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

 

Knit an Underwire Bra! (No, I’m not kidding…)

Posted June 18, 2014 by joanmm
Categories: Fashion, knit, lingerie, lingerie knit, sexy

Maybe you think that this comes under the category of just-because-you-can-doesn’t-mean-you-should, but think again.

This is an actual, functional bra with adjustable straps and underwires that give support. It comes in real-life bra sizes from 32A to 38D and even comes with a matching panty with a full-cut back.

When the model in the photo below put the bra on for this photo shoot, she exclaimed, “OMG, this is the nicest bra I’ve ever worn! Great support!”.

Until Sept. 23rd,2014, buy the kit for this set and get the pattern and complete assembly instructions for FREE!

branpanty

Stitchery on your Knitting

Posted March 7, 2014 by joanmm
Categories: Uncategorized

I love the look of intarsia, wherein pictures and motifs are knit right into the work.

However, though I know many people enjoy it, I personally hate the process. The bobbins, the weaving in of ends, the twisting of yarn to avoid holes. Ugh.

This is why I love duplicate stitch so very much. I can finish my garment, decide where and how many motifs it needs and where they should go, and spend a few relaxing hours stitching them on.

Duplicate stitch

Duplicate stitch

Here are two styles that I really enjoyed working on and employing this technique.

 

Frida is my take on a Mexican peasant blouse, and Gillian a curvy little tee with a front panel of stockinette that just begs to be embellished.Frida-Gillian

Patterns for both styles are downloadable, and kits contain yarn for garments and all colors for embroidery.

Try one of these pretty styles as a new addition to your Spring wardrobe.

 

 

 

Stitches West 2014

Posted February 13, 2014 by joanmm
Categories: Uncategorized

Looking for a discount card for this big yarn show?

Find it here.

Stitches show dates are Feb. 21 thru 23rd at the Santa Clara convention center.

See us (White Lies Designs) in booth 220 with some pretty new styles!

Hugshrug

Not able to make it to the show, but want this pretty knit shrug pattern?

Rockin’ the Stockings!!

Posted January 21, 2014 by joanmm
Categories: Uncategorized

Even though I’ve been a professional designer for going on 30 years (yes, really), I can’t help but have an eye-rolling moment every now and then over the looks I see on the runway and the absence of reality and/or common sense behind the look displayed.

Case in point: All of the shorts and minis seen on the runway for this, the winter of 2014, one of the coldest in recent memory.

However, some of the designers who showed this look were thinking realistically when they paired these tiny togs with lovely, long socks, over the knee and up to the thigh.

stockins

They’re preaching to the choir here, because I’ve designed several of these hosiery styles for White Lies Designs, and now knitters can make their own over-the-knee beauties at home.

Stockingsnewsletter

From left to right, Anastasia, Marlaina, Gina and Monica.

All are knitted from the toe up and can be tried on as you knit. I’ve used Cascade Fixation which contains 3% elastic so it hugs the leg and stays up nicely. They’re sexy and they’re also smart.

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Knit to Fit Part 5: Unifying Two Sizes

Posted January 10, 2014 by joanmm
Categories: knit to fit, shaping knits

Unifying two sizes

For those of us who are not perfectly proportioned, choosing what size to knit can be a conundrum.

Do you go with a size to fit the upper body and hope that it will fit around the tummy/hips, or the size that fits the hips and let your bust/shoulders fend for themselves?

Happily, there is no need to take a chance at all as you can simply choose both sizes and make them meet in the middle.

As an example we’ll use a woman with a smaller upper body and bountiful hips. She wears a medium on top and an XL on the bottom. She finds that for the size garment to fit her hips, she must cast on 100 stitches for the front working from the bottom up.  The size front that will fit her bust asks that she cast on 80 stitches. 

So she casts on her 100 stitches then begins to decrease at the side edges, 1 stitch at each end of her needle every 6th row 10 times, until the 80 stitches she needs remain.  So, what she has done is gently decreased away the material needed to cover her hips until she reaches the number for her upper body, then she continues working as for the smaller size.

   This can work the same way in reverse for those with a larger bust/shoulders and small hips. Simply cast on for the smaller size and increase gently until the number of stitches for the top half of the garment is reached and continue to work as for the larger size.

http://www.whiteliesdesigns.com features many beautiful styles that lend themselves to this technique.

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