My Fat knitted wardrobe - part 1 - The first garment
I am fat. I am a knitter* and I am fat. Fat as a word doesn’t bother me, it is a descriptor and I will happily use it to accurately describe myself – I do not use it to describe others unless I know they feel the same way. If the worst insult a person can throw at me is that I’m fat, they’re obviously not very imaginative. The slimmest I’ve been as an adult (ie post 16) Is a UK size 12, just over 10 years ago, but I was still nearly 14 stone, and therefore still considered medically obese (I was also physically and mentally very ill). My heaviest is currently as I sit here – UK size 22/24 – my weight fluctuates due to a combination of health issues and also my unashamed love of the golden arches.
So I am fat and I am a knitter, and it took me 5 years of knitting to make myself a garment (A shrug) and then another 5 years to make my second garment. Why? Because I am fat.
Sometimes I would say I didn’t like making garments – this was a lie – I would say I couldn’t cope with the rows and rows of stockinette. I would say I prefer one skein projects, even while those shawls barely wrapped around my shoulders and got worn as scarves. I would say I always feel warm, so why would I want to wear a jumper. The truth was I was both scared and lost. Scared of committing time, energy, and large amounts of yarn on a project that might not fit. Lost in being able to find knitting patterns in my size (48 – 54 inch bust depending on how I’d want something to fit). So I’d make excuses when people would comment on my lack of knitwear and I would stare at pattern after pattern falling in love and then seeing that the largest size was a 40inch to 42inch chest (Knitting and crochet magazines are particularly bad for this!)
But in 2019 things began to change, people began to call for more patterns to be size inclusive, and some amazing designers appeared who understood fat bodies. This year I've decided to slowly build a knitted wardrobe, to explore and experiment with the patterns that are out there and share what I find with you.
Let's start at the beginning...
My first knitted garment…
Pattern: Lady Grey Lace Shrug
Size range: Recommends measuring across the back – 35.5cm – 44.5cm (14”-17.5”)
Size knitted: The largest size, but I added in two extra pattern repeats as my shoulders were broader than the largest size
Yarn: I used a 100% Merino Debbie Bliss yarn (it being 6 years ago I can’t remember the exact type)
Reason why: I needed a stole for a wedding and I couldn’t find any in stores that I liked. I’d recently lost weight to get one the wait list for fertility treatment which meant I could fit into the largest size of this with a few pattern increases. The “blurb” on the Ravelry page for the pattern assured me it was suitable for modification.
The finished garment:
I don’t have any pictures of the garment and it went in the bin shortly after the wedding as I pulled all the lace and tore the armpit. This is no reflection on the pattern at all, more on the fact I chose a 100% Merino baby yarn for a shrug that was going to be worn while drinking and dancing… at a wedding where the best man split his pants across the arse, my soft lacey shrug was never going to survive.
The pattern itself was quick to knit and the lace would show up well in a high spun or silky yarn – the baby yarn I’d chose was a bit too slippery.
The Lady Grey Shrug was my first experience of garment knitting, as basic as a shrug is… and that was that. I did enjoy wearing it, but I still couldn’t imagine knitting and wearing a cardigan or sweater at this point. I couldn’t find patterns I liked in my size… so shawls, blankets and toys where my jam.
Until I reached the next instalment of “My fat knitted wardrobe” – Peak Shawl. Coming on the 28th April 2020.
* I both knit and crochet - and crochet will feature in this journey to a knitted wardrobe - however I am primarily a knitter and knitwear will feature more heavily.