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.