Got a weekend and some free hands? The Solstice Tie-Shoulder Tank Top is an easy beginner knit that you can whip up quickly for a late summer bbq. The pattern uses basic knit stitches and i-cord ties for a casual, lightweight top. Make it in Lion Brand’s Hand Dyed Heaven for an extra shot of color in your summer wardrobe!
I find knitting and crocheting in the summer to be hard. Not just because summers with 2 kids is filled with craziness, but summer garments with yarn are always a bit heavier than I’d like for the humid East coast afternoons. Of course, I could make airy, feathery pieces, but gosh, that’d take me forever to do, and it’d be winter by the time I’d finish! So I’m always on the look-out for great summer yarns with that cool touch feel, because honestly, wool is the last thing I want to feel on my body when it’s 90 degrees out.
Lion Brand Yarn just recently came out with their first “hand-dyed” offering, a 100% nylon, light worsted weight yarn called Hand Dyed Heaven. It comes in several pastel colorways, with each colorway a mix of soft tones scattered throughout the yarn. This yarn is incredibly soft, super easy to work with, and has that cool touch feel that I love. It doesn’t snag on the needles or on the dry skin on my hands. The drape is light and wonderful. All of these qualities made this a great yarn for summer garments!
The best part of Hand Dyed Heaven is, of course, the hand-dyed-ness of it. Independently hand-dyed skeins of yarn can get quite expensive, so this is a great opportunity to try working with a randomly variegated yarn at a much less expensive price point. This yarn isn’t truly variegated, or ombre; it’s more that there’s bits and pieces of coordinating colors all along a length of yarn. It’s such an easy way to add some contemporary color to your garments and to your wardrobe, without having to really think too hard. The sample shown uses Champ, but I can see beautiful tank tops in all the color choices!
When working with hand-dyed yarns, you’ll want to make sure you’re working with 2 skeins at the same time. Alternate the skein every 2 rows to avoid pooling of colors that may occur. The second skein adds in that extra bit of randomness and variety.
You’ll also want to note that Hand Dyed Heaven comes in skeins, not pre-wound cakes or balls. This means you’ll need to untie the skein and then wind it into a cake before use. I use a Stanwood Needlecraft Wooden Umbrella Swift and a Stanwood Needlecraft 10-oz Yarn Winder, that I bought on Amazon. If you choose to only buy one thing, I would recommend the yarn winder over the swift. You can always drape the skein over your knees, a chair back, or have your kids/husband/friend hold the skein, but the yarn winder is such a lifesaver. If you can’t get your hands on either one, no worries! You can always wind a cake by hand around a dowel or a pen, as shown in the video below!
No matter how you get your skeins into cakes, make sure to wind 2 cakes at a time, so you can pull from both cakes as you knit.
The Solstice tank is basically made from 2 identical polygon panels, seamed together up the sides to the armhole. I guess with it being identical panels, it’s best to add a washable tag on one side to differentiate front from back, but it does make the construction easy.
Each panel is worked in stockinette stitch, from the bottom up, with a few rows of garter at the bottom to help reduce curling. Once you get the panel to the bottom of the armhole, whatever your desired length may be, it’s time to work decreases to create the curve for the armhole. Remember that since there’s ties at the top of the tank, you won’t be working the armhole all the way up to the shoulder line. Instead, it’s just a simple parabolic curve up to a few inches short of your collarbone.
When you’re ready to bind off, leave 3 stitches on scrap yarn, the bind off the top of the panel, up until the last 3 stitches. Those last 3 stitches, along with the first 3 stitches, will be used to create the i-cord ties. Work a knit i-cord on either side of the panel for as long as you’d like the ties to be. And that’s it. Make 2 panels, and then seam them up using a knit mattress stitch, working your needle under the horizontal bars between the v’s of each row.
When you’re ready to wear your new tank, loosely tie the shoulder ties to gauge the fit, and then tighten those knots. Because the i-cord is made from yarn, the ties will stretch, so it’ll take some adjusting the first few times you wear it. I chose to tie pretty secure knots, and probably will leave them in place instead of untying and tying each time I wear it.
The Solstice Tie-Shoulder Tank Top Pattern
You can find the free knitting pattern for sizes XS to 3XL by scrolling below, or you can grab the printable and downloadable PDF from my pattern shops with the following links. The full kit, which includes the yarn and a black and white printed copy of the pattern, is also available through Lion Brand Yarn.
- 3 (4, 4, 4, 5, 6, 6) balls of Lion Brand Hand Dyed Heaven (70g/2.5oz, 175 yds/160m)
- US Size 9 (5.5 mm) knitting needles, 40” circular
- (Optional) US Size 9 (5.5mm) double pointed knitting needles
- tapestry needle
- st(s) – stitch(es)
- K – knit
- P – purl
- yo – yarn over
- k2tog – knit 2 together
- ssk – slip slip knit
- slwyf – sl st with yarn in front
Skill level: Level 2 – Easy
Gauge: 16 sts and 22 rows in 4 inches of stockinette stitch, blocked.
Sizes XS (S, M, L, XL, 2XL, 3XL)
Finished Bust: 33 (37, 41, 45, 49, 53, 57)”
Width of Front/Back: 17 (19, 21, 23, 25, 27, 29)”
– Shown in S modeled with 3” of positive ease
– Make 2 panels and seam the sides up together to where the arm starts to decrease.
– Knit the first and last st in every row – these 2 stitches are selvedge and will be on the inside of the tank once the sides are seamed.
– You can adjust the length of the tank top by working less or more rows of the Stockinette section.
– Check out https://youtu.be/700AG7Kvbhc for a video tutorial on how to knit the i-cord, which is used for the straps.
– The i-cord straps are tied together to create the shoulder straps, so they can be made any length you’d like. Please note that the straps will stretch slightly with wear.
Instructions for Knit Panel (Make 2)
Cast on 68 (76, 84, 92, 100, 108, 116) sts.
Row 1 (WS): Knit across. Turn.
Row 2 (RS): Knit across. Turn.
Row 3 (WS): K1, purl across to last st, k1. Turn.
Row 4 (RS): Knit across. Turn.
Row 5 (WS): K1, purl across to last st, k1. Turn.
Repeat Rows 4 and 5 another 40 times (82 rows total), or until your stockinette section is approximately 15 inches.
Place markers on either end of the row.
Row 1 (RS): K1, slwyf, k1, 2 ssk, k across to last 7 sts, 2 k2tog, k1, slwyf, k1. Turn. ((4 sts dec’d, 64 (72, 80, 88, 96, 104, 112))
Row 2 (WS): K1, purl across to last st, k1. Turn.
Repeat Rows 1-2, 0 (2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9) more times. . ((64 (64, 68, 68, 72, 72, 76))
Row 3: K1, slwyf, k1, ssk, k across to last 5 sts, k2tog, k1, slwyf, k1. (2 sts dec’d, 62 (62, 64, 64, 70, 70, 74))
Row 4: K1, purl across to last st, k1. Turn.
Repeat Rows 3-4, 3 (2, 4, 3, 5, 4, 6) more times. ((56 (58, 58, 60, 60, 62, 62)).
Row 5: K1, slwyf, k1, ssk, k across to last 5 sts, k2tog, k1, slwyf, k1. ((2 sts dec’d, 54 (56, 56, 58, 58, 60, 60))
Row 6: K1, purl across to last st, k1. Turn.
Row 7: Knit across. Turn. ((54 (56, 56, 58, 58, 60, 60))
Row 8: K1, purl across to last st, k1. Turn. ((54 (56, 56, 58, 58, 60, 60))
Repeat Rows 5-8, 3 (3, 2, 2, 1, 1, 0) more times. ((48 (50, 52, 54, 56, 58, 60)
Row 9: K1, slwyf, k1, ssk, k across to last 5 sts, k2tog, k1, slwyf, k1. ((2 sts dec’d, 46 (48, 50, 52, 54, 56, 58))
Row 10: K1, purl across to last st, k1. Turn. ((46 (48, 50, 52, 54, 56, 58))
Bind off for straps:
→ K3, move sts to scrap yarn -> this becomes the right strap. Bind off until last 2 sts. (You should have 3 total sts left on needles). K2 -> this becomes the left strap.
→ Work i-cord on left strap until strap is about 8 inches. Bind off.
→ Go back and transfer the right strap stitches onto needles. Work i-cord on right strap until strap is about 8 inches. Bind off.
*Note: If you’re using circular needles, you can keep both i-cords on your needles and move them from one end to the other to work the i-cord. You can also switch to double pointed needles for working the i-cord.
→ Lay the front and back pieces right sides up next to each other. Work the mattress stitch under the horizontal bars of each selvedge stitch. The ridge is on the inside because the selvedge is folded inwards.
→ Seam up both sides until stitch markers indicating the start of the decrease section.
→ Tie straps together to wear.
That’s it! I hope you find this tie-shoulder tank top to be a fun and easy addition to your summer wardrobe! I’d love to see your creations too – pop your photo on Instagram and tag me (@1dogwoof) for a chance to be featured on my feed!