Last June I went to TNNA in Ohio. It was an amazing experience and I was overwhelmed nearly the entire time. Everywhere I turned there seemed to be another rock star of the industry. At one point I stopped pointing people out because, well, I looked really lame :-)
While I was walking down one of the aisles at the convention center I noticed a large poster board display for Curvy Knits by Jillian Moreno (yep, THAT Jillian). I was super pleased to see that a good yarn company was getting smart and was starting to put out some patterns for large women! I must have expressed my excitement pretty loudly as the next thing I know I had the attention of the three ladies sitting at the table in the Classic Elite Yarns Booth.
I told them how happy I was about the larger designs and asked if they ever take submissions from other designers for plus size crochet! The lady in the middle looked at me and said YES. I looked at all three of the women and pulled out a chair for myself as I said, "well then, let me introduce myself."
For about five minutes I talked with theses women about everything. It was a great conversation and I had them laughing the whole time. However, I didn't want to hinder them from talkin to other people and actually making sales so I said my good byes and as I was getting ready to leave the table I looked at the ladies, shook two of the ladies hands. As I reached for the third ladies hand I said, "I don't think I caught your name."
To which the lady looked at me and said..."My name is Pam, Pam Allen." !!!!!! OMG...I had just had a 5 minute conversation with PAM ALLEN (Ravelry Link)!!!
I repeated her name out loud to make sure I had heard it correctly. One of the other ladies started to chuckle and said, "Yep, THE Pam Allen." Oh man, what do you say then? THE Pam Allen had just told me I should consider submitting to CEY sometime especially if I do plus size crochet. THE Pam Allen had just been laughing at some of my lame jokes. OMG...what had I said to THE Pam Allen!!???
I just smiled at her and said nice to meet you.
Fast Forward about a year later and look what is available today on the Classic Elite Yarns Web-Letter Issue #85... THE AMIMONO KIMONO! Yep, that is mine!
The name was an easy thing to think of considering I am constantly championing for knitters and crocheters to get along and stop acting like 'the Sharks and the Jets'. You see, amimono literally translated from Japanese means Yarn Thing and is used interchangeably for crochet and knitting in Japan. Perfect if you ask me since I AM the Yarn Thing :-) When I started my blog and podcast I named them Yarn Thing so I did not have to choose between crocheting and knitting. Since I am a crocheter who knits the Amimono Kimono is fitting, right?
My biggest frustrations as a larger woman is the lack of quality crochet projects that actually look good on a large woman. I am always looking, no scratch that, I am always searching for garments that will not only fit me but use a yarn that is not worsted weight are heaven forbid bulkier. Call me crazy but I don't need any more padding on my upper body or my ass, thank you very much. No matter how hard I look I often find myself designing what I am looking for rather than finding it and luckily now CEY likes what I have done :-)
When I designed this amimono kimono I had a few things in mind that I knew I wanted for sure. The first is the construction. I am not a fan of sewing therefore I knew I wanted to make a garment that could be made in one piece and seamed up the sides. The other thing I knew I wanted was a stitch that would not look or create horizontal lines. Using the asymmetrical stitch gives an illusion of being diagonal and flattering especially on larger figures.
Last but not least, I wanted to design something that I could use as a layering piece. Living in Colorado where the weather can be 45 degrees at 7am and 70 degrees by 3pm it is important that I dress in layers. Most of the time I like to wear a long sleeve shirt and a cardigan or sweater over top. This garment is exactly what wear.
For the closure, I chose a very simple button closure that allows for extra ease if it is needed or can be pulled closer for less ease. I like the way the openness of the cardigan allows the kimono to flow or float over the hips as I move (often to chase after kids and yarn).
As a crocheter who knits I often hear that knitters have a really hard time reading crochet patterns and find it easier to use charts with symbols. Therefore, I had a tech editor help me create charts for the entire garment so you knitters out there who want to try your hand at the hook this is a great project for you!
So, there you have it. That was my inspiration and goal for this piece. I hope you like it and make one for yourself!
Ravelry Link (you know, so you can favorite it :-)
Marlaina Bird aka Marly
BTW: can I say how excited I was to see that the same model that posses for the Curvy Knits modeled my piece too? SWEET!!!!