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Bikini Top

Today's guest is knitting expert Tina Whitmore, who introduces her colorful knit bikini with its coordinating beaded sarong and shares tips for creating your own flirty knit beachwear.

Today's knit bikini is nothing like the ones your mom wore back in the '60s! For one thing, thanks to the elastic yarns available now, you no longer have to worry about compromising your modesty if you decide to actually go into the water.

Knit-O-Meter Rating: Advanced beginner

Materials
Cascade Fixation: 1 skein each Magenta #6285 (color A); Chartreuse #5806 (color B); Turquoise #2706 (color C). (Note: If making both pieces in larger sizes, two skeins of A may be required.)
US needle size 5 (3.75 mm) (one set each of straight and double-pointed)
tapestry needle

Note: Remember that many yarns are seasonal and could be discontinued. If the specific yarn called for is not available, purchase a substitution yarn that comes closest to the specified gauge in your pattern. And be sure to make that all-important swatch to see whether the yarn works for your particular pattern.

Sizing info
Bikini bottom: sized women's 4-10; written as (4, 6, 8) 10.
Bikini top: sized XS (A-cup), S (B-cup), M (C-cup) and L (D-cup); written as (XS, S, M) L.

Gauge: 7 sts and 10 rows/inch using 3.75mm (US 5 needles) in stocking (stockinette) stitch.

Definitions
K2tog (K3tog) Knit two (three) stitches together as one.
SSK (SSSK) Slip next two (three) stitches on left needle as if to knit. Insert tip of left needle in the front through all slipped stitches. Knit these two (three) stitches together.
Inc1bel Increase one stitch in next row below. Insert tip of right needle in top of next stitch in row below. Knit this stitch. Knit next stitch on left needle.
Inc1aft Increase one stitch in second row below. Knit next stitch, insert tip of left needle into stitch on right needle second row below, knit this stitch.

Bikini Top Casing
With color B and size US 5 straight needles, cast on (50, 56, 60) 68 sts. Work 5 rows in St st, starting and ending with a completed K row. Work 1 more row in K, then another 4 rows of St st, beginning again with a K row. Create the casing by folding the knitting in half lengthwise along the row of purl sts. With right needle tip, pick up first loop along the cast-on edge. Slip this loop onto left needle and knit this and your regular stitch together. Continue in this manner to end of the row. This will form a casing for the I-cord bikini strap. Work one more row in P (mark the center with a stitch marker or a piece of waste yarn to make it easier to find).

Bikini Top Shaping/Decrease
Change to color A and work decrease as follows:
Sizes XS and S works the pattern over 2 rows.
Row 1: work in St st to center 4 sts, SSK, K2tog, K to end.
Row 2: P all sts.

Sizes M and L are worked over 4 rows as follows:
Row 1, work in St st to center 4 sts, SSK, K2tog, K to end.
Row 2: P all sts.
Row 3: K all sts.
Row 4: P all sts.

Repeat these two (or four) rows until you have (40, 44, 48) 56 sts.

In order to form a more defined cup shape for the bikini top, the decrease then gets steeper.
Change to color B and work as follows:
Row 1: K to center 6 sts, SSSK, K3tog, K to end.
Row 2: P all sts.
Repeat these two rows one more time.

Change to color C and continue with the same decrease until you have four stitches left. Change color once again, back to color B and work these sts as an I-cord for 18". Bind off.

Work another I-cord in color B for the back strap of the bikini top and thread this through the casings of the bikini top triangles to finish the bikini top. The I-cord will be easier to thread through the casing if you attach it to a large safety pin first.

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