A different way to shape a sweater

A different way to shape a sweater

Remember when I used to blog about what I was knitting? Back when I used to always be knitting something different all the time and had finished objects to show you?! Knitting one project for three months (and counting!) is hard on a knitblogger, but despite the copious knitalong posts, I haven’t actually posted much about my own Amanda — and I do have some things to tell you about it. Namely, how I created shaping where there is none.

Being sort of a stick figure of a person, I never mind a sweater that doesn’t nip in at the waist — in fact, I’m inclined to skip that part in patterns that have it. I have what my friend Rachel colorfully calls “UBF,” Upper Butt Fat. My bust is about 34.5″ but my upper hip measurement is closer to 38″. I like a sweater to have the same ease at the hip as it does at the bust, so what I’m always striving for is more of an A-line shape. I’m aiming for a 36″-ish bust measurement with this sweater — just about 2″ of positive ease up top — but that would be about 2″ of negative ease at the upper hip, and a tightly fitting waistband would not please me. Amanda has no waist shaping at all, because the honeycomb wraps around the sides and any shaping in the middle of it would be problematic. But sides aren’t the only place a knitter can put shaping! I’d been thinking about putting in some version of back darts right around the time I heard Amy Herzog talking about them on Knit.fm, which sealed my resolve. I’ll tell you what I did, but first I have to take a step back:

I’m already knitting this sweater at a smaller stitch gauge than the pattern, and am knitting the size large knowing (from the math from my gauge swatch) that it will wind up being very close to the medium’s measurements. My fear is it will actually be a little bit small, and it’s also my opinion that the design could use a little more “air” between the slipped-stitch columns and the honeycomb and button bands. So where the pattern calls for 2 stitches of reverse stockinette on the outsides of the slipped stitches, I’m knitting 3 stitches. There are four diamond cables on the body, and I’ve added 2 stitches per cable — flanking the slipped stitches that flank the diamonds — so I’m working with a total of 8 extra stitches on the body, which gives me about 1.5″ of extra circumference to combat my fear of the sweater turning out too small.

So to create some additional width across the lower back/hips, I added some more stitches between the diamonds and the slipped stitches. If you look carefully at the widest part of the diamonds in the photos above, you can see that on the first/bottom diamond, there are 4 stitches of reverse stockinette between the diamond and the slipped stitches on either side. By the time you get to the second diamond, there are 3 stitches flanking it. And by the third diamond, that’s back down to the 2 stitches the pattern calls. So I started out with 8 more stitches at the lower back and gradually decreased those out. Again, that’s only about 1.5″ of extra width — I was afraid any more extra stitches than that would be too noticeable in this pattern — but hopefully it will be just enough to make to me comfortable with the fit.

I’m finally just a few rows from the join, so hopefully it won’t be too long before I know how it turns out!


PREVIOUSLY in #fringeandfriendsknitalong: FO No. 3: Kate Gagnon Osborn

8 thoughts on “A different way to shape a sweater

  1. Wow…nicely done. This sweater is going to be epically gorgeous. And way to take charge of your knitting! Happy holidays and thanks for a year of lovely blogging.

  2. Wow, this post was crazy helpful for me. I have a similar issue (though I’m definitely not a stick haha) & I’m quite hip-py (& busty really) but I have small arms, and NO shoulders apparently. I will usually do things like knit larger sweaters with smaller sleeves to try and compensate (or add length in the body as well even though I’m short) but my shoulder seams never hit me at the shoulder as a result…usually more at the bicep. The concept of trying to knit more of an a-line shape really struck me, I will definitely try this on my next sweater. I always think of sweater “shaping” as nipping in at the waist or being more fitted and hour-glassy which is never really a look I strive for myself. But based on your post I probably need to knit smaller sizes and increase where needed rather than the opposite way around, so thank you for that insight!

  3. Brilliant! You don’t even notice the space narrowing on either side of the diamond panels until it’s pointed out! I can’t wait to see how this fits. It’s looking gorgeous.

  4. As I look at pictures of my own finished sweater (here on Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/dunskins/amanda) I realize how boxy the fit is. I went for plenty of ease in the bust, and have wide shoulders and hips (hourglass shaped, I guess) but think if I had a re-do (which I won’t because this took forever!) I would add some waist shaping. Can’t wait to see your FO!

  5. Pingback: Knitalong FO No. 4: Karen Templer | Fringe Association

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