I used to have a love/hate relationship with the sweaters I knitted. I loved starting them, dreamily envisioning them as gorgeous additions to my wardrobe. But I often ended up disappointed in the final results. I’d try on my finished “masterpieces” only to face the sad reality that they didn’t fit well at all. The sleeves were too skinny or binding or too short for my long arms. Typically the top was too big and the bottom was too small. These problems were not the fault of the design; rather my body is far from “standard”.
My attempts to alter sweater patterns were frustrating until I discovered Amy Herzog’s brilliant CustomFit program. CustomFit creates sweater patterns customized to your own unique body. The online site allows you to sign up for free and store up to 10 sets of body measurements. Your own body measurements, and maybe your kids’ or Aunt Mabel’s. The process for measuring is well described and very through. In my account I entered not only the typical “Essentials” measurements – bust, waist, hip, etc. – but also extended lists called “Extras” and “Optional” which allow even further refinement.
Once the measurements are stored, you can choose to make a sweater based on one of CustomFit’s great designs or even to create a design of your own. After you’ve made a gauge swatch, you save the information to your account; you can use it now and again in future sweaters, if you want. The program uses your gauge and measurements to create your very own customized pattern.
There are various levels of cost, depending on how you use the program. I started out paying for a single customized pattern ($10 to $12.50 depending on the design’s complexity). I was so happy with the result of that first sweater that I quickly signed up for the “Maker”-level subscription which, at $5 per month, allows me to get my first 2 patterns generated for any particular month for free. There’s also the $8 per month “Maker Plus”-level which allows the subscriber to get unlimited pattern creation. (Now that’s a lot of knitting!)
It’s impossible in this short post to describe how elegant, genius, handy and liberating the CustomFit program is. The site is replete with handy calculators, stitch patterns and other resources to help you tweak an existing pattern or to create your own design from scratch.
As if all that isn’t enough, Amy recently announced a new benefit for subscribers – a monthly downloadable lesson pertaining to sweaters. The lesson for February is a detailed explanation of “Getting a Great Fit for Any Sweater”. I learned a lot from it and look forward to future lessons.
I can’t tell you how gratifying it is to be able to make a sweater that I know will fit me well. That love/hate relationship is now a love/love one!
Since subscribing to CustomFit I’ve made three sweaters. Look for future posts where I’ll share them with you.
Knit with Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, it features just enough cables to keep it interesting. With the little bud motif going on in the pattern, I think it’s a great hat for Spring. I might just have to knit myself another one!
It can be purchased from the Vogue Knitting online store for $6.00. (The chart in the individual pattern is the updated version.)
It’s 2013, and cabins around North Pond in rural Maine have been broken into for years. The thefts seem strange, as expensive electronics are passed up for the odd flashlight, or batteries, or food, or clothes and even an occasional mattress. And propane tanks.
At long last the culprit is apprehended, and the nearly-unbelievable true story of a hermit, living in seclusion in the woods nearby, unfolds. He steals food when he becomes very hungry. He uses batteries for flashlights and radios. He has no real conversation with another human being for 27 years.
This book, The Stranger in the Woods , recounts the unraveling of Christopher Knight’s story of alonenes.
Author Michael Finkel does a masterful job of telling Knight’s story with compassion, althought at times he intruded in Knight’s life in a way that bothered me. I could relate to a degree with the hermit’s shyness. I secretly smirked as psychiatrists desperately tried to label him with diagnoses that never quite fit. (Shy people will know exactly what I me – society is definitely kinder to extroverts).
This book is a real page-turner. I loved it. You might too!
I’ve taken great delight in the current trend toward kits. Like the “grab and go” earthquake preparedness kits I always had on hand in California, they’re my knitterly version of a security blanket – when I need a new project and have run out of time, I can grab a kit and start a lovely new project.
The packaging for the kit is too darned cute! A darling little marker adorns the bag, and everything I need to make the shawl is inside. There’s not just the pattern and the yarn, but also a little box full of beads and a tiny heart-shaped box with all the necessary stitch markers. What a great idea! The final dose of cuteness is the stitch market that adorns the top of the package. Irresistible.
Another trend I love is the packs of gradient yarns. I was enticed by Craftsy’s Malini Shawl Kit. It’s fun to choose from among lots of gradient color ways. I love these beautiful red variations:
Now I’m well-prepared for the next time I’m worried I have “nothing to knit”, like when I’m about to get on a plane for a long cross-country flight. I’ll just grab one of my kits and be all set!
One of the things I’m most grateful for in my knitting world is getting to know other designers. While at Stitches West I was lucky enough to share in my friend Patty Nance’s latest design excitement. Her Ashley Cowl design – that she just happened to be wearing – stars on the cover of Crafty’s current catalog. Nancy was thrilled to be able to claim “I’m featured in the centerfold!” too.
I first met Nancy in 2012 when we were both working on our books. Patty took the knitting world by storm the ingenious technique she presented in her Bargello Knits book. I had a blast trying it myself several years ago, and wrote about it here .
I love to watch my friends grow and succeed. Congratulations, Patty!