Big Girl Knits: 25 Big, Bold Projects Shaped for Real Women with Real Curves Paperback – Nov 17 2009
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"Thanks to Jillian Moreno and Amy R. Singer’s collection of clever, figure-flattering patterns, you’ll no longer need to struggle to resize patterns that weren’t designed with you in mind. With their guidance on how to choose the best designs for your shape, and how to modify patterns that are intended for someone else’s, they guarantee that you’ll never again knit a sweater that makes your big top look like The Big Top." —Debbie Stoller, author of the Stitch ’n Bitch series and editor-in-chief of BUST magazine
"I can’t sing enough praise for Big Girl Knits. More than a collection of beguiling knitwear for the curvy lady, more than a good read (and a good read it is), this book is full of information that might change your attitude about knitting, dressing, and (dare I say it) simply being!" —Pam Allen, editor-in-chief of Interweave Knits magazine and coauthor of Wrap Style
"Big Girl Knits is one small stitch for woman, and one big, beautiful sweater for womankind." —Wendy Shanker, author of The Fat Girl’s Guide to Life
"Big Girls don’t cry, and why would they when they can knit kick-ass, curvalicious projects like those in Big Girl Knits?! No matter what size you are, you’ll appreciate the beauty and attention to detail that is paid to each and every design in this book. Jillian Moreno and Amy R. Singer have proven that big girls not only knit, but also look hot doing it!" —Vickie Howell, host of DIY’s Knitty Gritty and author of New Knits on the Block
"I love this book! It brought tears to my eyes—both with its delicious humor and its loving attention to the subject. The technical stuff is handled wonderfully—with intelligence and clarity and a big heart. The variety in the patterns that follow is a delight. Jillian, Amy, the contributing designers, and the bodies this work will adorn are to be celebrated." —Sally Melville, author of The Knitting Experience books (Knit, Purl, and Color) and of Sally Melville Styles
"If you want to learn how to make garments that fit and flatter your body and you like to laugh while you’re learning and knitting, this smart, witty book’s for you." —Melanie Falick, author of Handknit Holidays and Weekend Knitting
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Big Girl Jillian Moreno (right) was formerly marketing director with Interweave Press, and helped launch magazines like Interweave Knits, Beadwork, and Natural Home Magazine. She’s the catalyst for Knitty.com and a frequent contributor. She lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with her husband, two adorable children, a basement full of yarn, and more books than the local library. This is her first book.
Big Girl Amy R. Singer (left) is the founder and editor of the web-only magazine Knitty.com. She is also a columnist for Interweave Knits and a professional editor and proofreader in the advertising industry. She lives in Toronto, Ontario, with her husband and two rabbits, who are eating the house one piece at a time. This is her second book.
Visit them at www.biggirlknits.com.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
This book doesn't contain as many patterns and the patterns are not as nice as those in the sequel. The book does go into greater detail about sizing and cuts that are most flattering to body types.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
So how well does "Big Girl Knits" fit the bill? There is an introduction by Wendy Shanker (author of "The Fat Girl's Guide to Life") about her own difficulties finding ponchos to fit her 18-20 size body. Then the first section deals with considerations when knitting for someone who is generously sized. For example, you are going to be using more yarn, in some cases, a lot of yarn. So, consider how heavy that yarn is because the weight of the garment may not be pleasing. Likewise, yarn is not inexpensive, so using extra amounts of a pricey yarn may be a bad idea for something you don't plan to wear for years. The section goes on to explain the "B3" system (boobs, belly and butt) and how to choose a design based on what is emphasized in your figure. The authors discuss hemlines, flattering lengths, good necklines and hiplines. There is a section of top ten list of things you might want to knit:
1. Sweaters that skim the body, flattering your curves
2. Wrap sweaters (again, they show off pretty curves)
3. Fine gauge yarns, reduce bulk, skim the body
4. V-necks--great vertical line to distract the eye and flaunt the cleavage if you choose,
5. Shaped sweaters (see 1 and 2)
6. Sweaters that end before or after the widest bits. (If you land ON the big bits, it makes them seem bigger.)
7. Vertical elements--again, draw the eye up and down not round and round.
8. Details that emphasize the "parts of you that are excellent."
9. Colors that make you happy. Black is good for chadoors. Black does not make you look thin--a myth. Choose a color that flatters you or that you love.
10. Knit what you love--if you want a corset sweater, knit it. If you hate cables, don't knit them!
The first chapter ends with a comprehensive measurement section on how to measure, what to measure and how to adjust patterns based on your measurements. Much space is given to short rows, partial rows of knitting that add shaping much the way darts on sewing do--and make a flat piece become three-dimensional to fit your shape.
Now to the patterns. The book is sectioned into:
Cardigans and Coats
Tanks and Tees
Bottoms (pants, skirts)
Accessories (bags, socks, gloves) and there is a reading list, abbreviation list and shopping guide to follow the patterns.
What ABOUT those patterns? There are 25 of them, and I am going to ding some of them--I didn't like them all, but don't despair; this book has incredible value whether or not you knit anything at all the way it's presented here. The colors were not ones I found exciting; in some cases, I think they were chosen to photograph the detail rather than to flatter the wearer. This made the picture clear to see detail of the garment, but the colors were not pleasing (ie, the wrap sweater, very lovely shape but in a dull, nasty gray.) You will have to imagine that sweater in YOUR favorite color (a ballerina pink? luscious grape?) The shapes are diagrammed well so you can design your own and not use the trim or other decorative elements if you don't like them. There were many things I didn't admire, but the shape diagram would let me design my own easily enough. Some of the styles were goofy to me (but they will please the fashion-adventuresome) and of course not all patterns suit all body types. The good thing about the "goofy" patterns is that this is not a boring vanilla book but will excite the young knitters that are revitalizing the craft.
I did really like a v-patterned cardigan with a striped chevron front. The colors were like Joseph's coat and the v-shape would flatter any wearer. I also adored a skirt (chevron patterned again to drag the eye away from the butt line) and there are YOGA PANTS. HELLO! Have you tried to find yoga gear in large sizes (except for big sweat pants?) These lovely loose pants could be knit in a light hemp or silk blend yarn and they look drapey and elegant as well as comfortable.
The shapes are varied; there is a top with a directionally-knitted v-neck that is very sexy, and a strange tee-shirt of hemp with a lot of Shar-pei folds and laced shoulders. The coats, even if not knit in yarns I loved, are useful for shape and proportion. These could be knit in a variety of yarns for a beautiful Spring or Autumn jacket.
What would I knit? The chevron cardigan, the wrap sweater for sure, the pants and maybe one of the tanks. Would I recommend this book to another Big Gal? Yes, I absolutely would. Despite the fact I didn't like some of the designs, there is SO MUCH in this book that is useful and adaptable for the ample figured knitter that I think this book will be flying off the shelves and staying put as a new classic of knitting. Thanks, Jillian and Amy, for putting together a valuable book for Big Girls.
(Added bonus: it takes more yarn to knit a tent than it does to knit a shapely sweater. Less money spent on one project equals more for the next one!)
I can't wait for the sequel!
This book tells you that the designs won't make you look skinny; they will make you look GOOD! The patterns in this book are not about making Kate Moss fashions big; they are about fashion for big girls. Rather than covering up your curves with boxy, shapeless sweaters (that flatter no one), Big Girl knits works with the shape of your body. The designs will camouflage what you are not happy with on your body and flatter what you love.
The styles are classic, with a twist. No miles of ugly, furry yarn. Instead, the designs focus on worsted and DK yarns knit in becoming shapes. In addition, because the sweaters have shape, they will actually use less yarn than the big box sweater, saving us big girls a little money (or making it easier to buy quality yarns). The designs are not about fads. Rather, they are about what really works are larger bodies.
Big Girl Knits has more than just sweaters; mittens for bigger hands, and shawls that actually cover a big girl. There is even a sock pattern that addresses big calves and small feet.
A word of warning, the patterns use a lot of shaping. There are revealing necklines, flattering shaped bodices, and interesting textures. None of these patterns are made from simple rectangular pieces. While none of the patterns are challenging, one does need to be comfortable reading a pattern to create these lovely shapes.
In all the years I have been knitting, this is the first time my husband wanted to look at the pattern book too. That is a clue to how flattering and sexy these sweaters are. The publisher has already asked for a second book. May I request a book for big men too?
As with all pattern books and magazines people have to be able to visualize the design, not the color the design was chosen to be knit in. Some people like bright bold colors and others like grey or black. Color is a choice we all get to make and claim as our our very own design feature.
The Bombshell is gorgeous, the waist shaping fantastic for a shape like mine. The Stacey Pullover, is another wonderful sweater! I am sitting here with the book and I can't find a pattern I wouldn't knit, it is just a matter of time.
As big girls, we just need to get used to the idea that we are big and accept ourselves. I am tired of hiding out in knits that don't show off the gorgeous parts of my body because there aren't any designers who have figured it out. We are beautiful. Even though the painter Ruben isn't alive now to help us figure it out, I am very glad that Jillian and Amy are here to help!
The education on body types, the charts, the worksheets, the humor, the LOVE in this book for girls like me, well I thank the authors for their incredible genious. Yes, genious. How many books do you have in your entire knitting library that deal with all of the body issues big girls have, straight on, educating you on what to wear, what to avoid and how to make something that deals with your special body shape needs? Hmmm....I have one. Big Girl Knits by Jillian Moreno and Amy Singer. They aren't trying to change us, they are helping us with patterns to make us look like a million bucks in our clothing. Thank you so much!