Shaping or sometimes referred to as fashioning, can be the difference between making a garment that fits well, looks beautiful and becomes a favourite to wear, to one that doesn’t fit or hang right, and is uncomfortable to wear.
As with sewing, knitting skills allow for different shaping methods, meaning that just because you are working in yarn, you don’t have to create something that hangs with little style.
Sometimes it is good to look at knitted garments manufactured for the shops, and you will see most shaping is done by working the pattern pieces flat and then cutting their shape and seaming together, which is the cheapest manufacturing method.
Some question why some knitwear that is ‘fashioned’ is so expensive. It is because it has been created using shaping methods, such as darts, raglan shaping for sleeves, etc, that mean the garment should fit well and look amazing when worn, as well as last forever if cared for, but of course making a garment this way takes more time and care, so costs more to manufacture.
The Smile Lacy Leaf Design is being knitted in one piece top down ~ a great method for incorporating shaping as you work, with the use of a mannequin you can ensure your fit is perfect as you go. Take a peek at why Provisional Cast Off is something worth giving a go.
Here you can see the shaping taking effect. Four Darts are being worked, one on the right and left side of the Front and Back. The Darts are positioned here so that they do not move the two parallel Lacy Leaf patterning, but as you can see enable fitting around the breast and into the waist.
These Darts are being worked by using a stitch marker at the position of where the dart is required, and then on appropriate rounds decreases are made by working to two stitches before the stitch marker and then working a Slip Slip Knit (SSK), slipping the stitch marker (sl marker), knitting one (K1), then knitting two together, (K2tog), reducing the stitch count by two. On the opposite dart on the piece, the workings are slightly different, knitting to three stitches before the stitch marker, then doing SSK, K1, sl marker, K2tog.
The SSK and K2tog mean that the decrease is neat, as the stitches point downwards towards each other on the garment, creating a symmetrical ‘V’, so the shaping looks professionally styled.
For those who have not worked a Slip Slip Knit (SSK), which decreases one stitch, this is done by slipping two stitches knitwise one at a time, inserting the tip of the left needle into both stitches and knitting the two stitches together.
Shaping can be used in so many ways, so learning different methods is never wasted energy, as even when working a garment that is not coming out as expected, add a few shaping techniques in and it can change that right around.