About two years ago I lost my Bea headband. I was pretty sad about that, but it was the end of winter so I decided to use the opportunity to plan a similar but more complex headband. Obviously I didn’t get to it very promptly, but when I finally did, I came up with something great! I love having my accessories coordinate, so I made a matching pair of mitts, and the end result is the Pacesetter set.
All of the pieces are made on US 7/4.5 mm needles using Hazel Knits Lively DK, a wool and nylon blend yarn. The headband is knit flat, and then it’s tied in a snug little knot, just like Bea, when it’s all done. The stitch pattern featured on both the headband and mitts is done by simply rearranging the stitches. The get a right slanting stitch you slip two stitches together knit-wise and then slip them back to the left needle knit-wise one at a time so they’re rearranged before you work them. To get the left slanting stitch, you slip two stitches one at a time knit-wise and then slip them back to the left needle knit-wise together before you work them. No cable needle required.
The mitts are knit in the round from the cuff up with a thumb gusset for shaping. The stitch pattern runs down the back, and the palms are plain stockinette so they’re comfortable to wear. The mitts come in three sizes and are a quick project that’d be great for gifts. You can get the set for $6.50 from Ravelry or the Untangling Knots pattern shop. You can also add the Pacesetter Headband or Pacesetter Mitts to your queue on Ravelry.
Books that aren’t about fit is a weird topic for a post in a series on fit books, but these three books tend to come up a lot when you’re searching with terms like “fitting knits” and “customizing knits.” I wanted to include them so I could share with you what they’re about and hopefully prevent some rude surprises.
Fitted Knits by Stefanie Japel is a pattern book that features mostly fitted, figure-hugging projects. It includes suggestions for choosing the best size and minor alterations, but this is as brief as you’d expect for a pattern book. That section takes up only three pages out of the whole thing, so it’s not a good choice if you’re looking for detailed fit information. It is a cute pattern book, though! I’ve owned it for a long time, and some of the earliest posts on Untangling Knots are about projects from this book.
Custom Knits by Wendy Bernard is also a pattern book! This one features mostly top-down sweaters which are easier to modify, and it does include a pinch of customization information. At the back of the book there’s information on altering the armhole depth, adding short-row “after thought” sleeves, going from a pullover to a cardigan, changing the neckline treatment, and playing with different edgings. It also gives nice overviews of three common top-down construction methods. But this only about 15% of Custom Knits, and the majority of the customization information is aimed at changing the look, not the fit. It’s a good book to own if you like the patterns or are interested in reading through a bunch of patterns using different top-down construction methods.
The winter 2014 issue of Twist Collective is out, and I’ve got a pattern in it! It’s called Quarry, and it’s a cute, seamless, cropped pullover with a graphic, stranded colorwork yoke. The sweater body is knit from the bottom up, and the shoulders are joined with a three-needle bind off. The sleeves are knit seamlessly from the top down using short rows to shape the sleeve cap.
This is my sketch from my proposal. The inspiration board for this section of patterns had lots of grey, black, and white drawings, and I just loved the bold punch of it. I wanted to come up with something that stood out but was very clean looking, and the crisscrossing lines with varying spacing seemed like the perfect match. I’m really happy with how this design evolved. You can get the pattern from Twist Collective, or you can add it to your queue or purchase Quarry on Ravelry. Photos from Twist Collective copyright Faye Schiano.
If you couldn’t tell from my two red sweater WIPS, I’m a big red lover, and I was especially enamored with this red version of Chuck made by Melissa, HelloMissy on Ravelry. I like how the semi-solid Madelinetosh adds an extra bit of interest to the sweater, and that shade of red looks perfect with the bright blue dress she’s wearing in her FO pictures. It’s such a cheerful looking sweater and outfit.
About her project Melissa says, “I was really nervous when I started this project, as it was only my second sweater, but this pattern was so easy to understand. The sweater fits like it was made for me – I didn’t have to make any mods (and thank goodness as I’m still a newbie sweater knitter at this point!). I have received so many compliments on it; I can’t wait until the weather cools off so I can start wearing it again.” You can find Melissa’s project notes for her Chuck on Ravelry, and she blogs at Melissa in Progress.
Finally a book specifically on fit! Knitting Plus by Lisa Shroyer is on custom fitting plus-sized sweaters, and it has a lot of really great, solid information. The first chapter goes over the various parts that make up a sweater and the different fit issues a plus-sized knitter might face. It also explains a lot of the logic behind the standards for plus-sized sweaters and why those standards might cause fit problems for knitters who carry their weight in different places than the hour glass shape that the standards are modeled on. The next chapter covers the basics of where and what to modify on the sweater body. There isn’t a lot of hand-holding or detail here, so you need to be pretty comfortable with doing calculations based on gauge and figuring out how to incorporate them into your sweater pattern. I think the book could have gone into more detail here, but all of the necessary information can easily be found in other sources. Little Red in the City covers everything that I feel like is missing from this chapter.
The rest of the books covers five different basic sweater construction methods: drop-shoulder sweaters, set-in sleeve sweaters, raglan sweaters, seamless circular yokes, and dolman sweaters. The book gives an overview of these different methods and suggestions on which type of plus-sized bodies they’ll fit best and the limitations of the particular styles when it comes to plus-sized modifications. It includes some really good advice on how to alter this section, like how to recalculate set-in sleeves to get a custom fit and where to hide additional shaping in a raglan yoke if you need more stitches through the upper arm. A lot of the fit books I’ve read have simply suggested that you choose a sweater size that fits through the shoulders and upper arms and then focus on modifying the body because altering this part of the sweater can be challenging, but that doesn’t leave a lot of options if your shoulders and upper arms don’t match the body shape the standards are based on. This book does a nice job of giving you the tools to make those changes if you’re a plus-sized knitter.