The Knitted T-Shirt: A Warm-Weather Classic

Kathleen's Slanting Gretel Tee,
knit from Classic Elite Premier

Many knitters slow down in the spring and summer—the sun, kids on summer break, the garden, bar-b-ques, picnics, vacations—the distractions are endless.

But before you put down those needles for the season, why not knit yourself a T-shirt? We're so lucky these days as knitters; we have so many warm-weather yarns to choose from and there are myriad springy/summery design options out there for us, too.

Recently a bunch of Knitting Daily folks knit the super-cute Slanting Gretel Tee by Petra Manis. I just finished mine a couple of days ago, so I'm all revved up to write about it!

This design is so flattering, and it's challenging enough to keep you interested—it has that "just-one-more-row" aspect to it that keeps you going.

Here are several of the Gretels from my knit-along (check out the forum for lots of great hints for knitting this tee).

The Slanting Gretel Tee Velcro's Gretel Artful Soul's Gretel
KiwiKnit's Gretel SJC's Gretel Becky's Gretel
Detail of neckline

I made just a couple of mods in my tee. When I was almost done, I tried on the tee and I didn't like how the wide the neck was; I wanted more of a crew neck than a boat neck. What to do? Well, I decided to do two things: go down a needle size to tighten up the gauge a bit, and knit another horseshoe cable repeat. I didn't place any decreases in the neckline because I wanted it to stay smooth. I figured if it didn't go well with the smaller needle and the extra repeat I could rip it out and add some decreases to the mix. But it worked! You can just barely tell that I went down a needle size (see the photo at right), but it really helped bring in the neckline.

I also knew I wanted longer sleeves. So instead of starting the seed stitch border when I divided for the sleeves, I just knit in stockinette. When it was time to finish the sleeves I simply continued in stockinette from the provisional cast-on and finished with seed stitch when the sleeves were long enough for me. This turned out to be a really easy mod for me to do, and it'll make the shirt a year-round garment for me: I can wear it with a long-sleeved T-shirt underneath in the fall and winter, and by itself in the spring and summer! Yay for me.

So, are you ready to knit a T-shirt? Join us on the Gretel bandwagon or try one of our other T-shirt patterns, available at!


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