I was lucky enough to get to the wonderful Squam this year, and even luckier to do two great classes. The first was with Amy Herzog (Fit to Flatter) and the second with Bristol Ivy (Knitting Outside the Box). Things were learnt, and as with all good classes, they were not necessarily the things I expected to learn.
You see, I have been making things for a long time, and with that has come some confidence that I know what I’m doing. Confidence is a useful thing in making – and it’s been hard won with a lot of practice - so I’m a little attached to it and glad I have it. However, after doing Amy’s class, I’ve realised that that same confidence has lead me to be a little closed-minded.
I went to the Fit to Flatter class - which was all about how to get your knitted garments to fit properly – with the belief that I already knew how to get sweaters to fit. I had a fair bit of sweater knitting experience up my sleeve (Ha!) and I’ve even written a few (great :)) posts in the past about fit like “How to choose the perfect sweater pattern” and “Getting bottom up sweaters to fit beautifully”. And they are still really useful and relevant, but ……well you get the picture. I’d heard Amy was a great teacher so I was really interested in going, but I really did think I knew most of it.
How wrong I was!!
There were many parts of the Fit to Flatter class that were total genius like “How to swatch”. I mean, if you had of asked me before the class about swatching and whether I could do it, I would have almost chuckled in a dismissive way. “Of course” I would have answered. Turns out that I only kinda knew…..
And there was another 10 of those moments scattered through the class.
Some of these lightbulb moments I think I understood intuitively, but I didn’t understand the reasons behind the decisions I was making. And because this is hard to explain without giving you an example, I’m going to give you an example.
Let’s talk about waist-boob.
What is waist-boob I hear you ask? I’m sure there is a definition on Wikipedia or something, but a simple definition is where your boobs look like they are part of your waist rather than your chest. The class lead me to understand waistboob in a whole new way – a way that already has changed how I make. Amy covered how and when waistboob occurs for different body types and then how to avoid it.
Let’s look at a specific example, shall we? I’ve always loved the Brooklyn Tweed sweater Stasis – and it’s the kind of love that is lasting and true. It’s been in my queue forever and I have the yarn in stash ready to go. I haven’t made it though – and during the class I started thinking about why. So I went to Ravelry to have a look.
Many of the Stasis projects on Ravelry, while beautiful, clearly demonstrate waistboob. The pattern looks sensational on a hanger but on a person => waistboob. Even the gorgeous Brooklyn Tweed model has waistboob in one of the pictures. And I think that was one of the reasons I’ve been avoiding knitting it. It doesn’t look great on that many people.
Amy explained the reason why* – it has to do with where the colourwork finishes. You need to have the colourwork finish somewhere closer to the nipple line, if you have a particular bust size AND high neck like Stasis does, in order to avoid waistboob. Changing the position of where the colourwork starts would elevate your boobs to join your neck region. How ace is that!
Amy’s class talked swatching, shape, ease, darts, how to choose a size, how to take your measurements and proportions of sweaters, in a different way to what I knew. And it has given me tools to fix what is unflattering. Amy told me why I don’t like the things I don’t like – intuition is one thing but there is real joy in understanding my friends.
Then there were the many things in the class that I was convinced I didn’t need due to the style of sweaters I like (which are different to Amy’s – many of her sweater patterns are quite fitted) – but by the end of it I was totally convinced would work for me in various patterns (like back darts).
I was one of the lucky ones I think as it turns out that I was kind-of on track already. Many of the sweaters I’ve made already follow her fit rules. In the past that was based on intuition of what looked best on me. Now it will be based on some understanding which makes me truly thrilled.
Now you are probably wondering why I’m telling you about a class for a retreat, that has already happened, that you can’t take? Well you can!! The point of the post was to suggest that you try either her book Knit to Flatter or her online Craftsy class Knit to Flatter. She also has a HEAP of great info on her blog that will keep you happy with a cup of tea for a good long while.
Finally, I’m pretty sure you guys know this already, but just in case – I wanted to be clear that this blog is totally unsponsored and I am not getting any kickback from anything. I just tell you about stuff I’ve loved, and think you might too. I got so much out of this class that I think I might be a little bit in love with her for how she has changed my knitting.
*Amy wasn’t specifically talking about Stasis.