I am super excited to finally start my first Custom Fit sweater. The brainchild of designer Amy Herzog, the Custom Fit program allows you to create sweaters that fit perfectly because they are created for your specific measurements.
If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that during our recent yarn crawl I ended up with a ridiculous amount of yarn earmarked to make sweaters. That was the impetus for me to finally try Amy’s ingenious program. Do I know how to alter sweater patterns to better fit me? A qualified yes…I still struggle, especially when altering armholes and sleeve caps. At the end of the day, I have limited confidence that my alterations will work as I hope. That’s why I wanted to give Custom Fit a try.
Here’s how it worked:
I signed up for Custom Fit. Once registered, I entered all my measurements into my account. It was easy, since the measuring instructions are very clear. Next I chose a pattern to buy. I wanted my first Custom Fit sweater to be simple so I could easily understand how the program works. I chose the basic v-neck Drumlin Cardigan.
Once I told the program my gauge it started to create the pattern using my own measurements, plus gave me an option to refine my measurements even further. Rather than “secretary’s spread”, I refer to my hip area as “knitter’s butt.” I altered the hip measurement so that the back would be wider than the front to accommodate where I carry my weight.
I hit a button and out came the pattern I purchased, completely customized for my measurements and gauge. It’s like magic!
When I make sweaters I like to start with a sleeve. It’s a good chance to see whether my gauge swatch is truth or fiction! Miracle of miracles, the sleeve and gauge swatch match and the sleeve is the exact measurements that my Custom Fit pattern says it should be. I can’t tell you how relaxing it was to knit the sleeve, knowing all the shaping was already calculated for me and the final measurements would fit me.
In addition to the online program, Custom Fit can be found in many yarn shops. A trained staff member will take your measurements and get you started in the program. They’re there to help you every step of the way.
A harbinger of changing weather is apple-picking time. Here in Northeast Ohio there are lots of wonderful orchards such as Eddy Fruit Farm in Chesterland. I love all the corn stalk and pumpkin decorations.
Picking apples right from the tree is heavenly!
As we picked different kinds of apples the sun set, making it a memorable evening.
Time for everyone to get out their favorite apple crisp recipes!
The Harps & Thistles Yarn Emporium was shop #10 on my Yarn Discovery Tour. At the outset, I decided that 10 shops would be enough for this year, so this was also my final stop.
The Emporium’s dinosaur is a good representative of the whimsical nature of the store. It’s filled with a large selection of colorful yarns.
The end of the line, stamp #10 was added to my Passport and I was entered into a drawing for the special gift basket for anyone visiting 10 shops. Some intrepid knitters are going to all 15. I’m impressed! I had a wonderful time getting to know Northeast Ohio shops that I wouldn’t otherwise have known about. It’s been a great Tour!
It was stop #9 on my Yarn Discovery Tour, and judging by the happy knitters gathered around the table I am not alone in really liking Long Tail Knits. Owner Jeannine Hausch was welcoming and very knowledgeable. As she showed me around the shop’s yarns and spinning supplies, I was impressed by some special lines she carries. For one thing, I am a complete sucker for cashmere. Long Tail Knits has its very own line of hand-dyed fingering weight yarn in a luscious blend of merino and cashmere, with a bit of nylon thrown in for stability. The yarns are shown off on displays with original shawl designs:
I appreciate that the store carries products from two local alpaca farms, Whistler’s Glen and Black Walnut.
I went slightly nuts in this store. Not only does Jeannine carry high-quality yarn, but also she has a few garments for sale. I bought a gorgeous little alpaca-blend Peruvian stranded jacket which I simply must have for winter. I also…you guessed it…bought another sweater’s worth of yarn. Jeannine introduced me to the Cestari line. Not only is the yarn beautiful, it’s entirely made in the USA. I can’t wait to get stitching with it!
Finally, the shop offers all kinds of open knitting times, workshops and events. I don’t know how they keep track of it all!
They kindly added stamp #9 to my Passport.
It was easy to find The Designing Woman in Fairlawn. It was stop #8 on my whirlwind Yarn Discovery Tour. I was amazed by the number of manufacturers represented there. For pattern junkies like me, there are also binders filled with all kinds of patterns. It would be impossible not to find a project and the yarn to go with it at this store!
I had a nice time being helped by a very friendly and knowledgeable staff member. We found some lovely, soft lace yarn for a pattern I took from my queue. I was concentrating on finding yarn, but the store carries a selection of fabric as well.
Here’s my #8 Passport stamp:
Shop #7 on my Yarn Discovery Tour reminds me of a phrase I love – “small but mighty”. Cornerstone Yarns is a little shop with a fun array of yarns in Brecksville. I enjoyed meeting Kathryn, the owner, whose many beautiful shop samples reflect her decades of knitting experience. I always enjoy meeting knitters who have such a depth of knowledge.
Cornerstone carries a nice selection of yarn, with a good mix of fun self-striping and self-patterning yarns, and also good solids. I found yarn for yet another sweater. This time it’s a bright red dk weight Nature Spun by Brown Sheep.
One of the hard-to-find yarns that Kathryn carries is Kauni. Swoon! I will definitely be going back to this store to pick up a Kauni pattern and yarn. Cornerstone’s Facebook page is a good way to keep up on their current hours.
So there we have it. Passport stamp #7!
While crochet may be the emphasis in expertise for stop #6 on my Yarn Discovery Tour, there are plenty of delightful yarns to be found for any yarn lover at Crochet Innovations. I like that the yarns are arranged by fiber. As a designer one of my first considerations in matching yarn to a new design is to find the right kind of fiber content that will work for the design’s season, stitch pattern and drape.
Despite several attempts to learn to crochet, I am terrible at it. My hands seem to have a mind of their own; they refuse to do anything but knit if they’re holding yarn. I do love to add crochet edgings to knit pieces, though. So far my edgings have been very simple. At Crochet Innovations I found just the right book on crochet edgings, and hope that I can graduate to fancier stitches if I study it. If I still can’t get the hang of it, I know where to come for lessons.
Stamp #6 was duly collected!
The Artful Yarn in Chagrin Falls was shop #5 on my Yarn Discovery Tour. It’s the closest store to where I live, and feels like “home”. Part of my affection for the store is that when I had my trunk show and taught a class the owner and staff made me feel so welcome. Their enthusiasm and kindnesses made both events fun for me.
One of the many things I love about The Artful Yarn is that Cathy always brings in new yarns. She carefully considers which yarns to carry, explaining, “We support fair-wage, fair-trade companies and those that foster ethical treatment of animals and responsible disposal of dye.”
The new-to-me yarn I found during this trip is Baah Ram Ewe. I found just the right colors to make the Passerine Hat that’s been in my queue for a while.
I like the way The Artful Yarn is set up. There is a dedicated class room, which means that when a class is in session there isn’t the distraction of being in the middle of a store where people are shopping and asking questions. One of nicest areas is a super-comfy sitting area for “In the Loop” gatherings, where knitters hang out and knit together several times a week.
On the Yarn Tour, every time you get your Passport stamped you are entered into a drawing for that particular shop’s prize basket. Stops number 5, 10, and 15 are special, as you’re then entered into even bigger prize baskets. I sort of planned it so that The Artful Yarn would be my milestone stop #5, since I knew it would be especially fun. The staff member was excited about adding me to the list for the big drawing, and even celebrated the fact in my Passport!
Stop #4 on the Yarn Discovery Tour took me to Cleveland’s west side. River Colors Studio is an amazing place. It’s enormous, with an astounding range of yarns. This picture doesn’t begin to convey how big the store is; there’s a whole additional room in the front.
I can always find what I’m looking for here. From high-end to lower priced yarns, with every kind of fiber and blend well represented, this is like Mecca for knitters. I found a sweater’s worth of Rowan Hemp Tweed, a yarn I’ve been excited to try. For stranding, there’s shelf after shelf of Jamieson’s Shetland 2-ply in scores of colors. I received excellent help from the staff in picking out colors for a hat I’d like to make.
There’s even a wall of heavier wool for stranded sweaters.
One of the things I love to do when going to River Colors Studio is visit the Blackbird Baking Company next door for wonderful baked goods. (I’m partial to their focaccia.)
Here’s Passport stamp #4!
Don’t you love the name of this store? Fiber Addiction, as well as being an accurate description of the knitting obsession, is a nice new store in Chardon, Ohio.
I love meeting yarns that are new to me. I hadn’t seen the Queensland Collection brand before. The store has a terrific selection of these yarns, in many enticing colors. They also carry all the colors of Cascade Heritage sock yarn, so I found exactly the right colors for some stranded mittens I want to make.
The shop carries a good variety of yarns covering all the basic yarn weights. I was sorely tempted to buy some beautiful lace yarn, and will hurry back when I’ve found just the right pattern…somewhere in my huge queue!
The third entry in my Passport:
My stop #2 on the Yarn Discovery Tour was in the Boardman/Canfield area near Youngstown. When I first looked up The Flaming Ice Cube on the internet, I thought, “Huh? I thought this was supposed to be a yarn shop, but here’s information about cafés. What gives?”
Well, was I ever in for a wonderful surprise. While the downtown Cleveland location is indeed a café, the Boardman/Canfield location offers not only delectable food, but also delectable yarn. I am so excited about this yarn store! While it may not be large, it makes up for it by offering a beautifully edited selection of very nice yarns. Classic Elite, Blue Sky Fibers, and Skacel are some brands I don’t see everywhere. There was also a bit of Malabrigo and Madelinetosh as well as a few Berroco and Cascade mainstays.
I was assisted by a super-friendly staff member who had just the right combination of enthusiasm and knowledge to make my shopping trip fun and successful.
I got into serious trouble here in the HiKoo Simplicity section. With so many unusual and pretty colors, can you blame me for buying three sweaters’ worth?
As you can imagine, all that yarn discovery excitement left me hungry. When I was done shopping I headed into the café section in the front of the store for lunch. As the website says, “Our goal is to serve the best tasting food around – and it just happens to be vegan.” The food was out of this world!
And here’s Passport stamp #2…
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