Posted by Jared Flood on
For today’s Design Spotlight, we asked Véronik Avery to talk about her Carbon pullover. This arresting design uses traditional stranded colorwork techniques — including steeks! — to achieve a totally modern effect. This sweater holds secrets at every turn, from clever shaping updates for a better fit at the shoulders to a message of the knitter’s choice concealed inside the hem. Here’s Véronik: Carbon, my explorations through sketches of traditional colorwork took me to its basic essence: the charts. I’ve always loved the graphic nature of printed charts, so I started playing with stretching vertical repeats and arranging very basic components to result in a simple but unusual sweater. The contrast color gradually shifts to become the background color through a series of small diamond, cross, and checker motifs. This design uses steeks to allow knitting to continue in the round during the colorwork section. If you’ve never tried a steek before, this is a good project to learn the technique. The steek forms a bridge of extra stitches at each armhole that are cut open and folded to the inside of the garment body after the knitting is complete. (Brooklyn Tweed patterns always include full instructions for stabilizing the fabric before cutting, so you needn’t fear taking scissors to your knitting!) And in this design the colorwork doesn’t extend to the top of the sleeve cap, so there’s no extra bulk at the point of the shoulder. I added little details to the construction that may not be evident at a glance, but create a tailored garment. The shoulder is an angle back, with no shaping done in front. Instead, I angled the back shoulder twice as deeply as usual — just because decreases are so pretty (which happens to be the main reason I prefer bottom-up to top-down knitting)! Also, the neckband is doubled, as a single layer didn’t feel substantial enough. I added a secret message in the hem, which is very traditional—knitters have been doing it for centuries, and it’s a personal touch I like to include any time I work a hem in stranded knitting. The sample garment reads “Brooklyn Tweed 2015” (seen above), but the pattern includes charts for a full alphabet and set of numerals so you can add any message you like—your name, the date you knit the sweater, a favorite quote, or maybe a special shared sentiment between knitter and recipient. I also thought I'd share some alternate colorway options that I designed in Illustrator when working out my sample's color scheme. (It's always so hard to choose just one color combo when working with Loft!) I hope you enjoy knitting Carbon and look forward to seeing what color combinations you’ll try!