We spoke with Dora Ohrenstein about her recently released Custom Crocheted Sweaters: Make Garments That Really Fit to learn more about her approach to the book and her design process. And do be sure to check out the upcoming podcasts (listed below) for even more Dora!
When I had the opportunity to do another book with Lark, I decided to do one that I knew crocheters really needed: a book about sweater construction and fit. There was nothing available specifically for crochet on this topic. Over the last several decades, crochet had been promoted primarily as a craft for home dec, and many aspects of garment-making had fallen out of use. Even people with top-notch stitching skills are often out of their element when it comes to necklines, armholes, and the like.
When I took up crochet a few years ago, I only made garments, as fashion is my passion. But I too had to rely on knitting books to get the information I needed about sweaters, and some of it had to be “reinterpreted” to work for crochet. So this book reflects everything I’ve learned about how to make gorgeous-looking, well-fitting sweaters using your hook.
The book has ten sweater patterns, using a variety of constructions, including Dropped Shoulder, Raglan (in pieces), Top Down one piece, Circular, and Set-in Sleeves. The sweaters are meant to be wearable in everyday life, and most go great either with jeans or a skirt. I’ve been thrilled with the response to these sweaters: people are saying they are stylish and very “New York.” I have to say I love them all and have been wearing them myself!
To those who yearn to make sweaters but are fearful, I urge you to take the plunge. The information you need is in this book, though it may take a while to absorb all the lessons here. It’s definitely a one-step-at-a time endeavor. The book covers how to measure yourself, how to read schematics, breaking down patterns into manageable sections, blocking and finishing, choice of yarn and hook, gauge and math, and how to apply the latter to alterations. There are alteration lessons for each sweater and detailed explanations of each sweater construction.
I know many women face the issue of not being a “standard” size. For example, your bust size may fall into the large or 1X range of measurements, but the rest of you – shoulder width, arm length, etc. – is a small or medium. If you pick a sweater size based on your bust size, the likelihood of having it fit is slim. It will need alteration. The good news is, once you understand this alteration, it will be very similar from one sweater to the next. You can become a master of fit for your body, and be assured that any garment you undertake will be made to your dimensions, not a mythical standard-sized person who doesn’t really exist.
For those who want to delve more deeply into the topic, I also offer classes via my website, Crochet Insider. You can find more info about the classes here . Feel free to write to me at doraoh (at) earthlink (dot) net if you have further questions or thoughts to share!
Tune in for more Dora on these podcasts!
Planet Purl – Tuesday, March 20th at 8pm EST – Sign up early!