My fat knitting friends, I have a humble request for you: please put pictures of you wearing your knitted objects on Ravelry.
This is not a demand, my loves. I really do understand the desire for privacy, the hesitation to open yourself up for criticism, and the discomfort with having photographs taken. I don’t want to ask you to do something that you feel strongly against doing.
That being said, I lovelovelove seeing pictures of awesome fat people wearing their handknits. Not just because I love seeing pictures of awesome fat people in general, but because seeing fat people wearing handknits gives me a better idea of what I might look like wearing that same item.
Though there are not as many plus size patterns as I might hope for (for example, there are 9,983 patterns for knitted adult cardigans on Ravelry, but only 1,448 of them are identified as plus size) the options for plus size garments are improving all the time. A large part of this improvement can, in my opinion, be attributed to Amy Singer’s insistence that any garment pattern submitted to Knitty be sized to at least 3X for women’s items and 2X for men’s items. Knitty is such a huge influence on the knitting community (or, at least, the online knitting community) that their submission guidelines changed the way that many patterns are designed and written. Yay for Knitty!
So we have more plus size patterns than ever, which is awesome. But we all know how pattern sizing usually works – the original piece is usually knit in a smallish size (usually, whatever size the designer is) and then scaled up or down with math. The bigger sizes are rarely knit by the designer, unless zie is a bigger size hirself. (There are exceptions!) This can lead to some…interesting…fitting issues when a real-life fat person finally knits the pattern.
When I go looking for a sweater to knit, the first thing I do as I pore through the search results is go looking for the pictures of fat people wearing the sweater in question. Even if the fat person in question doesn’t have the exact same body type as me, seeing the sweater on a fat person can give me an idea of where it will fit and where it won’t. Does it gape over the breasts? Does it hang funny on the belly? Does it look great on apple-shaped fats but hang like a sack on hourglass-shaped fats? Does it show off fantastic fat cleavage but make a fat ass look misshapen? I can guess at the answers to some of these questions by looking at the sweater on thin people, but sometimes you just need to see it on a fat person to be sure.
So I go looking for the fat people, and I am often disappointed. Sometimes no fat people have knit the pattern in question – perhaps because they’re waiting for a fat person to knit it so they can see what it looks like on a fat person. Mmm…irony. Some intrepid fatty will just have to take the risk and find out.
But sometimes I can see that a fat person has knit the object in question, and has posted pictures…of the item laying on a bed, or hanging on a hanger. That’s great, but it doesn’t give me the information I’m looking for. What does it look like on your body and, by extension, what will it look like on my body?
Be brave! Put your gorgeous sweater on your gorgeous body and snap a picture! Not only will you be reassuring other fat people that the sweater looks good on fatties (or, conversely, warning fatties away from a sweater that didn’t scale quite the way it was intended,) you’ll be making fat people more visible within the greater culture. It is so, so important for us to see fat people anywhere and everywhere, living their lives, being out in the world. It seems like such a small thing, but posting a picture of your fat body wearing a sweater that you knit can help change society’s attitudes.
Your body is perfect as it is. You have a right to take up space, you have a right to been seen, and you have a right to show off your knitting on your very own fat body. It looks good on the bed, but it would look great on you.