technique: choosing a Swirl silhouette and size

11/15/2011 by Sandra McIver

The email I get most frequently from knit, Swirl! readers goes something like this: “I love your book and all the patterns in it. My problem is I just can’t decide which silhouette and size is right for me”.  In an attempt to facilitate the decision making, and to illustrate how amazingly flexible and flattering Swirls really are,  I recently gathered some friends and family members for an afternoon photo shoot. I chose two patterns from opposite ends of the silhouette spectrum, Centered Circle silhouette which offers the most ease of the four silhouettes and Off-Center Oval which is the most fitted.  Below you will find one pattern from each of those silhouettes knitted in all three sizes.  So, without further ado, let me introduce you to our cast of characters….











As you can see, we have quite a variety of sizes and shapes represented here.


That’s me, third from the left.  Directly in front of me is my daughter who you last saw modeling her wedding Swirl on the pages of the Silken Dreams pattern, and just behind me is Ashley Lonergan who generously and patiently served as the main model for knit, Swirl!


We range in height from 5’ 2” to 5’10” and from petite small to plus sizes.  As you are about to see, each and every one of us can wear a variety of silhouettes and sizes in a Swirl.


The Centered Circle silhouette is characterized by generous ease around torso and upper arm, bias draping around the entire torso with shorter back length in relationship to  the depth of the shawl-like collar.

Here you see the pattern Going Green, knit in Karabella “Boise” yarn

in Size One:



and in Size Two:



and finally in Size Three:



On the opposite end of the silhouette spectrum we have the Off-Center Oval silhouette  which is fitted around torso and upper arm, hangs straight  across back with biased draping at the sides and front.  Off-Center silhouettes have long back length in relation to narrower collar and lapels.

Here you see the Sheer Beauty pattern , knit in Alchemy Yarn “Sanctuary” and “Haiku”  yarn and modeled

in Size One:



and in Size Two:


(added a new model here—meet Zoe Lonergan, the amazing photographer responsible for all the photos in knit, Swirl!—she’s a tiny slip of a thing.)


and finally in Size Three:




As you can see, a wide range of shapes, sizes and heights can wear all three sizes of a Swirl in silhouettes that are on opposite ends of the fit spectrum.   I hope this has been helpful to you.  Please check back in weeks to come, I’ll be posting more photos of more Swirls modeled in different sizes.


keywords:  swirl |  circular knitting |  size |  style |  flattering |  silhouette |  centered circle |  centered oval |