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How to Become an "Expert Knitter"   *Buy this book on CD for offline reading!

table of contents » chapter 1 (of 29)

1: Choosing Patterns, Yarns & Size

Choose a knitting pattern and yarn carefully! You are making something personal and unique, and because you will be spending hours of precious time on this project, you deserve a wonderful result.


What should I knit?

The inspiration to knit is usually triggered by a photograph. Look at a beautiful sweater, and then imagine how it will look on the person who will wear it. At this stage of choosing, it’s all visual, and you have to consider proportion and balance. Not every shape suits or fits all, and it’s a shame to put your hopes into knitting a garment that may be never be worn. Everyone, just everyone, wants a garment that will flatter them!

Here are a few points to remember when you are gazing at an appealing photograph:

• Look at all the details of the photograph. Check that you can see enough of the garment to be sure that it is exactly what you are hoping for. If a part of the garment is elaborately hidden, or some section is extremely gathered, or the model is in an odd pose, that can mean that the whole thing doesn’t fit or hang properly.

• If you have big hips, don’t choose a pattern for a garment with a tight or an elaborate hem band.

• Avoid stripes, bright colour areas or lumpy pattern stitches across any area you don’t care to emphasise. Think about where the eye will be directed by a stripe.

• Don’t choose to knit a huge, wide sweater if you are a tiny size. You will look like a famous doll.

• If you are big, choose a pattern for a garment with bright colours or details near your face. Keep the rest of the garment mysterious, maybe in a dark colour.

• Tight sleeves won’t look good on big arms, and cuffs should be wide enough to balance any width at the top of the arm, but be careful and don’t go too far the other way. Remember that low armholes or dolman sleeves will add kilos at a glance.

• Avoid making a garment from very fluffy yarns unless you are tiny. Just use these yarns as a trim if you don’t want to look like a bear.


Will I be ashamed of my knitting?

The competence shown in the actual knitting isn’t really crucial. I don’t believe that a knitter will choose a design or pattern, buy the yarn, find the needles and then decide to knit badly. Why bother to knit, and even complete, something that is awful? I think that every knitted garment is a good try and the knitter does the best he or she can. Often, the effect is not even the result of “good” or “bad” (competent or incompetent) knitting. Some yarns look very smooth and perfect when knitted and others result in a deliberately lumpy texture. The variations are part of the charm of a hand-knitted garment.


Can I knit this?

Read the pattern carefully to make sure that you understand all the directions. Most pattern writers write very clear instructions, but sometimes the meaning is a bit obscure and this can be very discouraging. Puzzling a way through a pattern makes a knitter feel as if it is all too hard. If you can’t work out how to continue the project, it will end up as that bag of wool and needles hiding in a cupboard!

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