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User Experience (UX) Knit: Breaker

This sporty knit is for those of us who live, unabashedly, in our activewear.

Look, this is seven years old now, and I still think of it once a week and laugh at myself.

Breaker is knit with classic bottom-up construction and seamed, stitches are picked up and knit for the collar, which is shaped with german short rows. The result manages to be both elegant and casual.

(Why seamed? The row gauge is a bit different for stockinette and the textured knit, so if you want the pieces to fit together they need a different number of rows).

If you're looking for a knit you can't find just anywhere that doesn't require a cottage core wardrobe - this one's for you!

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The neckline is subtly sexy. The bust darts are above the super-deep underarms, and the firm tubular bind-off creates a gentle hugging effect. I've sewn my zipper well below the actual top of the front for an extra-spicy effect, but knitters looking for a more modest garment can place their zipper up to the top of the front shaping (where I'm pointing).

CONSTRUCTION

Breaker is worked flat from the bottom up and seamed. Stitches are picked up and knit for the collar.

OPTIONAL BUST SHAPING

Optional instructions for adding short rows for bust shaping, in five sizes, give you your best fit.

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CHOOSE A SIZE

1 (2, 3, 4) [5, 6, 7] (8, 9, 10)

Choose the size closest to your actual upper chest measurement. Upper chest is measured above the full bust, at an angle close to diagonal beneath the underarms, and straight across the back. For more information on choosing a size using your upper chest measurement, visit this blog post.

To fit upper chest:  27.75 (31.75, 35.75, 39.25) [42.25, 44.5, 47.5] (50.5, 53.5, 56.5) in / 69.5 (79.5, 89.5, 98) [105.5, 111.5, 119] (126.5, 134, 141.5) cm

 

Breaker is designed to fit with approximately 4.5 inches / 11.5 cm of positive ease at the fullest part of your bust. It has gentle hip shaping.

Finished bust circumference:  32.25 (36.25, 40.5, 44.25) [48.5, 52.25, 56.5] (60.75, 65, 68.75)inches / 80.5 (91, 101.5, 111) [121.5, 131, 141.5] (152, 162.5, 172) cm

Finished hip circumference:  33.75 (38, 42, 46) [50, 54, 58] (62.25, 66.5, 70.25)inches / 84 (94.5, 105, 114.5) [125, 134.5, 145] (155.5, 166, 175.5) cm

Finished upper arm circumference:  15.25 (16.5, 17.5, 19) [20.25, 21.25, 22.75] (24.5, 26, 27)inches / 38 (41, 44, 47.5) [50.5, 53.5, 57] (61, 65, 67.5) cm

I am wearing size 5, Cup 3, with 4.5 inches / 11.5 cm of positive ease at the full bust. My upper chest is 41 inches / 102.5 cm (I am between sizes, and chose to size up).

If you need additional room for the bust, as I do, working the optional short row shaping will give you the best fit in the shoulders and armholes, while still making room for your chest. Short rows add length to the front only of the garment, so that the hem does not rise in the front.

TECHNIQUES

  • Tubular Cast-on (optional)

  • Working directional shaping

  • Working German Short Rows (for the optional bust shaping only)

  • Seaming

  • Picking up and knitting

  • Sewing a tubular bind-off (optional)

MATERIALS

  • Stitch markers

  • Tapestry needle

  • Waste yarn

GAUGE

21 sts and 32 rows over 4 inches / 10 cm in stockinette stitch with size A needles (I used US size 6). 

YARN

 

Wandering Flock Merino DK

Extra-fine 100% Superwash Merino Wool; 230 yds / 210 m per 100 g skein. This is a hand-dyed, 4-ply high-twist yarn.

 

This yarn knits up incredibly soft for next-to-skin wear, has a gentle bias that responds well to blocking and adds a bit of extra durability, and has great stitch definition.

1185 (1235, 1320, 1400) [1480, 1560, 1625] (1730, 1730, 1830)yds / 1085 (1130, 1210, 1280) [1355, 1425, 1485] (1580, 1585, 1675) m; 6 (6, 6, 7) [7, 7, 8] (8, 8, 8) skeins 

If working the bust darts you will need an additional 10 yds / 10 m - 5 yds / 105 m.

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WHAT IS A UX KNIT?

 

I'm committed to creating patterns that make a promise and keep it.

My pre-release process includes inviting a group of knitters to experience the final, edited draft of my pattern. They receive a copy of the pattern, access to a super supportive knitalong group, and are encouraged to make fit mods to create their dream project (and I make myself available to coach on that as needed). In exchange, I ask for feedback on their experience with the pattern.

UX means user experience, and that's the point of this process. I work with my tech editor on all the numbers, the fit and grade, and all the other technical a
spects of the pattern. But what I really want to know is how the pattern holds up to real-life use. That's why knitters are encouraged to make the pattern work for their measurements, their yarn choices, etc.

For me, this process is all about creating a fair exchange of value with the UX knitter. I'm there to cheer you on and help you reach your knitting goals. 

When I build my team, I start first with folks who support me on Kofi on a monthly basis. I'm committed to creating paywall-free educational resources for knitters and designers, and I'm able to do that because of the support I receive on Kofi (and I'd love to be able to do more of it!). So those folks get first dibs on UX knitting.

ABOUT THIS UX KNIT

This UX Knit will be run on Slack. Slack is free to join and offers chat rooms by topic. Pattern files, errata, and chat will be hosted in private channels there. Knitters are free to ask questions in the project Slack channel, or to DM me in Slack if that is more comfortable.

I've chosen Wandering Flock for this project because I think this yarn (super soft, in a durable construction, superwash for sweaty wear) is just right for this garment. Wandering Flock is offering a 20% discount for testers.

I expect to have patterns to knitters by August 28th. The UX Knit will conclude November 20th, a total of 12 weeks.

 

I am seeking 1-2 knitters per size and will be choosing knitters so that multiple cup sizes are represented.

COLLABORATIVE KNITTING

A fun, supportive, productive Knit depends on clear expectations between the designer and Knitters. Here's what you can expect from me and what I am counting on from you:

  • You will receive a fully tech-edited pattern.

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  • I make my best effort to respond to questions as quickly as possible and agree to respond to questions within 2 business days, absent an emergency or pre-communicated time away.

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  • I will post any adjustments/errata that surface during the project; if we make a big change or correction, I will post a revised file.

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  • You will receive a credit on my pattern webpage (first name and link of your choice, example here).

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  • I will moderate a space free from hate speech, expressly including but not limited to racist, ableist, fatphobic, homophobic or transphobic speech.

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  • It's important for me to see the fit of the sweater on a body. Knitters agree to complete their sweaters and provide a modeled photo and feedback by the last day of the UX Knit. Modeled photos can be cropped to exclude the model's face.

Although I need to see modeled photos to assess the pattern's success, you are under no obligation to share photos for marketing purposes or to have a public Instagram. Having said that - if you're okay with me sharing your photos I love to do so! I know that knitters of all shapes and sizes benefit from having lots of photos of sweaters on bodies out in the world, and I'm honored to partner with you in sharing your work to that end.

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  • Knitters agree to create and block a swatch.

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  • Knitters agree to communicate throughout, including letting me know if something has come up that will prevent them from completing the project on time. Things happen, we are human, and I definitely understand! With a long UX Knitting period, I can sometimes fill a dropped spot with a replacement, and I truly appreciate knitters who are able to let me know when something does come up for them.

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  • You may make fit-based modifications to ensure your dream sweater - I encourage this!

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  • I rely on knitters to provide feedback about the accuracy and clarity of the instructions, the fit of the final garment, and the amount of yarn used in yards or meters.  Projects are considered finished once the feedback form is complete.

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Knitters who complete the UX Knit will receive another of my self-published patterns for free, in addition to the finished version of Breaker. If you wish to waive your thank-you pattern, I would be very pleased to provide a copy of Breaker to a friend if you prefer.

CREDITS

Tech edit: Sarah Endres

Photography: TBD

Photos taken:

UX Knitters: 

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