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Friday, April 15, 2011

Episode 5: Make the knit fit!

We're baaaaack! Ha, where would we be without famous movie lines, right? Anyhoo, we've been busy tending to business and getting our sales reps fall/winter packs together, and we got those off in the mail last week. Phewww! It's like giving birth...twice a year :-)

In this podcast episode:
1) what makes a yarn a winner in my book
2) traveling with knitting in tow
3) the mini lesson is about choosing the right sweater to fit your body shape

I was recently asked to describe my company, and the type of yarn I sell. It got me thinking more seriously about what drives my decisions. Unlike other companies that specialize in only natural fibers, or in high end yarns, Knit One, Crochet Too has a much broader selection. Turns out I am an equal opportunity knitter! Yes, I am a knitter first, and I like a LOT of different types of yarn. When a yarn is added to our collection it means I want to knit with it. It has passed the "hand" test (how it feels and how it drapes), the feel test, the knitting test, and the inspiration test (I can see lots of design ideas)---as well as a few other tests. Of course, Joyce has input, too. I drive her crazy asking for her opinion on yarn, weight of yarn, color of yarn, what does she think of possible design ideas...all while she is trying to get her work done. What a slave driver I am...(but secretly, I think she loves it :-)

Nautika, a new yarn for summer, is a perfect example of the type of yarn that won me over by passing all the tests with flying colors, all while being a blend of 85% microfiber acrylic and 15% nylon. Yes, I said acrylic! In the world of yarn, we know that it's a word that make some knitters turn off. Completely. But it won me over by it's softness, sheen, stitch definition, and easy care. Not to mention the price ain't bad either. And in today's world, that's a pretty good thing. Ute Grzanna, of The Knitting Basket, in Richmond, VA, also succumbed to the temptation. She first passed it over when she read about Nautika in a sales flyer we sent her. But then we did an evil thing. We sent her a small sample. Bad, bad us (insert maniacal laugh). She got hooked...and her customers did too. She said she can't keep it in stock.

I invite you to test yourself: next time you visit a yarn shop, make your yarn selection by feel and by sight. Only then allow yourself to take a peek at the fiber content. You might be surprised by your selection.

After we got the rep packets out the door, I took a bit of a break in Branson, MO. Perfect time to go there (early April). No crowds, pretty quiet, and the weather cooperated. But of course, I never leave home without tons of yarn and needles, and I came back with this cute jacket, named Waterlily 'cause it kinda looks like the famous painting. It's made of Wrapunzel in a new color called Foxgloves (not yet shown on the website) and Ty-Dy Wool. The pattern will be available shortly as it is a late addition to the aforementioned fall/winter collection.
I also made one sock in Ty-Dy Socks Skinny Stripes (this link shows you the original Ty-Dy Socks, minus the skinny stripes - still too new to load on the site, but shown here just to tease... :-) Oh, and the color is called Twilight. I just love that yarn---so much so, I am actually planning on knitting a 2nd sock. Matching socks, what a concept!
Yes, I traveled armed to the teeth with 2 pairs of straights and 2 circular needles, in my carry-on bag. No problem. But don't try that as an audience member of the Jay Leno show. You'll have to park your arsenal at the door. Yes, in January, I was a victim of the Leno Show goon squad and had to pull the needles right out of my work-in-progress. But never fear, I used my super-duper back-on-the-needle method once I got my needles back at the end of show (they were still outside in a basket when I exited). Here's a how-to video where I demonstrate:

The lesson for this episode is about identifying your body shape and selecting garments that puts your best attributes forward. Shape #1: the Pear---wider hips, narrow waist and shoulder. Best to select styles with details at the neck and shoulders, and minimal patterning at the lower edge. We suggest the Braided Yoke Tank worked in Nautika:
Shape #2: the Apple---round body, broad chested, minimal waist definition, flat derriere, shapely legs. Select garments that divide your body vertically. The Charlie Vest in Ty-Dy can be worn with a loosely fitted belt (as shown below) that creates movement at the waist, or unbuttoned. A multi-colored garment like this will be most successful layered over a monochromatic top and pants.
Shape #3: the Hourglass---width of hips and shoulders match with well defined waist, the perfect shape (or so I hear). The lucky hourglass can wear many styles, and is best showcased with form-fitting sweaters. The Sabrina Tee in 2nd Time Cotton molds your body for a vavavoom! effect :-)
Shape #4: the Rectangle: evenly sized from shoulder to hips, no waist definition, boyish figure. Look for waist shaping and avoid square shaped garments. The Dahlia Cardigan in Babyboo gives width to the shoulders and a fit-and-flair lower section. Lots of trompe l'oeuil action there.
Shape #5: the Inverted Triangle---the opposite of the pear, the emphasis needs to be on the hips to balance extra wide shoulders. According to Joyce (who claims this shape as her nemesis), shapes with peplums or a flaired edging are best. The Mermaid Tee in Ty-Dy adds width to the hips, while camouflaging any tummy bulge that may have taken up residence there...
Go ahead and gawk all you want at knitters modeling their creations on and see what looks good on folks with a similar body type as yours. Nothing wrong with gawking. I do it all the time.