Three yarns, three women, three sweaters.

Vogue Knitting Live was, of course, bundles of fun – even if I did spend every non-class moment curled up with some Sudafed. Teaching is one of my most favorite of things, and it’s always wonderful to see fellow teachers and exhibitors at these large events.

I returned home to the kind of Halloween fervor only ninja- and monster-obsessed little boys can muster, but I’ve still managed to get a fair amount of work done. In fact, I can finally share three more fall sweaters with you! The sweaters have been done for some time, but we haven’t been able to add them to CustomFit until this week. (It’s not really interesting to explain why – maybe I should just leave it by saying that sometimes even the programmers themselves have a hard time estimating the difficulty of programming tasks?)

So to everyone who saw these sweaters in person, a month agothanks for your patience. I’m very pleased to say that the make, wear, love retreat sweaters for 2014 are now available within CustomFit.


harbor-island-final-6 pilot-house-final-1 round-cove-final-1

The Harbor Island Cardigan.

The Harbor Island Cardigan is relaxed, friendly, and warm – just the ticket for chilly nights in front of a fire or for a walk along the coastline. Its long sleeves, longer length, and deep V neckline layer beautifully. A textured stitch pattern is fun to knit and subtly showcases a beautiful yarn.

The sample is shown in Indigodragonfly’s Sad Lester DK, an utterly gorgeous 100% BFL yarn that knits like a dream. It’s wooly, a little on the gruff side, and glorious to wear. We used the color “The New Black”, but Kim produces gorgeous, saturated shades – so find a color that speaks to you!

While the design was originally conceived with stitch patterning only on the bottom of the sweater. Lauren changed things a bit to balance her shape and make the sweater her own. Her extra-long sleeves are super snuggly, and the ribbing at the top of her sweater as well as at the bottom adds interest to the shoulder area and balances the stitch patterning at the cardigan hem. I like the way it looks so much, I’ve included instructions for both in the CustomFit patterns.

You can adjust fit, sleeve length and sweater length to suit your own preferences as usual; Harbor Island is shown here in a relaxed fit, low-hip length, and full-length sleeves. You can create your own Harbor Island directly within CustomFit.


harbor-island-final-1 harbor-island-final-8 harbor-island-final-2 harbor-island-final-4

The Pilot House Pullover.

The make, wear, love fall retreats are always held in a beautiful spot in coastal Maine where I grew up, and I try to create sweaters that would be at home in the region. The Pilot House Pullover is definitely “dressing up” fare, in my hometown, but who doesn’t like to be a bit fancy every now and again? It’s a comfortable, simple pullover to knit, with a diamond lace panel and simple scoop neckline. The lace adds a nice visual touch without fighting with the gorgeously-shaded colors of a hand-painted yarn. It also provides interest for the knitter in an otherwise-simple design.

For this sample, I used The Woolen Rabbit’s Sporty Kashmir in the colorway “Forever in Blue Jeans”. This yarn is an incredibly soft, 3-ply Sport Weight and is made from 80% superwash merino, 10% cashmere, and 10% nylon. I highly recommend it! If you’re using this yarn, you should aim for a stitch gauge of around 6 stitches to the inch to get a fabric like the one shown.

I recommend choosing either a ‘close’ or ‘average’ fit for this pullover, which looks best when worn either next to the skin or with a thin layer. I’m wearing it with a close fit. You can make your own Pilot House Pullover right here in CustomFit.


pilot-house-final-6 pilot-house-final-7 pilot-house-final-4 pilot-house-final-3

The Round Cove Cardigan.

The Roundcove Cardigan is as classic as it gets. Elbow sleeves, tiny buttons, and 1×1 ribbing pair with a gorgeous yarn and tailored shaping to create a piece you’ll wear day in, and day out, for years to come.

Of the three make, wear, love retreat designs, this is the simplest – and an excellent showcase of how utterly classic a simple sweater can be. If you’re nervous about dipping your toes into sweater knitting, this would make a gorgeous first garment.

This design will work beautifully in absolutely any gauge. I have a special place in my heart for fingering weight sweaters, though – and so the sample is worked in The Uncommon Thread’s Posh Fingering. It’s a delight both to knit and to wear – a lovely, light yarn in beautifully shaded tones made from 70% Superwash Bluefaced Leicester, 20% Silk and 10% Cashmere. (Yum.) It’s shown in color Plata.

Stateside, you can find Posh Fingering at the wonderful shop Yarn Culture (both brick-and-mortar, and online.)

This cardigan will look lovely at any fit. As shown, the cardigan was generated with an average fit – but as you can see, Jackie’s measurements have changed since she’s expecting! In these pictures, I think it looks more like a close fit in the shoulders and bust. You can create your very own Round Cove Cardigan here in CustomFit.


round-cove-final-5 round-cove-final-3 round-cove-final-4 round-cove-final-2

I hope you love all of the sweaters as much as we do! Just looking at them reminds me of the wonderful time we all had, and makes me homesick. Happy Halloween to all who celebrate, and we’ll see you soon!

make, wear, love: the sweater class

I’ve heard it often from former students:

“It all made so much sense at the time, but now that I’ve got a sweater on the needles I’m not sure: What did you say about this, again?”

It’s one of the most wonderful things about taking a sweater class through a local yarn store. And if you’re near one of our wonderful CustomFit stores, I strongly encourage you to take such a class.

But CustomFit LYS isn’t everywhere. And although teaching is one of my favorite things in the world, I can’t be everywhere either.

This fall, I’m addressing those challenges by trying something new:

mwl-class-banner

Starting next week, I’ll be running a live, online class that will help you make a phenomenal sweater with CustomFit – give you the skills you’ll need to make fantastic future garments, as well.

Through six one-hour group class sessions plus two individual one-on-one sessions, I’ll guide you through your sweater knitting process from measurements to swatching to finishing and beyond. This isn’t a webinar, or a pre-recorded set of lectures. It’s a live, interactive class with me, online. Having multiple live sessions will give us the time and flexibility to help you through your actual sweater knitting in real time. I’ll help you make great choices, answer the questions you have along the way, and see you through to the end.

Each class session will have both a specific topic and time for your questions and discussion. We’ll cover the following topics in addition to your questions:

  • CustomFit itself – what the site can do, what it can’t, and how to use it to get a sweater you love
  • Body measurements and Fit to Flatter principles – learn how to best fit and flatter your own beautiful bod
  • Sweater fabric – matching materials to design, what constitutes a good sweater fabric, and (optionally) how to match fiber to stitch pattern choices
  • Finishing – how to properly finish your sweater pieces for professional results
  • Advanced CustomFit design topics – how to use the custom sweater wizard to design the sweater of your dreams
  • One-on-one instruction – You’ll have two 15-minute personal sessions with Amy as part of your course fee.

There will be two sessions of this class: A Monday evening class that meets weekly at 8pm EST, and a Sunday class that meets roughly bi-weekly, at 12pm EST. The class sessions will be run as group video-teleconferences; the one-on-one sessions will also be run as video calls. Class dates for the Monday session are: 9/29, 10/6, 10/13, 10/20, 10/27, 11/3. Sunday session: 10/5, 10/12, 11/2, 11/16, 11/30, 12/7.

The cost for the entire class, which includes the class sessions, one-on-one instruction, and a CustomFit pattern, is $125.

You can find out more information on this page, and you can sign up here. (Space is limited and sign-ups will be first-come, first-served. You’ll receive confirmation within 24 hours of sign-up.)

Are you ready for a fantastic fall sweater? I’m really excited about this chance to work with students in a more intimate and ongoing way than my marathon teaching weekends allow. I hope you’ll join me!

Incoming

Happy New Year to you and yours! I’m really excited about 2014. 2013 was such a tumultuous year for our family, one of such massive change. Through it all, I managed to knit rather a lot of sweaters. And now after a lovely few weeks focusing on family and soaking up the time with my kids, we’re all ready to get back to “normal life”.

Of course, I’m sure there are changes lurking in the coming months, too, but for the moment it feels great to just pause, know the shape of the next few months, and dive into a wonderful, woolly pile of work. I love the New Year holiday every year for this reason: Somehow, I always start the year in a place of optimism, hope, and a readiness to dive in.

Naturally, I have a lot of travel coming up. Want to find me? I’ll be here over the next couple of months:

  • Jan 9-14: Winter TNNA show in lovely San Diego (which I will probably not see even a little bit of, so don’t get too jealous!)
  • Jan 16-20: Vogue Knitting Live, NYC
  • Jan 31-Feb 2:The Studio Knitting Retreat
  • Feb 19-24: STITCHES West – we’ll have a CustomFit booth in the marketplace!
  • Feb 28 – March 2: Classes TBA at Windy Knitty in Chicago
  • March 13 – 16: Vogue Knitting Live, Seattle
  • March 23: Stitch House, Dorchester
  • March 31: Iron Horse, Natick
  • April 10-13: STITCHES South – I’m the keynote speaker and will teach all weekend. Hope to see you!
  • April 30 – May 4: TNNA Summer show in Indianapolis
  • May 16-18: AR Fiber Festival
  • June 5-8: Squam!!!

And if you’re going to be any of these places, I’d love to see you. The next book is full-steam-ahead right now, too. Which is exciting in its own chaotic, inspiring, messy way.

book-midway

(Ever wonder what a book looks like, mid-way through? There you go!)

Normally, this would make for a pretty crazy couple of months and you’d see me again in May…

…but I’m going to try to avoid a repeat of last fall and spend more time doing things that recharge my batteries and my creativity. I expect more knitting, more time soaking up great conversations with friends, and more time here on the blog. I’ve missed you all.

One of the by-products of this is that I’m likely to change my pattern releases to be more collection-based rather than one at a time. I think there’s something exciting about the promise of a group of sweaters, and I’m excited to share the first set with you. I think it makes sense to do the same thing with CustomFit Recipe releases. For future sweater collections, there will be an option for a “Recipe collection” at the same time.

In addition, lots of prople have asked about recipes for my previously-published patterns. I’m in the process of creating those now, and will be releasing them in in collections of five pattern “recipes” each.

There will be three sets:

  • Collection 1: Adelina, Ayana, Beacon Hill, Nantasket (both options), Newtowne.
  • Collection 2: Aislinn, Arm Candy, Caulfield (both options), Petrea, Seamair.
  • Collection 3: Alight, Alta, Sebasco, Trimmings (both options), Wintry Mix.
  • The Sebasco Collection will also be available as a recipe collection.

The first is ready for you, and I’m excited to share it!

adelina-9-c-splityarn final (7 of 7) final-05173 nantasket-final-8

final-04736 nantasket-final-13

Please note that this collection is for CustomFit recipes ONLY. You will not get complete pattern instructions, and when you knit the sweaters an additional CustomFit pattern purchase will be required. On the up-side, the recipes give you instructions for creating these sweaters in your gauge, for your body, with no math required.

I hope you like the idea! You can find the e-book in my Ravelry store, and I can’t wait to share a whole new year of sweaters with you.

Behind the scenes

It’s a busy week, diving back into the day job (we were on vacation last week) and finalizing a bunch of things and beginning new sweaters, culminating in a trip to a favorite non-local yarn store for classes this weekend.

First, the new sweater:

green-mountain-1

This is Green Mountain Spinnery’s Maine Organic, which I have to tell you is one of the loveliest yarns I’ve worked with this year. It is, as my friend Kellee says, “a wool-lover’s wool”. It’s not itchy, but neither is it perfectly smooth. No pilling here, friends. Just a great, hard-wearing, throw-on-in-any-season wool. I’m in love. (Expect to see this little number in the fall–I can hardly wait!)

*****

Second, have I told you about my newsletter yet? It’s not a crazy weekly update or anything, but subscribers will get notified when I release a new pattern, when there’s a special event, and about my classes. (Or some subset of those things–you can choose categories when you sign up.) One advantage of signing up for the newsletter is that you’ll get advance notice on special events… …one of which I’m aaaaalmost ready to tell you about.

So if hearing about things before they go public appeals to you, now’s a great time to sign up!

*****

Finally, I wanted to mention a new class I’ve started offering this year. I’m teaching it at Fibre Space this weekend, and there just so happen to be a couple of spots still left.

It’s a Custom Sweater Design class, but instead of being focused on lecture about the theory of custom design and how to do it in all kinds of contexts, it’s focused on helping you leave with a perfect sweater design for your very own body. Your design choices, my math. (Or at least, my break-down of the math, my guidance through the math, and my hand there to hold when you need one.)

All of the sweaters will be bottom up with set-in-sleeve, to make sure that everyone can be at the same step of the process at the same time, but the similarities end there. Neckline, pattern stitch, sleeves, sweater length, shape, etc. are all completely up to you, your style preferences, and your life.

Students bring in a (large) swatch of the fabric they’d like their sweater made from, and a measurement sheet, and we go from there!

I’ll start out with a little visual reminder of the very simple ways clothing affects the appearance of our body shapes. We’ll then step through the design of a sweater customized for each student, based in the fabric and measurements they bring in. Sound good? Will you be in the DC area on Sunday?

If so, hope to see you there!

La Grande Pomme

I’m leaving today for a fabulous weekend in the Big Apple, full of lectures and book signings and classes and amazing food. Won’t you join me at one of the events?

  • Tonight, April 11, Lion Brand Yarn Studio. Lecture, sample show, and book signing. 6-8pm, and sign up for this free event here!
  • Tomorrow, April 12, Knitty City. Meet and greet, sample show, book signing. 4-6pm. Stop by, I’d love to see you!
  • Saturday, April 13, Big Apple Knitters’ Guild. Lecture, sample show, and book signing. Meeting is from 12:15 – 3:15 and I’ll be speaking starting at around 1pm. I’ll have books available there for purchase at a discounted price of $19.95, so please join us!
  • Sunday, April 14, Knit to Flatter Master Class at Lion Brand Yarn Studio. There are only 2 spots left, so hop on this chance to get a whole day exploring sweater nirvana.

Can’t wait to see some of you there! I’m bringing, as usual, a ridiculous amount of knitting. Some new:

nyc-1

And some that just needs making up:

nyc-2

Tune in tomorrow for another Fashion Friday, and I’m looking forward to showing you some fun pictures and lots of knitting progress when I return!

Green Mountain Great!

I spent a phenomenal two days teaching at Green Mountain Spinnery last weekend. They do wonderful weekend retreats twice a year–this was the annual Sugar Season retreat, held in the spring at the charming Saxtons River Inn, which has the best goat cheese fritter this side of ANYWHERE (ask me how I know).

For two and a half days, I got to talk sweater shop with 21 of the loveliest ladies ever. With a bonus, even: they got advance copies of the book!!

spinnery-1

Words cannot express what a great time we all had. (Or how exciting it was to see multiple copies of Knit to Flatter, just piled there! Like any other book! That’s real!) Everyone looked phenomenal in the sweaters, and as always in the classes, there were those “aha!” moments. Those times when someone who had thought of themselves as flawed saw how lovely they truly are. I live for those.

They were such a wonderful group of students. The setting was great, the company was perfect, and it was truly a special weekend.

And then to top it all off, the last thing I did before coming home was visit the Spinnery’s beautiful space.

spinnery-8

spinnery-3

spinnery-4

spinnery-5

spinnery-7

Can you imagine a lovelier time? I bet you’ll be able to find the results of my Spinnery visit some time later this year…

Squee! (I’m on Maker Monday!)

I was surprised and super happy to see myself featured on the Craftsy blog’s “Maker Monday” series. I think that the Craftsy team did such a wonderful job on this interview–they took what was, at heart, just a fun conversation about how we can make our clothing work for us, and turned it into something completely lovely and eloquent.

Check it out here.

I’d love to know what you think!

Teaching in the Future: Knit to Flatter on Craftsy

The “me of 1997″ would never have believed this. I was a usenet weenie and infocom fan then, excited about the so-called “world wide web” and voraciously reading as many Wheel of Time conspiracy theories as I could get my hands on. The internet was wildly exciting, but entirely text-based. We were all on dial-up (and I was thrilled I could talk to my then-boyfriend when we had to be apart without long-distance bills!)

Now, of course, we have streaming video, online shopping, and complex, imaginative platforms like Craftsy. If you’d told 1997 Amy that someday she’d be teaching a class on producing hand-knit wardrobe staples over the internet? I probably would have laughed.

These lovely photos, by Karen Pearson, are from my Knit to Flatter book and are used with permission.

But I’m pretty excited that the future has worked out this way. And I’m super thrilled to introduce my Knit to Flatter class, offered within the Craftsy platform. (The lovely photos in this graphic, by Karen Pearson, are from my Knit to Flatter book and are used with permission.)

What’s in the class, you ask?

In this lovely companion to the book, I cover a wealth of information about choosing sweater styles that will make you happy and helping them fit the gorgeous body you have. Specifically, we hit:

  • Analyzing and measuring your body
  • How clothing changes the way you look, and how to achieve a more “average” figure shape by manipulating your appearance with clothing
  • Advice for getting a sweater you love to wear
  • How to choose a size that will fit your shoulders, and compare your measurement sheet against a pattern’s schematic to identify required modifications
  • How to work many of those modifications

I love teaching these classes in person. There’s such a special thing about getting to interact 1-on-1, live, with my students. And I hear that my students appreciate the chance to actually try on my sweater samples and see in 3-d what works! But unfortunately, I can’t be everywhere. And teaching the class on Craftsy does a wonderful job of helping me connect to my students, almost as if I were there.

pic2

Although the great discussion / question-and-answer / student group capabilities of the Craftsy platform are great, I think for this particular class one feature stands out as better than any other: You can watch the content as often as you want, as many times as you want, forever. With classes like Knit to Flatter, where there is so much information (some of which is likely to change the way you think about sweater knitting), the value of the repeat can’t be overstated. In fact, I’ve heard from several former in-person students who signed up as a refresher, and they’re loving it!

The class includes lots of samples from my book, shown on models of each of the 3 body types. The class allowed us to do one thing that just wasn’t appropriate for the book, and that is to show our lovely (lovely) models in styles that unbalance their figures, as well as the more flattering choices. This really brings home the visual impact of clothing in what I hope is an entirely positive way. These are lovely women, and lovely sweaters (if I do say so myself!). The combination is just a little off sometimes, and it’s nice to be able to see that. (At least, I think it is.)

pic1

Of course, your own comfort in your clothes is the single biggest determining factor for how something looks. So if any of the models had really liked the the way they looked in the “off” sweaters, the segment would have played out very differently! I say this because I’m utterly, utterly uninterested in being some kind of “What not to wear” lady. Wear what you love! (But if you need help figuring out what to love, try these suggestions.)

I’m really excited to connect with everyone within the Craftsy platform. I view the book, in-person classes, and the Craftsy class as ways to learn about this topic that all reinforce one another–that all give you something slightly different. But if you take the course and disagree, know that Craftsy has a great refund policy.

Interested in taking the course? You can sign up here at a 50% discount off of the regular course price of $39.99:

Knit to Flatter on Craftsy

Interested in hearing more about the course from other perspectives? Several people are reviewing it, and I’ll be linking to their reviews as they go live. (Here’s one from my good friend Jackie.) But you can also see what other Craftsy students are saying, here on the review page:

Reviews on Craftsy

I definitely hope you love the course. And if online learning just isn’t your thing (or even if it is), I hope that we connect in person or about the book, too. This is such an important topic–it really transcends hand-knits and speaks to something fundamental (at least for me). I’m thrilled to be able to share it with you.

Pattern Release: Alta

Well, the groundhog is fired, as far as I’m concerned. But at least I have several more weeks to wear my new favorite sweater! Please allow me to present: Alta.

alta-final-1

Sizes: Ten sizes; intended to be worn with 1-2’’/2.5-5cm ease in the upper torso. Shown in size 38½/98cm.

Final Measurements:
Bust measures: 30½ (32, 34, 36½, 38½, 40, 42, 46½, 50, 54½)”/77.5 (81.5, 86.5, 92.5, 98, 101.5, 106.5, 118, 127, 138.5) cm
Length from hem to shoulder: 21½ (22¼, 22¾, 23¼, 24, 24½, 25, 25¾, 26½, 27)”/54.5 (56.5, 58, 59, 61, 62, 63.5, 65.5, 67.5, 68.5) cm

Featured Materials:
Spirit Trail Fiberworks Birte [75% merino; 15% cashmere; 10% silk]: 275 yds/251 m per 113 g hank, shown in color Graphite: 5 (5, 5, 6, 6, 6, 7, 7, 8, 8) hanks or 1112 (1202, 1269, 1393, 1501, 1577, 1671, 1821, 1993, 2198) yds / 1015 (1097, 1158, 1271, 1370, 1440, 1525, 1663, 1819, 2006) m.

Gauge: 22 sts & 30 rows = 4”/10 cm in stockinette stitch on smallest needles, blocked. Recommended needle size of US 6/4 mm.

Pattern Notes: All photographs copyright Jonathan Herzog 2013 and used with permission. Technical editing by Elizabeth Sullivan.

Alta is what happened when I tried to imagine an updated version of the old-school ski sweater, done in a way that flatters the figure. It has a few modern updates, but will still keep you toasty warm all winter. The luscious wool-silk blend in a large, modern turtleneck positively cuddles your neck. The longer sleeves do the same for your wrists. The cables are intricate enough to be interesting but aren’t fussy, lending a classic look to this longer sweater. Vertical waist shaping darts keep everything supremely flattering. The combination of lace and cablework gives the sweater a somewhat delicate feel.

And of course, the yarn can’t be beat. Spirit Trail Fiberworks Birte is a glorious blend of wool and silk that lends just the right drape, color depth, and sheen to this classic sweater. Should you desire to substitute yarn, please choose a yarn that produces a slightly springy, drapey fabric at gauge.

Alta is constructed in pieces from the bottom up, with set-in sleeves. The neckline is picked up and worked after seaming.

Vertical darts enable easy customization to fit your needs. Should you desire less waist shaping than specified, either omit the shaping rows entirely, or omit/reduce only the shaping on the front of the sweater. Bustier women can work more increases on the front of the sweater, and not in the back. Extra stitches should be decreased into the neckline.

As with all patterns, compare the schematic against your own measurements and make alterations as necessary.

Alta may be purchased from from my ravelry pattern store for US$7.00 or by clicking here: buy now

Thanks for your support!

(By the way. Interested in the Craftsy logo I posted about a couple of days ago? I’ll do a longer, more thorough blog post later, but for those of you who can’t wait? Here it is!)

alta-final-7 alta-final-2 alta-final-4 alta-final-8

Backlog

Whew! Home, sweet internet. Thank goodness. Of course, now I have a whole backlog of stuff to share with you. So here’s a rapid-fire roundup of some of what’s going on right now.

Shall we start with a little preview of a design coming up really soon?

alta-final-4

I’m excited to release this one, as usual. It’s getting really good wear this chilly February, and is in one of my new BFFs.

*****

I’ve got a few classes coming up this spring, and some of them still have openings. In particular, please consider joining me at Lion Brand Yarn Studio on April 14 for a 6-hour Knit to Flatter class. I’ll be bringing dozens of my sweaters, and we’ll cover everything you need to know to get wardrobe staples flying off of your needles. It’s a tremendously fun class and I’m not teaching nearly as much in 2013, so this is a somewhat rare opportunity!

To sign up online, please click here.

I’ll be doing a few other speaking engagements that same weekend in New York City, but this is the only class.

I’ll also be speaking and teaching at the Madison Knitters Guild’s annual Knit In event, and their regular monthly Monday meeting just after the event. The classes are full, but if you want to join us either for a book signing or the Monday night event, I’d love to see you!

*****

Finally, thanks so much, again, for your lovely, warm response to Afterlight. I can’t believe there are 5 projects already!

I thought it might be helpful to some of you to show a different way of styling Afterlight. I’ve turned into a jeans-and-top person by default, at least when I’m not working, since having the boys. But in my past life (when I didn’t have to worry about food being smeared over every single outfit), I had a much dressier, more dry-clean-only kind of style. I still work in a pretty formal office environment, so I decided to snap a quick picture of how I’d wear this sweater to the office:

styling-brighter-1

(Skirt: Boden. Tights: J Crew, though obviously mine are more opaque than that! Shoes and tank are both from Nordstrom Rack.)

I think this pullover is equally at home dressed up or down–the fabric is just right to match a variety of wardrobe pieces. I just love a versatile sweater!

*****

Phew! I have lots of exciting things to share in the coming week, but definitely in a less “fire hose of information” kind of way. Check back soon!