Twist Collective Blog
Design Process: Primrose Path
by Angela Hahn
When designing a knitwear pattern, I often start with a stitch I really like, but in the case of Primrose Path, I first had the idea of creating a sleeveless tank, worked in the round, with a lace band winding diagonally around the body from the hem up. With this in mind, I searched through stitch dictionaries until I found a few different lace patterns I thought might work -- patterns in which the lace repeat had some sort of diagonal element.
I ended up using a stitch pattern from a Japanese book, #138 from Knitting Patterns 300. The angle of the diagonal seemed right-- it wasn't too steep nor too flat (I was trying to get the lace band to start somewhere on the front, curve around one side, across the upper back, and end on the top of the shoulder). I also realized that this pattern flowed perfectly into a k2, p3 rib, and I thought that using this rib for the body of the tank would be a great way to give it some shaping without using decreases and increases. After making a fairly large swatch, I wondered if the band might be too suggestive of a beauty contestant sash-- not good! So I added a few scattered lace flowers to soften the edges of the band. Finally, a wide U neck seemed a good choice-- I thought the lines of a V-neck might compete with the diagonal line of the lace band.
I have to be honest: the idea of adding optional sleeves came from Kate! Once we decided to do sleeves, it was time to fine-tune the placement of the lace band for all sizes, and to decide how to echo the lace band on the sleeves. Spiraling it up the sleeves didn't work because the sleeves are too narrow-- the band would have crossed the entire sleeve width well before reaching the top of the sleeve. Instead I decided to make the lace band on the sleeves into an upside down "V" which could be adapted for all sizes fairly easily.
Calculating the band placement on the body for all sizes was trickier; I didn't want the band to fall across the armhole edge, but continue unbroken to the shoulder. I realized that to do this, the band would need to start closer to the side seam in the larger sizes; unfortunately this means that as the sizes get larger, less of the lace accent is visible on the front of the sweater, but I think in all sizes, the lace really accents the back of the sweater nicely. I also decided that some knitters might prefer the clean look of the lace band without extra lace flowers, so I wrote that option into the pattern.
Finally, in keeping with the inherent asymmetry of the stitch pattern in this sweater, for the sample I decided to work the left sleeve with the optional scattered lace flowers, and the right sleeve without (with lace band only). I'm very happy with the overall effect, and with the fact that there are several options included in this pattern: with or without sleeves, with or without extra lace flowers on the body, and with or without extra lace flowers on one or both sleeves.
(The low camera angle in photos is due to the short stature of the 5-year-old photographer, not an artistic decision!)
Want to know more about Angela's design? Read her blog post about Primrose Path here.