Feb 23, 2007


I was not going to do it. I mean, I am not doing much right now, but I was just going to browse the site, lurk really. But then the generous Emily sent me two balls of Calmer gratis, I opened the package, felt the yarn and immediately started a swatch. This yarn is amazing. Softer than a baby's bottom (I think). I have 2 skeins and thought to design an uber simple baby tank. Soon it will be blazing in SoCal so little tanks would be cool and comfortable. I have always wanted to use the basketweave stitch and thought to add them in as side panels for a little bit of interest.

Here is the thing. I have enough knowledge to get myself to the neckline and in planning, I realize I fall short of understanding how to decrease at the neck line to create a neck/head opening that will accommodate the slightly larger than average heads of the beans. I am thinking of a nice scoop neck with buttons at one shoulder to ensure adequate ‘head clearance’ but how do I figure the decreases? Is it something I should experiment with when I get there or is there a formula out there to address this? I plan to use the classic white baby shirt/singlet for size reference as I have no model yet. Approach will be: knit in the round until armpit length, BO armpit stitches (5% sound good? Like EZ’s formula?) continue with front/back and tackle neck line. Any suggestions will be much appreciated.


Anonymous said...

I think this will be a very stylish child's top. I love your idea of the side detail.

Emily said...

I'm glad you like the yarn. And I'm sure that someone here has the knowledge to help you.

Joanna said...

Hi Mames! Your sketch is so cute! I have never knit or designed anything for babies but I can give you some general guidelines for the neck line. First, figure out how many stitches you'll want to bind off or decrease away. If you know how wide you want each strap to be (say 10%, for example), then this is easy. If you're using 5% of your total for each armpit (x2 armpits = 10%) and 10% for each strap (x4 strap sections = 40%), then you've accounted for 50% of your stitches, and the other 50% will be bound off or decreased in the neckline (25% on the front and 25% on the back).

As far as shaping the neckline, there really are an infinte number of possibilities! One simple way to make a scoop neck is to bind off the middle 1/2 of your neckline stitches, then decrease one stitch at the neck edge every RS row (on both the left and the right, which you'll have to work separately at this point). Once you get down to the number of stitches you want left for the straps, knit straight to the desired length. Do the same thing on the back, but start an inch or two higher.

This will create a neck that is scoop-y, but also a bit angular. You can curve it more by spacing out your decreases, or by plotting the shape of the neck you want onto graph paper and letting the grid tell you where you'll need to decrease (though I've never done this myself). Or, the angularity might be just fine for a baby tank.

I hope this is helpful!

Marnie said...

I don't do a heck of a lot of baby designing but I've always found it pretty easy to sketch out the proportions that I like.
I can give you three possible suggestions.
1. Go to knitty or another free pattern site and find a piece with a similar neckline. Look at their construction and use that as a basis for making a similar neck.
2. Download some actual size graph paper (you can scale it to 50%, you are really looking for proportion) and draw out a stitch for stitch representation of the piece. First draw the part you know, then lightly sketch in the neck and clean it up when it looks right.
3. Grab one of the recipient's shirts with the same neckline and use that to construct your own.

In general, a crew neck will start with casting off a bunch of stitches in the middle of the piece and then working more gradual decreases until you've reached the entire width of the neckline. Depending on the depth of the neck, you might work some additional rows straight.

I hope that helps.

mames said...

thanks ladies. i like the graph idea and the percentages, i'll get right to it.

Julia (MindofWinter) said...

I'm realizing that we are going to need a links page for resources. For now, you should check out my links page and Marnie's for resources. The Craft Yarn Counsel publishes standard measurements for babies, children, men and women, and these can be a really good place to start. The link is: CYC Standards
My "BIG LIST" of links can be reached from my side-bar, or accessed directly at:
Scroll down for Techniques and Resources. Hopefully with all this first-step hints you can get started. Let us know when you have more specific questions. The tank is adorable.