top of page

My First Knit Top

Earlier this month I was SO excited to get to meet and learn from Marie Greene of Olive Knits in person at the Inaugural Flying Needles Knitting Retreat right here in Williamsburg, Virginia! I've "known" Marie online for a while now via some mutual interests, but it wasn't until I found out that she'd be teaching a class here that I had even the remotest interest in knitting a sweater. I actually messaged her to see if I would still benefit from her class as a crocheter, ha ha! To which she replied yes, of course, but I decided that I should give KNITTING a top a go anyway. Just for kicks. I figured I might get more out of the class that way, too.

So I set out to find a beginner friendly pattern from amongst Marie's designs and I landed on one of her older patterns, the Mainsail Tee. I had some Hempathy Prints by Elsebeth Lavold in Line in the Sand in my stash, so I was all set! Except for my deplorable lack of knitting needles. Oops.

I'd heard good things about using square needles, so I shopped around a bit and decided to try Foursquare circulars from Knit Picks. In the meantime, I knit up a tiny swatch with some size 7 straight needles I already had. Two things were clear pretty quickly: 1. size 7 was too big. Good thing I ordered the size 6 needles! 2. metal needles were NO good for me with that yarn! The cotton, hemp, and modal (fibers from beechwood trees) blend was simply too slippery to use with slippery metal hooks.

Knit Swatch with Hempathy Prints from Eslebeth Lavold

So when I finally got my Knit Picks order and was able to switch to smaller wooden, extra grippy square needles, it went MUCH more smoothly! Except for having to redo the cast on several times before I was satisfied. And the fact that it took me half a dadgum hour to do it each time, if not longer. By the time I'd gotten the first few rounds done, my hands positively ached!

The first few rows of my very first knit top!

But after a break, a few more rows, and several battles with my inner perfectionist, I was moving along at a reasonable pace. I wasn't happy with the eyelets because they were different sizes and I blamed it on the twisted stitches because I had a heck of a time with those, but no matter what I tried to fix what I percieved to be a tension issue, I coudn't get them to cooperate. I've since learned that the size difference was most likely a result of the different stitches that occur before and/or after each yarn over thanks to this video tutorial by Suzanne Bryan. Basically, the distance the yarn wraps around the needle during a yarn over varies depending on the stitches on each side. So I don't feel like a crazy person anymore but then? While I was frustratedly trying to fix a problem in the wrong way? Without knowing it? I wanted to start all over SO many times!

Mainsail Tee by Marie Greene of Olive Knits after the Sleeve Divide

But I didn't pull it out. Somehow. I didn't frog it. I kept moving forward. Until I got to the sleeve divide, I was pretty skeptical. I had to look up how to put my sleeve stitches on waste yarn, but that turned out to be pretty easy and although I had to keep doing those stinkin' twisted stitches, there were no more yarn overs after the sleeve divide! So that was pretty exciting. And every round being the same made it SO much more enjoyable to knit. Next thing I knew, it was time to try it on! Now that was a little scary, but when I oh so carefully pulled it on over my head and it FIT!? Hooray! I was excited again! Can you tell, ha ha?

Look, y'all, it's a SHIRT!