Classic Crew Tank Top
Navy Classic Tank Top

Yes, I must admit from the start that this isn’t an exciting knit, but it is a new cast-on and I am picking it up regularly, which just goes to show how vast the chasm can be between ‘exciting’ and ‘interesting’. I was in two minds whether to put ‘worthwhile’ there instead of ‘interesting’, but ‘worthwhile’ seems to carry with it connotations that I don’t want to convey of something being a duty rather than a pleasure.

The pattern

I am using the Classic Crew Neck pattern from the book One Thousand Sweaters by Amanda Griffiths; a modular knitting system which allows you to choose different body, neckline, and sleeve combinations. This is a body with no waist shaping, armholes for set-in sleeves, and a basic crew-neck. I will be doing a ribbed finish to the neckline and to the sleeve edges to give me a very basic sleeveless top, also known as a tank top to those of us who were around in the 1970s.

I’m going to experiment with the sizing on this garment. I’ve cast on and am knitting the main part of the body following the instructions for the medium size, then I’m going to change the armhole decreasing so that the upper part of the body is knit to the instructions for the small size, thus reducing the shoulder width. Since I’m not adding sleeves, it will be a low-risk way to check if this makes sense for all of my knitwear.

The yarn

This is my first go at using the Yarn2Cone Merino Wool from Woolyknit and I’ve opted for the Azul Navy Blue colour which is a very deep shade of navy. From the cone this knits to a 4-ply gauge so I am holding two strands together to provide a nice sturdy fabric at a DK gauge. I’ve completed just over half the length to the armholes on the front piece of this top and I’m finding the yarn a pleasure to work with. It’s not the softest yarn in the world, but then again it is plenty soft enough for the purpose. I haven’t encountered any flaws in the wool so far, no knots, no thick or thin areas. There have been a couple of loose ‘fluffs’ which I’ve been able to pick out without affecting the basic yarn thickness or strength at all. So far, so good. I have knit and machine-washed a small swatch of this wool and it didn’t shrink or felt, so I’m feeling quite confident about this garment wearing well and standing up to repeated washing. As I’m constantly on the lookout for a nice, well-behaved yarn to knit wardrobe basics, this promises to be a good find.

The needles and the notions

You know me, they’re going to be 30cm straight wooden needles, aren’t they? So, I’m back to my KnitPro Symfonie 30cm straights, the darkish ones with the multi-colour layers (love how they feel in the hand, struggle with the dark needles/dark wool combination) and for the main body I’m using the 3.75mm. The ribs are knit on thinner needles and I’m using the 3.00mm KnitPro Basix Birch straights, again in the 30cm length. I need to replace my 3.75mm Symfonies with this format sometime soon. Nothing much else is needed in the way of notions – a row counter (I use the plastic cylindrical type that slips onto the end of one straight needle), a crochet hook when it comes to piecing together the front and back of the garment, a tapestry needle to weave in yarn ends, a tape measure (although the pattern gives the number of rows to work, my row gauge issues mean I’ll double-check by measuring the length I’ve got). No stitch markers are necessary because it’s hard to lose where you are on a flat piece of stocking stitch fabric.

Wardrobe strategy

The Azul blue is a terrific base shade for my autumn/winter wardrobe which will make the finished garment a staple piece that should get a lot of use over the coming months. I’m imagining wearing it over and under blouses, under cardigans and possibly even in combination with other sweaters. It should prove to be a quick knit (always assuming I don’t put it down and ignore it) which means I can look at knitting one in another colour later in the season. There is a one in, one out element built in to this garment as it is a direct replacement for a lilac sleeveless top that I’ve recently removed from my wardobe. For some reason that one never really worked, mainly I think because the shape turned out too boxy for my tastes, although it might have worked in a yarn with more drape. Funnily enough, I’m thinking a lilac/grape/lavender colour would be perfect for the other sleeveless top I’m dreaming of and I’m having trouble preventing myself from regretting my decision to remove the original one even though I very rarely wore it.

Have you got anything new on the needles? Are you still happily knitting for warm weather or are you dreaming of your clothes for autumn?

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