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The Beginnings of a T-Shirt

June 5, 2011
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After choosing just the right pattern, I cast on for my Pintuck Tee on Thursday evening.  Because my gauge is slightly different, I’m following the small stitch counts to end up with a medium shirt.  This meant casting on with 200 sts.  My first attempt (using the Old Norwegian Cast-On, aka the Twisted German Cast-on, a relative of the long-tail) resulted in running out of yarn with about 20 stitches to go. My next attempt worked, although my yarn tail was a bit longer than necessary. Oops.

Then I joined to begin working in the round, being very careful not to twist my stitches.  I worked three rounds of the twisted ribbing before realizing that I had failed to be careful enough about twisting my stitches and I was in fact knitting a moebius. Instead of ripping it all out and starting over, I employed a sneaky trick that’s work for me in the past. I tinked back one round and twisted the fabric a half-turn around the needle (being VERY careful to do this in the right direction) to remove the twist, then kept knitting. This results in a very faintly noticeable twist in the cast on, but I’ll cover this up when I weave in the yarn tail, and it saved me at least 30 minutes. I don’t recommend trying this trick more than two rows in or with an bulky yarn, but it definitely works in this situation!

Once I finished the twisted rib hem and worked two rows of stockinette, I realized I didn’t love the transition from twisted rib to stockinette.  I picked up the last row of rib stitches on my needle and pulled out the two rows of stockinette. Then, I did a wrap-and-turn before turning the hem inside out and started knitting in the other direction, putting the knit side of the twisted rib toward the front instead of the purl side.  The wrap-and-turn eliminates the gap that might otherwise occur at this point, and any remaining wonkiness can be cleared up during blocking.

tee body photo
I absolutely love this colorway!

After that, I stopped messing with the pattern for awhile. I worked the short rows at the hemline exactly as written and knit for the length specified for the medium top before starting the waist decreases.  Then, I had to make a few adjustments again.  My row gauge (32 rows/4″)  doesn’t match the pattern, which calls for 38 rows/4″. The pattern calls for waist decreases to be made every 5th row, which is just over half an inch apart. At my gauge, half an inch of knitting is 4 rows, so I worked my waist decreases every 4th row.  I also slightly modified the placement of the decreases – instead of working them right before a marker, then one stitch after the marker, I kept the plain knit stitch to the inside of the markers on the front and the back. This way they are exactly symmetrical, instead of almost-but-not-quite symmetrical. After finishing the decreases, I worked in stockinette for an extra 1.5″ before beginning the bust increases, since I have a long torso. This length was determined by trying on the tee and using past experience – I hope it works out!

By now you are probably wondering why I bothered to select a pattern to knit if I am just going to change everything about it.  In actuality, though, none of my changes affect the actual pattern. I’m adjusting for my gauge and body type, but (aside from flipping the twisted rib hem) not actually changing the pattern itself.  It’s still a fitted-but-not-snug tee that falls at the hip, largely worked in stockinette. I didn’t have to do any real measuring or grading to find the size that would fit me and I definitely didn’t have to make any style decisions.  It is still Lien Ngo’s fantastic Pintuck Tee, just knit to fit me perfectly – and after all, isn’t that one of the perks of knitting?

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