#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!

jm


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.

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#KnitPetiteProject: A special interview with Jillian Moreno

#KnitPetiteProject: Your FOs & UFOs; what new knowledge can you use to make them conform to your fit desires?

Our last post where we talked about the KAL and the first #KPP sweater prototype.
The #KnitPetiteProject plan.

All other #KnitPetiteProject posts.

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

The focus for the #KnitPetiteProject in September is creating your own FOs.

This week we’re making use of the resource that is the #KnitPetiteProject and reflecting on what new knowledge #KPP has given you that can be applied to your current and future projects so that you can attain your fit desires.

To chat about the specifics of your project, join us in the KAL on Ravelry.

So far in the #KPP, I’ve done an awful lot of reading, writing, and primary research. What’s been missing is actually applying all this information to my own knits!

The #KPP sweater prototype is my opportunity to do this. With all your help in the surveys and Ravelry group I’ve been able to identify some common issues petite folks encounter in their knits.

This feedback has informed my choice of a colourwork yoked sweater for the #KPP prototype.

I’ve also learned quite a lot about my own size and shape through the various resources you’ve suggested here in the #KnitPetiteProject. In particular, the sewing book Fit for Real People was extremely enlightening! (See me wax poetic about how much I love this book here).

In practicalities, the #KPP prototype will be in “my size”, but as for all my sweater samples, it’ll be knit to the sizing chart specifications. In this case, the sizing will be petite, and will be based on the grade rule developed for me by #KPP interviewee, Betsy of SBCC!

#KnitPetiteProject: Your FOs & UFOs; what new knowledge can you use to make them conform to your fit desires?

#KnitPetiteProject: Anybody want to KAL?

Our last post where we shared the mini survey results.
The #KnitPetiteProject plan.

All other #KnitPetiteProject posts.

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

The focus for the #KnitPetiteProject in September is creating your own FOs.

One of the tools we can use to help us all along is the KAL happening right now in the #KnitPetiteProject Ravelry group. This is free to join, and is a KAL that you can work at your own pace. Folks are there to hang out, share experiences, ask questions, and offer advice. Join us!

For my own KAL project, I announced last week that I’ll be creating the first #KPP prototype petite sweater.IMG_0191

This sweater will be:

  • created using petite sizing charts and a specially formulated grade rule for petites from a 28″ – 60″ bust
  • a top down yoked sweater, which was identified in the numerous #KPP surveys as a sweater type many petites found ill-fitting and challenging to modify
  • designed to offer the knitter choice: you will have two ready-designed yokes to choose from, and one blank chart to create-you-own design!
  • test knit (beginning in January 2018) to ensure my newly-developed petite grade rule is working!

You can follow the progress of this sweater here on the website as well as in the KAL on Ravelry.

If you’re interested in testing this prototype, it will be ready by January 2018. Want to keep updated on testing? Just join the Canary Knits newsletter (once-a-month email).

My goal with this #KPP prototype sweater is to ensure that the grade rule I have is accurate; I want to provide petite knitters with patterns that bring vertical measurements in closer to actual petite measurements, and offer OPTIONS for our community!

Question

Since you’ve become a part of the #KPP community, is there any new knowledge you can apply to your future projects to make them conform to your fit desires?

#KnitPetiteProject: Anybody want to KAL?

#KnitPetiteProject: Sharing the mini survey results!

Our last post where we’re gathering books that are useful for petite knitters.
The #KnitPetiteProject plan.

All other #KnitPetiteProject posts.

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

mini survey! Who designs petite (or petite-friendly) knitwear?

…youtube vid coming soon…

Quick post this week!

We had three responses to the mini survey with some good suggestions:

What knitwear designers do you go to for petite (or easily modified) patterns?

  • Anne Hanson of Knitspot
  • Lots of easy items to encourage newcomers as well as a few challenging ones for when people progress from beginners to post-beginners stage.

What suggestions do you have for the #KnitPetiteProject?

  • just joined –
  • User-friendly materials, to suit all pockets and skills, reasonable prices, comfortable for small or painful hands weight 4-5+, appropriate patterns such as textured yarns or small patterns on the knitted item rather than large. Plain-textured backgrounds with small area(s) in a different colour(s) such as cuffs/borders or even a multi-coloured design on the back (my next creation will have a decorative piece of knitting on the shoulders to be seen – a walking art gallery – practical and for all to look at. One cannot realistically have lots of features which would look too busy, so a well positioned, attractive feature can be knitted/appliqued on the back. Make this market available to as many as possible and no, I do not do knitting in the round, as I am too set in my ways. A few unisex items may be an idea and youngsters, teenagers might like to take up knitting. I will keep the flag of arts and crafts flying even if at present I am only one. I have only woken up from my afternoon nap and keep records for posterity. Markets change and another decade will see a tremendous change for the better. Teach the next generation. No copyright on my stuff, but please check for typos. Hurrary! At long last a designer who speaks up for the petites – there are many of us – unlike may I say it, Lion Brand which is an excellent website but I have seen a few start patterns at size 40″. I am the same build as one designer so I can see and fully appreciate what looks good on her, will look good on me as petite proportions are not the same as the standard model. I personally am at odds with the stereotyped images of models and welcome a different body type wearing handmade garments. Even bags need shorter straps so the bags do not drag on the floor.
    CC UK (Carol Cooley from the UK) OAP
  • A pilot scheme before launching into anything adventurous or expensive.

Following on this last suggestion, I have an announcement!

During the #KPP KAL beginning on September 1, I’ll be working out the details on a prototype petite sweater pattern!

My hope is to get this pattern ready for testers by January 2018.

Are you interested in the KAL and/or the petite sweater prototype?

Join the KAL here and sign up for the Canary Knits newsletter to stay informed on all sweater development details!

 

#KnitPetiteProject: Sharing the mini survey results!

#KnitPetiteProject: Books Useful for Petite Knitters

Our last post where we’re gathering online classes that are useful for petite knitters.
The #KnitPetiteProject plan.

All other #KnitPetiteProject posts.

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

mini survey! Who designs petite (or petite-friendly) knitwear?

…youtube vid coming soon…

This post is an ongoing list: we’ll keep adding to it as a central resource for petite folks to access in order to find information on helpful books.

 

Shirley Paden. “Knitwear Design Workshop: A comprehensive guide to handknits.” Interweave Press, 2009.

  • this book is, as the title indicates, written to help you learn how to design knits
  • while this might sound excessive for petite fit modifications, learning the mechanics of design will help you reverse engineer patterns you may want to alter to your own measurements

Maggie Righetti. Sweater Design in Plain English. St Martin’s Press. 1990.

  • a classic, written in a very relaxed and humourous tone
  • Righetti includes info from aesthetics (like body shape/colour options) to understanding the behaviour of knitted fabric, important techniques, and designing different types of projects

Ysolda Teague. Little Red in the City. April, 2011.

  • divided into two parts, this book will not only help you understand sizing and shaping techniques, it also has in depth information that helps you modify the included patterns to your own measurements
  • these included patterns can act as a fantastic learning source to guide you through understanding your fit, what needs to be done to achieve it, and all giving you a nice FO in the end

Pati Palmer and Marta Alto. Fit for Real People. Palmer/Pletsch Publishing; 2 edition. September 2006.

  • while this book is intended for sewists, it nonetheless is a fantastic resource for knitters
  • see the #KPP post here where I talk about the many reasons this book is useful for petite knitters, including the step-by-step of the Body Graph to the tips for understanding your own shape and diagnosing any fit issues.

June Hemmons Hiatt. Principles of Knitting. Touchstone Publishing, 2012.

  • another classic, this is a wonderful technique manual for knitting
  • it has just about everything you need to know about knitting; in particular for us petite knitters, this book includes information on understanding design
  • one of my favourite parts on this point is her chapter on dissecting a sewing pattern, highlighting how sewing can help knitters

Kathleen Cheetham. Petite Plus Patterns. Accessed May 8, 2017.

  • this is a sewing book; that said, it’s one of the few resources in either knitting or sewing that is directed for the petite plus size woman

Elizabeth Zimmermann. Knitting Without Tears. Simon & Schuster, 1995.

  • another classic! This is a small book, and one that is good for a shot of encouragement and no-nonsense approach to understanding your knitting in general.

Jillian Moreno and Amy Singer. Big Girls Knits. Potter Crafts, 2006.
Jillian Moreno and Amy Singer. More Big Girl Knits. Potter Crafts, 2008.

  • both the Big Girl Knits books are filled with designs as well as very useful techniques and tips for understanding shaping in knitwear, and making that shaping work for YOUR shape!

Amy Herzog. Knit to Flatter. Harry N. Abrams, 2013.

  • I’ve never read this book, but it is the companion to the online course of the same name I’ve taken and loved
  • Herzog has a fantastic, body positive attitude and is very clear about her advice and why she suggests what she does

Deborah Newton. Good Measure: Knit a Perfect Fit Every Time. Sixth and Spring Books, 2015.

  • I haven’t read through this book yet, but the table of contents is very promising!
  • It includes “what is good fit?”, “the aesthetics of fit”, “ease, silhouette, and fabric”, and “kinds of alterations”

Question

Do you have a book to suggest for this list? Please let us know by leaving a comment on this post including the title, author, and reason you love the book!

 

#KnitPetiteProject: Books Useful for Petite Knitters

#KnitPetiteProject: Online classes useful for petite knitters

Our last post where we look at Ravelry and the petite knitter.
The #KnitPetiteProject plan.

All other #KnitPetiteProject posts.

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

mini survey! Who designs petite (or petite-friendly) knitwear?

…youtube vid coming soon…

This post is an ongoing list: we’ll keep adding to it as a central resource for petite folks to access in order to find information on helpful online classes.

Amy Herzog has many classes on Craftsy, including: Simple Techniques for a Great Fit, Sweater Modifications for a Custom Fit, and Knit to Flatter.

CreativeBug has a list of knitting classes; I’ve never taken any myself and haven’t had any direct recommendations. Have you? Do you think they’re helpful for petite knitters? Let us know!

Question

Please let the #KnitPetiteProject know of any online classes helpful for petite knitters!

#KnitPetiteProject: Online classes useful for petite knitters

#KnitPetiteProject: Ravelry and the Petite Knitter

Our last post where we’re compiling a central resource list of knitwear designers who create petite and petite-friendly patterns.
The #KnitPetiteProject plan.

All other #KnitPetiteProject posts.

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

mini survey! Who designs petite (or petite-friendly) knitwear?

…youtube vid coming soon…

This post is an ongoing list: we’ll keep adding to it as a central resource for petite folks to access in order to find information on how Ravelry can help a petite knitter.

ravelry-logo-81r-300x

Ravelry is a wonderful resource for knitters. It’s filled with folks who have both questions and answers for nearly any aspect of knitting. Chances are you’re already a part of this online community, but if you aren’t yet, I hope this post convinces you to join!

Ravelry is free to join. You have a wealth of patterns with excellent search customization, information on yarns and LYSes, a multitude of forums for nearly any interest and community, and a efficient digital sorting and recording system for your own patterns, FOs, and yarn stash.

Let’s take a look at the different ways Ravelry can specifically help the petite knitter with fit issues.

Forums and Groups

Ravelry is filled with forums and groups of nearly any interest you can imagine. These groups are communities within the larger community of Ravelry.

Every new Raveler is automatically subscribed to the Main Boards:

  • For the Love of Ravelry: Ask questions and talk about Ravelry! There is also some general chat about knitting like “your favourite FO”, for example.
  • Patterns: A place to post and ask about patterns in general, and in some cases specific pattern questions and ISO (“in search of”) requests. This would be a good place to ask ISO questions relating to petite patterns.
  • Yarn & Fiber: Looking for a particular yarn? Have questions about fibre, weight, spin, etc? This is where to go!
  • Techniques: It’s all in the name! A place to ask about specific techniques. This would be a good place to ask questions about fitting tips and techniques.
  • Needlework News & Events: Here you’ll find general news (including sales, promotions, contests) and any special events (Stitch n’ Pitch, knitting retreats, festivals). This is where I posted to let the Ravelry community know about the #KnitPetiteProject.
  • Tools & Equipment: Much akin to the Yarn & Fiber board, but for tools and equipment.
  • Loose Ends: A place to post on Main Board topics (ie: Ravelry-supported crafts) that don’t fit in any other boards.

Each forum + group has their own focus and, in some cases, specific rules. Make sure you know what the rules are before posting (you want to make sure you’re on topic). Also, it’s always a good idea to try searching within Ravelry’s forums before posting your question, as it’s possible that someone else has asked the same thing before!

Here is a list of groups that may be of interest for you and your petite fit concerns.

  • #KnitPetiteProject: We’re on Ravelry, and always here to discuss petite fitting concerns in knitwear. Join us!
  • Petite Plus: This, like most of the other “petite” groups on Ravelry, is not very active (as of this writing, July 22, 2017). It may hold answers to questions you have: the forums history is searchable.
  • Shorties: Again, not an active group, but you may find answers to your questions in the forums threads history.
  • The Bustline: This is an active group. They focus on “[h]ow do you get clothes that fit and flatter when nothing seems to be made for your body? Let’s share tips, tricks, and resources!”, with a focus on bust adjustments whether large or small. A “sister” group, the Itty Bitty Titty Committee is unfortunately inactive, but may also be a place for you to search for tips, techniques, etc…
  • There are a number of groups focused on plus size knitters, including The Curvalicious Sisterhood, Big Girl Knits, and Ample Knitters. These groups are all pretty inactive, but may hold answers to your questions in the thread history.
  • As many folks have suggested, Amy Herzog and her CustomFit software is very useful for fit information. You can check out Herzog’s group here.
  • Also from Herzog is the Fit to Flatter group, and they are, “… a place to learn, to discuss, and to connect with others on the journey to sweaters that make you feel (and look) fantastic.”

Patterns

Ravelry’s pattern search is great. Each design has the ability to be tagged to incredible detail, making knits searchable from design elements like neckline shape and construction to yarn weight and size range.

These tags are added to the design by the person who inputs the design onto Ravelry. That means that the person is adding tags in good faith, so to speak. For example, when I added TPCT to Ravelry, I tagged it with “negative ease”, “gathers”, “adult (sizes)”, “twisted stitches”, etc… There is also the option to add tags like “petite fit”.

For some of you, searching for “petite” in the patterns tab will deliver you satisfactory results. The person who added the pattern to the Ravelry database may have included the “petite fit” tag because the instructions are modification-friendly, the bust sizes extends to the lower end of the scale (32″ and lower seems to be the general idea of “petite”), or any other such justification for the petite fit tag.

For the purposes of the #KnitPetiteProject, this petite fit tag is one that you’ll have to sift through critically. My own search for this post produced over 5,200 results. Some of the top options include Amy Herzog’s CustomFit (and patterns that have been added to that software, including the very popular Featherweight Cardigan).

A recent addition to Ravelry, Bláfjöll, includes the following note: “The pattern comes in seven sizes from XS to XXXL and contains instructions for petite fit (5’2” and shorter persons), medium fit (5’3” tall to 5’8” tall persons) and tall fit ( 5’9” and taller persons).”

Amazing! Wonderful! This is the sort of thing that is very helpful and useful to petite knitters. Unfortunately, not everything you find under the petite fit tag will produce results like this, so search critically.

The Notebook

Your notebook section includes space for you to fill in all sorts of information about your FOs. This helps you very directly keep track of what worked and what didn’t.

And of course, because this is a community, other folks fill out their own notebooks and what they have to say may be of great use to you!

One way you may access this information is while searching a particular pattern. Within that pattern’s page will be a tab with the WIPs, FOs, and notes from all other knitters who have shared their thoughts and experience with this design. In some cases, you may see a wee life-perserver icon next to their project; this indicates that someone else on Ravelry has found these notes helpful.

Question

How have you found Ravelry helpful with your petite fit issues?

Resources

 

#KnitPetiteProject: Ravelry and the Petite Knitter