Twist Collective Blog
Designer Process: Tenaya
Today's post is brought to you by Elizabeth Doherty, designer of this wonderful cardigan, as well as this lovely chilly weather accessory set. She tells us about how this cardigan combines more than a few of her favorite things. Keep up with Elizabeth here.
I think that a classic set-in sleeve design is the most universally flattering style. This type of sweater looks great on most people because it emphasizes the lines of the wearer’s body, rather than creating style lines that run counter to the human form, as can happen with raglan shaping, for example.
But when it comes to knitting a sweater, I have a strong preference for top-down construction. I think that it is easiest to fit a sweater from the top, as you have gravity working for, rather than against you when you check the fit. I also like that the commitment level is lower in a top-down design. You begin with fewer stitches, and if the size you've chosen to make is not quite right, you'll probably know it by the time you get just a few inches knit.
In designing Tenaya, I’ve used classic set-in sleeve styling — but turned it on it’s head — creating a seamless top-down cardigan with a clean, tailored look that can be customized as you knit. And by first fitting the sweater to the frame of your shoulders you can see immediately where adjustments need to be made for your own shape.
The cardigan begins with two separate shoulder pieces that are shaped with simple short rows, then joined to form the upper back. The fronts are picked up from the back’s cast-on edges, providing a bit of structure for the shoulders. Once the fronts and back are worked to the underarms, they are joined and worked in one piece to the hem, with a little waist shaping along the way. The sleeves are set in seamlessly from the top, their caps shaped with short rows for a great fit.
Tenaya is intended to have a close fit through the shoulders and bust and a bit of figure-skimming ease through the waist and hips, making for a streamlined, flattering shape. Cables alternate with eyelet ribs to add interest to the design, and entertainment value for the knitter.
A tip- one difference with this sort of construction is the importance of row gauge. If your gauge differs substantially from the pattern's it will affect the depth of the armholes. This can be corrected for by beginning the underarm shaping earlier or later, as your gauge dictates so, just double-check your gauge when you're a few inches in.