the perfect fit

i have been thinking a lot about a lovely comment that probablyjane left on the post about my greenfield cardigan. she said that she admired my ability to get a perfect fit in my cardigan, and its got me thinking about how true that is or not, and what i still need to do in that area.

as a big girl, the issue of fit is a serious one. it takes a lot of yarn and knitting to make me a cardigan. i dont want to put all that money and effort in for something i dont like at the end. yet i have done that too many times, and its especially the case when the item doesnt include any shaping! the featherweights,  february lady sweater and liesl are good examples of thinking that boxy shapes made for little people look good on big curves. they dont. they really dont. there is only one FLS i have seen on a bigger girl that looks any good, and shes not that big anyway. so i have sworn off boxy things with no shaping, that are just small girl things with extra stitches. in my recent experience, shaping pretty much always looks better. but the issue for me is what kind of shaping. i dont want to get around in tents anymore and hide away, but i dont like things to be tight and clingy. i need enough coverage to be comfortable and not have to tug at hems and closures all day. this poses something of an issue.

i have two cardigan projects on the needles at the moment that pretty much sum up my issues. one i started almost as soon as i finished greenfield, and its another top down raglan. this one is adrift, knit in slightly larger gauge and yarn than recommended to get a very drapey open fabric:

i know this is going to work because its a top down raglan and i can try it on as i go. i love knitting these types of garments, firstly because theres no seaming! but i do think this is really the best way to get a perfect fit. i always add extra shaping, whether its increases across the bust or back, just to make sure, but i probably wont need to with this one, which is already designed to have extra folds and swing. i like this look too because its quite fashionable at the moment and is really versatile. it feels modern and relaxed and wearing it wont stress me out.

but the other cardigan, well im not so sure.

its ‘leaving’ by anne hanson, and i spent a lot of time in knitty city in new york gathering together as much madeline tosh pahsmina in the now discontinued ‘vintage frame’ colourway as i could to make this. i had this pattern in mind, because its an aline, which is a good shape for me, but wasnt a complete tent either. also, it had some detail in the form of the twisted stitch ‘leaves’ that wouldnt add bulk like cables would. and, its in knit in pieces, which has its own set of advantages in that its easier to knit (ie less like a rug sitting in your lap) and the seaming actually gives shape and stability on a bigger garment. but im worried. im worried that its going to be too fitted and not drapey. im worried that i cant try it on before i finish it. im worried that the leaf pattern is a bit old fashioned for me (i know that sounds weird, but plain and simple means i can wear it with everything. a pattern starts making it occassion-specific). i have measured myself and am measuring as i go, but still, im nervous. i really really dont want to waste this beautiful yarn. im seriously thinking of frogging and trying for something more like this (with shorter sleeves!).

what do you think? im open to suggestions. but i do have a tendency to follow my gut instinct in this kind of thing, and ive been thinking about frogging leaving for a long time now. is it just inevitable then? and have i just wasted your and my time by blogging about it? instead of thinking music, i will leave you with some pictures of the garden i took this morning. its really cold and wet outside and im feeling a bit sad and lonely, like curling up under the doona for the weekend might be a good idea.

instead ive made plans to see the last potter movie tonight, and to knit with people tomorrow.

and really, deciding what to do with your madtosh pashmina is a pretty good class of problem to have. i’m looking forward to hearing how youre going to solve it for me!

k xx


About DrK

researcher, knitter, dog lover View all posts by DrK

20 responses to “the perfect fit

  • LynS

    I like ‘Leaving’ much more than I like ‘Zora’ – I think it is much more elegant. However, the A-line shape of Leaving is more structured than than the ‘clutch around you’ shape of Zora, so I guess you need to decide which you feel more comfortable with. Ultimately I think it depends on how confident you are that you have the measurements right – and you seem to be a bit doubtful about this. You’re right to go with your gut feeling, so that it’s most likely to get finished. But I still don’t like Zora.

    • drkknits

      this is a very good point lyn, about the measuring. i should do that again just to put my mind at ease. i do worry about the closure on zora. plus i have some madtosh merino light that i was thinking might be better suited to it anyway….

  • 1funkyknitwit

    Ok so you want opinions on your project choices so here goes – I hope you like 😉

    Adrift – PERFECT ! love the pattern, style and colour and most importantly it will be great on you 🙂

    Leaving – Gorgeous colour however like you mentioned I too don’t see the whole leaf thing being “you” – I’m going with ‘frog’ here (something I’m sure you’ll hate me for 😉

    So it now goes to Zora – this is “you” 😀
    I can see this cardi on you, the eyelet stitches are lovely without being pattern specific and I think the shaping is great for you too minus the knitted belt (I’m never too fond of these in general). The set in sleeves widen the shoulder width to balance out the hips and the waist detail is just enough to accentuate a waistline. I can see it in a bold colour on you too maybe not in the ‘vintage frame’ although I adore the colour.
    …hope this helps, there’s nothing worse than being in knitting limbo 🙂

  • Samantha

    I like you post. I too am a big girl and I am in the process of taking Stephanie Japel’s “Fit Your Knits” class on Craftsy. I have always wanted to knit cardigans but I am also afraid to put so much money, time and effort into something that won’t fit “me” right either. I only have the sleeves and collar to go on the “Girl Friday” cardigan but I stopped knitting it because I was afraid that the sleeves were not going to fit me correctly. I am hoping that Stephanie’s class will help me finish my project so that it fits me. I am also hoping that I will be able to knit more projects and fit them to my shape.

    As for your project, if it were mine and I had those feelings, I would frog it. Go with your gut.

  • 2paw

    I have become enamoured of Zora lately myself. I like the shaping, I do like Leavng but, like you, I need shaping!!! And I don’t think Leaving has enough. You could make it more shapely, but it might be more trouble than it is worth. Happy Pottering!!

  • justthreadtwiddling

    You definitely have a problem! Which ever way you go the yarn will be happy.I like both sweaters!

  • Ailsa

    I don’t know about zora. Those rib bits in the back are going to cut you in half at the waist, so not sure if that’s good..

    it’s not a case of one or the other anyway, because even if you don’t choose zora, you’ve fallen out of love with leaving. You may as well frog it if you really think you can’t finish it.

    But you know leaving, a line, swingy, not too big – I still think it’s a goer. What about sabattical or austin hoodie wihout the hood?

    Adrift – I admire your resolve. I got started on adrift and didn’t get past about ten rows. just toooo looonnng. But, I agree with the others, it’s practically the perfect cardigan.

  • missfee

    I love leaving – and thing the yarn and the pattern are a great fit

    but on looking at the finished projects in both Zora and leaving I think you are right to frog and start again

    But my advice is sleep on it

    Adrift is fabbo

  • RoseRed

    I am undecided. You know my intense dislike of frogging, and my admiration of Leaving, and Zora too. I think Leaving is very elegant and I can see you wearing it, but I think if you don’t feel the love, then you probably should frog it (eep! I can’t believe I just said that!)

    Bt Adrift is lovely, and such a great colour!

  • Anita

    Go with your gut feeling, better to frog now, or be like me who had to talk very nicely to her mum to unpick a garment I wore once. Though I have to say my mum unpicked, skein, washed and then wound it back it balls. I’ve just started to knitting it in a design I’ve already ready made twice, but I know I will like it and wear it alot.

    My advice is frog it if you have any doubt.


  • Kate

    I’m seriously impressed with the amount of effort and thought you put into pattern choices and fit. I usually try to ignore the little voice at the back of my mind, and plough on regardless. However, there has been some significant frogging, and some FOs that are rarely worn. So I say go with your gut – but not that keen on Zora as an alternative.

  • donna lee

    The yarn is too pretty not to love the garment so if you don’t love it, frog it. I like Leaving. I love the detail on the back. I don’t like making sweaters and I’ve never made one for myself. I am spinning some yarn to rectify that and have yet to settle on a pattern. Something simple and wearable and not at all fussy.

    You make beautiful sweaters. I’m always envious of your patience and willingness to get it just right.

  • drkknits

    oh so many useful and thoughtful suggestions. thank you! youre all right, im not feeling the’ leaving’ love, so am looking at something like sabbatical or atelier now. gonna sleep on it some more first. and maybe just finish adrift for now 🙂

  • Michelle

    So not a knitter, as you know, but I hear you on the whole shaping thing. Its one of the reasons I don’t like to crochet garments. it’s scary getting to the end of the garment to find out that the structure doesn’t suit your shape.

    I just spent this morning with Cazknit from Ravelry, and she was wearing her New York cardigan in Madeline Tosh DK. It was STUNNING on her. Again, not a knitter so I don’t have a real say, and it’s not an opinion on Zora or leaving, but I do know what I like and I loved this. I would hazard that the shape would suit you really well too.

    Is your red cardi the Silky Wool bristol red? I’ve just made a shawl out of that colour. I love using that yarn sooo much.

    Good luck with your decision making. Don’t envy you one bit!

  • Michelle

    Oops! Just realised pashmina is a 5 ply. So no new york in that nice colourway. Sorry about that!

    • drkknits

      Oh but its a lovely pattern, I’ve not seen that before, might be worth doing some maths for! Thanks for that suggestion. The Adrift is in bristol red, great colour, must go check out your shawl!

  • Sarah

    Go with your gut – you have to LOVE the pattern I think or it’s too long a slog. Mmm Adrift hadn’t seen that before and am loving it’s curve friendliness

  • jp

    I am in awe of your determination.
    I agree shaping is king – I want to get better at just shaping the way I want and modifying patterns (even with eyelet/lace).

    That is my next two year goal.

    That said

  • faeryfay

    I have a problem with cardigans, which I love knitting, but I end up looking like a frump in them. I love and adore my Leisl, but as it does up at the top and opens up over my tummy -not my best feature! I have knitted others that are not shaped and they too are not the most flattering. I like the look of the Zora cardi -the shaping looks lovely. I’m currently doing an online course at / The teacher of the course is Stephanie Japel -it’s all about knitting sweaters to fit! I’ve only done one lesson, but it is excellent! Check it out!:-)

  • Leonie

    I’m about to start on Leaving, as soon as I finish up a jacket I’m working on for a friend. I love the elegance and the simplicity of it, but if you are not feeling the love then there’s no point in pursuing it right now. That little voice is probably only going to get louder the more you ignore it. Good luck with the decision making. The beauty of Ravelry is that it is so much easier to search for more suitable options 🙂

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