We all have sets of fashion rules imprinted in our heads that we carry with us every day, whether we know it or not. They’ve come from the media, magazines, our friends and family - passed down through the years and generations like sniggering little urban legends. Yet no matter how hard we work on ourselves, where we’re at in our lives, those fashion rules live on, quietly negging us, telling us what to wear and how to be.
Well, today I say ENOUGH! It’s time to cancel, mute and forget those fashion rules once and for all - and in doing so, you might just open up a whole new world when it comes to your future knitting projects and how you see yourself!
I feel incredibly jubilant today, for I am here to share with you that:
That’s six whole milestones and revelations! Things I never really thought I could do, and that seemed ridiculously impossible when I started writing for Outlaw Yarn as a brand new, beginner, knitter!
I remember when I first started Never Been Knit and Ethan said to me that I’ll be knitting jumpers within six months and I thought he was being very kind to me, and maybe overestimating my abilities! I couldn’t even cast on and the idea that I would knit so many stitches that it would make anything, let alone something I could put on and enjoy as a key part of an outfit.
But here I am - sweater completed! A couple of posts ago I shared with you my progress to date making the Kingston Sweater - and my journey very much continued on this trajectory. I took me two weeks to make this project, in total.
Kia ora! Welcome back to Never Been Knit where I share with you my stories of being a newbie knitter and explore the fabulous world of yarn crafts and knitted garments!
As you’ll know from my last post, I’ve been steadily working away on my second-ever project - the Kingston Sweater. As I’m nearing the completion of it I’ve been thinking a lot about my knitting journey so far, and reflecting on what I've learnt, and what I’d tell me of 4 months ago, when I first picked up some needles and yarn, having never made a stitch in my life. It was a daunting time!
Whilst my skills are still rudimentary, and every session with my needles is a lesson full of trials and errors, I think it’s nice to be able to acknowledge what I have picked up and what tip and tricks have made my journey easier - and it's nice to be able to share these with other beginners, so that you know you're not alone in feeling quite 'ummm....what am I doing here' so much of the time!
In today's post I thought I’d share with my 5 tips for beginner knitters, things that I have figured out along the way that have really been game-changers in terms of my skills, confidence and attitudes towards knitting. And if you are reading this post because you too are thinking of learning to knit, I urge you to simply start! You'll never know until you try and the learning process has been one of the most fun parts of this journey - so I help these tips help you. Good luck!
A couple of posts ago I was very excited to share with you the completely delightful new Lissy Cole Auaha Haukara collection of chunky yarns and revealed to you that I would be starting my second ever knitted project - the Kingston Sweater by Tara-Lynn Morrison.
Having only ever knitted one thing before, I am aware that some may consider a whole-ass jumper a little ambitious....but what can I say? Your gal has gall!
So this week I wanted to give you an update on where I'm at with the project and how it's been going! Here at Never Been Knit I'm all about the realism - the warts-and-all processes. I know myself that when I'm new at something, I hate seeing everyone else making everything sound easy and never sharing the craft bloopers so to speak. So it's important to me I share the process and journey with you!
Today in Never Been Knit I’m absolutely thrilled to be able to share with you Jacqueline Cieslak's new book - Embody. A capsule collection to knit and sew that has just been released in conjunction with Pom Pom Magazine.
As a long-time sewer and new-time knitter I saw previews of Embody popping up on my Instagram feeds some weeks ago and was instantly smitten with the entire project, and so I couldn't wait to post about it here, as soon as I heard that Outlaw Yarn would be getting in copies.
I love that Embody is a world where sewing and knitting come together - something that I'm surprised to not see happen more often. I adore that it’s plus-size inclusive, the patterns are fully customisable and that the capsule wardrobe is the epitome of fashion versatility and sustainability.
Spoiler alert: I love it all!
Jacqueline Cieslak is a designer, teacher, and maker based in the US. Her passion for knitting and sewing, and her inclusive, welcoming attitude to her crafts all come together in Embody.
Empowering makers to create clothes that honour their bodies is at the core of Jacqui’s designing practice, and this shines through in her debut book. These are the same personal values that I work and live by in my own wardrobe styling and body confidence work at New Boots and Panties, and so I love it when I come across mirror-minded designers and makers!
Embody consists of three infinitely adaptable patterns — two knitting, one sewing — with bespoke instructions to create customised, perfectly fitted garments designed to be the foundation of any maker’s me-made wardrobe. With included variations resulting in as many as 25 unique pieces from the three cornerstone patterns, this book encourages makers to think of a pattern as the starting point for their own creativity — a skill that will change how they approach any given pattern.
Embody comes with a code to allow you to download the printable sewing patterns on A4 or A0 format.
SUMMARY OF THE THREE EMBODY PATTERNS: WOOLFORK, DEREN & ELSOM...
A timeless and elegant loose fitting dress with handkerchief hem that works perfectly in lightweight, natural fabrics like linens and cotton.
It can be sewn as a dress with or without sleeves, and includes the options for a tie and pockets to add extra versatility and to allow you to play with shapes. It is the perfect shape and cut for laterying both over and under. I’d really love to put tees or shirts underneath the sleeveless dress.
Having read over the sewing pattern and instructions, I’d say that the pattern is beginner friendly. No zips or tailoring to be dealing with. Just a lovely simple panel pattern that is designed to be worn freely, pulled on, and skims over the body.
A knitted top pattern to cover your every need. I adore the simplicity and classic lines of the Deren, and has really made me look at the knitted tee as a wardrobe option that I’d never have considered before...and now REALLY want to try!
As a big sucker for anything cardigan, I simply love the Deren cardigan variation, in the pictured green and with buttons and I’d like to replicate this entire example.
A beautiful long, draping shawl, with interesting textures that you can wrap, wind and fold a multitude of ways. The secret to capsule wardrobes is in the layering and this shawl is the perfect way to add depth, interest and added dimension to your collection.
I adore the Embody pattern collection because unlike so many others out there, the fact that there are only three, and that they are designed to be mixed and matched, layered, and played with makes them so very accessible and versatile.
Rather than being daunted and overwhelmed by a whole collection of sometimes 10-12 pieces, with each made of a different pattern, with Embody you’ll very quickly come to grips and become familiar with the style and construction three designs.
Once you’ve made each pattern once, repeat makes with variations will become a breeze and start to feel like instinct. And as you wear the finished items, layering them up and playing with proportions and shapes, you’ll become increasingly inspired to make your own alterations to the patterns and customise the patterns to work for you.
Finally, whilst I cannot stress enough how much I appreciate how plus-size friendly this is, and what an ambassador for Body Acceptance Jacqueline is.
Finally, something that I like the most about this collection is how the designs are simple, sophisticated, classic and not hyper-feminine in their styles.
Of course what colours and fabrics you make these patterns in is up to you, and the capsule could be made with bright, bold, patterns and colours. However as a plus size woman I constantly know and feel pressure in the eyes of the world to dress super-feminine all of the time, often being made to feel quite infantile and pigeonholed in the way I'm expected to present. Don’t get me wrong, I love a tassel, tutu and bright colour as much as the next person, but it's exhausting when it feel like the only socially acceptable way to dress as a fat woman.
Embody’s collection, in its earth tones, simple shapes, and natural fabrics, on the other hand, feels very grown up and sophisticated. Never old, stuffy, or boring. Just classy, elegant, natural and sexy without being sexual.
I’m so excited to get some linen and sew up a Woolford dress over the coming long weekend and from there build my own Embody capsule wardrobe. There's so many beautiful options and shapes to be made - I feel truly inspired from reading Embody, which is how personal style and fashion should make you feel!
Embody is sustainable, inclusive, capsule, fashion done right and other pattern makers and designers in both the sewing and knitting world should take note. More of this in our making communities, please!
Embody is available now at Outlaw Yarn, both in-store and online. Pop in and see the Outlaw team and they’ll get you set up with all of the yarns that you need to get you going on the enclosed knitting patterns and, as always, are on hand to answer any questions or troubles you may have with your projects.
I'm Lou, an Ōtautahi based personal stylist and craft-lover, and this is Never Been Knit - my journey from complete knitting virgin to...well, let's find out together!