The one where Knitty McCrankyPants gets all stabby with the needles

It’s like a billion degrees outside. OK, maybe just in the high 90’s. And I know I live in Florida and it should be hot but SWEET ZOMBIE JESUS IT HIT 96 ON THE FIRST DAY OF MAY! That’s too early to be peeling my skin off and diving into the nearest ice machine.

So I want to knit a tank top.

But here’s where my pickiness gets the better of me.

Requirements of a tank top that I will wear, knitted or store-bought:

– must have straps wide enough to cover my bra straps, I don’t care that that’s not a fashion faux pas any more, I still think it makes you look like a drunk hooker. Can have a built-in bra, if it’s supportive enough for the girls. And trust me, my girls need a lot of support.

– must not need me to wear a strapless bra, I hate those things.

– must not have some sort of open design over the boobs that either shows the bra through the design or is so open that you need to wear a second tank top underneath it. If that’s the case, why not just wear the single tank top?! OK, actually I admit there are times I like the layered look – I’m addicted to tank tops and thin long-sleeved thermals. But for some reason when I think about knitting a tank top in the next couple of months, I just want to knit a single-layer tank! Gah!

I’m having a lot of trouble finding a tank top that meets all these apparently crazy needs, that is also something of which I like the look.

Oh yeah, and specific knitting requirements –

– Must get the gauge, or close enough to the gauge that I can mess with it, to be able to use the yarn I want to use.

– Must either be a pattern I already own (in a book or magazine) or a pattern I can easily get.

After spending about two days looking through books I own and Ravelry, I think I have it narrowed down to five. I’ll try to link to someone’s Flickr pics for those that aren’t on Ravelry who might want to see what I’m talking about (you guys do still read this blog, right?). Some of these could probably be called loose t-shirts rather than tanks, but I’ve had to open my criteria a bit because apparently I’m too narrow-minded.

Pucker – Pros: blousy, cute. Cons: not the right weight yarn so would have to fudge gauge, would have to order the book. Normally I would consider ordering the book a deal breaker, but I have to wait for the yarn to come in anyway; if I ordered the book this week it would still come in before the yarn does.

Lillian – Pros: Straps and bust meet my requirements, calls for very close gauge to what I’ll be getting. Free pattern. Cons: don’t love the pattern on the bottom half, although I could modify it to one that I like.

Buttercup -Pros: blousy, cute, looks good on chesty girls. Free pattern. Cons: often shown in photos with tank top underneath; however, designer says recent update to pattern has taken that into account and modifications have been made.

Valpuri -Pros: this has been on my “want” list for a long time (y’all know how much I love the cables). Free pattern. Cons: not really the gauge I’m looking for, and if the math didn’t work out for me to be able to follow the directions for a different size, it could go badly.

Mud Flap Girl – Pros: Also been on my “want” list for a while. Already own the book that the pattern is in. Hmm, gets closer to the gauge I need than I originally though. Cons: straps are too thin, although that could be modified, perhaps.

Oh, hey! I should put a poll up!

So… anyone have any thoughts? Because actually, after writing all this out (hey, guys, thanks for listening!) I don’t feel nearly as cranky as I did before. I have some great patterns listed here and perhaps one day will get around to making all five…


  1. Under “other”, someone has suggested Cherry Bomb — this does look great on the model in the book (which I would have to order, I don’t already have it) but it’s hard to tell how it looks on an actual human being. The photos on Ravelry don’t make it look as flattering as it does in the pattern. But it does meet a lot of my requirements (straps, gauge) so that’s a pro. As a con, it’s written by someone who I have done a pattern by before and thought it was very poorly written, talked to someone else doing a different pattern by the same person and she thought it was extremely poorly written, and thus I’ve kind of dismissed that designer from my repertoire. But it does look awfully good on that model!

    • Becca

      I own the book if you want to borrow it (I suggested the pattern, actually). I don’t think the pattern works with shorter straps or a smaller neckline, which is what a lot of the people on Ravelry have done. I can scan and email a copy of the schematic if you want.

      • When you get back from Russia I may ask to take a look at the book – I don’t really think this one is going to make it to my list but if it looks well-written I’ll just go ahead and order the book. Thanks!

  2. Anne

    Gaaaah! it ate my first comment because I forgot the captcha!

    I voted for Pucker and Buttercup — really cute! I was hoping for Lillian to win (it’s my late grandma’s name) but not so much, I’m afraid. And I got hot just looking at the cables. My brain saw cables and said cables! wool! hot! and wouldn’t shut up. To be honest, Mud Flap Girl just frightened me. I think it’s the way the straps are designed.

    Looks to me like you might be making Buttercup — and I’ll be singing that song all day now.

    • My friend Samara mentioned on Facebook that Mud Flap Girl kind of reminded her of the tank tops on Battlestar Galactica – now I can’t get that out of my head. I HATED THOSE TANK TOPS. They always looked like they were on backwards and it just really drove me nuts.

      And yea, looks like it’s going to be Buttercup! Build me up!

  3. Quinn

    I really like Lillian. I like the width of the straps, the bodice, and although I’m not fond of the lower pattern either, you did say it could be changed.

    If you did decide to do Mudflap Girl, I would like to suggest you use the Feministing logo instead.


      Quite a number of people have put a different design on there – I know you’re not a knitter but I wish you were on Ravelry just so you could see them. 🙂 Someone did the old school bluebird/swallow tattoo; a couple stars, a heart, and – ooo! My favorite has hers up on Flickr!

    • How is it that I’ve never noticed Ballet? Maybe I had it confused with the Ballet T-shirt, which I don’t like. But I love the one you listed and am adding it to my faves even as I type.

      And yea, if it has sleeves it isn’t a tank. But I was finding it really hard to find things within my super picky parameters and decided I was willing to compromise on small sleeves, if nothing else. 😉

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