YarnCraft Episode 75 Transcript :: Fit Flatter with Sweaters for Every Body Type

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You’re listening to YarnCraft. [music]

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Zontee:  Welcome to YarnCraft. It’s Episode 75 on September 14th, 2010. Thanks for joining us today. This is Zontee.

Liz:  And I’m Liz, and we are the hosts of YarnCraft.

Zontee:  Stop by our website, YarnCraft.LionBrand.com for more information on the patterns and products we talk about on today’s episode. You can also leave your comments there, or give us a call and leave us a voicemail at 774‑452‑YARN, that’s 9276. We always love sharing your stories, questions, and comments on the show.

Liz:  As usual, we’re here at the Lion Brand Design Center in New York City, and today we look at patterns that flatter your body type just in time for fall.

Zontee:  We’re also joined by Josh Bennett, the designer also known as Boy Meets Purl, who talks to us more about why he loves sweater design. He also shares some great tips for making a sweater that’s just right for you, whether you’re a man or a woman. Stay tuned for all of that and more next on YarnCraft.

Liz:  Zontee and I have gotten a bunch of questions on our blog, and through our email, and through Ravelry, so we just wanted to take a couple of minutes today and answer some of them.

Zontee:  First we have a question from Tracy B. who asks about the LB Collection Wool Stainless Steel. How is the yarn made? What are its characteristics? She’s heard a lot about it from different magazines. I know that a lot of people have been asking us about it recently, because it was featured in Interweave Knits in the Hoarfrost Mobius Cowl, so it’s definitely a good question.

Liz:  Yes, so the Wool Stainless Steel that we carry, its 25 percent stainless steel plied with a very fine strand that makes up 75 percent wool. It’s very, very fine, very thin, but it feels soft because it’s got 75 percent wool in it.

Zontee:  Yeah, it mostly feels like a wool yarn.

Liz:  Yeah, but it doesn’t drape like a thin piece of 100 percent wool yard would. It’s got some stiffness to it and you can bend it and shape it, to a degree.

Zontee:  Exactly. I like to, at some of the different shows like Stitches and the Knit & Crochet Show, when we’re out at consumer shows, encourage people to take it and scrunch up a piece of the fabric made with it, and see how it actually holds that crunched up shape. Then you can stretch it out and unlike a lot of lace yarns, you don’t need to block it quite as much. If you give it a stretch, it will keep that shape.

Liz:  Exactly. So, because of that characteristic, it’s excellent for any sort of open work pattern where you really want your stitches to stand apart from each other and be open.

Zontee:  Yeah. It’s definitely a really fun lace yarn to try, and unique.

Liz:  And since Tracy, I see you’re in the New York area, you might want to make a trip into the Studio to check it out. We always have at least one pattern in that yarn on display, because people are so curious about it.

Zontee:  Next we have a question from Kristen who asks on our blog about color work. She’s just starting to learn and she wants to know about some good beginner projects.

Liz:  Kristen, we didn’t know if you were a knitter or a crocheter, so we’re going to cover the basic techniques in all three. For knitting, one of the basics is Fair Isle. This is where in every row; you are at different parts of the row using two different colors. The easiest way to get started with that is to do it in the round. Because that way you’re always looking at the right side of your work, so it’s very easy to see the pattern forming and follow it. We have a great snowflake hat pattern done in our Wool Ease Thick & Quick yarn.

So, that’s another tip that’s going to make it really easier. You’re not going to be dealing with so many stitches, it’s going to be easy to see your pattern forming, and it will be a very simple chart or line‑by‑line instruction to follow.

Zontee:  This is exactly right, and when you’re starting a color work project, if you can use a thicker yarn, it will definitely make it a little bit simpler for you.

Liz:  Another very popular technique for knitting is slip stitch. It gives a finished look similar to Fair Isle, where there are different colors used at various different points throughout the row, but the difference is on every row, you’re only working with one yarn at a time. So, you’ll work all the stitches of Color A, slipping the B stitches, and then on the next row, you’ll work the Color B stitches, slipping the A stitches.

Zontee:  And I really like this technique, because it does allow you to get the look of color work, without necessarily having to hold several strands of different yarn at one time.

Liz:  Another classic technique in both crochet and knitting is intarsia, and that’s where using separate balls of yarn to form blocks of color within your finished piece. Think of the classic holiday sweater where’s there’s a solid color background and a big picture right in the middle. That’s probably done with the intarsia technique. We have, inspired by that look, some really cute toddler sweaters for knitting, and in Wool‑Ease Thick & Quick, one with a bunny in the center. There’s also one with a dog, but I say that when there’s a bunny pattern available, why would you make the dog?

Zontee:  And, of course, for crochet, there’s also a great brocade afghan that we show in two different colors that also uses this technique, so it’s really great for both. And, finally, if you want to learn more about the differences between intarsia and Fair Isle, we just had a couple of blog posts on the Lion Brand Notebook, Lion Brand’s official blog at Blog.LionBrand.com, and those show how different pieces can be constructed with those two different looks, as well as things like duplicate stitch, which mimics the look of color work.

Liz:  On our Ravelry discussion group, Lucy asked about the often quoted myth that crochet uses up more yarn than knitting, because she had created some patterns, and she did them both in knit and crochet, and she found they took the exact same amount of yarn. I think all of us have probably heard the idea that crochet takes more yarn than knitting, but that’s only true sometimes.

Zontee:  Right, the thing that you have to keep in mind is, of course, gauge, and also the stitches being different and using different amounts of yarn. When people say that knitting uses less yarn than crochet, it’s only in the most basic fabrics in either craft, which for crochet is single‑crochet fabric, which is actually very yarn intensive. It’s a very dense fabric. Whereas in knitting, it’s stockinette, which is actually a very yarn efficient fabric in knitting. So, if you were to look at those two, naturally the crochet would use up more yarn, but if you were to use a different crochet stitch, say double crochet, and a different knit stitch, say seed stitch, they would use completely different amounts of yarn.

So, it’s always going to depend on the exact stitch, the exact yarn, and the exact gauge you’re working at.

Liz:  Because most of us tend to have different tensions in knitting and crochet, for example I’m a very loose knitter, but I’m a pretty average crocheter. So, for me, using the same hook and needle size and the same yarn, my single crochet is going to use way more yarn than my stockinette stitch. But, if somebody was a very loose crocheter and a tight knitter, which is also very common, they’re probably going to use more yarn in their stockinette stitch. It’s all very personal. And because they’re such different crafts and you’re forming the stitches in a totally different way, they’re not exactly comparable.

And you know, it’s not a contest. As long as we’re all out there having fun, enjoying what we’re doing, enjoying what we’re making with yarn, that’s what really counts.

Zontee:  Finally, we have a couple of phone calls that we want to share with you today.

Susan:  Hi, Liz and Zontee. This is Susan in south Florida. I wanted to tell you how much I enjoy your projects. I usually sit here listening with a small notebook so I can write down all your tips, and websites, and books that you recommend. I’m just so glad I have found it. I’m a crocheter who can knit, but probably a little daunted by the thought of trying to correct knitting mistakes. I haven’t gone past washcloths. I’ve got my Nature’s Choice Organic to make the tab‑button vest, that’s my next project. It probably will be winter wardrobe for south Florida.

I made a Perfect Purse, which I really enjoyed and I got a request to make someone else one. I’m part of a prayer shawl group, and we are always looking for affordable yarn that’s just comfy and soft, but not too heavy and bulky. I wonder what you would suggest for that.

I hope you guys can come down to Ft. Lauderdale when you’re freezing in January or February and come see us. Bye for now.

Zontee:  I think that’s a really good question, Susan, and it’s great that your prayer shawl group is making prayer shawls for people. I think that’s always a really wonderful cause. Some yarns that we have found to be really popular are of course our Homespun yarn which is very, very popular with prayer shawl groups. It’s extremely soft, it’s easy to care for because it’s machine washable, it comes in all these beautiful colors.

Liz:  And because you want to keep the focus on the meditative simple stitches while you’re doing your prayer shawl, Homespun painting colors are great because you do get a multicolor end result without having to change yarns at all, or deal with any of that. So it’s a very simple way to get a very beautiful look.

Zontee:  Agreed. And as you mentioned, you wanted something that was not too heavy and not too bulky, and I think that Homespun is going to give you a really beautiful fabric.

Liz:  If you are looking for something a little lighter weight, you may want to look at our Tweed Stripes yarn which is a little lighter weight than Homespun, and again has that same self‑striping characteristic. More defined stripes than the painterly shades in Homespun, but I think those defined stripes look particularly nice in crochet.

Zontee:  I think that’ll be a really nice one.

Liz:  And one more yarn you want to try is our Hometown USA. It is a #6 bulky yarn but for as bulky as it is, it’s still very lightweight and it’s really, really soft. So you might find that it works for some of your projects. It’s going to be super‑fast for making a shawl.

Betsy K:  Hey Liz and Zontee, it’s the Betsy K. calling from Arvada, Colorado, and I’ve been listening to some of your older podcasts from the archives and there was one with Drew Emborsky, the Crochet Dude–I remember that–on designing and submitting designs. And I’m curious about Lion Brand and submitting designs to Lion Brand, the website. Do you have any designer guidelines for submissions posted anywhere? Do you accept independent designs from freelancers? I just was curious about that. It was an episode about two years ago. I hope you can answer the question and I’ll be listening to your next podcast. Thanks, bye.

Zontee:  It’s great to hear from you, Betsy, and we’re glad that you’re catching up on older episodes. Something that we do mention in a previous episode is that we don’t actually accept designs here at Lion Brand from freelance designers. What we generally do is design everything in‑house. However, we really encourage you to get started, especially of you want to share your designs, online, sharing with the community and building up a reputation online so that you can sell your patterns that way. Ravelry is a great forum for selling your patterns online. And once you’ve kind of done that and you have kind of a portfolio of your work, kind of a track record, it’s much easier for you to then submit to magazines and other publications that really focus on publishing designs.

Liz:  In addition to Ravelry, it could be great to have your own blog, it gives you one kind of landing page and it can be almost your online portfolio. Zontee and I always love hearing from you guys and are always happy to answer your questions. So please keep them coming. [music]

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Zontee:  On today’s episode we are discussing sweaters that fit and flatter your body. First of all, we’re going to go over some different body shapes as well as some recommendations for patterns that might work well for both men and women. And then, later on in the episode, we’re going to be joined by Josh Bennett–who’s a New York designer who specializes in sweaters–and he’s going to give us some more tips.

Liz:  So when trying to figure out your body type, it’s really all about looking at the ratio of your measurements around your bust, your waist and your hips. One of those is probably the biggest, or the smallest, and the other two fall in between. So you have to look at how they proportionally relate to one another and then you can kind of find your body type. We have a cute little fruit analogy that covers all the different body types, except for the hourglass which is just the hourglass. It’s like the Pom juice bottle–that’s the closest fruit related thing I can think of–where your bust and your hips are relatively the same, pretty close to each other, and your waist is smaller.

Now starting with the fruit, we have the “banana” which is where all three of your measurements are pretty close and there’s not really a difference between the bust, hips or the waist.

Zontee:  Right. Sometimes this is described also as a more rectangular shape to your body. But we like the fruit analogies today.

Liz:  Yap. And then there’s the “apple” which is wider at top and narrower on the bottom or, to go with shapes, the triangle.

Zontee:  Yes. Exactly. And when we are saying apple, I think it’s more like a red delicious. So, you know, I understand that there are lots of apples with lots of different shapes.

Liz:  Yes.

Zontee:  But today, we’re talking about the wider‑at‑the‑top, narrower‑at‑the‑bottom.

Liz:  Continuing with the fruit, we’re talking about “pears” next. Those are going to have the hips as their widest measurement and the waist and bust are relatively close to one another. Or this might be called in geometric terms, the inverted triangle.

Zontee:  Exactly. And you may have seen our blog post about this topic a little while ago, on the Lion Brand Notebook, and I thought it was a really useful article because it really does give you some great ideas. But what we got as feedback from that article was, a lot of people said, “What about me? I’m an ‘orange’ shape.” And I think that’s a really valid question, so today we’re also going to be talking about those of you who feel that you are more of the “orange” shape as well.

Liz:  And not to leave men out of the fun, men generally tend to be either triangles, where their shoulders are significantly broader than either the waist or the hips ‑and the waist and the hips are pretty close together ‑ or they tend to be barrels. Where the waist is bigger and the hips and the shoulders are pretty much in line with one another. So we’re going to be talking about some great tips for those. If you are an hourglass, what you want to look for in a sweater is something that emphasizes narrowing at the waist. So anything that is fitted or cropped right there, or belted, or has some sort of interest there, that’s going to be the best for you.

One of our new sweaters in our LB Collection from the most recent catalog is our Cable Accent Pullover which has some very subtle waist shaping as well as a oversize cable accent right at the waist. So it really is going to draw attention to the most narrow part of your body. Which is what we all want, right?

Zontee:  I think so. I think the key thing when it comes to picking a sweater that really suits your body is accentuating your best features and drawing attention away from areas that you want to de‑emphasize. So this is definitely a sweater that will make your narrower waist look even more narrow.

Liz:  So if you’re a banana, you might be saying, “Well, I don’t really have one area that’s particularly narrower than the other. That’s why I’m a banana.” The key is to create the illusion of a narrower waist, and that will give you more emphasized curves. Also from our LB Collection–we’ve got a lot of great new sweaters in the LB Collection so we’ll be referencing those a few times–we have our Knitted Fitted Pullover which has some long vertical lines that will accent your lean banana self but also those lines are created by ribbing, so it’s going to hug in, in the right places.

Zontee:  Exactly. And there’s also detailing both at the shoulders and neckline as well as at the bottom of the sweaters so I think, again, both are going to draw attention to those areas and kind of give them that balance to give you the illusion of a little bit more width in those two areas and a little bit more thinness in the middle.

Liz:  Exactly. Apples, widest measurement is usually around the bust or shoulder and so in order to create balance, you want to… pick things that are going to emphasize the hips. We have two classic patterns that do this so well. I think they are really unbeatable in terms of the shape. We have our Ardsley Jacket which is buttoned across the bust but then flared open over the hips. So that’s really going to balance you out very nicely.

Zontee:  Yeah, I think that’s a great knit sweater. And I just like the shape a lot.

Liz:  And then our Peplum Cardigan again is very fitted throughout the shoulders and bust and waist, but then actually has a gathered, ruffled peplum starting just below the waist. And so it’s going to really balance you out.

Zontee:  Exactly. Gives you a little bit more emphasis down toward the hips.

Liz:  For pears, you’re going to want to do just the opposite of apples. You’re going to want to draw attention to the shoulder line, to the neck, to the face and not be too tight or have a lot of excess fabric around the hips. One of my favorite ways to do this is with a nice classic yoked sweater. We have, again in the LB Collection, our Golds and Greens Pullover that features some nice broad stripes on a ribbed yoke, and having the color change right there and then a darker colored, fitted, very plain bottom to the sweater. I think people are going to be really excited about that.

We do also have a solid‑colored version in Cotton‑Ease in our Radiant Sweater that again, because there’s so much detail in the ribbed yoke, is going to have the same effect. But I really think, to really make it stand out, the stripe is great.

Zontee:  That’s a good suggestion. So, for those of you who feel that you are more of the orange shape, I think that a structured piece is going to work best for you. You want something that floats away from the body, has a lot of structure on its own, and that isn’t clingy, so that it allows you to build more shape. One item we really like is the Lace Inset Cardi. It’s an item that we talked about last time in the Superwash Merino Cashmere, and it’s got some great details on the arm as well as the body with these little lace panels.

Liz:  And the lace placement is going to work really well for oranges. Because it’s up by the neckline and then down by the hipline, and those are areas where you’re going to want to give some added attention to take the emphasis away from the waist measurement that may be a little wider.

Zontee:  Exactly. Something else that you may want to consider is a Shrug that has a larger, looser fit because this is going to be something that emphasizes your shoulders and your arms and will look really flattering. For knitters, we have the Stockinette Stitch Shrug, which we made in Nature’s Choice, which is a great kind of a three seasons item. And for crocheters, we have the Acorn Shrug, which is made in Wool‑Ease and is going to be really flattering and it’s been done in a really great color, Aloe, which I think is flattering on a lot of skin tones. But I think here the idea is to pick a color that is really flattering on you and it will be a piece that you can pair with a lot of different things.

Liz:  The great thing about these very unstructured Shrugs is you can kind of fold them back around the neck to give a kind of shawl collar, but that very softly is then going to drape and fold as it falls down your body toward the waistline, so it’s going to be the ideal. It’s going to be ideal for accenting your beautiful taste.

Zontee:  And now for the men.

Liz:  If you are a triangle, you’re really going to want to emphasize those nice broad shoulders and use some vertical lines to keep the ye moving downward from them. And a great sweater that combines both of these is our new Father’s Day Cardigan in our Alpine Wool. It’s got great raglan sleeves which makes everyone’s shoulders look really good, men or women. And an all over very wide rib pattern that has a great vertical slimming look.

Zontee:  I agree. I think that this is a sweater that’s going to lengthen your body and I think that for most guys, that’s something that they want. And I think it will also lengthen your neck because of the detailing up at the neck. So definitely a really flattering sweater.

Liz:  And for our barrel gentlemen, the approach is sort of similar to the orange shape for women. You’re going to want something that is very structured and puts the focus up on your neck and your face. We think our classic Northshore Cardigan in Wool‑Ease is a way to do that. It’s a classic cabled cardigan with a really deep v‑neck. So it really draws the eye up and out.

Zontee:  Agreed. I think a v‑neck is flattering on everybody because it will give you a more lengthened torso, draw attention up to your face, and it also has kind of a slimming effect because it brings the eye inwards to the middle of your body. I love this sweater because of all the cable detailing, which I think is just really wonderful. And because of the fact that the cables are running vertically, it will again lengthen your body and draw attention upward.

Liz:  So I hope we’ve shown that no matter what your body type is, there are so many great sweater patterns you can choose. The first step is knowing and keeping track of exactly what your measurements are, so you can really assess what shape you should be going after.

Zontee:  Absolutely. And one great tool that might help you out with that is something that we discussed again on the Lion Brand Notebook. It’s a measurement card, from our friends over at BurdaStyle who do great sewing patterns. And they have a great downloadable personal measurement card where you can write down all your different body measurements and they even have a little video to show you exactly how to measure yourself. So very useful, good information to keep on hand. And this way you know, for every time you’re making a garment, exactly what you should be fit to. [music]

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Zontee:  Liz and I are here with Josh Bennett, who is better known as Boy Meets Purl. And he is a New York‑based designer of knitwear, both for men and for women. And he’s here today to talk to us a little bit about how to choose a great sweater shape for you, what are the considerations as well as some design elements that you can incorporate. And we’re just going to talk a little bit about him as a designer as well.

Liz:  Our first question whenever we have anyone on is how did you get started knitting and crocheting?

Josh Bennett:  My grandmother taught me when I was like eight or nine, I think. And then maybe I knit for three weeks and then stopped because boys don’t knit. So I got into musical theater, because apparently boys sing and dance. [laughter]

Liz:  That’s what I learned from “West Side Story.”

Josh:  Yes, exactly. Every time I have to throw a punch now, I do a tours de tete. So I was doing a show in Connecticut and the whole cast was knitting. So I said “Wait, I know how to do that.” So I had someone show me again, and that was it. I made about 50 to 60 scarves over the next year and a half. I was like just constantly knitting. From there I kept on working in theater. And about seven years ago I worked at a yarn store on the upper west side, and they taught me how to write patterns. And that was it. As soon as I learned that basic pattern math I was writing my own patterns, designing for myself.

Zontee:  That’s fantastic.

Josh:  I love designing, yes, sweaters, zip‑up hoodies. I really love more casual wear that’s not out there, but really more great fitting casual wear that you can dress up, dress down. More of like your classic, simple silhouettes. A lot of stuff that you can use throughout your wardrobe, rather than just a one‑hit wonder.

Zontee:  Yes, absolutely. I was looking at your patterns on the Ravelry and what I really liked was that you have the clean lines that feel like something that you could really wear every day. I especially liked, you had a sweater dress in Wool‑Ease Thick & Quick, and I thought too myself “That’s like a really cute length.” You know, you wear it over tights and heels and it would be really fun. And you could see someone wearing that around the city, or in the winter. I was like “I’m going to add that to my queue.”

Josh:  Yes, I mean something big and easy like that is just really great. And talking about shaping, especially when you’re working with at thick yarn like that, you just really want to take into consideration your own body shape. You want to have it hug you a little bit closer and not be so boxy, so it doesn’t feel heavy on you, you don’t want to feel like the garment is weighing you into the ground. You want to feel like it’s just sitting on top.

Liz:  I think that’s a great tip. I think soften people have the instinct with a really bulky yarn, like Wool‑Ease Think & Quick, that “Oh it’s so bulky. I’m not going to do any shaping. I’m going to really push the oversize angle.” But for a lot of people, definitely including me, that’s not going to be flattering.

Zontee:  Yes, me neither. I think that I would end up kind of looking like a long tube.

Josh:  Right. Even just a little shaping. The thing is since the gauge on that is so big, you just need to shape like one or two times. It’s not going to be like considerable shaping if you’re working with something that’s like five stitches per inch. So just a little bit of shaping and give your body just a little bit is going to do wonders for anybody. No matter if you’re a size two or a size 22.

Zontee:  Absolutely. So talking about these different elements of shaping and whatnot, are there any other “best of” tips that you want to share with us?

Josh:  Ribbing. At the bottom of your sweater, I always rib two needle sizes down from what you’re going to knit your body in. I just think it tightens it up. It gives you kind of like faux shaping that you don’t have to really worry about. It eliminates also the shaping, if you’re going to do shaping around your hips, then decrease for shaping around your waist, then increase again for your chest to give you that hourglass, I think a nice, long ribbing at a bottom of a garment will give you that without having to work too hard. A lot of my patterns will have like four inches of one by one ribbing at the bottom. Which a lot of people are like “Oh, that’s a lot of one by one ribbing.” But I think the final product just looks fantastic, I love it.

Zontee:  That’s a great tip. And I do think it will give you kind of a very clean look at the bottom of your sweater and keep it very neat on your body as well.

Josh:  Yes, it eliminates that kind of a bulk that you get from where the body will meet the ribbing, going two needle sizes down. Because, especially me being a guy, I wear my sweaters, like, all the time. So they pull out, especially around the cuffs and the waist. And I just want it to be constricted in more, rather than being puffy and looking a little frumpy.

Zontee:  Oh yes, definitely.

Liz:  There’s nothing worse than ribbing that has lots its rib and wears out, I don’t think.

Josh:  That’s when you cut the bottom off and you redo it. [laughter]

Zontee: Yes, there’s a tip right there. Speaking of menswear, are there any favorites shapes you like for men? We were talking a little bit earlier before the interview about how a lot of the designs out there can be a bit boxy for guys. What are your favorite shapes for men?

Josh:  Just anything that’s really fitted. To me, I’m more of a custom knitter, a personal knitter. So, I look at someone’s body and say, “This is your body. This is what you have to work with.” So, a lot of things that people buy, it’s been fitted for someone else’s body type. So, you just have to look at your body and know what the best shape is. For me, I really like more of the fitted, zip‑up hoodies and some of the athletic cuts, rather than boxier cuts, if that answers your question.

Zontee:  Yeah.

Liz:  So, what are some specific shaping tips for men? I know we talked on our blog. We did the basic silhouettes for women: Are you a pear, are you an apple? They were all fruit based–banana–one was a banana. What are some of the equivalents for men?

Josh:  I really think of just like an inverted triangle, because guys want to look broad, and they want to look like they go to the gym, stick their chest out and be all cut and built. So, I find that making sure that you have the shaping from the waist to the chest is really, really important, so making sure that you’re increasing from the bottom to your chest. When I do other people’s patterns, like when I knit from a pattern or I design it myself, I measure my chest and I do not leave any room. So, I measure my chest; there’s no gap between me and the tape measure, because knits stretch.

If I leave two inches of space around, that’s going to, after a couple of wears, that’s going to go to three inches, and it’s not going to be what I wanted my final garment to look like. So, I always make sure I measure pretty close to what my actual chest measurement is.

I measure around right around the hips. Not my hip, because you want to make sure that it goes from your waist and it goes in. The garment will taper in and then come back out for the chest. I think that’s really important for men, and the arms. Just measure around your bicep–you can flex if you go to the gym–measure that and that’s going to be your top of sleeve.

I think a lot of men’s patterns, the top of sleeve are really, really big, which then if you’re a skinny guy, makes you look a little frumpy.

Liz:  Droopy.

Zontee:  Droopy is a good word.

Josh:  Yeah, like you’re melting a little bit. You want to look good in your sweater; you want to feel good in your sweater.

Zontee:  Definitely.

Liz:  Do you have any tips if you were going to say, be a woman knitting a sweater for a very skinny guy who just maybe has the teeniest bit of a little pot belly? What are some good fitting tips for that scenario?

Josh:  Measure his chest, measure his pot belly. See if there’s a big difference, and then see also what are you going to design? Obviously you don’t want to design anything with horizontal stripes around the pot belly. You might want to do one around the chest to accentuate that and not the stomach. Maybe you want to do a cable or a ribbing that runs vertical to draw the eye away from that. I really like the one cable or stripe on the side that doesn’t draw you in the middle of the garment, but to the side, and that masks a little bit of a pot belly.

Liz:  Excellent.

Zontee:  Yeah, I think an asymmetrical line. That shaping makes it so that the imbalance, when you look at the person, it automatically draws your attention to that spot instead of where it is that you’re trying to pull attention away from.

Josh:  Exactly.

Zontee:  I know a lot of your recent men’s sweaters have had shawl collars, which I think, again, draws your eye up and makes you focus more in the neck/face region, which is probably another really good tip.

Josh:  Yeah.

Liz:  Just for hypothetical people. [laughter]

Josh:  I love me in my shawl collars.

Liz:  That’s a great idea.

Josh:  I think anything with a V‑neck is definitely good. Anything that opens, that you can zip. Double zippers is a big, my favorite thing if I do anything zipped, because when you sit down, you want to be able to zip it from the bottom and from the top. It eliminates the pouch when you sit down.

Zontee:  That’s brilliant. Yeah, because I always get that.

Liz:  That’s an excellent tip.

Josh:  Yeah, unzip the bottom.

Zontee:  That is really good.

Liz:  I think sometimes people are a little intimidated about putting a zipper into a knitted sweater. I know I was before I’d ever done it, but now it’s something I absolutely love. Do you have any good tips for first‑timers on that?

Josh:  Yes, because I hate sewing in a zipper. I have a blog entry that’s like, “After four years of the sweater just sitting in the bag, I finally bought a zipper.”

Keep your zipper zipped, and line up…you put it underneath your sweater and then pin through it so you know it’s exactly where it needs to be. Then, unzip your zipper. So, it’s pinned on both sides exactly where it needs to be, and then you unzip it so you know it’s going to match up exactly. If it’s a solid sweater, you don’t have any stripes or cables to line up, maybe every 18th row you can put a marker in there or a piece of waste yarn so that when you’re measuring up on both sides, you have a guide.

Leave it in when you’re sewing your zipper in, so you know where you are.

Zontee:  Wow, that’s a really good point, to put some kind of marker in, because like you said, on solid sweaters I always worry about how are they going to line up? Am I going to be able to tell when I’m looking at those two cardigan fronts?

Josh:  Even mark your zipper, too. When you mark your sweater, put a dot with a Sharpie, because you’re going to sew the zipper in, so you’re not really going to see that part. Then you know exactly where it’s going to line up.

Liz:  So, finally, tell us about your upcoming projects, and of course, reiterate your website so that our listeners can check it out.

Josh:  I have five pieces coming up in a Vogue Knitting Winter 2010‑11. I’ll have two women’s, two men’s, and a scarf that’s unisex. I’m also teaching at Vogue Knitting Live, which registration is now open.

Zontee:  Fantastic, and just as a side note, Patty, who is our Studio Director is also teaching there, so we definitely want to check out both her classes as well as Josh’s.

Josh:  I think that’s it. I’m just working with some other designers for some upcoming shows for fashion week, and some upcoming things for Vogue Knitting, so it’s very exciting.

Liz:  Very exciting, indeed. I know you mentioned you have some new patterns coming up on your website.

Josh:  I do. I’m working with some actors that I’ve known for awhile. One is Haviland Stillwell and she is a Broadway actress–she’s done some movies, she’s coming out with an album, she’s amazing– and Nicholas Rodriguez, who was on “All My Children,” and Broadway, “Sex and the City II,” a very handsome, handsome man. I got to sit down with them and I talked about their style, their personality, and we designed a sweater for each of them. Those patterns will be on my website, hopefully in this coming month or next month, and all of the money that is raised by those patterns will go to the charity of their choosing, which will all be on my website, BoyMeetsPurl.com.

Liz:  Thank you so much for joining us today, and we can’t wait to stay tuned and see all of those great patterns coming out.

Josh:  Thank you for having me. [music]

***

Zontee:  We want to thank all of you for joining us today, and we want to thank those who shared tips, questions, and comments on our blog by emailing us and on our Ravelry group.

Liz:  Join us again in two weeks when we talk about projects for the men out there. With a ton of man‑friendly patterns in our catalog, which should be starting to arrive in homes right now, there’s no better time to get started on gifts for the guys. We want to hear from you, our loyal male listeners. What are your favorite projects to make? What are the things you love receiving as gifts and what fun truths or misperceptions are out there about male yarn crafters?

Share your question or comments on our blog by emailing us on our Ravelry group or by voicemail at 774‑452‑YARN. That’s 774‑452‑9276, and your thoughts may be included in the next episode. As usual, our music was “Boy With a Coin,” by Iron & Wine from the Podsafe Music Network.

For more information about the patterns, products, and links in this episode, please see the episode guide.