notes say. I particularly like the Counterpoint Pullover, although I'd be tempted to knit the body and crochet the sleeves since I am a die-hard knitter. Mary Beth uses plus-size models in her book so you can actually tell how her designs would look on you.


Curvy Girl Crochet includes one pattern from ample-knitting-favorite, Marly Bird. Marly has been busy designing other pretty things, such as her new Simona, a shawl-collared, twisted stitch, button-down vest. Knitted in Aran weight yarn, this cold wardrobe staple knits up quickly and looks great with jeans.


To celebrate this cute design, I'm giving away a Simona pattern - free! Just leave a comment below and I'll send a randomly selected, lucky winner this pattern next week. 

To conclude, I believe the knitting industry is beginning to listen to the growing community of ample knitters. If you want more pattern options, be brave! Make a sweater and then photograph yourself modeling the design. Put it on Ravelry. Besides buying patterns and books in larger sizes, posting your sweaters on Ravelry is the best way to show the market that we do indeed knit for ourselves - and have money to spend, too.

27 comments:

  1. I would love to win a pattern. thanks!

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  2. Thanks for the round up of all these great new patterns.

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  3. LOVE that Cambridge Pattern, that's classic for sure !!!!
    dottie2

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  4. Excellent 'attention!' post informing us of what's up in the Ample-Plus world.
    Thanks for this,Julie.
    t_a

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  5. Thanks for keeping us updated with the latest patterns available in larger sizes. I'm glad the designers are finally paying attention. Terry

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  6. Thanks for keeping us abreast of what is new and notable! I'm already bookmarking several things...

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  7. Wow! I had actually tossed the knitpicks flyer without looking at the sizing. I must admit I was in a huff saying "they never fit me anyways" now I have to dig through the bin to find it again! That vest pattern is fab, I would love to make one for Fall. anythingbutsnow on Rav

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  8. Love those patterns. Thanks so much for the heads up. I'm definitely headed to check out Basix, I've been looking for something like that for a sweater for me. And that vest is really cute.

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  9. It made me really happy to see the KnitPicks larger sized patterns. Happy enough to buy one of their kits even!
    Thank goodness the yarn companies and designers are catching on. Julie, you are a great infuence!

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  10. I have joined the KAL, and I'm making good progress on my cardi. I'd love to win a pattern. My comment is that even though the designers are finally writing patterns for us, the models they use are small women. What's with that?

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  11. I have not yet knitted any clothing for myself despite my desire to because I am plus size. Generally plus size patterns are atrocious in my opinion. I love that the industry is paying attention. I am so excited.

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    1. you need to join the Knitting at Large group on Ravelry if you haven't already... all our great minds learning how to modify the "standard" patterns that never fit anyone right... we do not need exponential increases everywhere...lol

      dottie2

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  12. Thanks so much for the pattern giveaway! It's very nice to see that so many are designing for all body types.

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  13. Wonderful to see such a variety of designs in realistic sizes. A shift in the industry is exciting to see. It may be slow but it is happening.

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  14. Gorgeous clothing! Love love love the crochet sweater!
    And would certainly love winning the pattern!
    Thank you for keeping us in the loop :)

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  15. Sao very glad to find that there is hope for us new knitters who happen to be plus size or want to knit for someone who needs a plus size. It is challenging enough to read a pattern, much less adapt to fit. Thank you.

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  16. Isn't it great that this is FINALLY happening. I'm so sick of calculating changes and additional stitches and will this work or won't it? The sweater pattern is just the thing for fall. I'd love it!

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  17. This pattern is so cute.Just what I have been looking for to knit for myself.Thank You for the chance to win it.

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  18. As a bigger person who is just now trying to venture into garment knitting, I am thrilled to see things like this! That vest is lovely.

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  19. I love this vest! And I love that plus size patterns are coming out in stylish designs.
    Finally, finally, finally!!!

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  20. I do love that vest - and I'm encouraged by the patterns coming out lately!

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  21. Love, love, LOVE Vermont Fiber Designs! Thanks so much for the heads-up on their webpage.

    I'm gradually "ungrowing" the need for ample size garments -- now using 48" for standard finished bust measurement, and a lot of women's patterns now go up that far. But the fitting tips and techniques that were (as far as I can tell) largely generated by the plus-size community remain such a valuable tool for knitters of ANY size! Thanks, Julie, for being our cheerleader and inspiration and -- yes -- enabler!

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  22. I love the Knit Picks Northern Lights sweaters as well, but I have to say they are all (except the cardigan)modeled with so much negative ease that they look too small. I certainly don't want to wear a sweater on my plus-sized figure that is supposed to be worn that tight. I'd look like a sausage. It puts me off the patterns, despite the fact that they come in sizes up to 64". Just sayin'

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  23. Hey Jennifer, I concur that zero-ease sweaters rarely work for an ample figure. But all of the designs above could easily be worked for an larger woman. If the cardigan had been modeled on a tiny woman, it wouldn't have had any ease either! What we really need are more ample models - then we could see how things would look on us. I also think one of the biggest mistakes we make is in making sweaters with too much ease; bagginess doesn't look any better than skin tight. Like Goldilocks, we need to find the just-right option - in this case, fit. Thanks for reading and commenting.

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