Maisie's Tanktop -- October 2006

So my friend John at work wears tanktops every so often and is surprisingly proud of it. And he was imminently due to become a brand new father so the gift required for that particular family was really quite obvious.

Nearly completely knitted on the fly, it's not perfect and it's only a tiny garment, but it is all my own work and I'm inordinately pleased with it. And my friend was chuffed by it so I've achieved my aim.

I used all sorts of indulgent techniques: tubular cast-on, grafted cast-off, kitchener shoulders, cute little stripe pattern. If I started this again I'd knit it in the round, but it worked fine knit flat in two pieces. I'd also re-do the neck, by kitchenering both shoulders first, then picking up and knitting the neck stitches in the round. On this version I kitchenered one shoulder then picked up and knitted the neck working back and forth on straights. The problem with this became apparent when I joined the other shoulder and realised there was an ugly gap between the sides of the neck, which I fudged with some false stitches. If it hadn't been 11pm the night before I needed to give the gift to its recipient I'd have ripped out the neck and done it again, but time was running out. Plus this innocent little piece is end-TASTIC -- a huge amount of working away for such a little item was needed before it was done.

It was my first time trying tubular cast-on, and ooh, it really is as lovely as everyone says. And not particularly tricky, either, just a little time-consuming. I don't do all that much in single rib, but whenever I do it in future I'll always use tubular cast-on. Why wouldn't you?

An extra layer of satisfaction was added by using some of my grandmother's needles. I've had a box of knitting needles since I was seven years old that used to belong to my grandmother. The box moved around in various positions in my bedroom over the years, but two things remained constant: firstly that I was very resistant to ever giving it up; and secondly that I never knitted a stitch. That box was the first thing I thought of when I started knitting more recently, but I got addicted to circs pretty early on and it's rare for me to use straights. For this project though -- something so small and lightweight -- straights were just fine. And I managed to find a size that is almost 4mm but not quite, but definitely bigger than 3.75mm. All my grandmother's needles are marked in Imperial sizes, naturally, which is a sizing system I love for its complete inability to make sense (why are there two different size eights? why??).

She made me endless baby clothes on those needles, so it's very pleasing to be making further baby clothes on them 25 years later. She'd have been so pleased, too.

Details: Baby tanktop, my own design, knitted in RYC Cashsoft Baby DK on (almost) 4mm and 3.5mm straight plastic needles.

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