…the Road to the Design of Essential Tank, erg, I mean Everyday Tank, erg, actually this is it – Sarsaparilla Tank.
2013-2014: I fell in love with Quince n Co’s Sparrow at Warm ‘n Fuzzy. It was my first experience with organic linen and I was eager to dive in. Who’d of thought there was an organic yarn that wasn’t cotton that I wasn’t allergic to!
After swatching, I began to design a tank for summer featuring sassafras and Japanese feather lace patterns.
However, I quickly discovered the pattern would be too complex for grading, so decided instead on a St st top down tank with the sassafras lace inlaid on the front. This was perfect as I was looking for something to complement the Tidal Breeze skirt as well as something I could wear more casually. The knitting flew by; I loved the design & knew I’d wear it often. I eagerly awaited the blocking to dry for the photo shoot…
Then my education in organic linen really began!
While the pattern was in tech editing with Sashka Macievich, I discovered my swatches lied… drastically.
Unlike other cellulous fibers, organic linen (& linen in general) does not change gauge! Clarification, it changes sometimes when blocking, but then relaxes out again when wearing, so the on the needle gauge is very close if not exactly the wearing gauge. This was NOT what my swatch told me.
When worked top down, organic linen has a non-conforming aspect to it which surprised me. It was most noticeable under the arms & this would NOT do.
So after much frustration and helpful back and forth with Sashka, I ended up frogging both the tank & the pattern.
But I loved the fiber and was determined not to give up. Over the next few months, I continued to experiment and redesigned the garment… this time from the bottom up, with MUCH better results!
2015: Fast forward past the frogging and subsequent “sin bin” time & I was ready to tackle the linen tank again from a fresh perspective.
Since I approached the design as completely new, I wanted to try changing needle sizes instead of using standard decrease to waist/ increase to bust directions. Fun linen fact, it created a peplum type look without any st decreases! So once again I sang my ribbit while I rip it song.
After editing the pattern to include standard decreases/ increases, I cast on one final time. The tank knit up quickly even with my slow stitching. Before I knew it I was working the lace. After flipping the charts & rewriting the lace directions, I made a few minor adjustments to the original top down lace as I noticed a minor blob formed when starting the center of the sassafras flower. Forging ahead, I was finished by the end of the 2nd week. Conning my mom into up a photo shoot at sunrise, we hiked up to the Crab Orchard Waterfall passing many picture worthy flora along the way (see full pinterest board here). The weather was crisp, but I didn’t mind being in shorts and a tank. Actually I was surprised how comfy the tank was for hiking.
Follow Knit Eco Chic’s board Moments Along the Trail… on Pinterest.
After the photo review, I noticed one final detail that wasn’t exactly perfect. Again, unlike the cellulous fibers I was used to, the linen did not relax at all, when worked from the bottom up. The outer shoulders stood up tall. This was, of course, unacceptable. I tried reblocking, but it didn’t solve the issue. And when I manually pushed them down, I got a not so attractive punch out of fabric right about the bust. Short rows were needed!
One last minor frog to the shoulders (which, of course, included the neck and arm opening edging – bah humbug), and the tank was officially done. And this time, the tank was a keeper!
Another sunrise photo shoot – with Tidal Breeze in tow as the two designs are a perfect knit ensemble – tech editing with Lauren Cross, test knitting with some really great testers, a name it win it game in the Knit Eco Chic group, a side track into writing java script (which will be my next blog), and Viola, Bob’s your Uncle, a new pattern release: Sarsaparilla Tank.
Yes, the road to design is full of speed bumps, U-turns, and construction zones, but if you view each one as a learning opportunity, you’ll never regret the time (even years) it takes to yield a pattern worthy of a public release.