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Knitting your Custom Fit Sweater

Sad to say, summer's almost over and everyone's back to school.  You may not have school aged kids, but regardless there's this feeling of getting back into the groove after a long and lazy summer.  We've planned some great classes and projects for you that will build your skills and light up your knitting. 

You already know about the Custom Fit program.  Many knitters are already on board because they've knit lots of sweaters and are excited about having patterns that are already tailored to fit them exactly.  But I've also heard from newer knitters who would like to do the Custom Fit program, but you've never knit a sweater before.  That's totally okay!  We get it.  That's why we're offering a class for anyone who would like some security, guidance, and support through the knitting of your Custom Fit sweater.  Are you obligated to do the class when you get a Custom Fit sweater?  Of course not!  However, if you are a newer knitter, there may be some techniques that are unfamiliar to you.  This class is for you. You may also be someone (like me) who finds that the structure of a class helps keep you on track.  There's nothing like a specified goal or deadline to keep you focused!  Or you may simply enjoy the camaraderie of the class. 

We've found that most knitters can finish a sweater in around 6 weeks, if they work on it steadily, and have deadlines (which is a key piece of the class).  So our Custom Fit classes will meet weekly for 6 weeks, beginning August 25th.  You can sign up for six sessions and come every week, or you can sign up for three sessions and come every other week.  Either way, you'll learn a lot, and most importantly, you'll get your sweater done.  All the way done. So you can wear it.  In season.  Isn't that why we knit sweaters anyway? 

If you want to do the Custom Fit Sweater class but you haven't yet had a chance to do one of the workshops, you can opt for a private fitting and swatching session so you'll be ready to jump right in on your first class.  Email me or call the shop to schedule a private session. Whwat are you waiting for?  Sign up now and be part of the fun!  

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Why take a Custom Fit Workshop

We had our first Custom Fit Workshop this past Sunday afternoon.  Ginni and Mary and I are all very excited about the Custom Fit program.  I love Amy Herzog's modern classic designs and her straightforward approach to getting a great fit.  Sunday was our first Custom Fit workshop, and we spent the afternoon looking at our silhouette, thinking about our style preferences and getting the measurements needed for a one of Amy's Custom Fit patterns.  Of course I hope everyone chooses to knit one of Amy's sweaters, because I think they're beautiful, but if not, there was still great value in yesterday's workshop. 

The measurements we took are key in getting any pattern to fit perfectly.  In these workshops you discover the numbers that reflect what I call decision points in a sweater pattern.  It's fairly easy to get a particular body measurement, but it's more challenging to know how to translate that into a number of inches at a particular point in your sweater.  For instance, it's one thing to measure your armhole, but it's quite another to know how deep you like your sweater armhole to be.  It's a subtle but very distinct difference.  The same with sleeve lengths.  If you don't know how deep you want your sweater's armhole, you won't know where to begin your sleeve length measurement, and your sleeve may be too long or too short.  Likewise the waist to armhole length and so on.  These are crucial measurements for good sweater fit, and they're all tied up together.  When you have your measurements and you know your fit preferences, you can compare those measurements to the schematic of any sweater pattern and adjust accordingly. 

The biggest and most valuable takeaway from yesterday's session, was, of course, this set of measurements.  With this information you can turn almost any sweater into a custom design perfect for you.  We've been doing it for 10 years in our Fit and Finish classes.  So, why I'm so jazzed about the Custom Fit program if you can do the same thing in a Fit and Finish class?  I'm glad you asked!  Actually, there are four reasons:

  1. No Math -- With Custom Fit, you don't have to do any of the math. There's no calculating the rate of change for longer or shorter sleeves, figuring out how much waist shaping to add and where to put it.
  2. You're never in between sizes, or outside of the size range -- So often a pattern jumps something like 36" to 40", and you'd like it to be 38". Very frustrating, but all too common. Or the largest/smallest size is smaller/larger than you need it to be.  With Custom Fit you don't have to worry because the pattern is always your size, whatever that is. 
  3. Gauge is what you say it is - You never have to worry about your gauge being ever so slightly off. In fact, you can work the pattern at any gauge you want with any yarn you want, and again, there's not math to do.  It's all built into the program. 
  4. With a Custom Fit pattern you have the opportunity to build in a particular amount of ease. You can specify close fit, an average fit, or a loose fit, depending on your preference.  The computer calculates the correct amount of ease about the bust, hips and waist without impacting that ever-important fit at the shoulder. 

Could you do this yourself any or all of these adjustments yourself?  Of course.  I've done it, and I've taught classes on how to do it.  But it's fiddly.  Not everything needs to be sized up the same amount.  The whole process takes  a considerable amount of time and a certain amount of knowhow, and unless math is your thing, it's not that much fun.  All those calculations are just in the way of what we love most about knitting - the knitting.  

If you missed Sunday's Custom Fit workshop, it's not too late get in on the program.  We have another workshop Sunday, August 16th, and another one Sunday, September 20th.  Sign up today and get ready to knit sweaters you absolutely love! 

Back to the 28 July 2015 newsletter

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Ugly Sweaters

This cartoon makes me laugh. And then it makes me cry.  Not really, but it is sad that hand knit sweaters have such a bad a rap.  The image of the ugly, ill-fitting sweater is powerful.  Wonky parts, garish colors, and itchy fibers.  And oh, the guilt as you thank the well-meaning someone who knitted it "just for you."  The ugly sweater even has its own TV trope.  It's an exaggeration, but not a wild one.  Let's look at the four aspects of an ugly sweater:

  • Poor materials. As with anything, your finished product is only as good as the ingredients you put into it.  Cheap yarn is, well, cheap.  Low grade acrylic yarn doesn't breathe, it's uncomfortable to wear, and it pills like a big dog.  Plus craft yarn doesn't come in fashion colors, so it always looks just a little off.  But you're a Crazy for Ewe customer, and you already know that. 
  • Bad Fit Exaggerated in film, but all too close to the truth is the sweater that doesn't fit right.  The best yarn in the world won't make up for a lousy fit.  Too big in the shoulders, not right in the bust, too short or too or long in the arms (or anywhere, for that matter) and you're looking at a major Ugh. 
  • Wrong Style If a sweater doesn't suit your style and preferences, you're going to think it's ugly.  The fact is that ugly is in the eye of the wearer.  We all have different shapes, different aesthetics, and different challenge areas.  That's just the way of the world, and what looks terrible on one body will look wonderful on another.  Choosing a style that's flattering and fits your personal style essential.
  • Poor finishing You know I'm a pretty chill knitter.  If I miss an increase on one row, I'll just do it on the next.  Extra stitch?  Just knit those suckers together.  But when it comes to finishing, I am a type A perfectionist.  It doesn't matter how beautiful your yarn, how perfect the fit, or how flattering the style, your sweater is only as good as the finishing. 

We've all seen ugly sweaters.  Heck, I've knit an ugly sweater or two myself.  It was part of my learning process, but it doesn't have to be part of yours.  I'm very excited that Crazy for Ewe is part of Amy Herzog's Custom Fit program.   With this program we can take your measurements and enter them into the computer (and save them, so it'll be there for all your future sweaters too). The program turns that information into a perfect custom pattern.   No more calculating increases or decreases to adjust shoulders, sleeves, or anything else.  The pattern is perfect for you, right out of the gate.   

As part of the kick off for this program we'll also be offering workshops that will help you choose sweaters that flatter your shape and suit your personal style.   Regular finishing seminars will ensure that you can put your sweater together professionally for a garment you'll love to wear for years to come.

Sound like fun?  We're still finalizing the details, mark your calendar for Sunday, July 26 for our first workshop.  If you want to be the first to know, comment on this post, and I'll add you to the preferred list, so you'll have first dibs on classes and other benefits.  

I look forward to seeing you in the Custom Fit Workshops and around the table  You are always welcome here.  

Ellen

Back to 14 July 2015 newsletter

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