Hip to be square

I finished that gorgeous hat over the weekend – Hallstatt is off the needles, and isn’t it pretty?

hallstatt 2018-01-29

Yarn is Sublime Baby Cashmerino DK – and I knit the pattern almost as written – the recipient would be opposed to something tight around their head, so I knit the whole thing on the larger needles, rather than knitting the ribbing on smaller ones. It’s more of a head topper than a head hugger now, and should suit.

When I was done, I knit on the emergency sock I keep in my purse for waiting times – and I thought about what to make next. I’ve been carrying around more Freia Handpaints to make another Bonfire (knits so nice I’ll make it twice) but I’ve also been thinking about a sweater for me – something simple and wearable, like Vintersol or Humulus.  I know – I’ve said before that yoked sweaters aren’t really my thing – but that’s not entirely true.  I love them and think they’re so very pretty on other people (and I’ve knit a couple I couldn’t resist)  but I have broad, square shoulders and a generous rack, and my mother always said that sweaters like that make me look like an advancing tank.  She stressed the role that v-necks should play in my life, and she’s not wrong. They’re flattering for me.

The thing is – It turns out that maybe I don’t give a crap. I mean, maybe it’s okay if I look like an advancing tank, and maybe nobody cares. It’s taken me getting this old to suspect that when I leave a room, people do not discuss my neckline choices in a way that’s going to have any actual impact on my life.  As a matter of fact, I suspect that nobody is discussing my necklines at all. (If this is not true, and it is all you discussed with your friends on the way home from a book signing or workshop, say nothing now.)  It is possible that I’ve spent years trying to avoid criticism that is definitely not forthcoming, and that much like my mother’s warnings about the lengths of my skirts (I have always worn them too long for a woman my height) and the fact that I don’t wear lipstick (just to brighten me) or that I love neutral colours (despite the fact that I would look so much better with a little colour by my face)  the round neck/yoke thing might be true, but unimportant.   Maybe, I think to myself, maybe I should just wear whatever sweaters I like.

This is bold thinking for a woman who has worried about her square shoulders her whole life, so it didn’t quite take hold. I’ll continue to contemplate this, as I knit another sweater for Elliot.

monkeysweatere 2018-01-29

Elwood, in yarn leftover from All. Those. Hats.

Elliot has no position on necklines yet.

220 thoughts on “Hip to be square

  1. Seize the day I say, but have a backup recipient in mind in case you finish it and decide your mum was right in the first place. 🙂 I too have been generously endowed and generally prefer a v-neck. I don’t mind a round neck though if it is a little looser. Give it a try!

  2. What I love about ravelry is that I can look at the projects that ordinary people have done and see how a sweater looks on people with real world bodies instead of twigs.

    Having said that I have always loved and worn those kinds of sweaters even though I was a top heavy twig for most of my life. Once you have “great tracts of land” as my daughter calls them you might as well use the large canvas to show your work on.

  3. As an older woman, I approve of both wearing whatever the #%* you want with respect to necklines, hemlines, and colours. I know lots of advancing tank women, and they are impressive! As to Elliot, he probably approves of décolletage, but might find it confusing on someone other than his mother. Trust me, as a nan and auntie of many late breast feeders, it happens. Good luck with the next project.
    PS. I always carry emergency dishcloth knitting, and hot sauce. You just never know.

    • I was just thinking that Elliot probably has very decided views on necklines on Megan for reasons of accessibility!

      And yes, while V necks are flattering to us well endowed women, I love your take on wearing what you want – that matters more!

      It is your wit and you heart and your skills which people will be discussing when you leave the room, not your neckline, I am sure!

    • Now I have an imagine in my head of Stephanie, smiling in her new sweater. Said sweater steeked enough to show her décolletage liberally sprinkled with hot sauce. In one hand she holds a knitted dishtowel. It’s a good thing I’m home alone or people would wonder about my random bursts of laughter.

      Knit and wear what you love. Many people will find it flattering and stylish, including Elliott – and me.

  4. Perfect timing!
    I am learning to believe that it’s very likely others are not judging me and that I don’t need to care if they are!

    Thanks for the reinforcement. Synchronicity strikes again, I really need to listen! As do you. ❤

  5. Sooooo. Any reason you can’t put a steek in it, and make a V-neck? It IS knitting, not rocket science, right? (Gee, who said that?) Vast tracts of land notwithstanding, I prefer cardigans, because of my personal thermonuclear reactor that keeps me warm.

    • Love the thermonuclear reactor! Mine (aging-related) is putting out enough BTU’s to heat Greenland these days. Cardigans are the thing!

      • The Ice Hotel in Finland is on my bucket list. I will have to go at the end of their season, as one good thermonuclear reaction and they’d be out of business.

  6. I’ve had Vintersol in my library since it was first released. I’ve pretty much decided that if Jennifer Steingass has designed it, I will buy it, I love her patterns that much.

    I’ve been eyeballing the Humulus pattern, too. The problems is that it’s just not my yarn that SABLE, my pattern library is too. I’ll probably break down & get that because I have a weakness when it comes to yoked sweaters. I have neither ample rack or broad shoulders, but I also have decided that I’ll wear what I want to, dammit.

  7. I’ve never even owned a yoked sweater. One day I’ll try knitting one. I’ve reached the time in life where no matter what I wear, I’ll neither earn nor lose “cool points,” as my nephew used to call them. I wear what makes me happy, whatever that means at the time. One way that our mothers will always be with us is the commentary that runs through our mind.

    • Lol this is timely as I left the house today not wearing any earrings, and my mom’s voice in my head has been yelling at me *all day*. Maybe…no one is scandalized by my bare earlobes? Pearls are probably unclutched? (I just realized I work with 99% men who are engineers, and it’s a fairly good bet that none of them notice whether I have earrings on or not).

      Lol to post I have to “click to touch the man”. I will touch him on the shoulder, and hope that is okay…

  8. Approve wholeheartedly of Jake, (my three year old grandson may be getting one) though with three kids in Chicago I’d feel obliged to knit an Elwood, too. At least be sure to equip Elliot with sunglasses and a fedora. (“We’re 106 miles from Chicago, we’ve got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, we’re wearing sunglasses and it’s nighttime.” “Hit it.”)

  9. ” to suspect that when I leave a room, people do not discuss my neckline choices in a way that’s going to have any actual impact on my life”

    Oh, Child, you have summed up what is wrong with my entire life!

  10. Amazing how things work out in our universe:
    1) Was discussing how I should use up some yarn from my stash to make some hats.
    2) Planning a trip to Hallstatt, Austria this November, when I surely will need a warm hat. So now I have inspiration regarding which hat to knit, and
    3) Although I definitely do not look good in hats, I, too, have reached the conclusion that it doesn’t matter what others think about it. Besides, it’s a lovely hat.

  11. I love little old man sweaters on little boys. Yeah- i have a yoked sweater on the needles. I have an ample front porch, can be described as both squat and rotund…but i love them. It makes me happy. It will be my ‘F it- im a new englander and i dont need a jacket’ in-between the car and house sweater. 🙂 love that color of the hat!!

  12. YES! Resist the cultural compulsion to use fashion to trend your body toward the mean! I am a big woman (srsly, like 25 stone) and my favorite thing is horizontal stripes. Not slimming, they say? Didn’t f*cking ask you, I say!

    • Yes, I was about to say this very thing! Why do we focus on making bodies (especially women’s bodies) look as average as possible?!

      Have broad shoulders? Why not make them look as strong as you can, if the mood strikes you! Got a generous rack? If you like ’em, emphasize ’em! Do you have, as someone I adore phrases it, “magnificent hips”? Clothing could make them look more astounding, not less! Sure, maybe horizontal stripes aren’t slimming… and maybe looking slimmer isn’t a necessary goal!

      I get it that there’s a human tendency to find averaged-out faces and bodies aesthetically pleasing. When we treat the average as the thing to aspire to, though, aren’t we lending support to the idea that there’s just one kind of beauty?

      • Thank you, MK, forevermore I shall consider myself to have “magnificent hips” ! (To go with my continental shelf! phrase courtesy of Sara Maitland!)

    • Actually there was a study a few years ago in which participants guessed the weights of those wearing horizontal stripes and others wearing vertical. And the horizontal striped folks were deemed to weigh less.

    • I agree, color is the key. You can’t look like an advancing tank in red, blue, orange, purple, etc. Avoid gray, beige and olive greens and you’re set!

    • Hey Presbytera (and Rams), doesn’t that gray yarn she’s using for a sweater for Elliot kind of look like a certain other gray yarn??? Will she use the excuse that she ran out of yarn to not finish that other gray (gansey) project????

  13. Your thinking is totally correct. Make what you want, wear what you want. Nobody cares, and if they do, so what? You don’t care what they think about your clothing choices. This is the freeing that comes with age and I love it.

    Everything I’ve read about your mom tells me that she pretty much lived life on her own terms, so do what she did, not what she said. I think mothers can’t help giving advice; I have to stop myself from doing it all the time, even though I really do want my kids to live their own lives.

  14. “It’s taken me getting this old to suspect that when I leave a room, people do not discuss my neckline choices in a way that’s going to have any actual impact on my life.”

    Your way with the english language is such a gift! More than once I have implored my non-knitting friends to read one of your posts because it is just so funny… Or so eloquent…often both! I just feel that your writing should be shared and admired by all!

  15. The Hallstat hat really IS very very pretty. And the pattern went right into my overflowing (1034) shopping cart on Rav. My house is literally overflowing with yarn so I figure I can virtually stash patterns (PSABLE) in my Rav library and Rav shopping cart. Where what you want, especially once you reach 50 years old. Dress for your own pleasure.
    (PSABLE – Pattern Stash accumulation beyond….)

  16. Good for you! Wear what makes you happy. With my mom, she warned me away from yellows when I was about 6, when I was trying on clothes for school, and she said I should never wear yellow because I have a sallow complexion. I still don’t care for yellows, for me, but I’m not sure if it’s from that, or a real preference on my part. I keep telling my son & d-i-l to be very careful what they say to my granddaughter because their words have disproportional weight in a little girl’s self-respect. You wear whatever you like, you’re beautiful always.

    • Haha my mom always hated purple. I don’t know why, but she did. I actually grew up thinking purple was a ‘bad’ colour. I was in my twenties when the penny dropped. I tried on a dress that came in blue or purple and they only had the purple in my size. I thought, “I can’t buy that!” and then it hit me. There are no bad colours. I actually LIKE purple. I bought the dress and my mom hated it. But I began a love affair with purple to make up for all the years I thought I didn’t like it.

  17. Can’t help but notice that the models come in all shapes. And they all look good. If you like them you should go for it 🙂

  18. Modify the yoke pattern to suit your own shape. By changing the depth of the patterned yoke you can emphasize or deemphasize into the most flattering style. Try wearing a solid color pullover and use a contrasting scarf to simulate a yoke pattern at different lengths. Take photos and compare side by side to see what you like best.
    I thought raglans looked awful on me until I found a raglan with the seams at a flattering angle.

  19. As a fellow broad-shouldered girl (though not so well-endowed) with a wide rib cage, I share your fears! But the one yoked sweater I’ve made for myself (EZ’s basic bottom-up sweater with the yoke pattern from Ryðrauð on Ravelry) actually looks pretty flattering – maybe it’s the floral pattern that softens the tank image?

  20. I’m with you. I have broad shoulders (don’t know about square, but men’s shirts fit me better thru the shoulders than women’s) and large chested and am “better off with V necked shirts”.
    But I love yoked sweaters like that. I make them for my kids, and for my grandkids and once in a while I knit one for myself… and then give it to my husband because once I look in the mirror with it on I go “What was I thinking?”. He’s got 3 yoked sweaters now, even tho he only wears a sweater about twice a year.

    But I love to knit them 🙂

  21. I’ve never noticed your neckline or rack. In reality you’re not a tall and broad enough person to come across as a tank. I think you should wear whatever sweaters you like! And if you’re feeling nervous you could always use Amy Herzog’s sweater thing to adjust the pattern. Let it go, let it go…

  22. I have a similar body shape and spent decades hunting after v neck sweaters in every color. Now I am 56 years old and I just don’t care anymore. I’m knitting yoke sweaters and enjoying wearing them. I try to make sure there is some positive ease — no fitted sweaters. I remember seeing you once in a Bohus— you looked great.

  23. I have broad shoulders and a large bust and I can wear yoke sweaters if the yoke comes all the way down to the top of the sleeve, which is roughly the widest part of my bust. Maybe that would work for you.

  24. Yaaaay! I have just come to the same decision, as a fellow broad/square shouldered person, that the yoked sweaters out there are just too pretty to pass up just because they might not be the most flattering style for me. If it makes you hapoy, you will look great!

    Note that it took me about 25 years longer than you to reach this point. Do it now.

  25. Ahh, but a yoked sweater would allow you to indulge your love of neutrals while still bringing in a pop of color to brighten your face.

    And, clever gal like yourself, is it possible to do a yoked sweater in the round and steek a V neck into it? *gasps*

    Or just embrace the awesomeness of the yoked sweater as is, I think we’ll all be so focused on the beauty of the knitting that we’ll not think on the neckline.

    • I’m impressed! Put a V-neck in one! I would never have thought of that. Maybe you or the Harlot or someone else reading this can help me. I am looking for a pattern for a sweater, that the sleeves and body are knit side to side like in the Side-to-Side Cardigan by harriet elliot in Ravelry. I was excited when I found this, but then it’s not a listed pattern it’s from some magazine or book. Anyone?Thanks.
      And Dear YH, make what you love, wear what you love. When you wear something that you think looks great you will too! I do understand those tapes in your head that tell you things. I’ve got one that says I should be a Dr., Lawyer, or Politician, that I’m too smart to settle for less…and what I really want is to be an artist. Knitting manages to fall through this because it’s sensible.. we need socks, etc.!!! Make the sweater, and if you don’t really like it or feel less than happy wearing it…then give it to the first person who says they think it’s beautiful and would love one like it! I sewed a black skirt for myself in college(1975), and finally gave it away because I didn’t wear it…back then I didn’t wear black…was trying. It wasn’t till 1998 about then, that I started wearing black! I’m 61 now and wear lots of black. Things change. Maybe now you can wear a hat too! Much love and hugs!

  26. Like you, I have broad shoulders and an ample bust. (DDD). But I LOVE the round yoke sweaters on me! I mean if people stare at my chest, let ’em! It is a hard thing to conceal no matter what is on a large busty gal. So, be good to your girls by being good to your psyche and knit and wear what you want!

  27. My dearest Harlot,
    As a very tall, very busty, very broad shouldered, very outspoken woman, may I suggest that your only concern be that you feel happy in the clothes you wear. Do you find them charming? Does that neckline keep your collarbones warm? Are the sleeves practical enough to be pushed up when needed? Life is too short too worry about the “rules.”

  28. While I am strongly of the notion a woman should dress as she pleases, a V-neck is enormously better on me than a crew neck. In addition to the figure attributes you mention, I have a round little face and no desire to emphasize any of that. Why are there not cleverly designed v-neck sweaters? Why can’t a pretty design follow that shape as well as a round one? This is something I’ve wondered for a while now. All of that aside, you be you, it’s what you do best.

    • It’s really easy to modify a crew neck to a v-neck. Just cast on enough stitches for the back neck and shoulders and then increase one stitch at each front edge every X rows until you have enough stitches for the front. Join in a round and you’re set to go.

      If you’re going bottom up, just reverse it. Divide for the neck and decrease a stitch near each front edge every X rows until you get to the top.

      To get X, you multiply the row gauge times the desired neck depth and then divide that by the desired number of increases/decreases. Easy peasy.

      • Thank you, Heather! SO obvious, but I ‘d been scratching my head over how to do that for a self designed pattern which has stalled because I want to knit the top as a yoke and have a V-neck. You have just solved my problem.

        Today’s blog has been amazing. Hitting the spot for me perfectly!

        Thank you all.

      • Now that you say it, it does seem “easy peasy”. But in all these years of looking at round neck patterns and wishing they were V neck, it never occurred to me that it could be this simple. thank you thank you!

  29. I promise that if you do a google image search for an advancing tank, you will not see anything approaching what you see in the mirror. Knit and wear what makes you feel fabulous. (I’m about to recycle yarn from a sweater my hubs says is wonderful but I hate the fit — sort of the opposite problem).

  30. I have my fingers crossed that you make a Kate Davies pattern and then my two favorite knitting people will be united for my knitwear-viewing pleasure.

  31. Looking like a tank can be very useful if for any reason you need to go into a mall, particularly (shudders) around the end-of-year Festival of Overconsumption.
    As for the skirts, I say wear ’em whatever length you want. I used to have people telling me I needed to dress my age when I was younger (i.e. wear shorter skirts and tighter tops), and I ignored them. Now that I am 31 they have finally shut up.

  32. I love yoked sweaters but they don’t love me even though I have no rack to speak of. Maybe it’s my broad shoulders? That said, WEAR WHAT YOU WANT. (But the older we get, the more important it is to wear bright colors – otherwise we are invisible.)

  33. Trust me on this….. no one is talking or considering your neckline. They are more worried about their own neckline/colors etc. If they are giving thought to your neckline perhaps this would be a good time for them to consider getting a life.

  34. Have you noticed that women keep declaring their freedom from the dictates of fashion and beauty, but it doesn’t affect clothes or TV and magazine ads (not to mention the articles in women’s magazines)?

    My problem is a really short neck. No turtlenecks or mock turtlenecks for me. I look like someone cut my head off and tried to stick it back on afterwards.

  35. I too have similar thoughts about myself and necklines for the same reasons you do. However, yesterday I wore a crewneck top to which I added a scarf b c of the who,e neckline issue, but it was too hit for the scarf at the bar, so I reluctantly took it off. My friend whi is very blunt abiut these things said it looked fine! I was shocked. So who kniws?

    Also re the yoked sweaters, I’m currently looking dor ine to knit too, despite all the misgivings, and someone over at Berroco said that if one is well endowed then one should not have a large colorwork yoke. After reading that and looking at Ravelry pics, I see exactly what she means. Although You probably knew that already.

    Besides my theory is since you’re thin everything looks good on you!

  36. Probably someone in the above comments has already pointed out that “We wouldn’t what others say about us if we knew how seldom they do.” -Mark Twain?? Anyway, I’m slowly taking this in.

  37. It took me to age 50 before I ceased giving a flying fig about what other people thought of my fashion sense (I have none, and am also short, square, and have vast tracts of land); I wish I had figured it out sooner! Am currently knitting Tina’s Sweater for myself from Blue Moon Fiber Arts (the one Anna designed for Tina that is full of tiny little bobbles), in pale blue. Don’t care what people think, I’m going to love it. (I am also limited to cardigans, due to my own internal furnace.)

    And honestly, unless you’re dressing like a pop star on the runway, most people only notice what you’re wearing if they want to give you a compliment: “did you make that? it’s lovely!”

    Go for it!

  38. I agree people should wear whatever they like. Having said that, you knew some smarta** would find a v-neck for you to consider – check out Jared Flood’s Galloway!!! (And then knit whatever your heart desires).

  39. Wear what you want!

    I decided to stop coloring my hair a few years ago. I’m salt and pepper. I love it no matter what others think. I wear lip balm for my dry lips and no makeup. Gave it up. If people don’t like the way I look, they can look the other way.

    But, yeah, they probably aren’t noticing.

    I like being me and doing what I want for a change. Go for it!

    • My very young daughter is super sad that she does not have sparkly unicorn hairs like Mommy and wants to know when she will get them. I love how my positive outlook on my silver streak is reflected in her words and am glad that I have lived long enough to earn those silver hairs.

  40. Two books that I read recently helped me with this fashion thing (and those weird voices in our heads):
    Girl Logic by Iliza Shlesinger
    Happiness Is A Choice You Make by John Leland

  41. Hunulus would look better and make your mother happy. I wear stripes and bright colors, doesn’t make me less fluffy not wearing them

  42. Your mother loved you, for sure, as does mine, but nonetheless they both seemed overly concerned with the way we ‘should’ look. I gave up many years of wearing black and navy and grey (‘slimming’ colours) and now wear clashing patterns and bright colours I would never have touched ten or twenty years ago.
    Still can’t handle orange, peach, apricot or any other variation of yellowish-red and reddish-yellow, though.
    I guess the moral of the story is… Wear whatever the damn hell you please. You are an amazing person and well loved, be confident to be who you are.

  43. Can’t say that I’ve ever even noticed your neckline, but then I wear Blundstones too. LOL I’m knitting Stokkur, well, I’m supposed to be finishing it. It has just a little yoke work, and I’m doing the fair isle in muted colours, ’cause I’m a bit chicken to go brighter. I love the patterns you are considering! And Elliot’s sweater, too.

  44. Darling – Wear what you love (you’ll look gorgeous no matter what). I think most women (myself included) spend too much time worrying about what other people think. PS – I put Humulus in my Ravelry cart yesterday. It’s beautiful!

  45. Nobodfy cares a fig about your necklines. I’d love to see your yoked sweater. Wear it loud, wear it proud.

  46. A friend just knit up Vintersol. It was stunning in its subtlety and simplicity. You could always notch the neckline for a visual break and a nod to Mum. And a yoked sweater always makes your waist and hips look smaller…that’s why they’re so popular!

  47. “Trying to avoid criticism which is definitely not forthcoming,” is a great summary of my world view most of the time. Now that you’ve defined it, I think I can start to work on that.

    Love the celebration of our various bits, from the “advancing tank” to “great tracts of land” and “in full sail” to our “magnificent hips.” Wheee!!!

    Wing of moth you’re an incredible writer Stephanie.

  48. Honey, if you got it, flaunt it. Go full sail and damn the torpedoes! Mixed metaphor but point made! 🙂 You will be beautiful. Personally, I think either of those sweaters will look great on you.

  49. Oooo! Just queued the Humulus pattern on my ravelry account (thank you!).

    My mother always said that pink and red were really, REALLY not my colors. And then several years ago I realized that occasionally I quite enjoy wearing those colors. So, what the hell, I have several pieces of clothing that are red or pink, including a pink winter coat. While Minnesota isn’t quite as serious about winter as basically anywhere in Canada, that coat still sees quite a bit of wear each year, and the bright color makes me happy:0)

    I hope one of those lovely yoked sweaters makes you happy, too.

  50. I understand that Elliot really doesn’t care what kind of neck goes on his sweater, but really – a baby with a well defined neck???? I’ve never seen one!!!

  51. I’ve always found that if I love the sweaters/clothing I wear I look better on the outside because they make me feel good on the inside. Knit something that’ll put a smile on your face and you’ll radiate beauty wherever you go.

  52. I Love, Love, Love your style no matter what you wear:) I also love that you’re knitting “Elwood” for your Elliott. I’m 58 years old and have always not given a crap about my mother’s suggestions as to what I wear. She has a much more flamboyant style that simply isn’t me. I’m comfortable with that choice and I’m comfortable in what I wear. You take the time and effort to make such comforting hand knits for everyone else so I think your choices of what to knit for yourself to wear should comfort you:)

  53. I love this post. Well, I love all your posts but this one resonates. My mother loves green and up until a few years ago never wore it because her mother told her it made her look sallow. I always thought it was a great pity that my mum listened to that particular piece of advice and missed out on wearing her favourite colour for most of her life.

  54. I am older than you and doubt that I will ever have a grandbaby. I’m ok with that; there are plenty of other grandmothers I know. I have been through the destruction of my family of origin by mental illness and enabling, the suicide of my son’s father, loss of a career, on and on. We all have our trials and tribulations. It has taught me not to give a shite about too much anymore. People that I love are important to me, having compassion towards others is important to me. You seem to have your priorities in order and good for you. You are a role model. I’d still like to know what you wore at your wedding.

  55. AGREED!!
    (and not just because I already had BOTH of those sweaters saved to my favorites on Ravelry even though I don’t know that yoked shoulder suit me, either).

  56. OMG. Knit the Vintersol. That designer is wonderful. You will love it. I have made 2 of her yoke sweaters and have a third in the needles right now. I think they actually look good on everybody. They certainly do on pear-shaped people like me. I would love to see yours.

  57. Hi Stephanie,
    Unless I’m vigilent, common Hops (Humulus) easily takes over a section of my garden, twining through Jerusalem artichokes and current bushes. It is a survivor plant, sturdy, perennial. Hmm, some words that might describe you, eh? The pattern you like on Ravelry is absolutely lovely! I can see it knit up in shades of green that you like (perhaps a light brown background?) … and so serving both the homage to the plant, fertile soil, and your own taste. Sending kind thoughts to your friend for whom you’ve made the gentle, lovely hat … and kind thoughts to you too of course. Maureen

  58. Laughed till I snorted, cried, and then had to read out loud the advancing tank part to my husband, as per usual. Thank you for making my evening, and you are beautiful, in so so many ways.

  59. Here’s something to consider: ALL of the knit models in the “professional” shots (with “real” models) have square shoulders. Correct, they have no rack(s) either, but these women with 90 degree shoulders all look fantastic (of course) in yoke sweaters. Check out the recent Vogue Knitting w/ a whole section of yoke sweaters – wide, square shoulders all of them. Now if you visually imagine actual boobs on them, they’d still look great – it’s all about the sweater and the aesthetics of the sweater. Unless s/o has a “professional” models body, then, Hon, we’re all just going to look like mere mortals. Bottom line: Knit and wear what you want. Done.

  60. FWIW, having more petite tracts of land paired (ha!) with broad shoulders is still a problem, you just look like a linebacker instead of an advancing tank. I am built slight, though not overly short, excepting rather broad shoulders. I do wear a boatneck beautifully, so I can sometimes do yoked sweaters as long as they are in finer yarn and not cabled. Frankly, the only sweaters that are deeply flattering for me (and that I thankfully love) are cowl or shawl necked.

  61. Gorgeous hat, gorgeous color.

    And glad I’m not the only daughter who didn’t do like my mom said–a touch of lipstick is fine on her but will never be on me. My own daughters, of course, wear a bit of makeup because I don’t. Which amuses me no end.

  62. I am very well endowed. I wasted an enormous number of birthday wishes on boobs, only to find out that it’s really a nuisance to have them. There is a metaphor there. Anyway, the reason I don’t knit sweaters with a yoke is that by the time the yoke has enough stitches in it for my 48″ diameter, plus ease, the armhole is too deep, and worse: that yoke makes the front hang down in front in an extremely unattractive way that makes the whole sweater seem to drag. If you come up with a fix for these issues, I would love to know about it.

  63. Nirvana is knowing what does and doesn’t look good on you – and not giving a shit. (I’m not quite there yet, personally speaking.)

  64. YES YES YES! Wear what you like– especially if you make it yourself! One of my favorite Facebook shares: How to get a swimsuit body: Take a swimsuit, put it on your body.

  65. Elliot may not even have a neck as we know it. Our 3 year old granddaughter has just emerged from babyhood and it now appears she has a lovely slender stalk. And fewer chins. As she is the 7th descendant of ours we were not at all surprised this time.
    I heard my own mother’s voice in those comments and she died 18 months ago. Immortality? I watch what I say to my daughters very carefully. And break the colour combination “rules” with impunity to stunning effect!

  66. Lovely hat. When do I get mine?
    I think you should wear what you like. Our culture tries to bully us into hiding our boobs, but get real, we have them. Big ones do not need to be a source of shame. I say flaunt ’em if you got ’em. Channel Marilyn Monroe.
    Also, those yoke sweaters can be modified to have a V neck. It’s just knitting math. The only thing is, if you want to do the colorwork in the round, instead of back and forth, you’ll have to steek. I hate back and forth colorwork. Also not crazy about steeking. That moment of horror as the first snip is made.
    Julie in San Diego

  67. How to dress for your body:

    It’s your body, put the clothes that you like on it.

    Free ourselves from the shackles of ‘flattering’ – who cares any more, honestly. I’m a broad shouldered, busty woman who is significantly fatter than you and I love a round yoke. Love it.

  68. Do people really discuss the necklines of other people’s sweaters? All I ever talk about is the knitting and the pattern. I say knit what you want and wear it with pride.

  69. I’ve been well endowed also my whole life. While I love a V-necked sweater, I also enjoy boat necks and shawl collars. Those sweaters are beautiful and will look wonderful on you. You’ve added more to the never-ending queue of mine.

  70. It took me a lot of years to get to this point to: unlikely I’m being talked about, and (now) really unlikely I care, even if so.
    Love both sweaters – they’ll be beautiful on you!
    OMG a shawl collar on a little boy just slays me!!

  71. I’ve met you a couple of times at Sock Summit and book signings and I assure you I’ve never contemplated your neckline. Nor did I critique your clothing options. Nor did it occur to me to do either! I think one of the joys of getting older is doing and wearing what you want without worrying what the neighbors think. Or anyone else for that matter. I say make the sweater and if you go forthright into the word with a beautifully knit sweater upon one’s person then good for you!

  72. Among my favorite topics – the delights of getting older! It’s one of society’s best kept secrets. Not that you’re as old as I am, not by a long shot, but it’s lovely when one gets to the place in life where one can say “I don’t care, I like that.” Yes, even about Birkenstocks.
    Although I’ve seen you speak a couple of times, I can’t say I would ever use the simile “advancing tank”. How does your Bohus look on you? I’ll bet it’s stellar.
    Make what you love, and enjoy what you make. Those are two very lovely yoke designs, and you’ll wear them gracefully.

    • Steph, if you have any doubts how a yoked sweater woulld look, would it make sense to try one on in a store and see what you think?

  73. I think something magical happens to a woman in her late forties. I myself have decided, after years and years of hair color treatment, to STOP and let my natural grey grow out. WOW…there was a lot hiding under there!!! But I feel so full of natural, raw ME, RAWR, that I can’t quite put into words. My only regret is having colored my hair to begin with.

    I wear what I want, knit what I want. And guess who is happy…? Me!

    I can’t wait to see those big, boxy shoulders that I’m sure carry the weight of the world on them sometimes, in a beautiful new sweater.

    • As fiber artists, we have long since celebrated diversity of color in our animals’ coats, as exemplified by the Black Sheep Gathering & other festivals. Shouldn’t we enjoy our own human colors, without feeling it necessary to “cover the gray?”

  74. Hear, Hear! I have long ago decided that I shall wear….whatever it pleases me to wear. I too have broad shoulders and…huge tracts of land.- and am short waisted to boot. The first sweater that I ever made was an Icelandic yoked sweater out of heavy lopi. I believe that ‘meatball on a stick” would be an apt description. I wore that sucker until it fell apart after 20 years-walking dogs in the woods, pushing baby strollers, walking on the beach, reading books in the not-well-heated living room. It finally fell victim to old age and certain three month old puppy. This year, I bought more lopi- time for another warm, bulky, yoked sweater that hopefully fits a bit better, and certainly will have better ribbing. I struggled a bit with the concept of “purl” back then. Life is too short to wear things that don’t please us- or uncomfortable shoes!

  75. The thing about large chests and high necklines is that there’s a longer distance from neckline to midbust than with a smaller chest, because of the angle. Anything, *anything at all*, that breaks up that distance will make it look better. You can do it with a lower neckline, you can do it with strategically placed stripes, and you can do it with a colorwork yoke, *you can do it with a long necklace*. Seriously. You’ll be fine. Make the sweater and love it.

  76. I have SO hit the very healthy stage in a woman’s life when she realizes It. Doesn’t. Matter. Do want you want. No one is talking about it and, if they are, that’s their pettiness and they can stew in it. The level of detail at which we are enculturated (yeah, I just used that word) to care about our shoulders, our chins, our feet — not to mention the biggies like our arses (as you would say) and our bellies — is quite antifeminist. The good and powerful work women could do in this world is minimized and in some cases eliminated by mental and emotional preoccupation with manufactured worries. Not to say you, Stephanie, don’t do a ton of good and powerful work… that’s a comment about women in general. I’m rejecting the notion that I need to be worried about anything but being kind and doing good in the world, taking care of myself and others, and it’s working!

  77. My mother’s mantras directed at me were few, and simple: “Stand up straight or I’ll buy you a brace. Nothing looks worse than a tall woman who slouches.” and “You’d worry less what people thought of you if you realized how seldom they did.”

    Imagine them delivered with a Southern US drawl. She’s from Arkansas. And she’s right.

  78. After my mom passed, I too, realized that not every little thing I learned from her did I need to follow. That legacy is one you are free to drop. Mine? Hosting people in my home does not require everything to be spotless. I didn’t have people over for the longest time because my house wasn’t clean enough. A legacy I have now left behind.

  79. Ah, it might be menopause speaking: that moment in life when you suddenly don’t care what others think about you. It’s quite liberating.

  80. Make it! Wear it! And especially keep it handy for when you feel the need to have an extra confidence boost – think tank thoughts in those instances. If it makes you happy, that’s the only part anyone will notice. Then they’ll wonder if they had a sweater that looked like yours, if they’d be that happy, too. ; )

  81. Currently knitting Vintersol and I love the construction of this sweater. It starts at the bottom of the yoke and goes up to the neck with short rows to make sure it sits properly. Then you pick up and knit the rest of it. Something fun to do. Hope you pick this one!

  82. That shade of blue (on the Hallstatt) is perfect – do you remember the colorway? WEBS doesn’t seem to have it, and I need to go scavenging elsewhere.

  83. I’ve met you “live and in person” when you were wearing your Bohus sweater, and I thought you looked great. Nary a tank in sight!

  84. Loved this post and all of its comments! I am 60, recently lost both of my parents, and my kids have just left the house to start their own families. I’ve been a wall flower all of my life. In August, I put purple swatches in my hair, just because I felt like it, and everything has changed. I’m wearing comfortable, fun, colorful clothes and accessories because it feels good. I am embracing my creativity, my making skills, and adding a bit of whimsy to my style. I feel strong, courageous, alive, and free of rules and expectations. Age is a wonderful thing.

  85. Whereas I avoid round yokes and raglans because I think I have very slopey shoulders, and I believe they only accentuate the negative.

  86. So knit the beautiful Humulus and put a steek in that becomes a V neck. Perfect sweater!

    Or just wear whatever you want to! We don’t have to look our best all the time; men certainly don’t!!

  87. Vintersol is my planned Olympics project. I too have broad shoulders and this may not be the most flattering style, but it’s so pretty!

  88. Your neckline? Trust me, if I ever meet you in person I will be looking at your rack now… 😉
    No matter what you knit, it will look beautiful!

  89. I think the thing to decide is whether you mind possibly looking like a tank. I could give most men a run for their money at arm wrestling thanks to my genetics. I eventually decided (in the last 5 years) that in general, I don’t much mind having serious biceps if I think of them as the kinds of arms Viking Shield Maidens would have. It’s all about perspective. For example, if broad shoulders have made it easier for you to wear the babies in your family and you want to celebrate your good fortune and show them off with a sweater, I say go for it!!! : )

  90. I highly recommend Humulus. The neckline isn’t tight at all. I have broad shoulders and I really love the way it fits. I think vintersol has a smaller neck opening. check out finished pics on rav. i’m metalliknitter

  91. The hat is gorgeous! Elliot will look sooo handsome in an Elwood that matches his hat — hope you have some of the dark red left for the stripes!

    And, to echo everyone else — wear whatever the hell you want. Make the sweater from acid-green mohair with sequins. Put in ALL the shoulder pads from “Dynasty.” Even put tassels on the front, if you care to bother. It is YOUR sweater, YOU are making it, and YOU get to decide how it looks. Everyone else can wear welders’ goggles.

  92. Oh my gosh! This made me laugh so hard! So, so funny!

    “The thing is – It turns out that maybe I don’t give a crap. I mean, maybe it’s okay if I look like an advancing tank, and maybe nobody cares. It’s taken me getting this old to suspect that when I leave a room, people do not discuss my neckline choices in a way that’s going to have any actual impact on my life. As a matter of fact, I suspect that nobody is discussing my necklines at all. (If this is not true, and it is all you discussed with your friends on the way home from a book signing or workshop, say nothing now.) ”

    My mom told me I wouldn’t be able to learn how to knit because I’m left handed and now look! Moms don’t always know best, do they?

  93. Your mother’s comments on necklines sound very much like the advice my grandmother used to give her children and grandchildren. We all learned to tell her we would take her opinion under consideration – and then to do whatever the #$* we wanted.

  94. The hat is gorgeous! As someone who lost her hair to chemo 5 years ago, the thing you don’t realize is how much room hair takes up in a hat. The hats I made pre-hair loss, were all a little big when I needed them. Of course I’m still wearing them, and they fit fine now, but wanted to share this insight.

  95. In addition to my previous comment: a neckline that exposes the medial ends of the collarbone (the two bumpy bumps at the bottom of the neck at the front) is a really good thing too. It’s not about exposing those bones per se, it’s about giving the neck enough visual space and about thinking about the visual balance between breast point and neck. Both those lovely jumpers you’re thinking about tick the box for this collarbone thing.

  96. Page 206 Knitting Rules! by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee – ….. “and there are no knitting police.”

    This encompasses all acts of knitting, including wearing hand knit sweaters.

  97. Best words of wisdom I ever received–” You would not care what others thought about you if you knew how seldom they do” Wear what makes you feel good!

  98. I am knitting Humulus right now! It’s lovely because it has short-row shaping for the neck (so that the back is higher) but also a little short-row shaping over the bust after you’ve finished the yoke, before you get going with the body. So I think it’s designed to be as flattering as can be.

    I think you may be edging at this, but when my own mother died (two years ago) and in the years she deteriorated before her death, I took to wearing green. She hated green on us and would comment every time – “Oh, green..!” and I, too, felt that sense of liberation/who cares once she could no longer give her opinion. I loved her to pieces, and I don’t mean this spitefully, but it felt great! So enjoy your yoked sweater, or your skirts, or your lack of lipstick (me too!) …just because you can.

  99. Wear what you like. Life is too short. As least that’s what I tell myself. I found that when I go outside my comfort zone in clothes, I get the most compliments. I say go for it.

  100. Stephanie, I couldn’t agree more about not giving a crap what anybody else thinks or about the possibility, indeed probability, that nobody else cares or is thinking about what you (or I) wear. Knit the yoked sweater and enjoy, if that is what you want 🙂

  101. Well I used to be able to say “to hell with it, I’m 54 and I’ll wear what I like.” But then I lost an important promotion to a younger, sexier, stylish woman with 7 years less experience than me. I hate to admit that Mom was right.

  102. I’ve had the same struggle. I love the look of yoked sweaters, and I seem to buy all the patterns. But my super-sized bust always gives me pause. I was just thinking of saying “*&^%$ it”, and finally casting on a Vintersol. Because it’s true. I can knit and wear whatever the heck I want! Right? Right?

  103. I just turned 63, and it has taken me until the last year to finally get to the point I don’t care if other people like what I wear, how I cut my hair, or whatever. 2017 was a weird medical year for me, and I had a lot of time to think, and now…I’m going to wear whatever I want to and enjoy it!

  104. I would like to take the advice (my own) of having the design at the bottom of my sweater than at the top. If I knew what I was doing design wise, I would make all sweaters cardigans and put the neck designs at the bottom of the sweater. That may make my butt look big, and it is big, but I don’t care. The designs are so pretty but I just don’t love them at the neck for my own personal wearability.

  105. As I read some of these amazing comments, it occurs to me that I’ve never thought about my shoulders, one way or the other. That’s because my mother (frequently) told me that I needed to dress carefully because I am “broad across the beam.” I think she still mentions it, but I have finally learned not to hear her.

  106. As somebody who has been told that I look like I have murder on my mind when I walk down the corridor at work, no matter WHAT I wear, I say wear whatever you please.
    However, I must qualify this with a story to illustrate my complete rejection of parental clothing advice. I was 4, we were clothes shopping, my father saw a dress and commented “That’s a nice dress”. My response “You don’t have to wear it”.
    So, yeah, they don’t have to wear it, you do, so wear whatever you like wearing and enjoy!

  107. A resounding YESSSSS to all of your thoughts on dressing how you like. Should you want to try to have the best of both worlds in a yoked sweater though, you could always steek and make a cardigan, which would allow you to get the v-neck effect (or not) depending on how you wear it.

  108. Maybe make the neckline slightly wider – more boatneck – I have massive shoulders and large boobs and boatneck jumpers are my favourite.

  109. What Kelly just said! A wider and slightly lower neckline on a yoked cardi or jumper makes all the difference to us larger busted ladies! It reduces the expanse from neckline to mound of boobage and you can do the bust adjustments below the yoke on the plain part.
    I am new to your blog, a friend told me about you a few weeks ago and I love catching up!

  110. Funny thing is, I’ve been avoiding yoked sweaters with the exact opposite body type – I thought that with sloping shoulders and little up top I’d look like a pencil. I’ve avoided all raglans too. Figured you needed square shoulders for those styles!

    So if you can’t wear them with square shoulders and I can’t wear them with sloped, then all those gorgeous colourwork yoked sweaters get consigned to kids only. That’s a sad, sad fate.

  111. I have square shoulders, yet no rack to speak of, and I absolutely think square shoulders (regardless of rack size) look AMAZING in yoked sweaters. Plus, they are fun to make. In fact- I’m making a Mirry Dancers right now! Viva!

  112. Of course Elliot has no position in necklines yet – babies don’t have necks! 😉

    I like the Humulus sweater better for some reason, but I think Vintersol would be a better choice for someone with broad shoulders. The Humulus design is visually more horizontal, and we all know how horizontal stripes make us look wider, while Vintersol’s is vertical, making up look taller.
    Just my two cents – which probably more than it’s worth!

  113. I too have broad shoulders (something I am grateful for when toting backpacks and lifting bookcases) and have hankered after Norwegian/Fair Isle yoked-type sweaters for years. I say go for it. And I will too 🙂

  114. O Canada, one of the most beautiful of all the national anthems, is now gender-neutral. I know this has nothing to do with knitting, but knitters can all agree that Stephanie has been a great ambassador for knitting our two countries together in harmony.

  115. The way your mother spoke about your style choices or lack thereof, it is a thing I think all mothers do in some fashion, and amongst my friends and I it is referred to as a ‘mompliment’.

    Look like an advancing tank, but with a pop of colour in the yoke. Follow one rule, break another one.

  116. Your broad shoulders have enabled you to carry the burdens you have needed to carry, both physically and metaphysically. Celebrate them! Wreath them in gorgeous laurels of fairisle! Nothing more beautiful than a strong woman.
    Also I know nothing whatsoever of how to dress for what body shape, but surely some rockin’ fairisle above the bosom would draw the eye away from said bosom?
    Mothers, eh. I’m in my 50s and my mum still ventures opinions on stuff. I tend to yell, in pure 15-yr-old style, YOU’RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME! (actually, truth be known, I do that to my kids too 😀 )
    In other news, I dreamed extensively and vividly last night of how you and Clara were pestering me to come to the next knit retreat. THAT was flattering 😀
    Love to you.

  117. Really like your comment about mothers’ directions and self-consciousness resulting. Mine was, not to cut hair so short that ears show. So they stick out a little. And nobody cares. By the way, I like the Isabel Kraemer one. Simpler and more sophisticated….

  118. I think most daughter’s take to heart at least some of the things their mothers say about wardrobe choices. I’ve spent a lifetime avoiding blue (especially paired with orange) and ugly dresses of any type since that’s what my mom dressed me in. I have a cousin that was told you sometimes have to suffer for fashion and in her mid 50s is still wearing weather inappropriate clothes for the sake of fashion.

    While I’ve gone overboard, I weather is comfortable and makes me happy. Embrace the sweaters you like to knit and wear with pride for a job well done.

  119. Ahhhhh. We moms mean well… I’ve never forgotten my mom telling me I would “benefit from a foundation garment” — 45 years ago when I weighed 105 pounds.

  120. You are all grown up now. Knit the sweaters you want to wear. Some things are more important to you as you get older. I am 5 feet 4 and wear long skirts that reach to my feet. I too, have been told they are not good for me as I am too short. SO WHAT!!! I LOVE THEM and always will. So, guess what I am wearing as I write this? Wools slippers and my long cotton skirt with a cotton, long sleeve Tshirt, that I am also not supposed to wear in a color I am not supposed to wear. I am 60. I can do this!

  121. Heh. I love a yoke but I have tiny slopy shoulders and an alarmingly large boobage / ribcage. Thanks scoliosis. I turned 40 last year however and ALL my f**ks to give just upped and disappeared. Poof! All gone, just like that. So I will probably knit myself a yoke. It will distract from my expanding gut 🙂

  122. I have square shoulders and am not very tall. I prefer v neck cardigans because its hard to pull a sweater on over my head. In all honesty, I am older than you Stephanie and have decided that I don’t give a “flying rat’s a$$ what people think about my clothing choices”
    I sincerely think that they are not thinking about them at all except to be grateful that I have clothing on!

    Knit what you love and wear what you love..above all just love!

  123. I am a firm believer in the thought that if it makes you feel good than wear it. Everyone will be so impressed by how satisfied you are with your wardrobe choice they won’t pay attention to the other things! Hang tough!

  124. I am super late to the party, but add my vote for ‘wear whatever you want.’ You’re not obligated to follow all the social/cultural rules about what women are “mandated” to do in order to ‘be allowed’ to be seen in public. Screw that. Plus the more of us that say “screw that” the easier it gets for all of us (speaking as a woman who has not had makeup on her face for decades).

    That all being said, could you modify the yoked sweater into a henle that you could wear unbuttoned? Sort of a ‘fake v-neck’? I like v-necks and henles both

    • Excellent suggestion! I’d forgotten that I once had a fair isle sweater with a 3-4 button placket. A perfect solution to break up the width of the yoke.

  125. I used to be self conscious about my shoulders–the only two in my family–until they disappeared after I had abdominal surgery a few years ago. Now I miss them and how I looked like I had better posture.

    I think you look lovely, so just go with what feels good to you. No, we don’t talk about you behind your back, at least nothing we wouldn’t say to your face. Besides, all the famous actresses seem to have square shoulders. I expect they pay trainers big money to get them, too!

  126. I was shocked several years ago when a friend opined that on my deathbed I’d probably wish I’d washed my hair oftener. Not.

  127. I’m a wee bit older than you but you know, it was around age 50 that I too stopped giving a crap what anyone might think, and just started wearing what I want. I’m happier now. I also knit for myself. My reasons are that I have always been statuesque and thought that I had enormous hips. As it turns out, I found pics from my teens and twenties when I was really convinced that I had enormous hips, and guess what? I don’t, didn’t, never have. However, with advancing years, the chest has, ahem, come to the fore and so sweaters of any kind have been off the shopping and/or making list for a long time except when they will be worn for warmth only, under a jacket, and never, ever seen. This is Canada after all. Well, phooey! I don’t actually care; and if people are focussed on how I look in a sweater then their lives are clearly very narrow and unfulfilled, and they need to widen their horizons. So hooray, and on to the sweater-wearing goddess who is me!

  128. Took me years to realise that when my mum referred clothing as being too “necky” she meant it showed my cleavage. I spent years in high necks (possibly looking like a tank) before introducing the joy of V neck – and cleavage – into my life

  129. When people talk about gaining wisdom as you age, I suspect this is what they’re talking about : you start figuring out that a lot of what you cared about (especially concerning what other people think) was a load of crap.

  130. The older I get, the more I feel like saying “no” to the tyranny of “flattering”. The idea that everything we wear needs to make us look taller and thinner is so limiting. Who says that taller and thinner is better??? Society’s effed up standards do, and personally, I have grown quite sick of it. Those standards are impossible to attain anyway. So I say wear whatever you like! The patterns you are considering are beautiful and would be stunning on you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.