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Bamboo Shell

Knitting in front of nail-biting soccer matches has its pitfalls. High tensions result in tight knitting. Jumping in celebration leads to dropped stitches. Mournful losses extinguish all desire to even pick up your needles. Oh, but when a game is good and you’re working in speedy, soft bamboo, progress really barrels along!

I did not initially envision this top to be quite so long, but before I knew it, I had breezed through 6 inches of seed stitch and 12 inches of stockinette, bidding farewell to the cropped top dancing in my head and saying hello to an elegant, hip-length version. Loving this length, but unable to quite let go of my original vision, my Bamboo Shell pattern gives instructions for both, plus an in-between waist-length style.

Back to the action… The fast-growing back of my sweater meant I needed to quickly work up and over the shoulders in order to knit a slightly shorter front. Translation: I had a lot of knitting ahead of me, but a lot of soccer too! I couldn’t have been happier.

Habu’s Dyed Bamboo is beyond delightful. It’s cool and quick, but what’s even better is its magical property of perfecting stitches. My knitting was far from steady during these past few weeks of exciting soccer action, and yet, my stitches have never looked so smooth and even.

Perhaps it is the Dyed Bamboo’s rich, saturated color and subtle sheen that highlights stitch patterns so well. Shoot, maybe it was the magic surrounding the World Cup. I know not! What I do know is that I’ll be knitting this Bamboo Shell again. Baseball anyone? -Laura

Materials

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Short, waist-length shell:

  • 1 (1, 1, 2, 2) skein(s) of Habu's Dyed Bamboo, 100% bamboo.

Medium, dropped-waist shell:

  • 1 (2, 2, 2, 2) skein(s) of Habu's Dyed Bamboo, 100% bamboo.

Long, hip-length shell (pictured here):

  • 1 (2, 2, 2, 2) skein(s) of Habu's Dyed Bamboo, 100% bamboo. I used the color Teal.

You will also need:

Gauge

27 stitches x 32 rows = 4 inches x 4 inches in stockinette stitch

Sizes

32 (36, 40, 44 1/2, 49)

  • Finished Chest Circumference: 32 (36, 40, 44 1/2, 49)) inches
  • Length from Shoulder to Underarm: 8 ½ (9, 9 ½, 10, 10 ½) inches
  • Length from Underarm to Front Bottom Edge for Short (Medium, Long) versions: 12 (14, 16) inches
  • Length from Underarm to Back Bottom Edge for Short (Medium, Long) versions: 14 (16, 18) inches

Ease: This garment is designed with a 1 to 3-inch ease around the chest.
Sample: Pictured here is Size 36, Long.

Notes

The shoulders of this shell are shaped using short rows. For our complete Short Row Tutorial, please click here. NOTE: Because the short rows are worked in seed stitch in this pattern, you do not have to pick up the wraps; simply ignore the wraps when you come to them and work the wrapped stitch normally.

wrp-t (wrap and turn): Bring yarn to front, slip next stitch purlwise from the left needle to the right needle, bring yarn to back, return the slipped stitch to the left needle, bring yarn to front, turn work.

Pattern

Back

Begin at Bottom Back Edge

Cast on 108 (122, 136, 150, 166) stitches.

Row 1 (wrong side): P2, [k1, p1] to last four stitches, k2, p2.

Row 2: K2, [p1, k1] to last four stitches, p2, k2.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until pieces measures 6 inches, or desired height of Back Edge, ending with Row 2.

Continue Back Body

Row 1 (wrong side): P2, k1, purl to last three stitches, k1, p2.

Row 2: K2, p1, knit to last three stitches, p1, k2.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until piece measures, for the short (medium, long) shell, 14 (16, 18) inches from the cast on edge, or desired height to underarm, ending with Row 2.

Shape Back Armholes

SIZES 44 1/2 AND 49 ONLY

Row 1 (wrong side): P2, k1, purl to last three stitches, k1, p2.

Row 2: K2, p1, ssk, knit to last five stitches, k2tog, p1, k2. [2 stitches decreased]

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 - ( - , - , 3, 9) more times. [ - ( - ,  - , 142, 146) stitches]

ALL SIZES

Row 1 (wrong side): P2, k1, purl to last three stitches, k1, p2.

Row 2: K2, p1, knit to last three stitches, p1, k2.

Row 3: Repeat Row 1.

Row 4: K2, p1, ssk, knit to last five stitches, k2tog, p1, k2. [2 stitches decreased]

Repeat Rows 1 - 4 four (17, 18, 17, 15) more times. [98 (86, 98, 106, 114) stitches]

SIZE 32 ONLY

Row 1 (wrong side): P2, k1, purl to last three stitches, k1, p2.

Row 2: K2, p1, knit to last three stitches, p1, k2.

Rows 3 and 4: Repeat Rows 1 and 2.

Row 5: Repeat Row 1.

Row 6: K2, p1, ssk, knit to last five stitches, k2tog, p1, k2. [2 stitches decreased]

Repeat Rows 1 - 6 seven ( - , - , - , - ) more times. [82 ( - , - , - , - ) stitches]

Shoulders and Front Armholes

Separate for Left and Right Shoulders

Row 1 (wrong side): P2, k1, purl to last three stitches, k1, p2.

Row 2: K2, p1, k14 (14, 20, 22, 24), p1, k2, place previous 20 (20, 26, 28, 30) stitches on stitch holder or scrap yarn for Right Shoulder, bind off next 42 (46, 46, 50, 54) stitches, k1, p1, knit to last three stitches, p1, k2. [20 (20, 26, 28, 30) stitches remain for Left Shoulder]

Left Shoulder

NOTE: For this portion of the pattern, you will be working back and forth in short rows, turning the work part way through each row rather than continuing to the end for the needle. For our complete Short Rows Tutorial, click here. Also, for this section, you will be working just the 20 (20, 26, 28, 30) stitches of the Left Shoulder.

Row 1 (wrong side): P2, [k1, p1] to last four stitches, k2, p2.

Row 2: K2, [p1, k1] 6 (6, 9, 10, 10) times, wrap and turn (wrp-t; see NOTES at beginning of pattern).

Row 3: [K1, p1] to last four stitches, k2, p2.

Row 4: K2, [p1, k1] 5 (5, 7, 8, 8) times, wrp-t.

Row 5: Repeat Row 3:

Row 6: K2, [p1, k1] 4 (4, 5, 6, 6) times, wrp-t.

Row 7: Repeat Row 3.

Row 8: K2, [p1, k1] 3 (3, 3, 4, 4) times, wrp-t.

Row 9: Repeat Row 3.

Row 10: K2, [p1, k1] 2 (2, 1, 2, 2) time(s), wrp-t.

Row 11: Repeat Row 3.

Row 12: Repeat Row 8.

Row 13: Repeat Row 3.

Row 14: Repeat Row 6.

Row 15: Repeat Row 3.

Row 16: Repeat Row 4.

Row 17: Repeat Row 3.

Row 18: Repeat Row 2.

Row 19: Repeat Row 3.

Left Front

Set-Up Row (right side): Cable cast on 32 (34, 34, 36, 38) stitches, working across newly cast-on stitches and remainder of row... k2, [p1, k1] nine times, p2, place marker, knit to last three stitches, p1, k2. [52 (54, 60, 64, 68) stitches]

Shape Left Front Armhole

SIZE 32 ONLY

Row 1 (wrong side): P2, k1, purl to marker, [k1, p1] to last four stitches, k2, p2.

Row 2: K2, [p1, k1] to two stitches before marker, p2, knit to last four stitches, make 1 right (m1R), k1, p1, k2. [1 stitch increased]

Row 3: Repeat Row 1.

Row 4: K2, [p1, k1] to two stitches before marker, p2, knit to last three stitches, p1, k2.

Row 5: Repeat Row 1.

Row 6: Repeat Row 4.

Repeat Rows 1 - 6 seven ( - , - , - , - ) more times. [60 ( - , - , - , - ) stitches]

ALL SIZES

Row 1 (wrong side): P2, k1, purl to marker, [k1, p1] to last four stitches, k2, p2.

Row 2: K2, [p1, k1] to two stitches before marker, p2, knit to last four stitches, make 1 right (m1R), k1, p1, k2. [1 stitch increased]

Row 3: Repeat Row 1.

Row 4: K2, [p1, k1] to two stitches before marker, p2, knit to last three stitches, p1, k2.

Repeat Rows 1 - 4 four (17, 18, 17, 15) more times. [65 (72, 79, 82, 84) stitches]

SIZE 44 1/2 AND 49 ONLY

Row 1 (wrong side): P2, k1, purl to marker, [k1, p1] to last four stitches, k2, p2.

Row 2: K2, [p1, k1] to two stitches before marker, p2, knit to last four stitches, m1R, k1, p1, k2. [1 stitch increased]

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 - ( - , - , 3, 9) more times. [ - ( - , - , 86, 94) stitches]

ALL SIZES

Cut yarn. Place 65 (72, 79, 86, 94) Left Front stitches on stitch holder or scrap yarn.

Right Shoulder

NOTE: for this section, you will be working just the 20 (20, 26, 28, 30) stitches that have been on hold for the Right Shoulder. And again, you will be working back and forth in short rows, turning the work part way through each row rather than continuing to the end of the needle.

Set-Up Row (right side): With the right side facing, join yarn, k2, [p1, k1] to last four stitches, p2, k2.

Row 1 (wrong side): P2, [k1, p1] 5 (5, 9, 10, 10) times, k1, wrp-t.

Row 2: [K1, p1] to last three stitches, p1, k2.

Row 3: P2, [k1, p1] 4 (4, 7, 8, 8) times, k1, wrp-t.

Row 4: Repeat Row 2.

Row 5: P2, [k1, p1] 3 (3, 5, 6, 6) times, k1, wrp-t.

Row 6: Repeat Row 2.

Row 7: P2, [k1, p1] 2 (2, 3, 4, 4) times, k1, wrp-t.

Row 8: Repeat Row 2.

Row 9: P2, [k1, p1] 1 (1, 1, 2, 2) time, k1, wrp-t.

Row 10: Repeat Row 2.

Row 11: Repeat Row 7.

Row 12: Repeat Row 2.

Row 13: Repeat Row 5.

Row 14: Repeat Row 2.

Row 15: Repeat Row 3.

Row 16: Repeat Row 2.

Row 17: Repeat Row 1.

Row 18: Repeat Row 2.

Right Front

Set-Up Row (wrong side): Cable cast on 32 (34, 34, 36, 38) stitches, working across newly cast on stitches and remainder of row... p2, [k1, p1] nine times, k2, place marker, purl to last three stitches, k1, p2. [52 (54, 60, 64, 68) stitches]

Next Row: K2, p1, knit to marker, [p1, k1] to last 4 stitches, p2, k2.

Shape Right Front Armhole

SIZE 32 ONLY

Row 1 (wrong side): P2, [k1,p1] to two stitches before marker, k2, purl to last three stitches, k1, p2.

Row 2: K2, p1, k1, make 1 left (m1L), knit to marker, [p1, k1] to last 4 stitches, p2, k2. [1 stitch increased]

Row 3: Repeat Row 1.

Row 4: K2, p1, knit to marker, [p1, k1] to last 4 stitches, p2, k2.

Row 5: Repeat Row 1.

Row 6: Repeat Row 4.

Repeat Rows 1 - 6 seven ( - , - , - , - ) more times. [60 ( - , - , - , - ) stitches]

ALL SIZES

Row 1 (wrong side): P2, [k1,p1] to two stitches before marker, k2, purl to last three stitches, k1, p2.

Row 2: K2, p1, k1, make 1 left (m1L), knit to marker, [p1, k1] to last 4 stitches, p2, k2. [1 stitch increased]

Row 3: Repeat Row 1.

Row 4: K2, p1, knit to marker, [p1, k1] to last 4 stitches, p2, k2.

Repeat Rows 1 - 4 four (17, 18, 17, 15) more times. [65 (72, 79, 82, 84) stitches]

SIZE 44 1/2 AND 49 ONLY

Row 1 (wrong side): P2, [k1,p1] to two stitches before marker, k2, purl to last three stitches, k1, p2.

Row 2: K2, p1, k1, m1L, knit to marker, [p1, k1] to last 4 stitches, p2, k2. [1 stitch increased]

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 - ( - , - , 3, 9) more times. [ - ( - , - , 86, 94) stitches]

ALL SIZES

Row 1 (wrong side): P2, [k1,p1] to two stitches before marker, k2, purl to last three stitches, k1, p2.

Front

Connect Right Front and Left Front

Place Front Left stitches on spare needle.

Set-Up Row (right side): Starting with the Right Front stitches, k2, p1, knit to marker, remove marker; holding the needle with the Front Left stitches behind and parallel to the needle with the remaining Front Right stitches and simultaneously working the stitches on both needles… p1, k18, p1, k2, remove marker on back needle; now working just the Front Left stitches, knit to last three stitches, p1, k2. [108 (122, 136, 150, 166) stitches]

Continue Front Body

Row 1 (wrong side): P2, k1, purl to last three stitches, k1, p2.

Row 2: K2, p1, knit to last three stitches, p1, k2.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until piece from the Connect Right Front and Left Front measures the same distance as from the beginning of the Back Armhole shaping to the top of the Back Edge.

Finish with Bottom Front Edge

Row 1 (wrong side): P2, [k1, p1] to last four stitches, k2, p2.

Row 2: K2, [p1, k1] to last four stitches, p2, k2.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until Front Edge measures 4 inches or desired height of Front Edge.

Bind off in stitch pattern.

Finish

Side Seams

Use mattress stitch to seam the sides from the top of the Front and Back Edges to the beginning of the Front and Back Armhole shaping.

Armholes

With the right side facing and beginning at the center of the underarm, pick up 1 stitch from each stitch along the entire armhole edge, binding off as you go.

Neckband

With the right side facing and beginning with the Front Right, pick up 1 stitch from each stitch along the entire neckline edge: first the Front Right, then the Right Shoulder, then the back Neck, then the Left Shoulder and finally the Front Left, binding off as you go.

Tails and Block

Weave in ends and block garment as desired.

23 Responses to Bamboo Shell


Click here to add a comment
  1. Lori says:

    I love this shell & would like to knit it. Would you have any information on the actual yardage needed for sizes? I can't imagine you'd need the whole 1400 yards for a sleeveless shell.

  2. Monique says:

    Beautiful work! Gorgeous yarn!

  3. Rhonda says:

    Love the detailing on this top. I bet it drapes like crazy in the bamboo. I always love the designs on here. Keep up the good work!

  4. KerryW says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this lovely pattern. I am in love with the drape of bamboo, so love the soft neck opening in this top.

  5. Angie D says:

    This is a very exciting pattern I can't wait to try. I LOVE working with bamboo. Could you list how many yards are needed for each size if substituting another yarn? Thank you.

  6. j.ides says:

    Dear Purlbee,
    I have opened your newsletter in several browsers, but i never get the pictures.
    It is the same for any item on your website: no pictures! Real pity!
    Is there something I need to do to also see the pictures? 'Download pictures' does not work.
    Regards,
    Juliette

  7. Barb says:

    I love this pattern and the yarn looks stunning – but quite pricey. Would you have any suggestion for yarn that would work but not quite as expensive?

    Thank you so much

  8. rebecca says:

    so pretty! Unfortunatly, my knitting skills are still a work-in-progress. This will have to wait a while.

  9. Idiosyncratic Eye says:

    Very nice! :)

  10. Kristy says:

    Hi

    love this top – what weight is the yarn? I notice that there are several weights of the recommended yarn.

  11. purl bee says:

    Hello Angie D and Lori…
    Here are the yardages for the projects:

    - Short, waist-length shell: 638 (733, 832, 945, 1063) yards of Habu's Dyed Bamboo
    - Medium, dropped-waist shell: 694 (797, 903, 1024, 1149) of Habu's Dyed Bamboo
    - Long, hip-length shell (pictured here): 751 (860, 974, 1103, 1236)yards of Habu's Dyed Bamboo

    Hope this helps! Glad you like the project. Thank so much for writing in.
    Laura

  12. purl bee says:

    Hi Barb.
    I would love to suggest some alternative yarns!
    Cascade's Ultra Pima (cotton): http://www.purlsoho.com/purl/products/item/7117-Cascade-Yarns-Ultra-Pima
    Louet's Euroflax (linen): http://www.purlsoho.com/purl/products/item/380-Louet-Euroflax-Originals
    Blue Sky's Skinny Cotton (cotton): http://www.purlsoho.com/purl/products/item/3823-Blue-Sky-Skinny-Cotton

    For Less Summery Alternatives…
    Anzula's Cricket (merino/ cashmere/ nylon): http://www.purlsoho.com/purl/products/item/8710-Anzula-Cricket
    Koigu's KPM (merino): http://www.purlsoho.com/purl/products/item/410-Koigu-Wool-Designs-Koigu-Premium-Merino-KPM
    Blue Sky's Alpaca Silk (alpaca/ silk): http://www.purlsoho.com/purl/products/item/722-Blue-Sky-Alpaca-Silk
    Blue Sky's Sport Weight (alpaca) – Solids: http://www.purlsoho.com/purl/products/item/714-Blue-Sky-100-Sport-Weight-Alpaca-Solids
    Blue Sky's Sport Weight (alpaca) – Melange: http://www.purlsoho.com/purl/products/item/1105-Blue-Sky-100-Sport-Weight-Alpaca-Melanges

    Please let me know if you have any questions about any of these yarns or anything else!
    Laura

  13. Barb says:

    Laura – thank you so much for all the great alternative suggestions – I really appreciate your help with that. And thanks, too, for ideas for cooler seasons.

    I love Purl Bee – there are always so many great projects I want to make (I just need more time :-)! don't we all?)

    Thanks again!!

  14. awesome! this is going to my queue!

  15. Bev801 says:

    Are there larger sizes beyond 49' or alterations for short rows in the bust?

  16. purl bee says:

    Hi Kristy.
    Habu's Bamboo could be classified as either a light Sport Weight or heavy Fingering Weight. I worked it up at 6 3/4 stitches to the inch and find that yarns on the thinner end of the Sport Weight spectrum, would work quite nicely as well, but so do heavier Fingering Weight yarns (especially those with a slight bloom).

    Often times, depending on the fiber or weight of a yarn, and how tightly or loosely I like it knit, a single project could take a variety of types of yarns. I hope this hasn't confused matters.

    Please let me know if you have any questions regarding a specific yarn you are considering (or about anything else!).
    Thanks,
    Laura

  17. purl bee says:

    Hi Bev801,
    Unfortunately this pattern, at the moment, only goes up to Size 49 with a 49-inch circumference bust. I appreciate your request for optional short rows at the bust. I will put this on our list of things to do! I am not sure when we will get to it, but it sure would be a great addition to the pattern.
    Thank you again for the request and for writing in.
    Best,
    Laura

  18. GG says:

    I absolutely adore you guys..you inspire me to knit pass my own mental limitations! thank you for Rocking!!

  19. Jessica says:

    I love this top! Absolutely beautiful. I’m wondering if you have ideas or suggestions on how to modify it and add some sleeves? I’d love this as a fall top!

    • Laura from the Purl Bee says:

      Hi Jessica,
      Thanks for writing in. I love that idea. Unfortunately we don’t have the resources (time) at this moment to re-work this pattern to include sleeves. But I’d love to help trouble shoot with you along the way if you decide to go for it and have any questions! Some thoughts on the topic…

      First, I would work the body in the round. You could cast on the back and front separately in order to achieve the differing lengths and then join them and work in the round up to the underarms. The decreasing for the armholes are similar to a compound raglan. It would be easy enough to work your sleeves from the cuff, up. Then join them at that point and mirror the decreases along then armhole shaping.

      Another option would be to make the top exactly as instructed here and then pick up along the armholes and work short rows to for a sleeve cap, eventually joining in the round, decreasing as you work towards the cuff.

      I’ll keep your request in mind and see if we can get something published this Fall / Winter that may be in line with what you’re looking for!
      Thanks again for writing in.
      Laura

  20. Louise Winders says:

    Just finished the Lattice Top and Cable Back Shell….They are gorgeous. Can’t wait to make the Bamboo Shell. Thank You for so many wonderful patterns….they are all so…’uptown’.

    • Laura from the Purl Bee says:

      Louise! Thank you for your kind and generous message. I am thrilled to hear you’ve been enjoying the patterns!
      Laura

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