We talk a lot about color here, but beautiful texture is really just as intriguing! Texture is the reason we bother with stitch patterns; it's why we decide between hand-spun and machine-spun fibers; and it's why we adore some of our very favorite yarns, like Alchemy's Silken Straw, Knit Collage's Pixie Dust and this one, Habu Textiles' Natural Cover Cotton.

At Habu's workshops, fearless designers explore innovative ingredients and fascinating spinning techniques, embracing the wild and interesting textures that result from their mad science. Natural Cover Cotton starts with a simple cream colored plied cotton yarn that is then beautifully wrapped in a very fine colored thread. In reverse stockinette, I think the effect is absolutely gorgeous, like the stony bed of a mountain stream or the pebbly remains of a retreating tide.

The simple silhouette of a warm weather tank is the perfect backdrop for all of this earthiness. Together the impact is chic and casual. Wear it with jeans and flats in Soho or with shorts and moccasins in the Rockies!

 

 

The Materials

 

  • 4- 5, (4-5, 5-6, 6, 6-7) skeins of Habu's Natural Cover Cotton, 100% cotton. This color is Black. (Tip: Don't roll the last skein into a ball so that if you end up not needing it, you can return it for store credit!)
  • A US #7, 24 or 32-inch circular needle
  • A US #7, 16 or 20-inch circular needle
  • 6 or 7 stitch holders (optional, you can use scrap yarn if you prefer!)

The Pattern

Gauge

4 1/2 stitches = 1 inch in stockinette stitch

Finished Sizes

Five Women's Sizes

Hip and Chest Circumference: 32 (35, 38 1/4, 41 1/3, 44 1/2) inches

Waist Circumference: 29 1/3 (32 1/2, 35 1/2, 38 2/3, 41 3/4) inches

Length from Bottom Edge to Underarm: 13 inches

Length from Bottom Edge to Top of Shoulder: 22 inches

Helpful Tips

How to Adjust the Length Measurements

There are many places in the pattern to easily shorten or lengthen the given measurements. Here are some:

1. At the beginning of the pattern when it says to knit until the piece measures 3 inches from the bottom edge: instead, measure from your waist to where you want the bottom edge of the sweater to be and subtract 4 1/2 inches from that number. This is how many inches you should knit before starting the waist shaping.

2. At the waist where you knit 3 inches without increasing or decreasing: feel free to subtract or add rounds.

3. When the pattern says to knit until the piece measures 13 inches from the cast on edge: stop knittimg sooner or keep knitting for longer if you'd like.

4. When you knit until the armholes measure 9 inches: adjust this length to whatever you want. Make sure you knit all four shoulders the same length and be aware that changing this measurement will also lower or raise the neckline.

When deciding on these adjustments, I recommend putting the stitches on a long piece of scrap yarn or on a very long needle so you can try on your tank to make sure you get the fit you want. It's a small effort, but it can make a big difference!

Final Notes

  • The final sweater is in reverse stockinette (purl side out), but you actually knit the sweater inside out with the knit side facing you. To avoid total confusion, instead of using the conventional terms "right side" and "wrong side", for this pattern, I used "knit side" and "purl side".
  • The photographs that accompany this pattern illustrate the middle size (38 1/4) vest.

 

The Body

Using the 24 or 32-inch circular needle, cast on 144 (158, 172, 186, 200) stitches.

Place a marker and join for working in the round, being careful to not twist the stitches.

Knit 1 round.

Purl 1 round.

Repeat last two rounds.

Knit every round until the piece measures 3 inches from the cast on edge.

Next round: K 72 (79, 86, 93, 100), place a different color marker, knit to end of round.

*Decrease Round 1: Knit to last 3 stitches, ssk, k1. (1 stitch decreased)

Decrease Round 2: K1, k2tog, knit to 3 stitches before next marker, ssk, k1, slip marker, k1, k2tog, knit to end of round. (3 stitches decreased)

Knit 4 rounds.** 

Repeat from * to ** two more times. 132 (146, 160, 174, 188) stitches

Knit until piece measures 9 inches from the cast on edge (about three inches from the last decrease).

*Increase Round 1: Knit to last stitch, make 1 right (m1r), k1. (1 stitch increased)

Increase Round 2: K1, make 1 left (m1l), knit to 1 stitch before first marker, m1r, k1, slip marker, k1, m1l, knit to end of round. (3 stitches increased)

Knit 4 rounds. **

Repeat from * to ** two more times. 144 (158, 172, 186, 200) stitches

Knit until piece measures 13 inches from the cast on edge.

Divide the Front and Back

Knit 5, slip the last 10 stitches onto a stitch holder (removing the marker), knit to next marker, remove the marker, knit 5, put last 10 stitches onto a stitch holder. (Do not knit to end of round.) 62 (69, 76, 83, 90) stitches for front and back, and 10 stitches on hold for each underarm

Put the last 62 (69, 76, 83, 90) stitches onto stitch holders or a piece of scrap yarn for now (they will later be used to knit the back).

The Front

For this section you will work just the next 62 (69, 76, 83, 90) stitches, turning the work at the end of each row.

Row 1 (knit side): K1, slip slip knit (ssk), knit to last 3 stitches, k2tog, k1. (2 stitches decreased)

Row 2 (purl side): P1, p2tog, purl to last 3 stitches, purl 2 together through the back loop (p2tog tbl), p1. 58 (65, 72, 79, 86) stitches

Row 3: Repeat Row 1. (2 stitches decreased)

Row 4: Purl.

Repeat the last two rows 4 (4, 5, 5, 5) more times. 48 (55, 60, 67, 74) stitches

Next Row: Knit.

Next Row: Purl.

Next Row: Repeat Row 1. (2 stitches decreased)

Next Row: Purl.

Repeat the last 4 rows one more time. 44 (51, 56, 63, 70) stitches **

Next Row: Knit 31 (35, 38, 42, 46) put the last 18 (19, 20, 21, 22) stitches on a stitch holder, k1, ssk, knit to end of row. 13 (16, 18, 21, 24) stitches for right front (as you will wear it, purl side out), 12 (15, 17, 20, 23) stitches for left front, and 18 (19, 20, 21, 22) stitches on hold for neckline

Left Front Shoulder

Now work just the 12 (15, 17, 20, 23) stitches of the left front, turning the work at the end of each row. (Just ignore for now the right front stitches that are also on the needle.)

Row 1 (purl side): Purl to last 3 stitches, p2tog tbl, p1. 11 (14, 16, 19, 22) stitches

Row 2 (knit side): K1, ssk, knit to end. (1 stitch decreased)

Row 3: Purl.

Row 4: Repeat Row 2. (1 stitch decreased)

Rows 5 and 6: Repeat Rows 3 and 4. 8 (11, 13, 16, 19) stitches

Row 7: Purl.

Row 8: Knit.

Row 9: Purl.

Row 10: Repeat Row 2. 7 (10, 12, 15, 18) stitches

Work in stockinette stitch until the armhole measures 9 inches (about 4 inches from the last decrease). Cut an 18-inch tail and put the remaining stitches on a stitch holder.

Right Front Shoulder

For this section you will just be working the 13 (16, 18, 21, 24) stitches of the right front shoulder, turning the work at the end of each row.

With the knit side facing you, join new yarn.

Row 1 (knit side): Knit to last 3 stitches, k2tog, k1. (1 stitch decreased)

Row 2 (purl side): P1, p2tog, purl to end. 11 (14, 16, 19, 22) stitches

Row 3: Repeat Row 1. 10 (13, 15, 18, 21) stitches

Row 4: Purl.

Row 5: Repeat Row 1. (1 stitch decreased)

Rows 6 and 7: Repeat Rows 4 and 5. 8 (11, 13, 16, 19) stitches

Row 8: Purl.

Row 9: Knit.

Row 10: Purl.

Row 11: Repeat Row 1. 7 (10, 12, 15, 18) stitches

Work in stockinette stitch until the armhole measures 9 inches (equal to the left front shoulder). Cut an 18-inch tail and put the remaining stitches on a stitch holder.

The Back

Return to the needle the 62 (69, 76, 83, 90) stitches that have been on hold. For this section, you will work just these stitches, turning the work at the end of each row.

With the knit side facing you, join new yarn.

Work from Row 1 of the Front section until the **, ending with 44 (51, 56, 63, 70) stitches.

Next Row: Knit.

Next Row: Purl.

Repeat last 2 rows four more times.

Next Row (knit side): Knit 34 (38, 41, 45, 49), put the last 24 (25, 26, 27, 28) stitches on a stitch holder, k1, ssk, knit to end of round. 10 (13, 15, 18, 21) for left back (as you wear it, purl side out), 9 (12, 14, 17, 20) stitches for right back, and 24 (25, 26, 27, 28) stitches on hold for neckline.

Right Back Shoulder

Now you'll work just the 9 (12, 14, 17, 20) stitches of the right back, turning the work at the end of each row.

Row 1 (purl side): Purl.

Row 2 (knit side): K1, ssk, knit to end. (1 stitch decreased)

Rows 3 and 4: Repeat Rows 1 and 2. 7 (10, 12, 15, 18) stitches

Work in stockinette stitch until the armhole measures 9 inches (equal to the front right shoulder). Cut the yarn and put the remaining stitches on a stitch holder.

Left Back Shoulder

For this section you will just be working the 10 (13, 15, 18, 21) stitches of the left back shoulder, turning the work at the end of each row.

With the knit side facing you, join new yarn.

Row 1 (knit side): Knit to last 3 stitches, k2tog, k1. (1 stitch decreased)

Row 2 (purl side): Purl.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 two more times. 7 (10, 12, 15, 18) stitches

Work in stockinette stitch until the armhole measures 9 inches (equal to the front left shoulder). Cut the yarn and keep the stitches on your needle, ready to graft them together with the front left shoulder.

Finishing

Grafting the Shoulders

Slip the left front shoulder stitches onto the other end of your knitting needle, making sure the 18-inch tail is accessible at the point-end of the needle (depending on whether you ended your shoulders with knit or purl rows, you may have to remove the stitches from the needle and reorient them so that everything is properly arranged). With the purl sides facing each other (double check that the shoulders are not twisted), graft the left shoulders together using the Kitchener Stitch.

Arrange the right shoulder stitches onto each end of your needle, again leaving the 18-inch tail at the point end of the needle. Make sure that the work isn't twisted, and with the purl sides facing, graft the right shoulders together (again, using the Kitchener Stitch).

Knitting the Armhole Edges

NOTE: You will work all the edges with the knit side still facing you. This may seem wrong since the seam created by picking up stitches ends up on the purl side, which is the "right side", but believe it or not, after lots of experimenting, it's what I thought looked the best! Strange, I know...

With the knit side facing you and using the 16 or 20-inch needle, join new yarn to knit the 10 stitches from one of the underarm stitch holders. Then, pick up two stitches for every three rows of knitting all the way around the armhole.

Place a stitch marker, and now working in the round...

Round 1: Purl.

Round 2: Knit.

Bind off in purl stitch.

Repeat for the other armhole.

Knitting the Neckline Edge

With the knit side facing you and using the 16 or 20-inch needle, join new yarn to knit the 26 stitches from the back neckline stitch holder. Then, pick up two stitches for every three rows of knitting all the way around the neckline. Knit the stitches from the front stitch holder when you get to them.

Place a stitch marker, and now working in the round...

Round 1: Purl.

Round 2: Knit.

Bind off in purl stitch.

Weave all your ends into the knit side of the fabric. Turn your tank right side out, block it and wear it!