Knits Summer 2009 Gallery: Grotto Wrap

Grotto Wrap

by Karen Kendrick-Hands

from Interweave Knits Summer 2009

  36" sample garment

The images above are from the magazine where the 36" size sweater is modeled with about 3" positive ease before wrapping and tying.

The images below are of our Interweave Gallery Gals wearing the same sample sweater.


 Interweave Gallery Gals
Toni Karen
Toni says: This sweater would provide the perfect little coverup for a fun summer dress. I loved the soft feel of the mohair.
Bust 34.5”
Waist 28”
Hip 36.5”
Height 5’ 5.5”

Karen says: I loved the color and texture. I would wear it tied in front over a solid blue or green turtleneck.
Bust 32"
Waist 24"
Hip 38"
Height 5' 3"


Allison says: This wrap sweater feels so soft and lovely, and the color is gorgeous in person. I think that this would work especially well with a skirt (as it is shown with in the magazine) because it hits at my natural waist. It would show off the waistband of a skirt nicely. I would go up a size if I were planning to wear the wrap with pants, just to get a little more length and room.
Bust 36”
Waist 27”
Hip 36”
Height 5’ 4”

 Sandi's Notes:

I noticed that several of the Gallery Gals wanted to tie this one in front, instead of at the hips as shown in the magazine. I think a lot of women are sensitive about having big knots or ties in the tummy/hip area, but the cabled ties here are long enough so you can make a small knot at the back, as shown on the model, instead of directly at the side of your hip where you might not want to add the extra "width."

When tied as the designer intended, the cables form the illusion of a graceful wide belt, beginning at your natural waist, not the widest part of your hips. Experiment!

If that tie is just too long for your taste, the knitting police will not come after you for making it shorter…or even eliminating the "tie" entirely and using a button to form the lovely wrap silhouette. This is a sweater where the right "wrap" technique can make or break the look.

Specific tips for our Gallery Gals:
– See how there isn't enough fabric for Allison to form the front "wrap cross"? She needs a size larger.
– On the other hand, Karen has so much fabric that even the ties can't help her; she needs a size smaller. However, for her height, she has very long arms; she might want to lengthen the sleeves!
– The shoulders look too big for Toni–but notice how the hip section is pulled too low? If she tied the sweater up higher, near the top of her hips, the entire sweater would fit better.

Here are some questions to consider as you look at these photos:

  • How do you think the garment compliments each woman's individual body type and personal style?
  • Which body type does this garment look best on?
  • If you wanted to knit a sweater straight out of the magazine, with no pattern adjustments except for sleeve and hem length, would this be the sweater for you and your body type?
  • Would it fit your personal style?

Leave your thoughts in the comments!


Some links you  might find helpful:

Measuring yourself and your clothing

About positive and negative ease

Measuring tutorial with photos


Other Things You May Like to Check Out:


Knitting Patterns, Sweaters

37 thoughts on “Knits Summer 2009 Gallery: Grotto Wrap

  1. It is wonderful to see my design on three different real people. It’s especially helpful that you pointed out that it is relatively easy to adjust the length of the ties to make it easier to achieve the wrap styling shown on the models. I hope the additional views will encourage more people to knit this versatile design

  2. I love this sweater and I think it looks best wrapped as in the magazine photo, not tied in front. I agree that it would look much better on Toni if it were wrapped and tied higher on her body; as worn, it is pulled too low and doesn’t look as good as it could.
    I do plan to knit this for myself, but in a bamboo or bamboo/silk blend and I may even just use a gorgeous button at the side to close the wrap instead of tying it, or just knit the ties long enough to wrap once and button.

  3. The sweater seems to fit quite differently on the model in the magazine. See how the neckline is open at the top, and the sweater crosses over between the breasts? I can’t figure out how the sweater can look so fitted with 3″ of positive ease. Wish we could have seen it on a taller model, maybe it would have looked more like it was supposed to.

  4. I too would like to see fuller-figured models. I personally know no one except girls in their early 20s who are this tiny! If you can only use staff members as models for this gallery, pease hire someone who falls in a larger category who’d be a good model for the rest of us! Or consider using non-staff, if possible. I would really like to see some of these designs on people with 46″ busts, for example, and more ample hips. I believe I have read that the “average” woman in the US is a size 14 or larger.

  5. I thought this looked gorgeous on Allison and ok on Karen, although I would tie it differently. For ol’ reliable ‘everything looks good on’ Toni, this was a rare flop.

    Again, ditto on the need to model on people with curves. This sweater in particular might be very flattering on the more ample figure!

    What’s with the color difference between the magazine photo and the gallery photos though?

  6. I am large and short, but I could see this on me tied at the top of the hips in a size large enough to drape properly. I love this sweater.

  7. While I LOVE this on the magazine model, I’m not as excited about it on the gallery gals. This is one of the reasons why I like this gallery feature- you don’t over-style your models so we get a much more realistic idea of what the garment actually looks like. There was obviously SERIOUS fiddling by the stylist for the magazine picture to get that perfect drape. I’d bet money there is about 4 inches of fabric clothespinned up in back of that model. Look how much fabric there is on Toni who has a LARGER bust than the model, yet the model gets that open V-neck look. I think to get the model’s look you would need to knit this so that it can be wrapped very snugly. Also, I’m with Angeluna, what are the ugly gaping holes at the shoulders?? It looks like someone gouged holes in it.

  8. I loved this cardigan and was looking forward to seeing the gallery girls lineup. I am disappointed that you did not include a full sized gal in the pics as I am definitely in that category. Most of these gals look great in what ever you put them in. I ditto the ugly holes in the shoulders. There must be a way to correct that.

  9. This looks like one of those sweaters that would easily get out of shape. I could see me pulling at the shoulders or readjusting often. I like it on the magazine model but definitely not on any of the gallery gals. Maybe if it had been tied as the mag. model. No tone of my favorites!

  10. I think this looks great in the magazine but I’m not thrilled with it in “real” life. The gaping holes at the shoullders.. the way it needs to be tied a certain way to look good… I think the gallery gals really needed some help with this one because it looks really haphazard on them.

  11. I love wrap sweaters, because they are usually great camoflage for my mid-section, while still giving me nice feminine curves. I was really excited to get to see this one on the Gallery Girls. But now that I’ve seen it here, I have to say it’s not my favorite. It looks like I’d be constantly fiddling with it and checking it in the mirror to make sure it’s laying right, which I hate to do. It’s one of those sweaters where the way you tie it can make it look amazing…or a bit sloppy. I think I’ll try a different wrap sweater instead.

    However, I DO love the color, and the slight see-through quality of the yarn! Gorgeous!

  12. Beautiful color. What are those holes on the shoulders? Looks like a mistake. Looks sloppy. Too much bulk to tie around the waist and it emphasizes the tummy. But too sloppy looking to let it hang and the tie parts would get in the way. Based upon faciial expressions of the models in the Gallery, I get the feeling they were not that excited about this item.

  13. You know what? No. This sweater is awkward and looks like it needs to be fussed with. I think they played with the sweater a lot before getting it to look right for the model because it does not look great on any of the lovely Interweave gals. Not even Toni who looks good in now almost) every sweater! It looks messy and pully and when tied up without wrapping it around the waist, it looks strangely frumpy and makeshift. I love wraps. Not this one.

  14. Sandi – what about a redo on this gallery? I loved it when I first saw it but being a larger woman myself was unsure of its wearablilty. I have to say I agree with most of the comments that it looks awkward and possibly uncomfortable to wear – you know the type of clothing that you are constantly fiddling with to get it to stay where you want it to be? That being said, I still think it has potential and the gallery photos perhaps do not do it justice?

  15. What are the model in the magazines measurements? It looks great on her. How tall is she? What is her bust size ? I am almost 5’9 but have a small bust and long arms.

  16. I too agree that this sweater looks very messy. The two big holes on the shoulder just look bad. The magazine photo conveniently had her hair over that spot so we can’t tell if it’s a boo boo or a design flaw.

  17. I was interested in this one because my niece wants a wrap – but the first thing that shouted out to me were those gaping holes at the shoulders! As noted by others, what IS that? And it does look too light to really drape well and, as mentioned numerous times, fiddly. Sorry!

  18. What is with the big holes at the shoulders? Is the sweater torn? I agree with others that the sweater looks sloppy. It lays nicely on the model, but on the gallery girls it just looks messy and uncomfortable. The neckline isn’t laying right, the wrap isn’t crossing between the breasts, and the waist just looks awkward.

  19. Ok I’ve forgotten. Is the 36″ bust the actual around the largest part of the chest measurement, or the bra size measurement in this case.? If the actual size where did your models for the 44, 48, 52 people go??

  20. Was tempted by this one in the magazine. The sweater seemed to fall forward over the shoulders on the gallery girls. On the magazine model, the widest part of the neck opening was at the top of the shoulder line Not so on our gals where widest part of neck opening is in front of the shoulders. The back neckline on the model is also down from the nape of the neck where on our gals it is pulled up to the nape. Was it a case of the sweater always falling forward this way and dipping in front by its own weight? Did our gals find it fiddly and needing adjustment all the time while wearing?

  21. Well the problem with this gallery shoot was that SANDI was not there! She is the one who shows all of us who are more of a typical size what a model is going to look like on us… so in future, Sandi, you just can’t be absent on gallery shoots! Seeing the model on smaller figures still serves some purpose, though, such as fiddliness, holes in the shoulders etc which one definitely does not see in the magazine. I think it curious, too, to knit mohair for summer.

  22. I love the colour of this sweater but am on the fence. I like Sandi’s idea of using a button instead of the ties. My general worry with a wrap sweater is whether it will sag on my small frame. The galleries are great but this is still my main concern. I am also worried about when I would wear long-sleeve mohair… fall?

  23. I am disappointed in the way this sweater looks on the gallery girls, but I shoud have known. I had a shrug that tied in the front, and looked great on the models in the catalog I ordered from, but the tie was too short to wrap and tie in the back around my thick waist, and tied in the front, it landed right on top of my tummy, saying beep beep — big belly! I think the holes are where the cable turned, and when stretched over the point of the shoulder it came out looking like a hole in the sweater— I consider this a design flaw. This one just doesn’t get it for me — or anyone else with curves. I think you should test run everything you put in the magazine on the gallery girls — including one with 45″ hips — before allowing it in the magazine. If it looks “iffy” on them, it will look bad on all of us.

  24. Unfortunately, I didn’t like much in the issue, except the keyhole tank! & I’d wear it under my blouse. I’m not liking much that shows up in Knits, these days.
    While I’m a plus size, I’m relatively balanced in proportions, w/ a 49″ bust.
    I like curvy sweaters, but I hate fuss.
    Having a bunch of smallish ladies model really doesn’t give me any sense of how it would look on me & I’m really tired of asymmetrical knits that merely look unfinished.

  25. I think the Grotto wrap looks absolutely gorgeous on Allison and she certainly doesn’t need a bigger size – she makes it look really sexy!

    It looks ok Karen and Toni but I think is less flattering because it is pulled right across and has the effect of flattening the bust.

  26. I wouldn’t even have guessed the Gallery Gals were wearing the same sweater as the IK model. It looks gorgeous in the magazine and I was surprised at how sloppy it looked in real life. It looks fussy and fiddly and as if it would take a team of stylists to get the tie to look right. A No from me.

  27. I think the attraction I have to the sweater is the V neck in the model. None of the Gallery Girls achieved that. I think the sweater will only V if it is tied in the back. I had this on my wish list, but after looking at real people wearing it and not achieving the right fit, it must be too fussy. Off the list for me.

  28. There seem to be a lot of comments from women who want to see larger sizes and less youth oriented styles. I realize, just looking around on the street, that there are many “plus” sizes out there. But honestly, as a woman of a certain age, I hate people thinking that older women are all the same. There are plenty of us out there who have good figures (thought not what they once were) and want to see current, stylish patterns (that doesn’t mean they’re for teens) as well as classic patterns. IK does a FABULOUS job at this! However, as someone who tops 6′ expanding the size range on some patterns would be appreciated.

  29. I think this sweater is fabulous when tied on the side! When tied at the front it kind of ruins the lines. Try it the other way, gallery gals! I’m sure it’ll look great! I’m a beginner (and terrified of making garments), but I’m rather tempted to try this one.

  30. All are lovely girls, but this was not flattering at all on any of them but Allison, who wore it more open. The big holes at the shoulder also weren’t as visible because she had a darker undershirt instead of the white ones the other girls wore… but with a lighter undershirt, the hole looks sloppy. Also… still missing a LARGER sized model! 🙂

  31. I think this one looks much better on the model than on our gallery gals (no fault of the gals – they’re lovely). It seems to fit very differently in real life. And, you couldn’t see that strange hole at the shoulder on the model. Not a keeper.