I’ve just heard, by way of newsletter heralding good news, that the latest line of yarn from Arnall-Culliford Knitwear has been released for sale, and I’m excited because it’s really, really good. I have been lucky enough to have an early play with Something To …
Tag: tank top
When Jen from A-C Knitwear announced the A Year Of Techniques project, there was one subject that I really, really wanted to appear in the line up, and that was steeking. Steeks are perhaps one of the more jovially divisive techniques in the knitting skills arsenal, with many people either enjoying the magic process of knitting a piece entirely in the round with no fiddly short sections of colourwork, and just as many wide eyed at the idea of taking a air of scissors to a piece of knitwear. I have kind of been an enthusiastic supporter. That is, I have been completely confident in the science of the stitches, but have never found a project to benefit from steeking until very recently. I started knitting a tank top for my little boy which I would have knit in the round until the neck and armhole splits, and then knit back and forth, but then the opportunity of this year-long play of techniques was announced and I stopped my knitting only a few inches in and patiently waited to see if steeking would be covered, and then crossed my fingers in hope that it might just happen to be a toddler tank top … and it was.
I put my own project aside, in the hope that the Oorik (Shetland dialect for a small person!) tank top would make a nice little primer to then working steeks into my own toddler tank top, which features various trilobite forms. Worked in Jamieson & Smith 2-ply jumper weight yarn, the colourwork and steeks are very easy to work as the grippy fibres of the pure Shetland wool keep everything stable.
The Oorik pattern includes a full explanation of the steeking technique as well as various finishes to the steeks to secure and finish the fabric. I chose to reinforce my steeks using the crochet method detailed, as though I am confident in the stickiness of Shetland yarn, I am also very aware of the boisterousness of my two year old and thought that it would be good practice.
I knit the largest size of the tank top, making it about an inch and a half longer than the pattern by adding a few extra rows of colourwork before the neck and armhole steek stitches were added. Other than that minor change I knit the pattern as written, with no further modification. I still have to find the right time to get a modelled shot, before my son grows out of his first steeked tank top, much like he did the initial one that I cast on.
With its varying forms of trilobites facing in all directions, the tank top I put on hold back in March is now going to work up either too small or at least a bit snug, and rather than plough more hours into knitting something that might not fit on completion, I am going to start again. Though I adore the yarns and colours that I am working with, and the background colour is a nice grabby pure wool, I’m going to get some more Jamieson’s & Smiths and re-knit it in that, as the gauge difference will size up the pattern with not too much extra design tweaking from me (at least, that is the plan) and having a similarly grabby yarn for the foreground colour always helps with the evenness of more complex colourwork and in taming longer floats, which will make the process of knitting this piece a bit more straightforwards. I’m looking forwards to casting on my seconds steeked tank top in the new year.
Thank you so much for the helpful, understanding and corroborating responses to a recent post, where I had written about a pattern that I had a number of issues knitting, a sailor-style sweater with intarsia motif: Brendan. I had detailed the issues that I’d had with the pattern (neck opening size, motif size, motif placement) and the steps I’d taken to try to deal with the pattern errors and inconsistencies, before having chucked in the towel and decided that it wasn’t worth the extra hassle at a time whilst I had been ill.
A number of people said to just frog the entire project and re-use the yarn for something more pleasing, which I would have done if by the time that the edgings, intarsia, front and back seamed pieces, etc, wouldn’t have meant that I’d have ended up with a load of awkward scraps. so, instead I put an hour aside today and decided to just knit a few edgings onto the neckline and sleeve holes, so that at least it was finished. I used my own Apply On-The-Fly iCord edging to ensure that the unfinished edges were quickly and fully enclosed. When it came to the sharp turn at the bottom of the neck opening, I picked up not one, but two stitches at the lowest part before moving the stitches up the needle, and knit these three together (again, through the back loop), to make the turn, doing this twice at the lowest point of the neckline.
It’s not finished to the degree that I would have liked, but I knew that I didn’t have the heart to work on it any further, and for relatively little work at least the edging has made it look in some way usable. I did as was suggested and tried the finished piece on Giantmonk, but shall we say that he is just a little, er, ‘rotund’, to wear it without making him look like he has been unfairly stuffed into it. I don’t know if Baby Awesome will ever wear this: I’ll see how it looks when he’s finally here.
For now I shall just put this with the other finished sweaters and see what becomes of it, whilst the pattern of hand-knits in the nursery grows one higher.
Though there are many further things that we could do with the nursery, it is, to all intents and purposes, ready for if Baby Awesome comes into the world. There are some finishing touches that I hope will be done in time, but as I reach full term today I feel at least comfortable in the knowledge that we will be at least partly ready.
Now as each day passes it feels a bit like a countdown to an indeterminate moment. I am trying to steady my nerves with simple knitting and un-fussy tasks, but tiredness is starting to get the better of me, and discomfort makes any concentrated length of time spent on a task a bit difficult. Mostly, however, I am just too nervous and excited to concentrate.
For now, the little whale sailor top sits waiting in the nursery along with all of his other things: whales and narwhals, fish, lighthouses and images of the seaside and bright oceans. I like to wander into the room when the house is quiet, and imagine spending time there soon.