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SI's Kate Upton gives exposure to Rockville Centre designer

A handmade bathing suit by designed by Kate

A handmade bathing suit by designed by Kate Preston Handknits in Rockville Centre is worn by Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Kate Upton in the 2013 Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. Credit: Kate Preston Handknits

Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Kate Upton just raised the national profile of knitting.

At least that’s the view among Kate Preston’s community of knitters, who were thrilled to see Upton wearing the Rockville Centre designer’s handmade bathing suit in the magazine’s recent swimsuit issue, Preston said.

“To be included in a national publication is a huge thrill,” said Preston, owner of Kate Preston Handknits, which creates custom-designed, handmade knits. “And to put our craft on a national platform has created a lot of excitement, not just for myself, but also the people in my knitting community.”

The design for  The Kate Swimsuit, was inspired by the traditional Irish knit fisherman’s sweater, said Preston, who also teaches knitting classes through her other business, Learn-to-Knit with Katie. Using Malabrigo Twist yarn, she incorporated the different cable motifs, including ones representing safety and good luck, wealth and hard work. It took Preston 40 hours to knit the swimsuit.

Because the swimsuit is wool, the garment is more a fashion piece than functional bathing gear, she said. But she was surprised to learn that the materials, at least, had some practical use for this particular Sports Illustrated photo shoot. After submitting the garment, she learned that Upton was photographed in Antarctica.

“It’s unbelievable to me,” Preston said. “This knit swimsuit had the perfect platform. It wouldn’t make much sense on the beaches of the Bahamas. It’s all wool, 100 percent wool.”

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