In doing my research for this tutorial, Deborah N-Sanders (AKA Honeybee33) is one of the people who was most often recommended to me as a resource for bust dart information. My friend Kathryn is a bust-darter, and she converted my friend Cindy. Kathryn can bust dart any fabric…cables, ribbing, lace, you name it. Kathryn is one of those knitters who has taken charge of her knitting (I find this infinitely refreshing!) Weeks ago, I g-chatted Kathryn and asked her some questions, and, who did she recommend that I search out? Honeybee33 and the tutorial in Big Girl Knits.
Deborah is absolutely famous on Ravelry for her knowledge about bust darts. Vertical bust darts, horizontal bust darts, using more than one dart in a garment…I’m a recent member / longtime lurker of The Bust Line group, but hadn’t really taken the time to sit down and read everything, let alone swatch.
When the students in my class started asking about short row bust darts, I put together a list of resources. But in my heart, I knew that this just wasn’t good enough. So I started seriously reading the information that my busty friends and designer colleagues have recommended and working out a video tutorial.
And now I want to recommend these resources to you:
Debora wrote and published what she called a “Titorial” which was later published in Yarn Forward Magazine in two installments. Here are the links to purchase both issues of the magazine. (It’s WELL worth the roughly $10 total for both issues.) Issue 15 & Issue 16. Now we just have to pressure her to write the follow-up with more advanced techniques!
And, for a written-out, customize-able formula (don’t worry, the math is easy!) definitely buy a copy of Big Girl Knits if you don’t already have one!
For me, and I’m a “math girl”, it took actually working through the steps in the Big Girl Knits book for this to make sense to me. I had to see it in stitch counts (I also worked out a few swatches) before I convinced the “It’s too hard!” part of my brain to shut the heck up and let me work my bust darts!
You may be thinking things like, “You’re supposedly a designer, how did you not know this already?” Well, I’m asking myself that, too, and I think I’ve come up with a few reasons:
When I was working on Fitted Knits, that was my body type…the willowy, no need for bust darts shape. (Deborah recommends bust darts for C-cup or larger, and that was not me.) This is also why I got so much flack for my designs not taking “real” shapes into account. At the time, I took a lot of offense to that statement because this was actually the curviest / heaviest I’d ever been and really FELT big myself. Because I’m so tall, even at this weight I wore a 12. SO…reason # 1 boils down to the fact that I’ve never had to work bust darts for myself.
2) When I knit samples for publication, I have to knit to the publisher’s standard (usually a 34″ bust).
3) I just didn’t realize the number of people who do need to do this shaping in everything they knit. Now that I’m among that group…I’m dedicated to educating myself about the various bust dart techniques so that I can be more sensitive to those people who have to alter my patterns…and more aware of the different body shapes that also need pretty designs. Why not add in easily-alterable shaping to begin with? Why not position lace panels and cables so that extra sts could be worked between them if necessary?
So, don’t take those as excuses, just REASONS. And, as Deborah pointed out that I needed to do…I’m educating myself. Now that I’m getting back into designing at roughly 2 years since my last book came out, I’m taking shaping much more seriously. I’ve also been rethinking my raglan shaping techniques and everything that goes into my designs. Working on the book that I’ve alluded to over the winter really helped me to align my thoughts and to hone my process.
You’ll start seeing more from me again soon!