January 29, 2021 5 min read 1 Comment
Hello friends, it's Claire here, and I'm so happy to welcome you to this week's blog post! Our topic today is something we knitters come up against a lot; how to choose the right pattern for you?
Let's face it, when it comes to deciding on our next project, we are certainly not spoilt for choice as new patterns are being published weekly. It's easy to have your head turned by the next big trend or by how that lovely cardigan looks on the model in your favourite magazine's new issue!
Does that last part sound a little too specific? Yep, you got me, this has happened with me. And where is that cardigan now? It's sadly on a shelf somewhere at my parent's house, unworn and unloved. Not because it wasn't a lovely pattern or because I made mistakes knitting it. It just wasn't the right pattern for me!
We spend so much time, money, and energy on our knitting, and while we love the process, we also want to end up with something we will use and wear for a long time to come. Having our knits tucked away, forgotten and unloved, is not only sad - it isn't sustainable.
Unfortunately, the quick answer is that we can never know exactly how something will turn out, but we can look at a few things to put us on the right path. The best place to start is with a good understanding of the things you do and don't like to wear. I know, that sounds really obvious, but you'll be surprised how quickly we will overlook these things when faced with a new pattern release from our favorite designer. Before you cast on, have a think about the following things:
Fit:For example, how much ease do you like in your clothes? What shoulder shaping or neckline do you prefer? Knowing how you like your clothes to fit will make it so much easier to choose a pattern that you know you will wear. Once you have a good understanding of this, you can even learn how to adjust patterns you love to give you the fit you like (but more on that another day!).
Style:Style and fit go hand in hand, so having a great understanding of both will always set you on the right path. What items of clothing do you reach for over and over again? What makes you feel special? Identify the things that make you happy when you wear them and look for those same details in the patterns you knit.
Textures:Are you particularly drawn to fabrics that are soft and squishy? Crisp and textured? Does smooth stockinette make you happiest or do you crave complicated cables?
Techniques: It's always helpful to really look at all the techniques used in a pattern before you commit, that way you can decide if it's something you are going to enjoy doing and you are likely to finish it. I don't mean you should avoid trying new techniques at all, definitely explore new things! What I mean is, if you have several unfinished projects lurking in bags because they have you doing stranded colorwork on the wrong side and you are now eyeing up another project that asks the same, maybe take that into consideration.
How does it fit into my existing wardrobe? This is something that didn't click with me for the longest time, but once it did it made such a difference! So often I'd knit something that I really loved, but it never seemed to 'go' with anything. Alternatively, I'd often go to get dressed and find myself thinking "I wish I had a sweater to wear over this" or "a v-necked cardigan would be perfect for today." Knowing what will work with my existing clothes means I'm already one step closer to choosing a pattern I will wear.*
*This is a reflection of how I approach my personal style, which is just that, very personal! You may not find this is something you think about at all or you may approach it an entirely different way. Find what works for you!
So as helpful as considering the points about are, we're still left with a few gaps to fill, particularly when it comes to fit. There's too much information to ever fit into one post, so over the coming months we'll be exploring fit and lots of other topics in detail right here on the blog. For today though, I want to leave you with a little exercise that helps me when it comes to choosing projects that are right for me.
I'm a huge fan of mood boards, and planning my knitting and sewing projects is one of my favourite things to do! I use Pinterest, but you could use a different program or even cut out images and pin them to a board. You can see a screenshot of mine below. I love going in and adding and changing things, it always leaves me feeling super inspired!
On my mood board, I love adding new projects I'd like to try, but here are some other things I like to include also:
Photos of completed projects that I wear often;This gives me a good reminder of the style of knits I like and wear!
Photos of clothes I've purchased; Remember, the most sustainable clothes are the ones already in your wardrobe; but what if you just don't wear them? I have a few dresses that I've had for years. I love them, but aren't super practical for most of the year. The right layering piece could change that though, so I add it to the board so I can consider it next to my planned make!
Colour palettes; I love saving colour palettes that inspire me so I can refer to them whenever I'm project planning. This is especially helpful when colourwork is involved, but it's also to push me if I'm in a colour rut (sometimes I get stuck on blue and yellow!).
Outfit inspiration;As I mentioned, I'm not always the greatest at putting my FO's into an outfit, and often it's because I have something in mind that I want to wear it with, but when it comes to trying it on, it just doesn't look how I wanted it to. Normally, it's because the fit is off. Outfit inspiration photos help because I can find the overall look I'm going for and it can help me make fit decisions such as ease and garment length.
So I'd love to know, do you do something similar and plan your knits with mood boards? If not, perhaps this has inspired you to try your own?! Remember, your mood board is there to help and inspire you, but never restrict you. You can add and remove things as much as you like, it's your space to plan your projects!
I'm so excited to see how mine will change over the coming months as we explore all the fun topics we have coming up on the blog, as I know I'm going to get inspired to change things up a little. I hope you have enjoyed this first step into how to choose the right pattern. If you do decide to create a mood board of your own, please let us know in the comments below!
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