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  • Fit and Finish

    May 17, 2010 2 min read

    This weekend we begin our Willow Fit and Finish in Leonardtown.  I am very excited to teach this class because it’s so empowering and transformational.  Sounds like hyperbole, but honestly, once you understand how to knit a perfectly-fitting sweater, your knitting will never be the same.  How do I know?  Well, let’s just say that in my past life, I knit lots and lots of sweaters that didn’t fit me right!  Truth is, most of us just look at a sweater pattern, see which bust size is nearest our own, add two inches, and start knitting.  That should work, shouldn’t it?  Uuh…no.  That bust number is just one measurement of your sweater, and while it might be a good starting point for how much yarn to purchase, it by no means addresses all the other aspects of your sweater, your body, and your preferences.  When I first started knitting in college, I was tall and very busty (too busty really, but that’s another story).  Anyway, my sweaters fit over my bust, but weren’t that flattering anywhere else.  I was and still am, very long-waisted, but I didn’t know it back then.  I just thought it was my bust taking up all the length.  I took to knitting elaborately patterned but shapeless and oversized garments that didn’t really need to fit, and certainly didn’t flatter.

    Over the years, through trial and error, studying well-made designs, and talking with accomplished designers, especially Sally Melville, I slowly began to understand how to make sweaters that fit.  Sally taught me about shoulder fit.  Louisa Harding unlocked the secrets of the sleeve cap, and Joan McGowen-Michael introduced me to the wonders of short-rows.  Since the shop first opened, we’ve culled and refined a host of basic techniques and understandings that help ensure our students work a sweater that fits them perfectly.  We begin with a set of body and garment measurements.  Then we examine the pattern and see where changes need to be made to accommodate each student’s own special shape and preferences. 
    The second class is a progress check-in where we address questions, see that we’re on track with the changes we’ve made, and ensure that the garment is progressing as we hoped.

    In the last class, we address one of the biggest fear factors of most knitters: finishing.  Finishing is often the place where things fall apart.  Finishing is not knitting, and many knitters view it as a necessary evil.  They often do not have the requisite skills, so they just do the best they can and muddle through.  And it shows.  Poor finishing WILL ruin a beautifully knit garment.  The good news is that once you have the skills, it’s really quite easy to put your sweater together flawlessly and be as proud of your finishing as you are of your knitting.  It’s not a fast process, but neither is the knitting.  It takes several weeks to knit a sweater, and you will not be able to do the finishing in thirty minutes.  If you arm yourself with the skills and give yourself a few hours, you will be absolutely delighted at results.  I promise.

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