Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tenaya: It's the details

Photo: ©2012 Carrie Bostick Hoge

I admit it: I'm a geek. While most knitters look upon swatching as a dreaded ordeal, I can't wait to dive in. I love swatching up a new stitch I've found in a stitch dictionary, imagining how it can be made to work in some garment or other I'm thinking of. Even better is working out my own unique lace or cable pattern. But best of all is when I have to engineer or re-engineer some detail, figuring out how to get the fabric to do what I want it to do.

With Tenaya, the top-down set-in sleeve cardigan I designed for Twist Collective's Fall 2012 issue, I had an awfully good time. The cable pattern is one that I'd been fooling around with for a while. It's an asymmetrical three-stranded open braid that is mirrored on the fronts and back of the cardigan. Nothing complicated, but the asymmetry keeps it entertaining.

The seed stitch that adds such a rich texture to the button bands and neckband provided me with some fun engineering opportunities as well. I find that the edges of most buttonholes, especially the one-row type, can look rather sloppy. They look even worse when worked on a seed stitch ground. For Tenaya, I tinkered with the two-row style of buttonhole, finessing the methods of binding off and casting on stitches until I found a way to produce crisp, clean, square edges.

The main challenge with the neckband was how to decrease the circumference without interrupting the seed stitch pattern. The faux I-cord that begins the band and the real I-cord that binds it off gave me some places to stash decreases invisibly. And I love the way that those edges echo the slipped-stitch ribs that separate the cable and eyelet panels on the fronts and back.

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