#KnitPetiteProject: A special interview with Jillian Moreno

Our last post where we’re looking at our FOs and UFOs, and the new knowledge we can use to make them conform to our fit desires.
The #KnitPetiteProject plan.

All other #KnitPetiteProject posts.

The #KnitPetiteProject now has a Ravelry group. Join us!

As we’re still working away in the KAL (and I’m still working to design the first #KPP sweater prototype!) I thought it’d be a great time to share a special interview with Jillian Moreno!

Jillian is a multi-talented yarnny creative; she designs, spins, teaches, writes, edits Knittyspin, is the ad manager and catalyst for Knitty Magazine, and is one of the co-authors of the fantastic set of Big Girl Knits books!

Read more about Jillian on her website here.

Jillian’s website | IG | FB | TW

The incredibly important pioneering work of Big Girl Knits is important for all knitters; it opened up conversations about size in the knitting community, and even more than that, it’s critical stance provided a tool for change in a body positive way. It offered options to those very knitters who were marginalized and ignored, giving them the power to make the change happen for themselves.

Jillian (and her co-authors and Big Girl Knits contributors) are a significant reasons that the #KPP is here today.

I want to thank Jillian SO MUCH for taking the time to share her expertise with us here in the #KnitPetiteProject!

Now, on to the interview!


KPP QUESTION: A fitting challenge for petite women is that sizing charts assume our bodies are longer than they may actually be; for petite plus women, this issue is compounded because the pattern assumes that a larger number for bust size means longer vertical measurements. The result is necklines that are too low, sleeve depth that droop, and mis-placed waist, bust, and hip shaping. Is there any special info or instructions you can recommend a petite plus knitter should consider when selecting a size to knit?

JM ANSWER: Have excellent and up to date measurements!
Never knit a pattern that doesn’t have excellent schematics, so you can look at all of the measurements individually. Some designers just offer a sweater length and circumference in their schematics, that won’t work for a knitter who may need to make adjustments or knit more than one size in different areas of a sweater.
I either choose a pattern with high bust or full bust measurement, depending on the style of the sweater. Working from a high bust measurement will get you a better fit in the armholes and shoulders. If you are very busty, there will be math and short rows. If the pattern is not especially fitted in shoulders or arms, I will look at the pattern for my full bust and usually split the difference between my size for high bust and full bust. Every single sweater I knit is different.
Be willing to knit more than one size in different parts of garment; do not fear the math you’ll need to do to transition between the two sizes.
If you really really don’t want to do math, look at Amy Herzog’s CustomFit software, there are many adjustments you can make with that software to her patterns.

KPP QUESTION: There are many sweater construction options in the Big Girl Knits books. Offering that variety is wonderful for a community who is usually under-served. Petite plus knitters are presented with a special problem because of vertical changes they may have to make within their sweaters. Are there any sweater constructions that are simpler to modify for length?

JM ANSWER: It depends on your skill and fortitude as a knitter. The plainer the sweater the easier it is to modify. All over cables, Fair Islae and other colorwork are just harder to customize.
Practice on a plain sweater and work your way up to more complex. Practice adjusting cables and colorwork on accessories or swatches before you embark on a sweater, it will save you a lot of headache.
I still like a sweater in pieces and seamed, I like the look of more structure and I can adjust a front and back for fit easier.
You will know when you have a burning desire for a sweater when you are willing to do the math to make it fit! 🙂

KPP QUESTION: I was listening to an interview you gave a few years ago where you mentioned “measuring parties”. This sounds like such a great idea! For all the petite plus (and petite) knitters out there: Do you have any tips for measuring yourself, with a focus on those tricky vertical measurements?

JM ANSWER: Measuring yourself is tricky, if you are plus and petite there are curves you can’t see over when measuring yourself. You don’t have to have a party just find a trusted friend and measure each other.

Be sure to use strings, chalk marks or stickers to visually anchor your hip, waist spots.
If you have to measure yourself, you can pin the measuring tape to your end spot, say your finish length, pin the 0 of the tape to your clothes at the spot where you want your sweater to end and carefully unspool your measuring tape to your shoulder or back neck – don’t pull or it will stretch the fabric the tape measure is pinned to. Pinch the spot in the tape that is the top of the measurement and you can move the tape to see what the measurement is.
This is a slow process, but it can be done.

KPP QUESTION: What fit resources can you recommend for petite plus knitters? (anything! From knitting books/videos/classes/websites to information from crafts other than knitting like sewing manuals etc…)

JM ANSWER: Look at sewing patterns and sewing blogs. Sewers go into patterns knowing they will have to adjust somehow. Sewers are taught to look at parts of their body more individually than knitters are to make adjustment. Multisizes on a single pattern sheet aren’t just there to save the pattern company money, they are for working between sizes. The sewing industry is my secret weapon for fitting,

KPP QUESTION: The #KnitPetiteProject is working to create a list of petite-friendly designs and designers. Those who offer their patterns in petite and petite plus sizes, and/or write their patterns in a way that is easily adjustable (ie: add/remove length here, knit to desired length, etc). Are there any designers or particular patterns you can recommend for petite plus knitters?

JM ANSWER: Knitty of course! Amy Herzog is doing the best work right now in helping and encouraging knitters to fit themselves, her books are great, she offers retreats and she has a good piece of software.
Look at Kim McBrien-Evans she is plus and petite, she doesn’t have many designs yet, but the ones she has are great. Ysolda writes a great pattern and schematic, it is clear, even when not specified where a pattern can be adjusted.

KPP QUESTION: I greatly admire your work in the Big Girl Knits books (and all your other plus size knitting designs!). You created space for conversation about the state of sizing in knitwear and the lack of options for women above a particular bust size, and at the same time offered the community a solution through a variety of wearable, attractive patterns and tips, advice, and techniques for plus sized knitters. There have been noticeable (though not all-encompassing) changes to the sizes offered by many magazines, books, and indie designers since (and, I think, because of) Big Girl Knits.
My hope is that the #KnitPetiteProject can do the same for the under-served petite community!

What are some of the important steps you took to get this conversation rolling?

JM ANSWER: We first did it through Knitty – insisting on 3x for all patterns. Because we are both fat it was easy to have the conversation with designers and yarn companies. Really, all they had to do was look around – people come in all shapes and sizes and giving options opens you up to happy and repeat customers. Amy and I never shut up about it and we still have to remind people.
As I knitter I did the work in the beginning, figuring out how to adjust sweaters and do short rows when there weren’t as many resources. Teach yourself so you can educate others.

What can the #KnitPetiteProject do to open up this conversation and provide solutions to petite knitters of all sizes?

Ask for clarification about adjusting with designers when you are knitting a pattern. Talk about the adjustments you’re making on social media as you are knitting sweaters. Open it up as part of the everyday knitting conversation. Praise the designers who include adjusts or patterns that are easy to adjust.
When you take classes ask the teachers for tips and strategies.

KPP QUESTION: What’s next for you?

JM ANSWER: I am spinning yarn a lot now and teaching. I’ve written one spinning book, Yarnitecture, and am percolating another. I’m teaching people how to adjust their yarn as well as their sweaters now!
I want to dig into actual sewing, not just borrowing ideas for knitting. I’m excited to try Sonya Phillips’ patterns as I start out.

#KnitPetiteProject: A special interview with Jillian Moreno

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