Monday, September 28, 2009
This sweater was knit mostly during the long hours of a Fringe season one marathon, and it is lovingly named after one of the show's main characters. Walter Bishop is the fumbling, adorable genius responsible for the advancement of science and technology beyond what the human mind is able comprehend. Yet, to look at him, one would never guess what his brain is capable of conceiving, what strange and otherworldly experiments he may be conducting in his thoughts. He appears to be a simple old man that you quickly grow fond of.
The Bishop sweater is just that - an experiment in comfort. I say experiment because this sweater was knit completely without a pattern - and it's the first sweater I've ever knit. I knew what I wanted to construct and what yarn I would be using, and with the help of an INCREDIBLE book as a guide, I set off into the unknown, listening to the voices of Walter Bishop and Olivia Dunham in the background as they explore the fringes of our reality.
This sweater is knit top-down, starting at the shoulders and knitting the top back and front sections flat, and then joining them at the underarm and working the body in the round. Sleeves and neckbands are added at the end. What I am posting here are my notes from my process; if you're close to me in size you can follow this pattern to recreate the Bishop. However, if you want to substitute a very different yarn or if you need a much smaller or larger size, I must point you in the direction of the book that inspired me. Custom Knits, by Wendy Bernard of knitandtonic.net, is a virtual Rosetta Stone of sweater construction. It takes all the mystery out of designing and provides lots of support and examples for how to customize any pattern or convert a bottom-up to a top-down sweater.
-yarn- 9.5 hanks Classic Elite Inca Marl in colorway Mallard (100% alpaca, worsted weight), 109 yds. per hank
-needles- one 29" size 7 circular needle, one 40" size 7 circular needle (I only used the 40" when I had to do the sleeves, as I knit them using magic loop method and the longer needle works better for this. If you prefer DPNs, use them instead of the 40" circ.)
-notions- variety of markers, waste yarn, stitch holder, tapestry needle
Gauge: 5 sts and 7 rows = 1" square in stockinette stitch
Size: I'm on the small side of medium with broad-ish shoulders. If your measurements are 17" across the back of your shoulders, 35-36" at the fullest part of your bust and around 29-30" at your waist, you should fit into this sweater just fine.
Skills Needed: circular knitting, short row shaping, increasing (by KFB), decreasing (by K2TOG and SSK), provisional cast on, backwards loop cast on.
Note: Since this is an experimental garment and it was worked top down, I tried it on frequently to see where I needed to increase and decrease. If you want to play around with the garment in the same way, don't pay too much attention to my notes on where to increase and decrease - try yours on and see how you like the fit! Also, the alpaca is a very drapey, soft yarn. If you're looking for a garment that clings a little bit more to the body, consider using a wool or wool-blend yarn
1a) Stockinette, knit flat (any number of stitches)
row one: Knit even
row two: Purl even
1b) Stockinette, in the round (any number of stitches)
round one and all rounds: knit even
2a) Twisted Rib, knit flat (multiple of 2 stitches +1)
RS: K1 tbl, P1 to last stitch, K1 tbl
WS: P1, K1 tbl to last stitch, P1
2b) Twisted Rib, in the round (multiple of 2 stitches)
round one and all rounds: K1 tbl, P1 across
Abbreviations: K - knit, P - purl, CO - cast on, BO - bind off, rnd - round, PM - place marker, SM - slip marker, wrpt - wrap the next stitch and turn (when forming short rows), tbl - through back loop, K2TOG - knit two stitches together, SSK - slip one as if to knit, slip one as if to knit, knit slipped stitches together through back loops, st(s) - stitch(es), LN - left needle, KFB - knit into the front and the back of the next stitch, RS - right side, WS - wrong side
- Start with the Back. CO 78 stitches using provisional cast on. Work stockinette stitch (with the odd rows being the RS) for 40 rows. Begin armhole shaping as follows:
row 41 (RS): KFB, knit to last stitch, KFB (2 sts increased). Knit every odd row in the manner (rows 43, 45, and 47)
row 49: CO 4 sts at each side of row using backwards loop method
work one WS row (row 50). Break yarn and put these sts (94 total) on waste yarn or stitch holder)
-Unravel provisional cast on at shoulder and divide sts as follows: first 21 sts on needle for front left side, next 36 stitches on stitch holder (these will be used in the neckband at the end), and last 21 sts on needle for right front shoulder. The two shoulders are worked at the same time using two balls of yarn. Work the two fronts flat in stockinette stitch, with the odd rows being the RS. Follow directions below for BOTH sides.
rows 1-10: stockinette stitch
row 11: KFB at each side of neck line (NOT the shoulder edge), knit rest of row as normal. Knit every other odd row in this manner (rows 15, 19, 23, 27, 31, 35, 39)
- At row 41 the two front sections will be joined and the armhole shaping begins.
row 41: starting at left front section, KFB, knit across to neckline edge and CO 20 sts using backwards loop. Break the yarn from the right front section and use the left front yarn to join these CO sts to the right front sts. Knit across Right Front to last st and KFB. At this point follow the instructions for armhole shaping as detailed for the back section (see above), ending on a WS row (row 50).
- Join front and back pieces to work in the round, working in Stockinette Stitch:
rnd 51: PM (beginning of round at right underarm), knit across back section, PM, knit across front section
- Waistline Decreases are worked as follows:
rnd 62: K2TOG, K to marker, SSK, SM, K2TOG, K to marker, SSK (4 sts decreased). Work this round at the even rounds 66, 70, 80, 90, 100, 104, 108, 112.
- Waistline Increases are worked as follows:
rnd 126: KFM, K to one st before marker, KFB, SM, KFB, K to one st before marker, KFB (4 sts increased). Work this round at the even rounds 130, 134, 138.
- After round 140, switch to Twisted Rib stitch (in the round) and work to round 175. BO in pattern
- Sleeves: the directions below apply to both sleeves. Four markers, a pair of one color and a pair of another, will be required, as well as a marker to note the beginning of the round.
pick up 60 sts around armhole, starting at the underarm. Work in stockinette stitch and place markers as follows: K8, PM color A, K9, PM color B, K26, PM color B, K9, PM color A, K8. Knit two round even before working the short row sleeve cap as below:
-rnd 1: work to second B marker, SM, wrpt.
-rnd 2: work back to B marker, SM, wrpt.
-rnd 3: work to wrapped stitch, work wrapped stitch, work one st, wrpt
keep working rnd 3 until you reach the color A markers on each side. The cap is now done. Work 55 more rounds (not counting the initial two or any of the cap rounds), then work ten rounds of twisted rib. BO in pattern.
- Neck: the neckline is worked in two sections. Section A is worked as follows:
Pick up 22 sts along Right Front section of neck, pick up the 36 sts from provisional CO, pick up 22 along Left Front section of neck (80 sts total). At this time do nothing with the 20 sts CO with backwards loop that conects the two front sections.
-row1 (RS): start at corner of the right front and work one knit row, placing markers as follows: K14, PM, K to approximate center of neck and KFB, K across to last 14 sts, PM, K14. (81 sts total)
Short rows are worked starting in the next row (RS). Use Twisted rib (worked flat) and work as follows:
-row 2 (WS): work to second marker, SM, work 1, wrpt
-row 3 (RS): work back to marker, SM, work 1, wrpt
-row 4: work to wrapped st, work wrapped st, work 1 st, wrpt. Repeat this row until the edges of the neckband are reached. Work one more row and then BO in pattern.
- Neck Section B is worked as follows:
Pick up 21 sts from the 20 sts CO between the two front sections (pick up the odd stitch from one side or the other). Work these 21 sts in twisted rib for five rows then BO.
- Finish Neckband: the Neck Section B is a small flap between the front sections now. Stretch it up and stitch both sides along the bottom edges of Neck Section A.
- Weave in all ends. Block if desired.