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Knitting a Sleeveless Shirt

This tank top is knit from a kitten-soft chenille yarn.

Be sure to knit a swatch first, however, so you can check the gauge and adjust if necessary. The fit is intended to be somewhat snug. Ribbing at the top and the bottom gives it a bit of structure, and decreases at each side taper the silhouette at the armholes. Feel free to use your favorite chunky yarn if you prefer.

Knit-O-Meter Rating: Beginner

Materials and Tools:

chunky-weight yarn (we used Leggero, color 52, by Lana Grossa) in the following amounts:
petite: 300 yards (4 skeins if using Leggero)
size small: 345 yards (4 skeins)
size medium: 415 yards (5 skeins)
size large: 460 yards (5 skeins)
one pair US size 7 straight needles
one pair each US size 9 straight and double-pointed needles, or size needed to obtain gauge
soft tape measure
safety pin
yarn needle
1-1/2 yards silk ribbon (optional)

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.

What You Need to Do

Instructions are for Petite; changes for Small, Medium and Large are in parentheses. The front and back pieces are identical, so you will use the following pattern in your size for both.

Check your gauge by knitting a swatch in stockinette stitch on size 9 needles. If you are not getting 14 stitches to 4", change needles. If you get fewer than 14 stitches to 4", switch to larger needles; if you get more than 14 stitches to 4", use smaller needles.

Knitting the Tank Top
Using size 7 needles, cast on 54 (58, 62, 66).
Work in knit 1, purl 1 rib for 2".

Figure A

Change to size 9 needles: use one of the larger needles to knit the stitches off the smaller needle (figure A), then continue to knit with both larger needles.
Work in stockinette stitch (knit 1 row, purl 1 row) until the piece measures 10 (10, 11, 12) inches or your desired length to the armhole.

Figure B

Bind off 3 stitches at the beginning of the next 2 rows (figure B).

Figure C

Place a safety pin in the middle of the first decrease row to help you measure the armholes (figure C).

Decrease 1 stitch on each side of the piece on every other row 4 (4, 5, 6) times, then on each side of every 4th row 3 (3, 2, 2) times. Work on 34 (38, 42, 44) stitches until the armhole measures 4 (4, 4, 5) inches from safety pin.
Change to size 7 needles and work in knit 1, purl 1 rib for 2".

Figure D

Bind off loosely in rib stitch (figure D).
Make the second side of the tank exactly as you did the first.

Figure E

Make two I-cord straps each approximately 7"-8" long (you can adjust the length to fit you). To make an I-cord strap, cast three stitches onto a double-pointed needle, knit the three stitches and simply slide the work down to the other end of the needle without turning the work (figure E). Keep knitting the three stitches and sliding the work to the opposite end until you have the desired length.

Weave in loose ends from pieces.
Sew the sides of the tank together.
Sew the I-cord straps, placing the end of each strap on the corresponding upper corner of the front and back of the tank.
Weave all remaining loose ends.
Try on the tank top and block it to fit, if necessary. (Note: If you are using chenille yarn, do not block.)

Figure F

If desired, weave 5/8" silk ribbon across the top, in and out of the stitches just under the ribbing stitch on the upper part of the tank (figure F). Make a bow in the center of front.


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