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Tranquil Tank Top Knit-Along -- Ribbing and Knitting the Back

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Note: This is the third installment of our Spring 2013 Knit-Along. To view previous posts, click here.

This week the weather where I live seems to be right on cue for our Spring Knit Along with sunny, warm days all this last week. Working with Cotton-Ease for this project has been perfect for these days where my windows are open and I can already be found knitting on my porch. This week I finished the back of the Tranquil Tank Top.


The back is the simpler half of this top with only ribbing and stockinette stitch (and a little shaping thrown in.) The lace will appear after we finish the bottom of the front. As I was knitting the back, I remembered a few things that will make sure this top will fit and look great. All of the sizes of this pattern call for the bottom ribbing to measure 9” before starting the stockinette stitch pattern for the upper part of the back.

When I thought I had knit the full 9” of ribbing, I remembered that measuring ribbing can be a little tricky as ribbing should be measured slightly stretched before I measure. What I thought was 9” was actually not even 8 ½” when I measured it slightly stretched. Working a longer piece of ribbing can create this effect, so it is always good to just slightly stretch your ribbing before measuring the length. Take a look at this picture below – I have just stretched the ribbing a little and it measures 9”.



My last row of my ribbing was a wrong side (WS) row, which started with 2 purls and ended with 2 purls. I want to make sure that the ribbings to both my back and my front will have 2 knits on each side of the right side (RS). (You can see this is in the first picture above.) Making sure the ribbings of the front and back are worked the same will make it much easier to sew up the sides for a very nice finish. The stockinette stitch started with a knit row on the RS, where there are 2 knit stitches on each edge of the ribbing. I will keep this in mind when I start the lace part of the front.

After binding off for the armholes, there are some decreases that I can see will be very important for the lace patterns on the front. The back is a good place to try these decreases – especially if you have never done an “ssk” before.

The 2 decreases worked while knitting this top are a Knit 2 together (K2tog) and a Slip, slip, knit (ssk). Both of these are done to decrease a stitch, but the resulting slants of these two decreases are opposite. A K2tog will result in right-slant, whereas the “ssk” is a mirror image that results in a left-slant. These two decreases will be very important for the diagonal lace patterns in each of the two upper front pieces. Luckily for us – there are two great videos on the Lion Brand website that show exactly how each of these decreases is worked. So, if you have never worked a K2tog or an ssk decrease before – the back will allow you to try these out for the armhole and the neck shaping.

One common question that I am asked as a knitting teacher is about how to measure armhole length. Measuring along a straight armhole edge will give the correct length, but measuring the shaped edge of the armhole will give an incorrect measurement that will result in a shorter measurement than the armhole needs to be. The Tranquil Tank Top pattern has a shaped armhole which can cause this problem if not measured correctly. I find the best way to measure a shaped armhole is to place a detachable marker (or safety pin) in the middle of my work, on the first row of the armhole shaping. Then, I measure straight up from my marker to my needle to get the correct armhole measurement.


For the large size that I am working, my armhole length needs to be 7” before I shape the back neck. Once again, both decreases, the K2tog and the ssk are used to shape the back of the neck. Now that the back is done, I am working the ribbing for the front which worked the same as the back. I’m looking forward to starting the lace pattern! How is your project going so far?

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