Paid in Full

It is cold back home in England, but here in Cape Town it is warm and sunny so it the ideal weather for wearing my new tank top.

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This is the Paid in Full tank, designed by Deb Hoss.  I knit it with Quince & Co Tern, a 75/25 wool and silk blend.  It is a nice bouncy yarn that shows stitch patterns beautifully.  It transforms when washed and has lots of drape.

Regular readers will perhaps remember that I had troubles picking the right size to knit.  I started out with the 44″ to knit it with positive ease, and ended up re-knitting it in a slightly modified 38″ for a fit with negative ease.  I detailed this whole process, with photos and details of the mods, here and here.  I would suggest to anyone who wants to make this: if you are between sizes, pick the smaller size.  The cable pattern is extremely stretchy.  This is extra important if you knit it with Tern (the recommended yarn).  Note: Tern is very stretchy.  When washed it will stretch, particularly in length.  Knit a big swatch and wash it!  You will regret it if you don’t.  I send a big thank you to Jelma, a reader who left a comment on my earlier post about this tank.  Jelma had used Tern in the past and warned me that it would grow.  It was her advice that really influenced my decision.

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(It was hard not to squint while taking these photos; the light here is strong!)

I think that this pattern is beautiful.  The designer, Deb Hoss, has a great style and I love many of her designs.  Her patterns are extremely detailed.  I must admit that I found them to be a bit too detailed.  The pattern for this tank is 12 pages long.  It has all of the great things I want in a pattern, particularly great schematics.  But some aspects of it were so detailed and specific I found my head couldn’t cope.  I am aware that this is a difficult thing for designers.  They are competing in a near-saturated market and they need to design their pattern layout in a way that will appeal to the most knitters.  I appreciate that Deb’s patterns are meticulous, but at one point as I was flipping back and forth between pages trying to understand the instructions for casting off at the armholes, I gave up and did it my way.  (To be honest to Deb, when I did this, I ended up being on a purl row instead of a knit row when it was time to cable and had to rip and do it again!)  I guess the answer is, as with any pattern, if you are comfortable with mods then treat the pattern as a recipe, and if you are not comfortable, follow along carefully.  I ended up with a recipe approach.

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If I were to knit this again, I would probably knit it in two pieces and seam.  This cable pattern is one that adapts beautifully to being knitted in the round or flat (and both are used in the construction).  I think I would have been happier and would have knitted it much faster had I done it the other way.  (I suspect that most knitters would disagree with me.)

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I choose this pattern because I wanted a work garment and as you can see here, it works beautifully.  I am here in Cape Town on business and these photos were taken during a short break in a day of meetings.  I think that the tank has a very polished, professional look and I am really pleased to be able to add a hand-knitted garment to my working wardrobe.

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It’s Saturday now and I am off to see fairy penguins!  I hope your weekend includes some knitting and some fun!

A question of fit

I am struggling with a fit question on the Paid in Full tank.  I have finished about 8 inches of this tank, which is knit in-the-round and bottom-up.  I did almost all of this while on my trip to Malaysia, during which I was too lazy to transfer the stitches to a super long needle and try it on.  In fact, because I was knitting it on a 24″ needle, I kept thinking it was on the small size, but was content with the fact that the lace would make it very stretchy.  I have now taken the opportunity to try it on, and to be honest, I am fretting about the fit.  I think it’s too big.

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It feels really loose.  I don’t think it looks terrible in the above photo, but I have already put in all of the waist shaping and there is still too much fabric around the waist.  Here is a different view:

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If you look at the pattern photos, the tank is not skin tight and does have some ease, particularly on the back view.  I really like the way this looks on Deb, where it clearly has a bit of ease but not too much.  (This is the tank as worn by Deb Hoss, the designer. She looks good in everything.)

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When I compare mine to Deb’s, I think mine looks a little bit big, but it feels VERY VERY BIG!  It is super stretchy, as you can see here:

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Below is a photo taken with a measuring tape.  For zero ease, I would need 42″ across the bust.  I am getting about 36″ on the un-stretched piece laid flat, measured just after the first set of waist decreases.  So, this piece shouldn’t be too far off.  Even allowing for a lot of stretch in the lace, it SHOULD fit.

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When I cast on, I had to choose between a size 38.5 or a 44.  The 38.5 would give me 3.5″ of negative ease, while the 44 would give 2″ of positive ease.  I went for the 44 and I think that was a bad choice.  However, 3.5″ seemed like a lot of negative ease.  I didn’t want to end up with something that was tight and thus didn’t get worn.

There is a moral here: when knitting in the round, try it on!  Try it on before you knit 8 inches!  Laziness is a terrible excuse!  Even if you are sitting on a fabulous beach on an island in the South China Sea while knitting it! (Note that the moral of the story should always be accompanied by exclamation points; the more the better.)

I now have a dilemma.  I can’t decide what to do, and so I am in limbo at the moment.  Here are my choices:

  1. Pretend everything is good and carry on.
  2. Rip out a couple of inches and add in more waist shaping.  I have 5 sets (20 stitches decreased), and I could possible make 8 sets (32 stitches decreased).
  3. Brace myself, rip the whole thing out, and start over.

Note that my options don’t include “Throw it in a basket and forget about it till next year.”  That is because I love this pattern and I love the yarn.  I want to have this tank in my wardrobe.  Help me, dear readers!  What to do?  I need some advice.