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Wet Coast Wools Podcast Episode 68: A Passel of Pigs

February 01, 2019

Wet Coast Wools Podcast Episode 68: A Passel of Pigs

Episode 68: A Passel of Pigs
Filmed on Friday, February 1st, 2019

Welcome to all our returning viewers, and to those who are joining us for the first time!

Our show notes can be found in the drop down section on YouTube, and on Ravelry. Comments and questions can be left in either place.

Glenda - Glenda on Ravelry, glendamcdonald on instagram 
Kelsey - fiddlebach and Kzipknits on Instagram and Ravelry 
Wet Coast Wools - WetCoastWools on all the things

FOs (Finished Objects)

Glenda: Wearing - Central Park Hoodie by Heather Lodinsky, knit in Knoll Kilcarra Tweed

  • First Beach Cowl by Holli Yeoh, made with Illimani Silky Baby Llama in Cranberry and Grey.

  • I used the new Prym Ergonomic needles for this cowl. It’s a pretty good needle - lightweight, bendy cable that probably won’t hold too much curl, good joins.

    • These come in Circurlar, DPNs, and straights; but the sizes are limited:
    • 60cm available in 4.5-7mm
    • 80cm available in 4.5, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, & 12mm
    • DPNs - 9 sizes between 2.5 and 8mm Straights - 3 to 12mm in 13 and 14”lengths
    • Prices range from about $10.50 to $18 per set/pair
  • Juggling Pig by Frankie Brown. Made with Cascade Yarns Superwash Merino worsted

  • Pig and Piglets, from Toy Knits by Debbie Bliss. Leftover Diamond Tradition in Bubble Gum

  • Varkentje Pip by Stip & Haak, crocheted in King Cole Drifter DK Baby

  • When Pigs Fly Amigurumi by Wendy Korz, crocheted in some cotton from my stash, and acrylic for his sweater

Kelsey: Wearing - Ease by Josée Paquin in Hemp for Knitting Hempwol, colourway Florence

WIPS (Works in Progress)


  • Another pig, body based on Rainbow Babies by Jeane Greenhowe. Made with acrylic from my stash


  • Book People by Sylvia McFadden / Softsweater in “Flamingo Dancing” dyed by me!

  • Spongdal Toque by Kelsey Zachary in an accidental colour from Puzzle Tree Yarns and “Blueberry Milkshake” on K-Zip Knits Dunbar DK base.

  • My Cryptonite by Melanie Berg - “Juniper” from Hedgehog Fibre in their sock base, Indigo Moon in “Celestial Blue” and Sweet Fibre “Spanish Coin” in her sweet merino lite base. All randoms from my stash!

Ask Us Anything:

Lisamchuk on Ravelry asked us about sweater fit on people with broad shoulders, especially regarding circular yoke sweaters. She also asked:

“Do you have any advice about garment construction for broad shoulders? Do you know of any resources that talk about knitted garment shapes for different body shapes?”

First off, every body is beautiful. If something makes you happy, wear it. Don’t limit your choices of clothing by following so-called ‘rules’ of dressing.

To me, the most important thing is just to make sure that your sweaters fit the way you want them too - whether that’s super oversized or with lots of negative ease. This means you need to swatch before knitting, so that the finished sweater will be the exact measurements you were aiming for.

To research this question, I use the following resources:

  • Sweater Design in Plain English by Maggie Righetti (1990). (I love this book!)

  • Big Girl Knits (2006), and More Big Girl Knits (2008), by Jillian Moreno and Amy Singer

  • Knit to Flatter (2013), Knit.Wear.Love (2015), and You Can Knit That (2016), and the Ultimate Sweater Book (2018) by Amy Herzog. Note that Amy favours seamed sweaters knit from the bottom up

  • ‘Lisa’s List: 6 Armholes and How to Make them Work for Your Body’, by Lisa Shroyer, www.Interweave.com. Written March 16, 2017, accessed 2019-01-22

ETA: Except for the Maggie Righetti book, I got all of these from the Vancouver Public Library. Books are expensive - make use of your local libraries and access them for free! ;)

Other suggestions that I haven’t looked at yet:

  • CocoKnits Sweater Workshop (2017) by Julie Weisenberger. She uses a top-down, set in sleeve sweater design that might be easier to fit - you can try on top-down sweaters as you go, which you can’t do with seamed sweaters

  • Little Red in the City (2011) by Ysolda Teague. Ysolda was one of the first designers (that I was aware of, at least) to really talk about how sweater patterns were too limited in size, and to point out the need for a broader range of sizing.

The general approach for most of these books seems to be to define different categories of body - usually by overall shape - and then suggest ways to highlight the best parts of those shapes. Essentially, you balance out your shape by visually balancing out the narrower parts with the wider parts.

Several of these books are more than 3-4 years old, so the actual sweater styles might look a little dated. I suggest you read them for the fit tips, and then see how you can apply that to more modern designs.

These are some points I found relating to specific sweater shapes:

Raglan sleeves make shoulders look bigger, and the angles draw the eye to the face.

Raglans can be helpful to make the shoulders look wider, and balance out a larger bust; if you have broad shoulders, you might not feel that this suits you.

I have narrow shoulders, but find that a raglan with slight shaping looks better on me than a basic 45* raglan seam (check out Isabell Kraemer’s il grande favorito for an example - this is one of my favourite sweaters)

Raglans tend to be narrow at the top of the shoulder, which can cause raglan cardigans to slide off your shoulders. It is possible to widen the top of the shoulder where it joins the neck - just be aware of how this will affect where the neck sits.

Circular Yoke sweaters look great on everyone - a bright yoke draws the attention upward, to the face.

I would suggest adding short rows on the upper back to accommodate natural body shape through the shoulders.

Set In Sleeves give you the most control over how the sweater will fit, but they are a little harder to make - often they require seaming, although there are top-down versions.

Sleeve length draws the eye to different parts of the body (this may vary a bit based on your arm length):

  • Long sleeves bring the eye to the leg
  • ¾ sleeves bring it to the hip
  • Elbow (or slightly below) brings the eye to the waist
  • Short sleeves bring the eye to the bust

Length of the sweater affects the visual length of the torso, especially in relation to leg length 
- You may not want a sweater to cut you off at the widest point of the hip, so make it shorter or longer to adjust this.

Add body/waist shaping to highlight your curves - draw in the waist, emphasize the bust, etc. You can also add some with so the sweater fits smoothly over wider hips.

Amy Herzog suggests that the best shaping is done with darts near the centre of the sweater, not at the side seams.

To me, the most important thing is that you are happy with how the sweater fits your body. To accomplish this, you need to decide how much ease you want in the sweater, and then make sure your gauge will make the size of sweater that you want. Newer patterns usually tell you how many inches of ease there are in the sweater the model is wearing - this is a good starting point, but you might want to make adjustments to suit your own preferences. I am 5’1”, so I generally don’t like more than 6 or so inches of ease in my sweaters, even when they recommend as much as 10”. If you’re taller, you’ll be less likely to drown in extra fabric. ;)

Swatching is so important for making sweaters fit. Tiny swatches don’t give an accurate suggestion of how the sweater fabric will behave. Practice also makes perfect - many of the sweaters I made in the beginning were quickly frogged and turned into something else. Use quality yarns and they can handle a little frogging, so you can always reknit it if you don’t like it.

Kelsey’s thoughts: 
I have somewhat oddly proportioned arms that are very long so almost any full length or ¾ length sleeve has to be tweaked and lengthened for me. I’m definitely with Glenda that a few short rows through the shoulders can really make a big improvement on fit for me if they aren’t already included in a pattern.

I also have a long torso and am relatively tall so I usually need to add a few inches to overall body length to make it the most flattering on me.

One thing I really love doing is adding some short rows at the back of a sweater near the bottom to drop the back down a few rows longer. You can find it as a common addition in Isabell Kraemer’s sweater patterns and I have never regretted adding those extra rows.

Store News

Yarnageddon Update: The staff have gone go ‘Cold Sheep’ as of January 1st. Sara bought yarn first, so is out of the game, but the rest of us are still in.

WCW Knit & Crochet Bingo! 
Registration into Bingo closed January 31st, so we have taken down the Bingo boards and closed the registration. Email us if you do still need a Bingo Board and we can send it to you.

Challenge started January 1st, and will run until the end of the year. Rules and notes about the game squares are all in the Chatter Thread on Ravelry.

How are we progressing?

Glenda - 5 knitting squares, but not in a row. (Stranded colourwork, Make a Sweater, Leftovers, Lace Project (First Beach Cowl), Crochet an item.) 
Crochet board - 3 squares (Crochet a toy in the round (juggling pig), leftovers (flying pig), and Knit a thing (Winston sweater)).

Kelsey - 2 squares. I’ve finished leftovers (pigs) and the sweater square with my Ease cardigan!