Friday, March 19, 2010

dj's tunic -- easy beginner knitting pattern... sort of

I call this "sort of" a pattern, because I do not literally use or write knitting patterns. I draw schematics and go from there. But to my ADHD mind, this is much easier than trying to read those laborious k2p2 lists of directions in 8 pt. type. SCREAM! I hate those. Also, cut me some slack here. It is free, after all.

The dj tunic is knit in one straight piece. Straight garter stitch. No increases or decreases. You will need to cast off for the neck and use a couple of stitch holders, then cast back on when the back of the neck resumes. If you can visualize that and if you can get comfortable with my penchant for stream-of-consciousness non-directions, you can do this.

I made a large tunic, not because I am overweight, but because I am temporarily not svelte so just deal with it, sister. So whereas everything I write is for a large size, if your own hips are slimmer or larger than size 14, then please adjust accordingly. And if they are smaller, btw, I hate your guts. There. It had to be said.

Please select a yarn that is dk gauge or smaller. I have some here. You want a nice, soft drape to the garment, so that the drop shoulders will flutter off into cap sleeves, perhaps revealing one strap of your tasteful camisole worn underneath. Length falls to low hip on me. Size large requires roughly 1100 yards.

Do a swatch of the yarn of your choice on the needles of your choice and figure out your stitches per inch.

Let's say you have chosen a yarn and needle combination that gives you 5 st per inch. My size large tunic has a 50-inch hip measurement, which is a generous, loose fit. But the front hem is only half of the circumference of the tunic, so you will cast on 25 inches worth of stitches. 25 inches x 5 st per inch = 125 st.

FRONT: If you would like a more finished edge that will not curl, cast on a number that is divisible by 4 and work in k2, p2 ribbing for half an inch. Then switch over to straight knit, all the way across, every row, which is what we call garter stitch. But if you don't feel like doing a ribbing, just use garter stitch throughout. When the piece is about 18 inches long--or roughly from crotch to armhole--divide the stitches by three. Use your judgment here. I'm short in height and I'm short-waisted. You may want the length shorter or longer, according to taste.

NECKLINE: You are dividing the stitches into thirds. Put one shoulder on a stitch holder. Cast off the center third to make room for your noggin. The other shoulder stays on your needles. Continue knitting it for five inches. When you finish with one shoulder, put that on a stitch holder and knit the other shoulder for five inches. When the shoulders appear even, it is time to join them by casting on the same number of stitches that you cast off five inches ago. I don't get too precise with these numbers when I work. If I divided the stitches into approximate thirds, then casting on about 1/3 will work fine. If anybody gets so close to me that he is staring at my neckline and counting the stitches, it's time to poke his eyes out. Ya know what I mean? Here is a turquoise work in progress that looks a bit squished, but it isn't. I had to scooch up the stitches to keep them on the needles for the photo.

BACK: Knit in garter stitch until the total piece measures 43 inches. Allow a little room for the k2, p2 ribbing at the end if you started with ribbing. If not, just knit your heart out to the very end.

The five-inch neck opening is off-center in this piece. I've got about 3.5 inches skewed to the front while 1.5 inches of the neck opening are skewed to the back. I did this so that the back of the tunic wouldn't be high up against the back of my neck. You don't have to do it this way. Heck, like I'm going to tell you what to do? I think not. You can have the neck centered between the front and back, closer to a tabard. Or you can have the neck opening entirely in the front. If you have a low neckline in the front, you will reveal more skin or more undergarment, so take that into consideration. I didn't design this to be worn alone. It has a low neckline and wide armholes on me.

When you are finished, try the tunic on with the side seams pinned together. Mark where armholes should go. The lower they are, the more slouchy and airy the tunic will be, but you will also be showing more of the shirt or whatever you plan to wear underneath. Then sew the side seams with matching yarn.

If you crochet, this would be a great variation in a loose, open crochet stitch. Make sure you use a soft, light, pliant yarn or you'll end up with a bulletproof vest.

Best wishes!

Visit the Life's an Expedition yarn store on Etsy.
dj runnels
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