Saturday, September 17, 2011

Helpful Hint #17: Wearables—aim for complimentary over complex

You know how it is. Some book, magazine, or on-line pattern comes out, touting some new knitting or crocheting technique. You get excited, thinking “WOW! I can make an entire sweater using Bavarian crochet!” Sometimes it’s a tried-and-true older technique.

Before you get too crazy, you need to step back from the yarn and implements. You need to THINK.

I found out a while back that it’s possible to knit an adult-sized “Baby Surprise Jacket.” Upon an honest, searching, and fearless appraisal, I decided that—while I thought the IDEA of an adult-sized “Baby Surprise Jacket” was really awesome and would probably be fun to knit—there was no way I’d look well in multi-directional stripes, especially seeing as the horizontal stripes fall at the hips. I don’t think I know anyone who would look well in multi-directional stripes, except maybe a Size 4 model, or the baby for whom the sweater was originally designed.

Ditto with any other unusual sweater design. I fell in love with the “Spoke” sweater from Knitty when it came out. I’m sure it would be a wonderful and challenging pattern to knit, but really, I’d look like a moose. I also have a granny square sweater in my Ravelry queue that I’m probably never going to make, for the same reason. I think the idea of Elizabeth Zimmermann’s “Hurry-Up Last Minute Sweater” is a cool concept, but again, I’m guessing that a man would look better in this than a woman—probably a male model.

So, the next time you see some fascinating wearable design—THINK before you cast or chain on!


  1. I would knit something just for the fun of it. To me, knitting is all about the process, if I wanted a sweater I would buy one. But to each their own, and if what you're doing is working for you, then keep on with it!

  2. Sometimes the magic of making something is so enchanting that we forget to consider design! I like to picture a handknit item on a rack in a store. Would I think it was attractive if it wasn't handmade? If the answer is no, I do not make it.

    I'm jealous that you have a use for very warm sweaters, by the way. I've made a bunch of worsted wool things that I can't wear 11 months out of 12.