Sweater Workshop: Betty’s Tunisian Tee
The instant I saw Betty's Tunisian Tee by Tram Nguyen, from the Fall 2011 issue of Interweave Crochet, I knew I had to make this luscious silk top. I love the strong lines and textures created with a combination of Tunisian knit stitches and Tunisian purl stitches.
As I read the pattern and studied the sample garment, I realized that this entrelac top might look more complicated on the surface than the construction entails. This is really a great intermediate Tunisian crochet pattern! Let’s look at the unique construction together.
Betty's Tunisian Tee is worked in the round from the bottom up in entrelac tiers: two pyramids at front and back (number 1 on the schematic), two diamonds that wrap around the sides (number 2), two "V’s" placed point to point with the first pyramid for the front bust and back (number 3), and two squares each for the sleeves (numbers 4 and 5). The directional striping in each tier is created by alternating Tunisian knit stitch and Tunisian purl stitch.
1) The Base Triangles
This top begins with a chain that is the length of the hip circumference. The first base triangle is worked, beginning with just two Tunisian stitches, from the lower left corner in rows that increase in stitch number. These rows are worked at an angle from the lower right point to the last row, which is the entire length of the triangle from the top point to the lower left point.
At this point, you will have worked into half of the beginning chain stitches. The second base triangle is worked in the same manner as the first. All of the beginning chain stitches should be worked, and you now have two triangles.
2) The First Entrelac Block
To begin the first body block, or the side diamond, pick up loops along the right edge of the first diamond. You will continue to work in Tunisian knit stitch and Tunisian purl stitch pattern, but because you are working at a different angle, these stripes will be perpendicular to those created in the base triangles.
Each successive entrelac block is worked in a similar manner, building the tee geometrically. I found the constructions diagrams (above) particularly helpful when I was figuring out this garment's construction. While I will admit that, on first glance, it resembles a battleship, this clever drawing is an excellent representation of the way the entrelac tiers are built into the final garment. If you fold the drawing along the lines I have drawn (above right), you can see what I mean (left).
Once you have wrapped your head around the intriguing construction techniques, this unique pattern is beautifully accessible. But if Betty's Tunisian Tee still feels a bit out of your reach, check out the Tunisian Purple Smoothie Vest by Dora Ohrenstein, also from the Fall 2011 issue.
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