Knitting

A Tegna in Lockdown

For long-time readers of this blog, you’ll remember this project. This is my Tegna top, started way back in 2018. It was my first proper knitted clothing item with sleeves, a step up from the Sycamore vest that I knitted, and man, did it take a long time to knit! I originally started this project in September 2018 and I officially weaved in my last end during UK Lockdown 2.0 near the end of 2020. This project has been a journey and a half!

I’m sure all of you know of the Tegna pattern by Caitlyn Hunter, owner and designer of the Boylandknitworks company – it was extremely popular on Instagram and Ravelry a few years back – but if you haven’t, this pattern is a smock style loose top with fitted sleeves that has a pretty lace border at the bottom. It recommends to use a 4ply/fingering weight yarn and if you scroll through the projects on Ravelry, there are hundreds of finished projects showing that it looks great in solid or tonal or variegated yarns. It looks great in everything!

That’s why I wanted to make it. Plus there’s this project by Ravelry user LDirk7 which showed her looking really cute in her Tegna top over a pair of denim shorts and I really wanted to recreate this look for myself. It gives a really summery, relaxed, almost boho vibe that I really love in the summer and I thought I would wear the hell out of it during the Spring or Summer whether it be with jeans or shorts.

The Yarn

I chose to knit mine using some Oh So Fine Sock by Cat and Sparrow yarns, a local to me indie dyer that I had the chance to meet at a WoolWork (formerly Knit British) meetup in the city of Bath. The colourway of the yarn is Dark and Stormy and it is a gorgeous dark green that has been overdyed with some black and blue, giving this really moody, complex colour. Since the yarn contains silk (45%), it gives a lovely sheen and has a lovely drape to it. It was genuinely a lovely yarn to work with! I enjoyed the feeling of it in my hands.

It took me about 2 and a half skeins of yarn to make this Tegna with my tension, though I didn’t realise I would need the last half skein until I was almost at the top! I was so lucky that Cat and Sparrow yarns still had a skein from the same batch (even after a year!) to sell me so I could finish it. That totally saved my project!

The Pattern

As my tension is always a bit tighter that patterns want or state in their instructions, I chose to make the medium sized version of the top using 4mm circular needles.

It’s a bottom up knitting pattern (you start at the bottom and knit your way up the top) and I initially found it hard to get the lace pattern started – I kept twisting my cast on when connecting the round! I think it took me like three times to get going! But generally speaking, the lace pattern is simple and repetitive. I would recommend that it’s super important to have your stitch markers in place for the each of the repeats, which should help make the lace section more manageable. This should help you avoid mistakes! But overall, for my first attempt at doing any sort of lace pattern, I found it enjoyable to knit; I had to concentrate when I was doing it for sure but I found it easy to do.

I did decide to do a modification to the pattern design when knitting it. The pattern has a straight body for the smock shape, but this doesn’t really suit my body shape in my opinion. I think tops that have a little bit more shaping in the sides of the waist look better on me so I decided to add a bit of waist shaping, which would give the top more of a peplum look instead of a smock shape. Now I totally winged this part; I did it totally by eye, holding the bottom of the top against me where I would want it to sit and then adding some k2tog (knit 2 together) and SSK (slip slip knit) stitches at the side to take the sides in until I reached my natural waist and then adding m1r (make one right) and m1l (make one left) stitches to take the stitch count back to the original stitch count to continue knitting for the upper torso. This is officially the first ever modification I have ever done to a pattern and to my eye, it looks great and it’s exactly what I was hoping for. It gives such a slight waist shaping, tailoring it a little more, but still retaining most of the flowly, smock-like style. I think it looks better for it, which is essentially all that really matters since I’m the one wearing it.

One small gripe with the pattern in general is the armhole sizing. It’s a known issue with the pattern and is mentioned in the project notes on Ravelry and the pattern. The armholes are quite small and really fitted so it’s important to choose a size based on the armhole size you have. You’ll find that it’ll mean you’ll make a size way bigger than what you might usually make. Another way to combat this is to add more rows to lengthen the armholes but be aware that this will affect the bust area so you may have to take that into consideration and do some other alterations.

As a first clothing knitting project, this was a huge undertaking for me, hence why it took me so long to finish it. Once you’re past the lace section, it really is endless stockinette stitch and when you’re doing that in 4ply/fingering weight yarn, it takes a while. My progress would get hampered by being side tracked by other projects I wanted to make, or because I didn’t have that third ball of yarn I needed or I’d lose my motivation to work on it at times, so it would sit languishing in a project bag. At the end, all I had to do was weave in a couple of ends and it still took me months to do that! So although it is a good pattern for beginners or experienced beginners, if you’re not used to doing large, mainly repetitive projects then beware; this could be a project that doesn’t work for you.

But I don’t want to dissuade anyone from making the project. It’s a lovely top, one I think I’ll wear a lot and as much as the knitting process was a bit tedious, I am really happy with the outcome and I’m sure you will too.

So what do you think? Do you think you’ll make a Tegna in the future? Or have you already made one? Leave your project notes in the comments section below so I can see your finished Tegnas!

Outfit: Tegna top knitted out of Cat and Sparrow Oh So Fine Sock yarn in the Dark and Stormy Colourway (£21.50 for 100g/400m) and Zara black skinny jeans

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