Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

Seams or Circles?

July 4, 2014

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

 

Stitchery on your Knitting

March 7, 2014

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

February 13, 2014

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!!

January 21, 2014

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 4- Gaping Bust/Front

August 13, 2013

Fitsketchcolor4

4.- Gaping Bust/Front

  In the knitting industry it is common practice to draft the front and back of patterns the same width. If you are a difficult fit, some of that difficulty may come from your front and back being very different sizes.

   The stretch inherent in knit fabric accommodates some of the difference. However when we get into bigger cup sizes or protruding tummies it is simply asking too much of the stretch and the result is a cardigan whose buttons want to pop!

   The fix for this is to mark a point near each underarm at the level of the fullest part of the bust  and/or belly and take separate measurements across the front then across the back.

Now armed with those new measurements, chose the sizes from among those listed on your pattern’s schematics that most closely match yours. You may be choosing a Medium back and an XL front, but if you still go with the armhole depth and length of the smaller size it will assure that the front has enough width to close without gaping.

When knitting the length of the front and back, you will use the measurements for the smaller of the sizes, and you’ll still add short row shaping at the bust should you need it.

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Want to find out how to make this alteration in more detail?

I walk you through it in my Craftsy.com online class, “Feminine Fit”.

Here’s a discount code for 50% off. Come join me!

www.craftsy.com/feminine

 

 

Dress You Up at FashionKnit!–Saturday June 8th, 2013

June 4, 2013
 
 
 
Join me at FashionKnit in Walnut Creek, California on Saturday June 8th for my Dress You Up class!
 
Learn to combine fabric and knitting to make a pretty sundress like the one pictured as well as a baby dress and sexy nightie.
 
Call FashionKnit for details-(925)943-3994
 
Summer Getaway Sundress(resized)
 
 

Knit to Fit- Part 3

May 13, 2013

Fitsketchcolor3jpg

Fit problem number 3.- A Baggy Body

     I see a lot of beautifully curvy women walking around in sweaters or tee shirts cut for men, not realizing that instead of hiding the bits they want to cover up, it makes them look larger all up and down their torso.

Any time  a top hangs off the end of the bust as men’s cuts will do on a woman, it lets the mind’s eye of the onlooker assume that the bagginess of the top is filled in with the wearer’s body whether the case or not.

   Counter this  with a little shaping at the sides of the garment; just enough to suggest the waistline and remove some excess fabric.

My free  Shapely Tank pattern mentioned in a previous post  goes into specifics as to how to achieve this (print one out to keep in your knitting bag) but generally, beginning at the upper hip, you will decrease away about 1” worth of stitches at each seam edge prior to reaching the waist area, and add them back in after the waist.

This 4” of nipping is enough to make a huge difference in how your sweater will flatter your middle. Try it on the next garment you knit.

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Just FYI, many of my patterns are now available as digital downloads in my Etsy shop!

Knit to Fit- Part 2

March 4, 2013

Fit problem#2:

Hem of garment rides up in the front.

 

Addition of short rows solves bust fitting issues.

Addition of short rows solves bust fitting issues.

 If you have a larger bust and have tried to fit it into ready-to-wear clothing, it is no surprise that sporting anything larger than a B cup bra size is going to be trouble when knitting as well. We most often notice this, of all places, at the hemline of the garment when it pulls upward.

  What is going on here is that there is not enough length to go over the breasts and keep the hemline even all the way around the body.

   The fix for this is short rows. Rows are worked across the width of the bust, but stopped short of the side seams, which creates more length within the fabric only where it is needed. 

I offer a free pattern called “The Shapely Tank” on my webpage which walks the knitter through the technique of adding short rows to a simple tank top for a perfect fit.

Find it here: http://www.whiteliesdesigns.com/patterns/lpullovers/fbc.html , and keep a copy in your knitting bag for reference. Once this simple fix is mastered, it can be applied to almost any sweater.

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By the way, I’ve just posted two new styles over at my website.

The lovely and dressy Kate Pullover, and Gillian, a floral embroidered Tee.

Enjoy!

Intro and Knit to Fit – Part 1

January 14, 2013

The prospect of knitting your own sweater should be filled with potential and the anticipation of adding a beautiful knitted garment to your wardrobe.

However, the reality of this endeavor doesn’t always match dream. In spite of following instructions to the letter, even experienced knitters end up with common fit difficulties that can burst that bubble of promise.

Without knowing how to identify the problems, there is no clear way to fix or head them off .

With that, I would like to address that what I’ve seen over my years in teaching fitting classes are the five most common fitting problems when knitting a sweater.

 

Fit problem #1.- Large gaping neckline/ Drooping shoulders.

Though these seem like two problems, they very often boil down to one thing. The measurement of the cross shoulder in the back of the garment is too large for the wearer.

This can cause the neckline to gape and the shoulder seams to droop below where they should sit and now the sleeves seem too long when they actually may not be.  See how it snowballs?

 

Knit to Fit 1-Cross shoulder

Knit to Fit 1-Cross shoulder

To correct this, begin by measuring across the width of the shoulders in back as shown in my illustration. That measurement should be anywhere between 12” to 18” in an adult woman.

From your chosen pattern and size take the number of stitches that remain after binding off and decreasing for your armholes and divide by your stitch gauge to reveal the shoulder width of the pattern. If your upper shoulder measurement does not match this, continue the decreases at the armholes until the measurement does match yours.  Important: There should be no ease added to this measurement!

Also, some patterns will  have you put your back neck stitches on a holder, only to have you put them back on the needle when working your neckband. It’s a good idea in theory, but in reality this often causes a loose, stretchy back neck that can affect fit negatively. To correct, bind off your back neck, then pick up for the band to get a nice, firm line.

Next time: What to do when your hemline is on the rise.

Tainted Love

January 1, 2013

Did you know that there are over 50 versions of the song “Tainted Love” on You Tube?

Most of us are familiar with the 80′s version by Soft Cell, but it was originally recorded in 1964 by Gloria Jones.

Here’s one of my favorite renditions on ukulele:

 

 


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