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Sweater Workshop: The Hexagon Petal Tee

Feb 21, 2011
    
The Hexagon Petal Tee by Maria Leigh

A note from Kathleen: It's time for one of our favorite features: the Sweater Workshop! Interweave Knits editor Eunny Jang is here to deconstruct the lovely Hexagon Petal Tee by Maria Leigh (featured in the Spring 2011 issue of Interweave Knits). This sweater is the perfect garment for spring, and knitting it is a fun and unique experience.

Here's Eunny to tell you more.

 The Hexagon Petal Tee

I love modular knits. I'm intrigued by any knit that turns established knitting convention on its head—or, in the case of Maria Leigh's Hexagon petal Tee, its six sides.

Maria's sweater is a riff on the classic knitted doily, repeating and tessellating a simple lace pattern for maximum impact. The hexagon shape is a classic for tightly-fitting modular units—paper pieced quilts, Roman tiles, and natural honeycombs come to mind—and it's especially useful in knitting because of the ease with which even, symmetrical units that fit closely without gaps may be made.

What makes the Hexagon Petal Tee so much fun to knit?


1. Interesting construction


Full hexagon
    
Half-hexagon
Two-thirds hexagon

There are three shapes used in the Hexagon Petal Tee:

—The full hexagon, worked in the round from the outside in (top right);
—The half-hexagon, worked flat in rows from the outside in (middle right);
—The two-thirds hexagon, worked flat in rows from the outside in (bottom right).

In combination, these three units create all the angles needed for a garment that fits well. The identical front and back necklines are the edges of a missing center hexagon, and the armholes are created with half-hexagons that act as shoulder straps. The two-thirds hexagon acts as the bottom of the armhole.

An exploded view of how all these elements fit together looks like this:
Exploded view of the Hexagon Petal Tee
And the fully joined pieces create a shape like this.
Joined Hextagon Petal: Dotted lines represent pieces that are folding or wrapping to the other side of the body.

Pretty nifty!

   
A Hexagon Petal motif

2. A lovely lace pattern

Each hexagon unit of the Hexagon Petal Tee can, of course, be further divided into six segments, each with the same lace motif. When repeated six times, the simple motif becomes an intricate flower blooming from the center of each hexagon block—and it's much easier than it looks.

3. Clever joining

The Hexagon Petal Tee may be made of many parts, but there's almost no seaming. Instead, hexagons are picked up and worked off one another, growing into a complete cylinder as they are worked and joined. The "keystone" hexagon joins units from front, side, and back for a finished piece without a single seam.

To minimize ends to be woven in from all those separate pieces, Maria offers a great tip: Use the tail of the old block and the working yarn to pick up alternate stitches for each new block. Weave the tail of the old block for one or two stitches as you work, then snip and think no more of it.

4. A refined fit

Maria has two fine options for armhole fitting: For those who like higher armholes with more coverage, the two-thirds blocks can be added to fill in more fabric at the side. For those who like looser, deeper armholes, omit the two-thirds blocks entirely. In both cases, a garter stitch edging that acts as a small cap sleeve finishes the piece.

The two options for armhole fitting: higher armhole at left, looser armhole at right.
The Hexagon Petal Tee is also graded in a clever way: The hexagons actually grow in size for each larger size, meaning that armholes, necklines, and length all grow proportionally. To refine it further, knit smaller or larger hexagons by going up or down a needle size. This makes the garment very flexible—if you need more room at the waist, simply knit those hexagons a little bigger on a larger needle. If you need more room at the bust, ditto! If you'd like a waist that curves in instead, work those hexagons on a smaller needle! 
Change the size of the hexagons to change the size of the sweater!
At Interweave Knits, we love knits that make you think. Subscribe today to make sure you don't miss your perfect sweater.

Happy knitting,



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Comments

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tolai wrote
on May 3, 2011 2:58 AM

Where can I get the pattern for the Hexagon Petal tee?

mustangpc2 wrote
on Mar 3, 2011 5:20 PM

I just got the Spring 2011 issue with this pattern.  I'm excited to try/learn a new technique with this pattern.

As for the pattern being to small for some.  I've run into that a couple times.  One pattern it was as simple as going up one needle size to get the right size and it didn't create a problem with the appearance of the finished garment.  The other one, I determined that what I need to increase was the same number of inches from one size to the next.  So math (I hate math) to figure out the number of stitches to increase and again a fitting project completed.

Try some ideas and make a swatch with scrap yarn in the same weight you're going to use to see what happens.

Be brave and try something to see if you can make it work for you.  If it doesn't work the 1st time, rip it out and try again.

Another great source has been local yarn shops.  The staff is very helpful with suggestions to help you.  Just ask.  Other knitters are your greatest source for help.

Laurenqw wrote
on Mar 1, 2011 10:50 AM

The pattern is in the next (spring '11) issue of Interweave Knits magazine, & also on the site, for purchase.

You can make this tee as big as you want, by adding more motifs. Just have to figure out what  the size in inches you need it to be, then see how many more motifs/partial motifs you will have to add to get it to the size you want, by taking the measurement of the motif'/partial motif. I have to adjust sweater & vest sizes all the time, & that begins with finding out what the finished project's measurements need to be, & adjusting the pattern up or down to get the size & fit that I want.

I hope this helps.

pab wrote
on Feb 27, 2011 1:46 PM

so where is the pattern for the Petal Tee

JaniceT wrote
on Feb 23, 2011 11:57 AM

I received my magazine in the mail yesterday, flipped right to this design and was terribly disappointed to find the sizes offered so small.  Very disappointing.

infcont wrote
on Feb 22, 2011 8:43 AM

Where do we find this pattern?  It is so different!  Love it!

on Feb 22, 2011 6:09 AM

Where can I get the pattern for the Hexagon Petal Tee?

on Feb 21, 2011 9:30 PM

What an amazing pattern--wish I'd had that when I was teaching fifth graders geometry!!

on Feb 21, 2011 6:32 PM

What a gorgeous sweater BUT how disappointing when I went to the Spring 2011 issue and found it only for busts 37.5, 40.5, and 43.5. Then I thought, okay, I'll just use bigger yarn and it's already written for worsted. Any heavier would defeat the purpose of a spring sweater.

What's the chance of having this designed for larger bust sizes? I don't think the design would suffer.

luv2run wrote
on Feb 21, 2011 3:20 PM

RE:  Hexapetal Tee

I have to make this sweater.  I have so many skirts that I'm needing to knit tops for and this would be the perfect top!  I have searched this website but cannot find this pattern anywhere.  Can you please let me know where I can find the pattern.

Thank You,

Danya

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on Feb 21, 2011 1:28 PM

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CreationsBME wrote
on Feb 21, 2011 1:18 PM

The pattern is available in the Spring 2011 issue of Knits Magazine - you can buy it on the Interweave website - they also mention this issue will be on newstands on February 22nd (tomorrow).

JaniceT wrote
on Feb 21, 2011 12:01 PM

Yes, where is this pattern?  No mention of where it can be found.  Lovely pattern.  I hope it comes in larger sizes.

CreationsBME wrote
on Feb 21, 2011 11:06 AM

OMG - I am sooooo happy I subscribed to Knits Magazine last week and since my first issue will be the Summer one, I ordered the Spring issue - now I really can't wait to receive it.  I just started knitting again after putting it on hold for a few years when I started an embroidery business - but now it's back to the knitting needles (when taking a break from embroidering)  and enjoying every minute of it!!!!  Can't wait to try this pattern.

imalulu wrote
on Feb 21, 2011 10:21 AM

For Julia Bryant....how "hole-y" is it turning out to be?  What yarn and needle size are you using?  Lynne

julia bryant wrote
on Feb 21, 2011 9:20 AM

Am 1/3 of the way through the Hexapetal Tee - and thoroughy enjoying it!

Julia Bryant, www.fibrefantastics.com

on Feb 21, 2011 8:53 AM

Where can I get this pattern.  It looks like fun.

Thank you,

Brenda Bennett

kaydo wrote
on Feb 21, 2011 8:07 AM

This is a gorgeous tee and I, too, am confused about where to get the pattern. Is it in the latest issue of Interweave Knits?

CelticWeaver wrote
on Feb 21, 2011 7:29 AM

So where can I get this incredible pattern?

chris@59 wrote
on Feb 21, 2011 7:23 AM

What a gorgeous piece of knitting!  This will go on my list.