Twist Collective Blog
Design Process: Plaited Tam
by Angela Hahn
Cardigan seen in a magazine of knitting patterns, found at a kiosk in the Milano Centrale train station, FILATI Lavori a maglia #14
Recognize the Plaited Tam stitch pattern? (Maybe not--it looks a bit different in long, vertical panels like this!) When I saw the photo of this sweater inside the magazine, I immediately fell in love with the bold combination of texture and openwork in this stitch pattern.
I had also been imagining a tam in which the stitch pattern looked like ribbons, woven up the sides and across the top, so this seemed like a good swatching possibility. Another thing I liked about the stitch pattern was that the decreases paired with yarnovers offered a perfect starting point for the crown decreases (always important in a hat!): just omit the yarnovers.
Once the design had been accepted and I got the yarn, SweetGeorgia Yarns Superwash Sport in a giddy green ("Savory"), the sample knitting proceeded unusually smoothly. It was only after blocking what I thought was the finished sample that I realized I wasn't happy with the center of the top: after the last "plait" crossing, I had tried to carry the central elements of the main stitch pattern as far as possible, and continue with purl sections which decreased rapidly to the center. But with all the p2tog decreases needed, it looked sloppy to me. So I ripped back the top, and instead tapered the stockinette "ribbons" to the center-- definitely an improvement.
In fact, I liked the tam so much, I decided to make myself one, but in a different yarn: I chose Cascade Yarns 220 Superwash, in a heathered aqua (#1910--color is quite accurate in the photo above). This is a light worsted weight yarn, versus the sport weight used in the original pattern, so I ended up making the smaller size*, with 7 repeats instead of 8. (For more info on yarn requirements and finished size using Cascade 220, see my Ravelry projects page.)
*Actually I made the larger size first, but (surprise) it was TOO BIG. For more on that fiasco, see here.