It was raining when I got up today, and cool enough to wear a shawl for once.


Shawl – Abbegale
Cardigan – clothes swap
Top – M&S
Skirt – White Stuff
Leggings – M&S
Shoes – Jones Bootmaker

I’ve been thinking about what kind of handknits I wear the most lately, partly prompted by this post of Mooncalf’s, partly by the fact that I will be moving jobs in a few months and I’m wondering what changes I might need to make to my work wardrobe, and partly by plodding through the first sleeve of my Featherweight Cardigan (which is a bit wider than I expected to be, and means I’m not quite going to end up with the neat little fitted cardi of my dreams).

Mooncalf thinks of herself as a sweater knitter, and was surprised that a review of her blog concentrated mostly on socks and scarves. I am starting to think that I’m not a sweater knitter, and that that’s probably fine. I love knitting socks and shawls; socks because they’re so portable, and because handknitted socks are so lovely and cosy, shawls because they’re such a lovely way to use up beautiful yarn and – crucially – because they’re so easy to wear and a perfect way to add some interest and individuality to a work outfit. Whereas handknitted jumpers aren’t quite so straightforward for me. Partly this may just be because I’m not a good enough knitter yet, and maybe I should just accept that however tempting top-down raglans may be by the time I’ve increased enough to accommodate my bust the sleeves are always going to be too wide, and I’d be much better off with seamed patterns (I do love my Hey Teach!, after all). But handknitted jumpers and cardigans are also often very warm, and can be too much for the average office, and I don’t really want to spend months crafting a beautiful cardigan I can only wear at weekends. Even when it doesn’t end up being a not-terribly-good fit.

I’m not going to give up trying to knit jumpers, and maybe one day I’ll make the breakthrough and be able to knit nice, wearable jumpers that don’t take six months to make. But maybe I should stop being jumper-quantities of yarn, given that I already have enough for about five years at my current pace…

(Later – in fact, having just cast off the first sleeve of the Featherweight, it’s not as flappy as it looked while still on the needle. So it might be OK after all!)

7 responses to “Preferences

  1. Your Hey Teach is lovely and really suits you. Maybe you should get Ysolda’s book and follow her advice on fitting garments. The patterns that have come out so far are mostly top down and seamless but not raglan.

    • I’ve got it on pre-order! I am hoping it will help, actually – I suspect that a lot of the problem is that I’m a very different shape from the standard used for fitting garments (large bust, waist so high it’s practically the same as my underbust) and don’t really know enough to adjust things properly.

  2. I think Ysolda’s book probably is going to be the answer – for me too. I don’t have much bust to accommodate, but I do have an awful lot less torso to fit shaping into than most designers envisage, and I’m not good at seeing where to take the length out myself.

    • Yes, I’m very much looking forward to it arriving! I have a large bust, a high waist and a short torso and I do struggle with getting things to fit me. One of my favourite things about sewing is realising that you can baste pieces together, try them on, make adjustments, try them again and do the whole thing as many times as you need – all in an afternoon. None of this knitting for three months only to find at the end that you could have done with starting the waist shaping an inch higher and dropping the neckline a bit, at which point I for one can never bring myself to frog and re-knit!

      • And sewing patterns tend to have helpful lines drawn on them showing exactly where to adjust, too.

        It was your mentioning Ysolda’s book back in March that inspired my own pre-order, actually, and I’m going to swatch for Angoustoura this weekend.

  3. I am guessing that working with sewing patterns will also teach you a lot about general shaping techniques. Once you have practice, I think you will have a much easier time applying said general principles to knitting.

    • You may be right – I think because knitting patterns have the shaping written in it’s harder to really understand what’s going on or to make adjustments.

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