Repurposing new yarn from old sweater (continued)

Previously I shared that I no longer liked an old sweater of mine and thought "hey, I bet I could repurpose that yarn into something fun that I love!" I took the plunge and ripped apart aka frogged my 10 year old cotton sweater and wound up all the yarn. It was actually a very satisfying feeling, you can read all about it here "5 lessons I learned while frogging my sweater".

Out with the Old

I've been brainstorming ways to use the old/new yarn and settled on a tank top that could also be a sweater vest. Cotton yarn can be difficult to knit with because it is actually a very heavy fiber. It can cause your item to droop in ways you don't want. I had knit the previous sweater in stockinette stitch in a smaller needle size so it was too compressed and felt very heavy. And there is NO STRETCH in plain cotton! If you want stretch in your finished item you need to use ribbing.

For my tank design I used several changes to help improve the use of the yarn.

1. I used larger needles, size 7 (previously size 6)
2. Selected a mock fisherman's rib to use all over to have stretch and lovely drape
3. Worked with flat pieces so that the color changes were longer segments and the stripes were a bit more subtle.

After doing some measurements to see how wide to make the tank to fit the bust, I decided to add some cross stitches to get a diagonal design around the sides of the body. I think it will even add some waist shaping and also break up the horizontal stripes from the yarn. Because I'm working flat I can't really tell how it's going to fit along the body until I sew up the sides, so hopefully it all turns out well and exactly how I've imagined it in my head!


This isn't the first time I've tried this style tank. Let me share the background on the evolution of the ribbed tank. It started with some inspiration on Pinterest
Which led me to attempting to reverse engineer the designs to create my own tank using bamboo yarn.

This tank looks a lot like the Pinterest versions, so I was pretty proud of myself- only problem was the fit. It was very wide because I didn't account for the stretch of the ribbing, so for my next attempt I would take bust measurements for a "stretched" gauge fit and cast on fewer stitches. 

Construction of New Tank

Following the same construction as for the bamboo tank, I cast on stitches for the front on straight needles and knit the mock fisherman's rib until the arm shaping, then used a second ball of yarn to split the front and used decreases to make the v-neck shape. The newly added left and right crossed stitches from the back align with the crossed stitches on the front to make one giant diagonal that wraps from the back of the tank around the front along the ribs/waist. It is a shorter tank, not quite a crop top but designed to hit the top of high waisted jeans (which are super popular right now). The back is slightly longer than the front and I'll likely skip the v-neck shaping in back to create a simple bind off along the back neck and use kitchener stitch to sew the front and back straps together.

To me this is a gorgeous way to use cotton yarn! This ribbing (P1, K1 below) allows the tank to be airy and squishy, it really lightens up the cotton. It looks like a summer linen shirt which I think will be so comfortable to wear. Again only downside to working flat is I can't try it on as I go and see how it looks!! But it's already a way better design, and as I've learned, if the fit and look isn't quite right I need to not be afraid and RIP IT OUT to get it right before finishing the object.

What do you think of this cotton tank? Will this design work out or do you have other suggestions? What experiences have you had working with cotton yarn?

I'd like to do posts in the future about different yarn materials and how to select the best one for your knit projects. Follow me on instagram @redfeatherknits and subscribe to stay updated on my progress on the tank and future posts to my blog.


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