I have a new knitting book - Sharon Brant's new title, Knitting Goes Large.
Her previous book with Martin Storey - Classic Knits for Real Women - has been one of my most used books. All the patterns in both books are sized (and shaped) for plus sizes, and I have found that the smallest size, or sometimes the second smallest size, fits me well.
This new book is a good one. There is an excellent section at the beginning, written by Sharon, which is well worth reading. She covers how to pick styles that flatter your own particular shape - which lengths work with trousers or jeans, which lengths work with skirts - what to avoid and what to go for, in terms of texture, detail, and yarn weight - colour choices - accessories, the lot.
She also discusses in some detail how to choose which size to knit - this is such an important thing! Countless times I have heard - 'if only I'd made it a size larger - or smaller'. Along with this, there is a good description of exactly how to make simple pattern adjustments for a better fit.
And then the patterns. There are more than 20 designs here, from some of Rowan's best designers, including Sharon. It goes without saying, I think, that they are all good designs.
There are four in particular that I like.
There is a Lace Tunic in Kidsilk Haze, from Martin Storey. This takes 6 balls of KSH for my size - and I am pretty sure that I have that in the stash already. So that one is quite tempting.
There is a Lacy Cardigan from Kim Hargreaves, in 4ply cotton. I am not usually drawn to things like this - they look pretty, but I don't think I would ever wear them. This, however, is different. The styling is relaxed, but with some gentle waist shaping, the lace is not too fussy and has a strong vertical line to it - and I love the edge details. This one is really wearable and would be a useful wardrobe addition.
Next there is a Swing Jacket from Catherine Tough. This is shown in Rowan Classic Baby Alpaca DK. This jacket is in garter stitch throughout - and I do love garter stitch. Also, two lengths are given - I'd pick the shorter of the two.
With regard to garter stitch jackets/coats - I've been looking at Sally Melville's Einstein Coat now for quite a while. It would work beautifully in Rowan's British Sheep Breed chunky yarn - which is gorgeous stuff. But how much would I actually wear it? It would be a very warm coat. Also, it would be quite bulky, and although I am losing weight, I can do without any extra bulk, thankyou very much. And drop shoulders - not ideal in a chunky yarn, not flattering....
However, with this Swing Jacket I think I have found the answer. Set in sleeves - garter stitch - straightforward shaping - and a DK weight yarn!
And one last pattern. There is a Textured Vest from Kim Hargreaves, in 4 ply cotton. This, I am sure, is a resized version of a vest - Faye - that appeared in Rowan 23. It was a good pattern then, and it's a good pattern now.
I just wish I could find some pictures online! There aren't any Ravelry links at all, just yet.
From the comments -
Antje - yes, good webcrawling!
The mitten is Jared Flood's Green Autumn pattern, from the Fall 08 issue of Vogue Knitting. His own name for it was the Druid Mitten, and a lot of people (including me) have called it by that name. Mine are being worked in Yorkshire Tweed 4ply, and are kind of hibernating at the moment. I realised that they were turning out too small for my hands, and started again with 2.5mm needles instead of 2.25mm.
The gauge is interesting, by the way. The pattern says 3.25mm, and Jared says that he worked his on 3.75mm needles. I don't think that many people have been able to replicate the necessary gauge with those needle sizes - my choice of 2.25mm was based on Ravelry feedback, and I was getting gauge precisely. It is just that the mittens really are sized to fit a small hand, and I don't have little delicate hands, not at all.
Your spinning sounds wonderful - and no, handspun doesn't count at all - not in my opinion, anyway! :)