I have a few technique posts in my head, and I’d love to walk you through my design process for Twinflower, but for the moment, let’s just talk about the latest issue of Twist, shall we?
I haven’t been so inspired by a group of sweaters in ages. There are so many wonderful designs, with so many great ideas, that I kind of spun my wheels looking at all of the sweaters for awhile. Over the last week, Metro, Acorns, Olivette, and Peregrine have jumped to the top of my personal list. I’d also like to make a Twinflower for myself, with elbow-length sleeves (still belled, I think–I think it would be a really cute mod) and a lower neckline.
The wonderful folks in the Fit to Flatter ravelry group requested that I do another analysis of this issue, similar to what I did for the Spring 2010 issue in Installment 3. I didn’t contact Twist ahead of time, so no pictures with this one, but I thought you might be interested in the results. Just so that we don’t have a completely picture-free post, here’s a snapshot of some socks I just finished:
(The yarn is The Woolen Rabbit Harmony, in color “Oh, Ruby!”. Just in case you were wondering.)
Now, on to the analysis!
First off, I want to say that in keeping with the Fit to Flatter tutorials, this is not a list designed to keep you from knitting the sweaters you love. If you adore a pattern in this list and you’re not listed in the “As shown, ideal for:” sentence, do not give up on it! Please take everything I say below as being positive in nature. That is, when I say a visual element draws attention to the bust in a way that is especially flattering for busty knitters, please don’t take that to mean that only busty knitters can wear the sweater! This is very far from an exact science.
With that in mind, here are the sweaters:
- Issara: This sweater is all about that wonderful, wonderful collar. Worn open, it creates a horizontal line across the wearer’s shoulders that broadens their appearance and draws the eye up to the shoulder/collarbone area. The purl ridge at the waistline highlights the narrowness of the waist, with additional curves added on the back with the pleat detail. Simple modifications could include shortening the jacket to suit the wearer’s taste, removing the pleat if that is a concern, and waist shaping would be very simple to modify as those sections of the jacket are in stockinette. As shown, ideal for: Bottom-heavy, proportional, curvy/straight, busty/not depending on how it’s worn.
- Hallett’s Ledge: Hallett’s Ledge has a number of vertical visual elements in the button band, cable rib, and plain ribbing portions of the sweater. The horizontal ridge of eyelets, matched between the sleeves and the main body of the sweater, draw the eye directly to that ridge. Thus, changing the location of the ridge would change where the eye is drawn: On the model, it falls directly under her bust; it could also be located at the narrowest point of the wearer’s waist. The garter ridge placement on the sleeves could be changed, breaking up the horizontal visual impression if desired. Additionally, the expanse of a bust could be broken up simply by wearing the cardigan open to the garter ridge (be sure to choose lighter buttons so that they don’t pull the sweater down when worn open). As shown, ideal for: Proportional, smaller bust, curvy/straight.
- Gwendolyn: The gorgeous allover cable pattern of Gwendolyn draws clean vertical lines up and down the wearer’s body; done in a bright color, the contrasting trim call attention to the neckline and hem areas. The deep ribbing on the sleeves does a nice, subtle job of calling out a smaller waist; the depth of this ribbing could be easily modified to call attention higher or lower on the wearer’s toros, as desired. Those wishing to break up the chest area could split the central cable into a lower V-neck quite easily; with the addition of a second cable in the center, I think this would also make a lovely cardigan (which could also be worn open for a few extra inches). As shown, ideal for: Proportional, smaller bust, curvy/straight.
- Red Oak: Red Oak’s easy elegance is all about that central leaf panel. The structured shoulders, cuff, and deep hemmed bottom edge all highlight the portions of the wearer’s body where they fall, but in a subtle way due to the more relaxed fit. The shoulders are *beautifully* tailored in this piece, and draw some attention to the bust area. The A-line nature of the jacket will skim the wearer’s body instead of clinging to their curves. As shown, ideal for: All body shapes, smaller bust, curvy/straight.
- Acorns: The main lace motif of Acorns draws the eye upward to the shoulders, and the triangle tapering of the motif presents the illusion of a narrower waist. The repetition of the acorns on the bottom of the sweater provides some balance with the top, drawing attention to the portion of the wearer’s body it falls on. Sleeve length and body length are easily adjusted here, and can change where the eye is drawn. Waist shaping could also easily be changed to accommodate the wearer’s figure, making this a very flattering and highly versatile sweater. As shown, ideal for: Bottom-heavy and proportional figures, smaller bust, curvy/straight.
- Stratocumulus: The gorgeous and unique collar of this sweater draw attention upward to the wearer’s face. The gentle yoke details provide subtle emphasis to the line of the shoulders, and the 3/4-length sleeves draw the eye to the wearer’s upper hip region. The stockinette torso and sleeves make waist shaping, sweater length, and sleeve length modifications very simple. As shown, ideal for: Bottom-heavy and proportional figures, smaller bust, curvy/straight.
- Kiloran: The delicate, smooth fabric of Kiloran makes modifications extremely simple. As a dress, the seed stitch waist panel draws the eye in on the wearer’s waist, and the fuller skirt provides the visual impression of a curvy figure (whether or not the wearer has one). The nature of knit fabric draws the eye to the wearer’s legs, while the positive ease of the skirt (and the way it will not stretch across the hips) makes this a potentially flattering choice for a wide range of figures. As a dress, ideal for: Top-heavy and proportional figures, any bust, curvy/straight. Kiloran would be easy to modify into either a tunic or a shorter sweater. In sweater form, the shorter sleeves will draw the eye upward to the bust. The inset lace panel provides a nice vertical visual element to narrow the bust/shoulder region, and could accommodate a wide range of bust ease in a flattering way. The seed stitch panel will continue to draw the eye in on the wearer’s waist; there are a variety of options for a sweater hem underneath the waist panel. As a sweater, ideal for: Top-heavy, bottom-heavy, and proportional figures, any bust, curvy/straight.
- Coventry: The swingy shape of Coventry’s body and sleeves draw the eye down to the sleeve/hem region of the wearer’s body, while the scarf and cables provide narrowing vertical visual elements. As with many of the other sweaters, the length of various portions of the sweater can greatly impact where the eye is drawn on the wearer’s body. The A-shape of the jacket will draw attention away from the wearer’s curves (or lack thereof). More attention can be called to the wearer’s collarbone/shoulders by eliminating the scarf detail (which is knit separately and then seamed on). As shown, ideal for: Top-heavy/proportional shapes, small bust, curvy/straight.
- Metro: Metro’s vertical visual elements, in the ribbing, cables, and worn-open cardigan band, give a narrowing impression to the wearer’s body. The waist shaping highlights curves without being tight, and the sleeves draw the eye to the wearer’s waist/hip region. When viewed from the back, the horizontal impression of the cabling at the collar pairs with the hem of the sweater to give balance. Sleeve length, hem, and waist shaping modifications make this a very versatile piece. As shown, ideal for: Top-heavy/proportional/bottom-heavy shapes, any bust, curvy/straight.
- Peregrine: The deep, narrow neckline is Peregrine’s most striking feature, and it beautifully narrows the shoulders and torso of the wearer. The delicate lace trim on the hem and sleeve edges draw the eye to those portions of the wearer’s body, and the ribbing side panels nicely hug curves. Hem, sleeve length, and waist shaping are all easily modifiable on Peregrine to tweak which portions of the wearer’s body are accentuated. Finally, it looks as though the top of the neckline could also be modified to expose more of the wearer’s collarbones, either by performing fewer short rows around the back neck or by rolling the top of the neckline over into a mini-shawl collar. As shown, ideal for: top-heavy, bottom-heavy, and proportional shapes, any bust, curvy.
- Twinflower: The wide, shallow ballet neck and belled sleeve bottoms balance one another out and form the major visual impressions for Twinflower. The neckline draws attention to the wearer’s collarbones, and the belled sleeves draw attention to where the bell occurs–as shown, the hip/thigh region of the wearer. The mini-cables on the front form a narrowing, vertical visual impression and the waist shaping ensures the sweater hugs the wearer’s curves. A couple of simple modifications would make Twinflower a good choice for different body types: The sleeve length could be modified (I think the same belled lace panel would look great on elbow, 3/4-length, *or* full sleeves), drawing attention to wherever the bell falls. The hem and waist shaping could also be modified, and the neckline could be deepened to break up the expanse of a larger bust. As shown, ideal for: Proportional shapes, smaller bust, curvy/straight.
- Sunny Day: Sunny Day’s lovely, cheerful collar is the big story here. It draws the eyes up to the collarbone and the face. A nice twist on the typical swing-jacket implementation, the wider collar actually allows more skin to show, enabling the sweater to nicely accentuate the bust instead of simply covering the whole torso. The contrasting edging on the front of the cardigan draws an eye-catching vertical line, and the contrasting sleeve cuffs accentuate the swingy, breezy bottom edge of the sweater. Sleeve length could easily be modified to pull attention back up to the bust area (I think this would look phenomenal with elbow sleeves, for example), and the sweater’s hem could easily be shortened or lengthened based on personal preference. As shown, ideal for: Top heavy/proportional shapes, curvy/straight.
- Promenade: The finer-gauge, drapey fabric and timeless styling of Promenade will work well for a variety of figures. The combination of the puffed sleeves and wide, deep neckline draw attention up to the bust and collarbones, while the tie accentuates the waist and keeps the top modern. The gentle, figure-skimming hem allows Promenade to look nicely tailored without drawing too much attention to the hip region, keeping all of the focus at the top of the sweater. Modifications of the type described in other sweaters would be simple to do with Promenade too, but I think a great measure of the versatility in this sweater comes from the fact that I suspect the tie could be worn in multiple ways–higher or lower to match the wearer’s waist, tied to the side to accentuate a serious curve, or in the front to break up the smooth fabric over the stomach. As shown, ideal for: Top-heavy/bottom-heavy/proportional shapes, larger bust, curvy/straight.
- Cityscape: Cityscape’s, well, cityscape draws all the attention in this sweater. Like in many yoked sweaters, the yoke’s colorwork draws a horizontal line around the entire top of the wearer’s body (including arms). A nice twist in Cityscape is that the contrast of the colorwork breaks up a larger bust without exposing skin. The neutral hem and stockinette body present easy modification choices to the knitter: Sleeve length, hem, and waist shaping would all be quick changes. The vertical button band provides a narrowing visual element to the front. This sweater could work well for a variety of shapes. As shown, ideal for: Bottom-heavy/proportional shapes, any bust, curvy/straight.
- Olivette: Olivette’s most striking design feature is the repetition of multiple vertical visual elements. Their presence on both the front and back of the cardigan narrow the torso of the wearer from any angle. The button-band can be worn open, as on the model, to highlight the bustline, or it could be worn closed on a smaller bust for an allover slimming effect. The visual distinction between the more intricate center detailing and the stockinette sides slim the figure even more, as the stockinettte sections tend to fade from view. The deep ribbing sections on the sleeve cuffs draw attention to the hip line, and the deep ribbing on the sweater body draws attention up to the wearer’s waist. In addition to the usual modifications, the depth of the ribbing and extra (or less) waist shaping would be simple to change in this sweater. As shown, ideal for:Top-heavy/proportional/bottom-heavy shapes, any bust, curvy/straight.
- Orange Pop: Orange Pop has very clear visual elements in the colorwork sections at the yoke and hem. These balance one another out, and do a clever widening of both regions of the wearer’s body which makes the waist appear correspondingly smaller. This effect is accentuated even more by the elbow sleeves, whose plain hem draw the eye again to the smaller waist. The subtly tailored turtleneck covers up the collarbones, allowing the yoke styling to take center stage. The side slits on the hem treatment ensure that nothing will pull or look tight in the hip region. Orange Pop could be easily modified for a wide array of figures by shortening or lengthening the body, thus changing where the balancing color panel falls. Waist shaping and the usual sleeve modifications would also be very simple. As shown, ideal for: Bottom-heavy/proportional shapes, any bust, curvy/straight.
- Wellfleet: The great texture and double-breasted lapel of Wellfleet make the whole sweater very eye-catching on the wearer. The 3/4 sleeves and shorter hem length fall in the same place on the model, drawing a strong horizontal line on the waist/high hip region of the body. The transition of the main texture from vertical to horizontal on the arms broadens the shoulders in balance with the hem. Length, cardigan closure, and sleeve length would all be easy modifications to this pattern and would change the look quite a bit. Worn open, the cardigan would be all about vertical lines on the wearer. As shown, ideal for: Bottom-heavy/proportional shapes, small bust, straight figure. But, since there were several questions about Wellfleet in the ravelry discussion topic, I want to say that I think the modifications described briefly here would widen its applicability to a variety of different shapes including top-heavy and busty shapes. A quick look doesn’t tell me how easy it would be to add waist shaping, so I would appreciate input from others on that.
- Hazelwood: Hazelwood’s texture makes an eye-catching statement and draws attention to the whole torso of the wearer. The strong vertical lines in the middle of the sweater’s back, and the closures in the front, break up the torso. The almost woven look of the fabric give a tailored and neat appearance without hugging the body closely. The eye is drawn to the high hip region and neckline with this sweater. The lengths could be changed as in other sweaters, and the cardigan could also easily be worn open to the bust line to break up the torso a bit. As shown, ideal for proportional shapes, smaller bust, straight figures.
- Aliquot: Aliquot blends very strong vertical *and* horizontal visual elements in a way that makes the most of curves. The long vertical impression given by the cable panels is expanded horizontally by both the wide collar and sweater hem; it is cinched in at the wearer’s waist by the three ties. This powerful visual combination will accentuate curves for knitters who have them and provide the illusion of curves for those who do not, thanks to the diagonal lines formed by the three waist ties being grouped together in the front. This is a lovely, versatile design. With modifications, this could easily suit other figures: The collar could be shortened to reduce the widening of the shoulders, the cardigan could be shortened to draw attention to the high hip instead of the low-hip/thigh region, and the placement of the horizontal ties could be changed to suit the wearer’s narrowest waist point. As shown, ideal for proportional figures, any bust, curvy/straight.
What were your favorites, if you’ve stuck with me this far?