FO Friday: Kimono-Sleeve Tee

Laotto Kimono-Sleeve Tee (4)

This is me attempting to keep a nice smile (and failing) while Megan-Anne yells at me to “make love to the camera.”


Sound the bells and pop open a bottle of wine, I finished my Kimono-Sleeve Tee! And it only took me an entire calendar year.

I could blame my slowness on the fact that I’m a crocheter and it was only the second garment I’ve ever knitted. Plus, it was my first time doing lace. But the reality is that I’ve always had a problem with project monogamy. At any given moment, I have at least one sock in progress, a crochet project or two, and a couple of garments in the works. Since I casted on the Kimono-Sleeve Tee almost exactly a year ago, I actually started and finished a few accessories and a couple of sweaters for my nieces.

Laotto Kimono-Sleeve Tee (2)

This is the face of a woman, who suffers from PADD, Project Attention Deficit Disorder.

I know some people are very passionate about project monogamy, and sometimes I wish I were them. I would’ve gotten to wear my Kimono-Sleeve Tee last fall and again this spring. But, I firmly believe in having a project for every occasion. Simple socks are great for on the go knitting or Netflixing. Garments are perfect for long car rides, which is why I made the most progress on the Kimono-Sleeve Tee when I was traveling.

There’s something about being stuck somewhere, whether it’s on the beach or in car, that makes me hyper focused on my knitting. I magically become a faster knitter and zoom through. It makes me feel relaxed and accomplished.

I found the pattern for the Kimono-Sleeve Tee by Deborah Newton in the Spring/Summer 2015 issue of Vogue Knitting and immediately fell in love with it. The textures. The lace panel. The V-neck.  Plus, I’m a sucker for comfy looking pullovers.

Just look at how comfy and cute this model looks in this top!

Side Note: You might recognize Deborah Newton’s name from her books Good Measure: Knit a Perfect Fit Every Time or Finishing School: A Master Class for Knitters. I’ve never had the pleasure of reading the latter, but I’ve spent time flipping through a friend’s copy of Good Measure. While I didn’t really care for many of the patterns, she covers the essentials of fit with well-written instructions. The book is great for knitters that want to dip into design.

I can’t tell you how many times I flipped through that issue of Vogue before I worked up the courage to ask Megan-Anne if she thought I could knit it. The lace panel seemed terrifyingly difficult at the time. Who could possibly YO and then k2tog! Inconceivable!


Of course, if you’ve ever had the pleasure of attending one of Megan-Anne’s classes or watched our how-to videos, you probably already know what she said to me: “Don’t over think it.” The only way to become a better knitter and learn new techniques is to challenge yourself by making something above your current skill level. So, I snuck into our dye studio and liberated a few hanks of Vacation Yarn in Laotto.

In case my accountant is reading this — hi, Gerry! — those skeins were marked down as marketing materials. I Instagramed the hell out of it. It counts, Gerry. Don’t be an old fuddy-duddy.

The garment is worked flat from the bottom up and is seamed later, which meant that I started with the hard part first: the lace. It was a nightmare at first. Progress moved at an excruciating slow pace. Then, there was half a minute where I thought I had the hang of it, got too cocky, and managed to jack it all up. You won’t find a picture of that. I was a premenstrual, weepy mess. Ripping back four rows felt as if I’d lost four hours of my life to a Sisyphean task. I would never get the hang of lace or finish the top. I tried to convince Megan-Anne to take over and knit it for me. She served up a big-fat no with a slice of cake and a cup of coffee to lessen the sting.

I’m not sure when the idea of ssk/yo clicked or when reading a lace chart became easy, but it did and I started to feel more confident. I ended up putting aside the WIP for a while in favor of the Auld Lang Syne Mitts by Triona Murphy. I wanted to flex my new lace making muscles, and I needed something to pad out a swap package.

Even though it took me a year to finish knitting the Kimono-Sleeve Tee between learning new techniques and my Project ADD, I thoroughly enjoyed the pattern. If you happen to horde back issues of Vogue Knitting like I do, I highly recommend adding it to your to-knit list. If you’re a sane non-hording person, your local yarn store could probably hook you up since the pattern isn’t available to download off Ravelry yet.

Laotto Kimono-Sleeve Tee (1)

That said, I did make a few adjustments to the pattern, the most obvious being that I added a second color (Vacation Yarn in Walnutport). This was done half out of necessity, we were low on Laotto and wouldn’t receive another shipment of yarn to dye from the mill for a few weeks, and half because I love the color blocking trend. I also added a few more garter rows than called for on the shoulders to atone for a mistake on the sleeves. And, if I were to knit this pattern again at my current skill level, I’d do the majority of the body in the round, because I hate seeming. Seeming is the worst. The devil, even.

~ Jac
Do you suffer from PADD or are you the monogamous sort?