Double Duty Knits: Zelda

Posted November 25, 2014 by joanmm
Categories: Fashion, retro, sexy, Styling guide, vintage

Tags: , , , , ,

For our next installment of Double Duty Knits here on the blog, I am happy to present the Zelda pullover!

The 40’s silhouette is shapely and girly; great to wear for casual or dressy occasions.

Zeldadoubleduty

Double Duty Knits

Posted November 19, 2014 by joanmm
Categories: Fashion, knit, Styling guide

Even though my business is fashion, I can tend to get a little stuck when it comes to my own wardrobe.

I’ll buy or make something new, make an outfit with it that I love, then forget about all the other ways that piece could be worn.

So I’ve created a new feature for the White Lies Designs newsletter called “Double Duty Knits” in which I style the same sweater at least two ways for two entirely different occasions. It has not only proved popular with our readers, but it helps me personally to open my mind to the multiple possibilities a well-designed garment offers.

Below, one of our first Double Duty styling guides, Shelley’s Lace Cardigan. Click on the photo for a larger view.

shelleyslaceday2eve

Gabrielle Two Ways

Posted October 17, 2014 by joanmm
Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: ,

The thing I’ve always appreciated about sewing patterns is that they more often than not give several versions of the same garment; with long and short sleeves or none at all.

I like to follow this idea in my own knitting patterns so that I give my own customers the most value that I can. If I love the way a style looks on me, you can bet I’ll want to make it again in another color and/or configuration, which defrays the cost of the pattern.

Gabrielle is one such pattern that I think works very well.

Below, Gabrielle as a jacket and as a vest.

gaby1n2

Both ways Gabrielle is well fitting, flattering and office appropriate. Not only that, she knits up so fast on size 10US needles and Cascade Pacific Chunky.

Enjoy your knitting!

 

Vogue Knitting Fall 2014 #24 Duster Coat-Part Deaux

Posted September 23, 2014 by joanmm
Categories: Uncategorized

Thanks all for the nice responses to the post about my #24 Duster Coat in the current issue of VK.

I have photos of the coat when in progress that I’ve posted below.

Boho1Here is the original sketch submitted to VK along with the chart I made for the tribal patterning and the first sleeve.

The theme was 70’s bohemian and that brought to mind the movie Dr Zhivago and the fantastic coats and costumes worn therein. Perfect inspiration for this project!

boho2

Here are the completed fronts.  Getting the neckline the way I wanted it so that the collar would fit in correctly was a challenge. Ripped a couple of times before I figured it out.

boho3

Here is the completed back. My decrease lines can be seen easily. It looks like a lot of knitting, and it was, but the bulky yarn and size 10US needles helped it fly along.

boho4boho5The finished coat.

The large button is actually decorative. I bought a set of three large hooks and eyes to close the front securely.

I love this coat with it’s fit-and-flare shape ; so flattering to so many body types.  I’ll be making up a slightly different White Lies Designs version for Stitches West in February. Of course I’ll post photos here when it’s ready.

Vogue Knitting Fall 2014 #24 Duster Coat

Posted September 18, 2014 by joanmm
Categories: Uncategorized

Check out the coat I designed for the Fall issue of Vogue Knitting!

Boho Coat-Joan McGowan-Michael

Boho Coat-Joan McGowan-Michael

This issue is on newsstands now or can be ordered through vogueknitting.com .

http://checkoutthelatest.com/VogueKnitting&watch=Vy8UTWaL9_k

 

Get Over It!: Measure for a perfect fit.

Posted August 14, 2014 by joanmm
Categories: knit to fit, shaping knits

Anyone who has knitted their own garments has likely come up against the tough decision of what size to choose to make, especially when one owns a fairly bountiful rack (that being a C cup or larger).

Many just choose the full bust measurement and that can come with mixed results, especially if the bust is large and the rest of the body is more petite. This can lead to the bust fitting fine, but the shoulders and everything else swimming on the wearer.

Do you choose the size that matches the measurement of your bust, your bra size or something else?

Well, no, no and yes.

That “something else” is your overbust measurement. This is essentially is the measurement of your chest minus the actual breasts.

overbust

The lower pink line in my illustration is the full bust measurement, taken across the fullest part of the breasts.

The upper pink line is where the overbust measurement is taken.

What you do is take both measurements, then average them. For example, the full bust may be 44” and the overbust might be 40”. The average is 42” and that would be the size to choose.

There still may be additional tweaks (such as adding short rows) to make based on your individual body shape, but this method will bring you much closer to selecting your perfect size.

 

Learn more about those fitting tweaks in my Feminine Fit class on Craftsy.com !

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Seams or Circles?

Posted July 4, 2014 by joanmm
Categories: Uncategorized

This is the conundrum amongst knitters: Should garments be knitted in pieces and then seamed or knit in the round and all seaming eliminated?

 Knitters seem to be passionate about their preferences when asked.

 There are those who will simply not finish a garment if it means sewing anything together. They love the knitting but cannot abide finishing, so into the UFO pile it goes. These are your die-hard circular knitters who hunt out top-down, in-the-round patterns.

 Then there are the seamers who may have had a bad experience with their circularly knit project. Perhaps an obvious mistake was made somewhere in the garment which then required ripping out most of the piece to correct it. Or an expensive fiber like silk was used and the garment grew a foot the first time it was worn. Just those two examples could be enough to turn a knitter off of circular construction forever.

 I had an unusual experience with a sweater knit in the round that a friend brought back from Peru. It was a lovely alpaca sweater with Fair isle motifs all around. I excitedly put it on and went out for the day. The sweater twisted around my body in a very uncomfortable way and felt tighter and grew longer as the day wore on. I was very disappointed and got it off me the minute I could. I kept the sweater for years in the vain hope that it could somehow be fixed, but never wore it again.

 I asked some knitting friends which form of construction they preferred and why. Here are some of the answers from the circular contingent:

 -Some knitters knit faster than they purl or hate purling and would prefer to knit only. Knitting on the right side of the fabric only means they will always be working a right-side round and need never purl.

 -Certain techniques such as cables, traveling stitches or certain laces are generally regarded as easier to work with the right side facing the knitter. The same is true with techniques like Fair-Isle, as more than one strand of yarn is in play per round and can become troublesome when working back and forth.

 Then there is Team Seam and the reasons they prefer sewing:

 -Some of the more luxurious fibers are also the most inelastic and saggy. Alpaca, silk, cotton, bamboo; are all notorious for their sagging and bagging. Seams stabilize these fibers and keep them in check when they try to go rogue.

 -Some yarns can be overtwisted when being spun which leads the resulting fabric to bias (as in my example of my sweater twisting around my body). This isn’t a huge problem when knitted flat, but can be disasterous knit circularly.

 -Larger garments, for men or plus-sizes, are heavier due to the sheer quantity of yarn they contain and beg for stabilization from seams. Skirts also benefit from the extra sturdiness seams provide

 Stabilization is a great reason to learn to love seams, but what are some others?

-Certain techniques simply cannot be done in the round, intarsia and entrelac being examples.

-Achieving a very tailored look is difficult in the round as flat knitting allows for more precise construction and seams create a kind of visual exoskeleton which is more flattering to those of us who are a bit fluffier.

 This is not to say that both techniques can’t co-exist beneficially in the same garment.

 Below are two examples.

 My Zelda pullover is started circularly at the hem and all the way to the underarms the Honeybee stitch panels and shaping are worked with the right side facing the knitter. This is not only very fast, it allows the knitter to see the lace panels form and avoid the confusion that may result from working it from the back side.WLD Zelda 2012

Then the underarms are bound off and the remainders of the front and back are knitted flat. This gives us shoulder seams to sew and sleeves to set in. The shoulder seams are great stabilizers and the set in sleeves are tailored and flattering to most body types.

 The Shana Skirt below, employs seams for the body, as it’s wider expanses of stockinette would sag woefully under the weight of itself and it’s flouncy bottom without them. However, the flounce is picked up and knitted last, and it’s circular nature is not only lightning fast to work, but it allows the knitter to stop when the desired length is reached.WLD Shana 2012

 

Both circular and flat constructions have their own advantages, charms and problems. Know your options and make thoughtful choices when constructing the garments that you work so hard to complete.

Interested in knitting these styles?     PDF patterns are available!

Zelda  $8.50                       Shana  $8.50

 


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