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  • Writer's pictureSarah Matthess

'Tegna' Summer Knitted Tee by Caitlin Hunter

I've got a blog post coming soon on why you wouldn't want to buy most superwash yarn, but I have to confess to having owned and dyed some in the past, and it was sitting there in my stash. Although 75% of all superwash sold today, isn't bio-degradable, and I don't promote it for that and for other reasons (which I will be writing about soon), I felt it was only right to use what I had in my cupboard, rather than not use it at all.

The Great Pattern Hunt began to find something I could do with 3 x 100g skeins. You know how that is, spending hours trawling through Ravelry? But actually Tegna stood out fairly quickly. A very simple design with a fluted bottom edge. Designed to be knitted as a 'cropped' tee, although it could be knitted longer. I'm not sure I personally would like it longer. I think its designed as it is, and might look completely different if knitted significantly longer. But the option is there and if you are a particularly tall person, that alteration could be helpful.

This is a seamless garment, knitted on size 3.25 - 4.5mm circular needles, depending on your yarn and gauge, so that immediately tells you it's a sock weight or fingering yarn if you are in America, or 4ply if you are in Europe. Knitted from the bottom up, split off onto straight needles at the beginning of the arm holes, and I used double pointed needles for the arms, picking up and knitting them straight off the main body, so no sewing up which is always a 'plus'.

As I said above, I knitted this with what I had, which was 75% merino superwash/ 25% nylon (pictured above), high twist sock yarn, dyed with red and yellow onion skins. After an alum mordant I dip-dyed areas of the yarn, so there is a degree of 'pooling' when knitting with it. This skein shows it re-skeined so the areas of colour are mixed up. The gauge came out just fine, the yarn was 400m (around 440 yards) per 100g, and the garment photographed here below (and modeled by my beautiful daughter!) was the medium size.

I find that superwash yarn sort of 'grows' a bit, when knitted, (and there's a reason for that which I will speak about in my Superwash article coming up). So for that reason, I didn't want to knit this too large as I anticipated it getting slightly larger as it's worn (hopefully not too much!). This pattern also has a lot of positive ease, and is slightly oversized anyway, so medium could easily work for a size 12- 14, possibly even 16 UK.

The lacework pattern on this garment is the show piece to this otherwise fairly plain Summer-tee. It took some concentration to start with, but the pattern soon appears, and these two pictures show the work un-blocked (top) and blocked (bottom), so it's pretty obvious that the work needs to be blocked for the pattern to truly appear, and give the necessary weight and drape to the finished garment.

Because there are more stitches, and more knitting in the bottom of the garment than further up, there is more weight, which causes it to drape nicely, which is desirable because a cropped top should hang or drape well, or it will just 'ride' up which could be inconvenient on a short cropped garment! And by the way, the pattern gives both chart and written instructions for the lace, so you can chose either. I found the chart diagram a WHOLE LOT EASIER to follow than the written instructions.

The down side to knitting this in one piece is that if you get your sizing wrong at the beginning, there's an awful lot of knitting to unravel. So check your gauge very carefully before starting.

Alterations I felt necessary? The neck. The pattern gives a stocking stitch neck, that curls round on itself to produce a sort of 'tube' look. It's a nice design. However, I unraveled it first time round as it was too large over all and I ended up with a very gaping neckline. If you have made any alterations to the size of arm holes, your neck line may need altering anyway. I'm an experienced knitter, and I have to say my gripe here was that despite re-reading the neckline instructions, I was still confused as to how many stitches to pick up. It definitely didn't look clear to me even on a third reading. In the end I just picked up what looked right to me. I added about 1cm of k1, p1, rib to the whole neck before starting the curl over stocking stitch, and for that stocking stitch I chose to go down a needle size. The reason for that was to add stability to the neckline as I still have in the back of my mind that this is superwash and it could spread, and it's a wide neck design anyway, so a little extra 'pull-in' helps (in my opinion).

I also was very confused about how many stitches to pick up to knit the sleeves. The pattern gives the number of stitches to be picked up, but I actually had to double the amount it said. Possibly this was a printing error? I've no idea, but I certainly couldn't have made an adult sleeve from 62 st. in 4 ply unless I was making a dolls sweater. If I missed something here, my apologies to the designer, and please someone write in and tell me!?

When blocking, if you have used superwash, do use a damp cloth (which is fairly standard). Superwash that is blended with nylon, will not felt but it will come off on your iron and leave a sticky mess on the iron, not to mention the knitting. The lace pattern will need pinning out as the pattern creates a scalloped edge, and the pointier bits of the scallop need pulling down and steam pressing.

This sweater took 277 grams to finish. That's just under 3 skeins, so it's a great project for a few skeins of hand-dyed yarn and quite economical price-wise.

Just a word on the yarn dyeing, you will notice from the above pic that the colour changes in the yarn are all mixed up in small areas but when you divide off for the front and back on straight needles, the colour changes in the yarn will come out differently, because you are not knitting right around the garment. I think that's visible above. If there was 'pooling' it will 'pool' differently. In the picture above, that is most noticeable on the sleeves. I wasn't at all concerned about any of that, but if you want a much more uniform look to your project right the way through, try knitting 2 balls at once when you change to straight needles. A knit and purl row with one ball, then a knit and purl row with the next, and carry your yarn from the unused ball at the side to straddle the 2 rows you just did in the other ball.

If you are wondering about a 4ply yarn to knit this in that isn't superwash, you could try a silk-mix with merino and/or alpaca, for drape.

I'm planning a second run of this pattern in a cotton/linen mix. I'm not sure if it needs to go up a size in those fibres, which don't have any natural elasticity, so I'll be working my gauge swatch carefully first! If anyone has already knitted this garment in those fibres, please message me any tips!

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