Rowan Smooch Tank

Color me purple, bay-bee.


Look, Ma! I made lace!


I'm in full tank swing now, and decided to start my Rowan Smooch tank as soon as I saw that Alison had started hers, too. [I'm an Alison wannabe. What can I say?]. It's such a neat tank, and Rowan's All Season's Cotton knits up into a beautiful fabric. I must admit that I'm not following the pattern instructions at all, but had to write my own based upon the photo because as soon as I read the instructions and saw the (somewhat lacking) schematic, I knew that this tank would fit me badly if I followed the pattern blindly*. I do this with a lot of the patterns I use, but am forced to 'fess up about it now because I'm knitting these tanks with other people. I won't share all of my changes here (such as resizing and reshaping) because chances are they won't work for you unless you have the exact same measurements I do, but here is something I've changed that others might be able to use:

In order to ensure continuity in the chevron and eyelet pattern when seamed (as written in the instructions, it gets cut off at the sides and probably looks broken when seamed), I decided to not use the eyelet pattern described in the instructions, but work a similar one over 8 rows and a multiple of 9 sts + 2 selvedges. If you're doing the extra small size, this will definitely work for you. Instead of casting on the number of stitches stated in the pattern**, cast on 128 stitches. Work the lace at the hem, and then the garter as established but do not decrease as the pattern states. You need the resulting number after working the lace at the hem in order to have your multiples of 9 stitches for the chevron and eyelet pattern, plus 2 extra stitches for the selvedges. After you work 8 rows of this chevron and eyelet pattern, work 2 rows of stockinette stitch. Then continue as stated in the pattern**.

Incidentally, the chevron and eyelet pattern I did looks like the one used in this tank pattern, but is not worked in exactly the same manner or over the same amount of stitches and rows. Instructions on how to do the one I used can be found on page 149 of Vogue Knitting, and you can see a closeup of the stitch I used in my photo here. It's easy, and fun to do! And as you can see on the left end of my work and on the right end of my work, the lace pattern is uninterrupted and will look seamless when sewn together. This may not be a big deal to some people, but to me, those details make all the difference in how a finished garment looks. (And are the details I always notice myself!)

*Unfortunately, most clothes of all labels fit me really badly because my measurements are all over the place, and I'm not kidding. I'm an extra small, small and medium, all in one. Because of this, all my suits, dresses, slacks - basically, everything other than my casual clothes - are tailored or custom made because it's cheaper than all the alterations I'd have to have done to clothes. I had to have my wedding dress custom made as well! And that's why I love knitting, and why I want to take up sewing. (Please tell Santa to bring me a Singer Featherweight this year for Christmas.)

**Sorry...I won't reproduce any specific instructions for the Smooch tank pattern here and prefer not to see any of it reproduced in my comments. I'm only sharing what I have written myself. If there's something you'd like to see from the tank pattern itself, please refer to it. (Ditto with the chevron and eyelet pattern in Vogue Knitting.)

Double chain selvedge, baaaaay-bee!

We. Are. Smoochin'! With photographic proof, because yesterday Monsieur Le Hubby fixed my digital pencam in about two minutes flat. (I don't know how he does it. Really. He's like Inspector Gadget meets Mr. Fixit in a cuter package.) So we have pictures until my blasted digital camera gets here, already. Which has me wondering: Did everyone order a Coolpix 3100, too? I'm beginning to think so because it's taking forever to get here. Anyway, here's the back of my Smooch tank:


spring2003_smooch3.jpg
Pardon me, my sides are curling.


After one gets passed the lace cast-on, it's really quick and smooth knitting. Then it comes time for the armhole decreases plus double chain selvedge, which may cause confusion for some people doing this tank. The armholes are free edges, so the pattern [cleverly] instructs us to do a double chain selvedge (the slipping stitches and picking up horizontal strand at the end of rows), which provides a smooth edge (slipping stitches) AND tightens up (picking up horizontal strand) at the same time. It is ideal for free edges but is not, in my opinion, a good selvedge for edges that will be joined with ladder stitch, because it may cause holes in the seam. It's good for backstitch, though. And crochet edgings, too. Anyway, the pattern doesn't specify how to pick up the horizontal strands when doing the double chain selvedge (and I haven't found it in any of my books, either), but I do this: Pick up from the front on purl rows and pick up from the back on knit rows. That way it looks the same on both ends. And don't I sound fancy with my knitting lingo?

P.S. The double chain selvedge is one of the many types of selvedges illustrated in Montse Stanley's The Knitter's Handbook. Do you have this book already? I've mentioned it countless times here and can't imagine being without it; it's an excellent reference of knitting techniques for all levels of knitters.

Smooooooooch!

I've finished my Smooch tank! And I love it! Neat yarn, neat lace edging, neat tank. As I mentioned before, I reworked the pattern to suit my needs. The eyelet and chevron pattern was worked over a different number of stitches and rows in order to remain uninterrupted when seamed. Sizing was changed (the waist was nipped in by 2.5 cm, the chest and crossback was widened by 2 cm, the neckline was shortened by 2.5 cm and the armhole depth by .5 cm - the tank is a mixture of a small and xsmall size). I shortrowed the shoulders for shaping, binded them off and then sewed them using backstitch. Side seams were joined using embroidery floss (thanks to Jeanine and Alexandra for sharing that idea!), which made for a wonderfully invisible seam. And even though the neckline and armholes don't really need finishing thanks to the double chain selvedge, I've decided that I don't like how the armholes look as they are and will probably work a crochet edging around them because, apparently, I haven't had enough of finishing. Send a kir royale.




The tank has been finished since Friday, so in order to make up for my procrastination in taking photos I decided to compensate by uploading a number of them. (Which means that unless you've also got a DSL connection, this puppy might take a few minutes to load due to the number of kpbs on the page. But pictures are always fun, so it's worth it.)

Crab stitch? We got your crab stitch, pally.

spring2003_smooch4.jpg
Crab stitch? We got your crab stitch, pally.


I added a row of crab stitch, or reverse single crochet, around the armhole edges of my Smooch tank and hello! I love it! The double chain selvedge is an excellent foundation for this edging, and not only do the armholes look more finished, but the crochet edging compliments the picot cast-on at the hem nicely. I am now so thankful for that crochet craze my mother had during the 70s. Remember how everybody was doing granny squares? Well, my mother was, too. [Thanks for teaching me how to crochet, Mom!] Crab stitch is illustrated in Nancie Wiseman's Book of Finishing Techniques, or you can find written instructions at the Crochet Cabana.

In other news, today I am heading off to my favorite local Phildar boutique (yes, the one where the owner kisses my son in greeting...can you stand it?) because the bi-yearly SOLDES began today, which means that there are major sales going on in France. Big time SALES. The very word makes me break out in goosepimples of excitement. Prices on some merchandise are slashed by 40-70 percent, and the owner of the boutique is going to divide my purchases into several lots so that I benefit from accumulated discounts; we've already discussed it over the phone and I nearly tripped over the phone cord in glee. Pray for my bank account, friends.