Once upon a time, I went to Stitches West with a few friends. As we wandered the stalls full of beautiful yarns, my friend picks up a skein and says “Look!”. I turned my head and fell in love. It was as simple as that. It also wasn’t the last time I fell in love that afternoon, but that’s another story. This is the story of Malabrigo Yarn’s Caracol in Natural, a variegated black and white, thick and thin beauty. I only bought 2 skeins, you know, “to play with”, but then had to make something, and with 2 skeins, this is what I made. After much work and procrastination, I’m excited to share with you my Caracol Tank Top knitting pattern!
I was inspired by the large armholes in the Tala Tank by Wool and the Gang, and the relaxed look it lends the garment. With only 2 skeins of Malabrigo Caracol, I wanted something loose-fitting and cool for summer that didn’t take up a ton of yarn. The thick and thin nature, and the variegation, of this yarn also adds some difficulty, so I hoped that a simple shape and a wide gauge would cover any inevitable mistakes I would make.
The two sides of the tank are identical except in the way the ribbing is laid out, which makes it just that much easier to complete. The bulk of the garment uses a basic stockinette stitch. I really love the uniform look of a loose stockinette stitch, even with this crazy yarn. And as I’m just starting out with this knitting thing, I’m sticking to the basic stitches – garter stitch poncho, seed stitch scarf, and now this stockinette stitch tank.
We’re aiming for simplicity folks.
As usual, I decide on a weekend that I MUST have something, needles in this case, RIGHT NOW, but I’m too late to order on Amazon Prime One-Day Shipping to have my needles delivered that evening, so I go searching for local yarn stores. Lo and behold, I found a LYS seriously about 8 minutes from my house. Seriously. As in, seriously in trouble for my wallet! I started off with size 15 knitting needles, and eventually moved up to size 19 (15mm) knitting needles, and still forced myself to knit loosely to achieve the meshiness I wanted <- is that a word? I also like to use circular needles as I find them more versatile, but that’s a personal preference.
These Knitter’s Pride Dreamz needles* have a gorgeous color and I didn’t have any problems with them snagging on the yarn.
Once you get to the point where the collar begins, I found it so much easier to use a stitch marker to help me count how many stitches I was casting off, as well as how many stitches I’d knit and how many more I’d have to knit to finish the row.
Also, because I used a circular needle with a long wire, I didn’t need a separate stitch holder to hold one strap while I worked on the other. I was able to keep the stitches on the circular needle the whole time and work with the ends of the needles on the active strap. I’m not sure if would work in call cases, I’m just sharing what worked for me.
Because I had 2 skeins of yarn to work with, each being ~90 yards, I knew I needed to finish one side of the tank top with 1 skein of yarn. Any yarn left over would be used to stitch up the seams. After all was done, I got pretty darn close to using up every last bit of yarn. So it’s noted in the instructions below, you may want to have an extra skein of yarn with you so you won’t be as stressed as I was about running out of yarn!
Once both pieces were finished and seamed together, I blocked them on my blocking mats. The garment came out larger than what it had looked like on the hook, so my recommendation is to block to the finished requirements shown in the diagram below.
The free pattern below is for size Small, which is what I made for myself. You can purchase an ad-free, comment-free and printable PDF that includes stitch counts and measurements for other sizes, from XS to XL, from my pattern shops:
- 2 balls of Malabrigo Caracol Yarn, shown in Natural (Note – nearly all of 2 balls were used for the Small size. You may wish to purchase an extra ball when making this size for assurance.)
- Length of yarn or thread for seaming
- 1 Knitter’s Pride 19/15mm Dreamz Fixed Circular Needles, 40″*
- Clover Quick Locking Stitch Marker Set*
- stitch holder
- tapestry needle
- P – purl
- K – knit
- sts – stitch(es)
- k2tog – knit 2 together
- Skill level Easy
- Gauge is 10 rows, 7 stitches in a 4 inch block.
- Sizes: Extra Small (Small, Medium, Large, Extra Large); shown in Small size modeled with 1.5″ of positive ease
- Finished Bust Size: 33.5 (35.5, 40.5, 42.5, 47)”
- Unless otherwise noted, slip the first stitch of every row.
- Block to finished measurements.
Caracol Tank Top Knitting Pattern
Row 1: Cast on 33 sts.
Row 2: [K1, p1] 16 times. K1. Turn.
Row 3: [P1, k1] 16 times. P1. Turn. (Rows 2 through 8 are 1×1 rib)
Rows 4-8: Repeat Rows 2-3.
Row 9-10: Knit all stitches across. Turn
Row 11: Knit all sts across. Turn.
Row 12: Purl all sts across. (Stockinette st)
Rows 13-36: Continue in Stockinette st. (33 sts)
Row 1: Cast off 1 st, knit the rest of the row. Turn. Insert removable st marker to mark your place. (32 sts)
Row 2: Cast off 1 st, purl the rest of the row. Turn. Insert removable st marker to mark your place. (31 sts)
Row 3 (Dec row): Slip 1, k2tog, k25, k2tog, k1. Turn. (29 sts)
Row 4: Purl the row. Turn. (29 sts)
Rows 5-10: Repeat Rows 3-4, 3 more times. (23 sts)
Separate Right and Left Sides
Row 1: Slip 1, k2tog, k7, cast off 3, k7, k2tog, k1. Turn. Place first 9 sts of row on st holder. (9 sts remain each side)
(Full instructions: Once you finish the first k7, add a stitch marker to your work. K2, loop 2nd st over the 1 st -> 1st st cast off. K1, loop 2nd st over 1st st -> 2nd st cast off. K1, loop 2nd st over 1 st -> 3rd st cast off. At this point, there should be 1 loop to the left of your stitch marker, this is the 1st st of the ‘k7’. Knit 6 more, k2tog, k1 to finish the row)
Row 2: Purl 9. Turn. (9 sts) You’re now working on one of the straps.
Row 3: Slip 1, k2tog, k3, k2tog, k1. (7 sts)
Row 4: Purl the row. (7 sts)
Row 5:Slip 1, k2tog, k1 k2tog, k1. (5 sts)
Row 6: Purl the row. (5 sts)
Row 7: Knit 1 row. (5 sts)
Row 8: Purl 1 row. (5 sts)
Rows 9-14: Continue in Stockinette st, or until piece meas 29” from cast-on edge, ending with wrong side row.
→ Cast off.
→ Place sts from st holder on needle. Attach yarn to other side of Row 1 of previous section, and repeat Rows 2-14 for other strap.
Row 1: Cast on 33 stitches.
Row 2: [P1, k1] 16 times. P1. Turn.
Row 3: [K1, p1] 16 times. K1. Turn. (Rows 2 through 8 is 1×1 rib)
Rows 4-8: Repeat Rows 2-3.
→ Repeat Rows 9-60 from front piece.
→ Place front and back pieces, wrong sides together.
→ Use a mattress stitch to seam up the side from the bottom ribbing up to removable st markers at beginning of armhole shaping.
→ Use a mattress stitch to seam up both shoulders.
→ Block your work by submerging gently in cold water, and laying flat to dry to meet finished measurements.
Check out my pattern shops on Craftsy and Etsy where you can purchase printable PDFs of my latest crochet patterns. These PDFs are formatted without comments or ads, and have instructional photos at the bottom for optional printing.
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