Sweater Workshop: Blooming Forest Pullover

A note from Kathleen: We love to delve in to sweater designs and tell you all about what makes them unique and which knitting techniques you'll learn or hone. Here's Eunny Jang to talk about Kristen Tendyke's Blooming Forest Pullover from the Fall 2002 issue of Interweave Knits.

The Blooming Forest Pullover by Kristen Tendyke, from Interweave Knits Fall 2012     

Blooming Forest Pullover

Kristen Tendyke's Blooming Forest Pullover from the Fall 2012 issue of Interweave Knits is a fascinating experiment in innovative seamless construction beyond simple circular yoke or raglan knitting. Interesting sweater constructions sometimes result in sweaters that look great on hangers and not so great on bodies, but the Blooming Forest Pullover has some built-in details that refine the fit. Let's take a closer look!

Figure 1

Seams in clothing allow an essentially two-dimensional material-flat fabric-to conform to the lumps, bumps, and curves of the human body. Take a look at a fitted dress or jacket made out of woven fabric, and you'll see lots of darts and curved seams, often in unexpected places: Jackets sleeves, for example, are often cut in two pieces, the better to create arm-specific shapes that still allow for range of motion (Figure 1).

Knitted fabric is stretchier than woven fabric, but seams are still often used to create structured shape through sweater bodies and around complicated joints and curves such as shoulders. Where knitted fabric truly differs from flat woven fabric is in its ability to be shaped as it is worked. As knitters, we don't need to cut and sew a finished piece of goods into another shape-we can create the shape even as we create the goods. Kristen is a master at creating sweater shapes that follow the body, resulting in interesting directional effects in the knitted fabric.

The Blooming Forest pullover begins with one long provisional cast-on that stretches from one sleeve cuff, across the base of the front bodice, and to the opposite sleeve cuff (Figure 2). The front bodice and sleeves are worked up and over the shoulders, and then the back bodice and sleeves are worked down, leaving a hole in the center for the neck (Figure 3). The stitches from the provisional cast-on are returned to a needle, the piece is folded in half, and the sleeves are closed with three-needle bind-offs (Figure 4). Finally, the body stitches are worked in the round from the bodice bottoms down to the lower edge (Figure 5).

Figure 2 Figure 3
Figure 4 Figure 5

Typically, a sweater with this construction would have the traditional drop-shoulder shape, with sleeves that stick straight out from the body and create a capital T shape. Kristen's smart choice, though, uses short-rows to give the sleeves shape, and adds shaping at each shoulder to gradually increase stitches toward the top of the shoulder and then decrease toward the bottom of the back bodice, (Figure 6).

Figure 6
Blooming Pullover, detail of sweater ribbing meeting the bib of the pullover

These design choices create a shaped sleeve and a sleeve-cap like curve that more naturally follows the way an actual human shoulder fits onto a torso. Incidentally, the shoulder shaping also creates a cool diagonal detail where the sweater ribbing meets the bib of the pullover bodice—very nice!

With one thoughtful, very knitterly detail, the Blooming Forest Pullover achieves the knitter's white whale: Minimal finishing and flattering, body-conscious fit. At Interweave Knits, we're always looking for styles that combine great knitting and great looks—subscribe today to make sure you don't miss an issue!

Knit on,

Post a Comment