Last Thursday I spent the day in an Anne Hansen workshop. The topic was knitting well fitting sweaters.

It was my third workshop on this general topic in recent months. It reinforced learning from those earlier sessions and provided important "aha" moments of understanding. (These things are so obvious they are probably better described as "Duh" moments but honestly I hadn't really considered them like this before) For example...

  • Aha! I need to invest money to buy patterns with thoroughly detailed schematics or to invest time and effort developing one myself from a bare bones pattern.

Duh! I expect detail in sewing patterns and understand the necessity of altering them for fit. I would never cut fabric for a garment based on unaltered pattern pieces or choose a pattern without considering my measurements but I create knit fabric all the time with little idea of how the pieces will come together to fit me.
  • Aha! Do three swatches* on three different needle sizes to be sure of stitch and row gauge.
Duh! . Row gauge is critical, among other things, to spacing increases and decreases for shaping. Since I do prefer, for example, the waist shaping of my sweaters to fall at the waist of my body, why not try to achieve both stitch and row gauge.

  • Aha! Wash and dry swatches.

Duh! Why use unwashed swatches to give me information about fabric for a garment that will be washed?

  • Aha! I have been a lazy knitter!
  • Aha! Rather than admit to my laziness I've blamed...patterns, my figure, my knitting skills, the math (really the simplest of elementary school arithmetic is all that's required - what have I been so afraid of?). 

Duh! The magic of new yarn and casting on has grabbed me and I've indulged in it without a plan as to what to do after that yarn crazed moment has passed.

Duh! I try to "fix" things the next time with more of the same clueless casting on.

  • Aha! This knitter needs to drop the excuses, do a little math. knit a few swatches, wash and dry them and then get on with actually enjoying the process of knitting sweaters again.
  • Aha! My fond memories of sweater knitting in the 80's was on the then fashionable shapeless sweaters with drop sleeves - no fitting required so my laziness didn't show ! The fabulous yarns and patterns available today necessitate that I bring my best game in order to fully enjoy knitting and wearing them!

Duh! When I just can't be bothered, I can always indulge in socks, scarves, bags, mitts, afghans, even top down, try as you go sweaters with yoke construction forgiving of knitting without much consideration of details until you're into the thick of things.

(BTW) A top down try as you go yoke sweater is just what I'll post about tomorrow with my long overdue simple Swingy Garter Sweater FO!

'Hope to "see" you then! Thanks for dropping by today!

*What's my problem with swatching anyway?  It is just knitting, after all and isn't that supposed to be something I enjoy?


Rue said...

I've always liked Elizabeth Zimmerman's idea of knitting a hat as a swatch. Not only do you get a piece big enough to give useful information (and I've been known to cast on an inch and a half worth of stitches to find out gauge for socks) but you also have a finished product. Now I just have to start taking my own advice!

I'm glad you enjoyed the fit workshops so much. This reminds me to check out similar workshops in my neck of the woods.

Stephanie said...

Sounds like a good class! I try to swatch but sometimes it seems no matter what I do I never get gauge. That is definitely starting to get on my nerves. The schematic part I'll probably have to figure out somewhere along the line, too...

pendie said...

Wow, that's a lot of good info. I think it's fair to call them "aha" moments; how on earth can anyone remember all that at once?!

Michele said...

Wow, that was certainly very useful workshop. I'm going to have to reread your blog a couple of times to try and learn all your new learning.

Lorraine said...

I went to Anne's trunk show- and really felt inspired.

She brings alot of background to her classes- those are all things we need to be reminded of.

Sel and Poivre said...

You are so right Lorraine! She was in men's tailoring for 15 years! She knows her technical stuff inside and out so her manner is very matter of fact about it - prompting me at least to feel that sense of "well of course! Why didn't I realize that long ago?"!

Anonymous said...

great reminders for all of us!!!

brenda said...

I hate it when the truth hurts and is so obvious. But I do know you are not alone in this.

Lisa R-R said...

Rational thought is hard to get to. Rationalizing is very easy!
I fall into the latter trap all of the time, but am also not happy when things/people are not logical.
Thanks for showing off the lovely new finished product!