Monday, 17 May 2010

Ease in Knits (or 'I Stooped to Pick a Buttercup'*)

Maybe it's the current profusion of actual buttercups, but I cannot stop thinking about this very popular pattern (ravlink). I think I would like to make a long-sleeved woolly version (which would still come in very handy in the British 'summertime'), in this vibrant pink Wensleydale Longwool, which featured in my stash pledge all those months ago.

Daydreaming about Buttercup lead me to think about ease in knitwear. The original pattern is designed with plenty of positive ease, to be a swing-y A-line top. I have seen several beautiful fitted variations on Ravelry with waist-shaping, such as this, but then also love this one where the ribbing pulls in the bottom of the A-line for a slouchy, 'boyfriend' look. My instinct with sweaters is always to err on the side of form-fitting negative ease (about 4 inches of it in the case of Snow White), out of a fear partly of drowning my diminutive frame, and partly of repeating my first jumper experience, in which I unwittingly knitted a garment the size of a wendy house. This attraction to negative ease seems to be common to a lot of knitters; maybe it is in some ways a lingering reaction against the shapeless, unflatteringly rectangular patterns of the 80s and 90s. Perhaps the choice between negative and positive ease can be thought of as a choice between a feminine and a masculine look, the one showing off womanly curves, the other hiding them boyishly. What do you think? How do you go about deciding on a size for your knitwear, or for that matter your sewing projects?

* 'I stooped to pick a buttercup. Why people leave buttocks lying around, I'll never know' - Stephen Fry

Edited for spelling.

1 comment:

  1. I love that pattern too - thanks for the rav links, both are lovely but I think I actually really like the second option ... slouchy with ribbing at the bottom. I am not a big an of the way A line things tend to look on me so I'd probably adapt it either of the two ways you mention for myself. I shall look forward to seeing what you decide to do - love that pink yarn!

    I laughed about your knitted wendy house!


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