Behind Orange Chainlinks

Speaking of pattern lust, I want, want, want  Chainlink NOW!

When it was first released, I was coming out of a phase of knitting too many endless projects – tunics, a man sweater and thigh high stockings – in fingering weight yarn, so didn’t have the heart to cast on. But it was always on my mind, and now I’m ready!

It really is a gorgeous knitting puzzle, as stated in the pattern description. It starts with side strips; next, the front and back triangles are worked (ignoring the dangly vertical ribbing for now). Then the rib portion of the triangles are put on holders, another set of ribs are cast on provisionally, and knitted together with the chainlink pattern and the side strips. All are now worked together in one piece, shaping the diamond outline by decreasing the chainlink section while increasing the stockinette shoulders. Finally shoulders are shaped and bound off. Small triangles are seamlessly added to fill in the gaps between diagonal ribbing at the sides. Then the bottom vertical ribbing chunks are worked, shaping a diagonal edge at the sides, and sewn to their corresponding side strips. Both front and back are worked the same way. Shoulders are sewn, sleeves are picked up and worked downwards, side and sleeve seams are finished. Whew!


I was very strongly tempted to work as written. Who doesn’t love a juicy, geometric, knitting puzzle that miraculously transforms into a gorgeous garment? However, I was held back by lack of yarn. As always I had bought a limited amount since I hate leftovers, and couldn’t afford to incorporate so much ease (recommended 8 inches, yikes!), as well as waste so many tails in a multitude of pieces. As it is, I may have to cannibalize the swatch. Additionally, I dislike dropped shoulders.

So I’m modifying it to a seamless raglan. First, I omitted the side strips. I made the front and back triangles, then joined them in the round, casting on for strips of vertical ribbing at each side. Since I didn’t like the long, narrow, triangles, I omitted all decreases in those sections, creating broader and shallower triangles. Once the pieces are joined in the round, I continued to increase the chainlink section every alternate row, offsetting the expansion of fabric by consuming the diagonal ribbing in the vertical ribbing at the same rate.

Once that is done, I’m going to throw in some mild waist shaping. A few inches below the underarm, I’ll start generating diagonal ribs, offsetting the increases by consuming the chainlink section at the same rate. Then I’ll bind off the underarms, make sleeves, put everything on one needle and finish like a seamless raglan, throwing in some short rows to shape a scoop neck.

At least, that’s the plan. Should work, right? I hope I have enough yarn for the dangly vertical ribbing, which I’ll knit in one piece each side.

There are lots of knitterly refinements in the pattern, which I’m keeping. For example, sleeve shaping occurs at the centre panel, instead of the side seams. I planning to make lifted increases since I’ll be working them bottom up. To match the eyelet increases in the bottom triangles, the tops have eyelet increases coupled with immediate decreases, and shaping decreases. I’ll keep all that. It’s a little more work, but why not, to get perfectly matched top and bottom triangles? In fact, it’ll just become part of my seamless raglan shaping.

I know this is meant to a loose tunic, and mine is intended to be way more shaped. In one fell swoop I got rid of the ease and the dropped shoulders. But I strongly believe that garments should echo shape of the wearer to be most flattering. If I was more angular, or much more rounded – both cases indicating a less curvy figure – I could carry it off as written. But I have inflexions, and need shaping. All the little puzzle pieces in the pattern exist to form a square-ish shape for the front and back. I don’t need that.

Approaching waist shaping soon. Will keep you posted


2 thoughts on “Behind Orange Chainlinks

  1. oh wow, your chainlink looks amazing already, and your mods sound fantastic- can’t wait to see your progress!

    1. Thank you! I’m really enjoying knitting it so far… but I do think I’ll have to order some extra yarn anyway, for the vertical ribbed flappy bits!

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