You will need to know how to knit in the round; knowing how to knit both on DPN's and two circulars will make this easier (sleeves on the DPN's and the body and yoke on two circulars). Because of the small size, this probably isn't a good project to learn; but other than the tiny-size factor, it's a piece o' cake. A couple of really good tutorials are linked in the "You will need to know" section.
The sleeves and body are each knit seamlessly in one piece, then the stitches are all transferred to the same needle and the ribbed yoke is finished. There is subtle waist shaping, but nothing form-fitting to the degree of the Strapless Top. Bonus: there is NO sewing other than tiny underarm seams. That means no evil snaps to have to sew on!!!
You will need:
- One ball of fingering weight yarn, preferably sock yarn; I used Knitpicks Essential (now Knitpicks Stroll) in a brown ombre that has been discontinued. You will not need the entire (probably not even a fourth) ball. Stroll is a great yarn because it is very evenly spun, has a fantastic hand, and isn't too fuzzy.
- Two circular knitting needles and six double-pointed needles, all in size 1 US. (You can get away with just having four DPN's if you have two stitch markers large enough to hold about three inches of stitches each)
- Scissors & ruler
- Small darning needle (with fingering weight, you could probably use a size 22 tapestry needle, available in the embroidery section of most craft stores)
- Knit in the round: Double-pointed needles tutorial and Two-Circular tutorial may help
- 1x1 ribbing
- Casting on and Binding off. Three needle bind off preferable for underarm seams (see below for tutorial link)
- SSK and K2tog
CO 36 sts. Divide evenly on two circular needles - 18 sts each.
Join, being careful not to twist. Work 2 rounds in 1x1 ribbing.
Begin working in stockinette stitch. You will shape the waist.
Round 1 (after ribbing) and all odd rows: knit.
Round 2: ssk, k to end of first needle, ssk, k to end of second needle.
Round 4: k to last 2 sts, k2tog, k to last 2 sts on second needle, k2tog.
Round 6: repeat round 2.
K all sts for .5".
Begin increasing for bust:
Round 1: m1, k to end of first needle, m1, k to end of second needle.
Round 2 and all even rounds: k all sts.
Round 3: k to end of first needle, m1, k to end of second needle, m1.
Round 5: repeat round 1.
You now have 30 sts again. K until piece measures 1.5", then break yarn and put on DPN's or holder (if you choose a holder, put all the front stitches on one holder and the back stitches on another).
CO 12 stitches.
- I find the best tension results if I work the first 3 rounds or so on two circulars, but then switch to DPN's. If you feel like you knit best on two circulars, by all means; I just find all the sliding for six stitch gets annoying.
Begin stockinette stitch: knit every round. Work for 2.5", or length desired (measured from underarm to where you want the bottom of the sleeve to be; suggested measurements: long sleeve, 2.5"; mid-forearm, 1.75"; elbow, 1"; short-sleeve, 5").
First sleeve: break yarn and put on two spare DPNs or two holders (half the stitches on one holder and half the stitches on the other).
Work a second stitch the exact same way as the first, except do NOT break yarn.
Slip the stitches from the holders onto the two circulars: one sleeve, then the body, then the last sleeve with the unbroken yarn between the two needles. To make the underarms easier, try to work the ends so that the cut end on one sleeve touches the body, and the body cut end is touching the second sleeve (that way you can use the tails to seam the underarms). Work the yoke as follows:
First needle: Slip 4 stitches pwise, slip 2 onto waste yarn, slip 2 of body stitches on waste yarn, slip all body stitches except last 2, slip those onto waste yarn, slip first 2 sleeve stitches onto waste yarn, slip 4.
Second needle: repeat as for first needle.
Note: avoid gaps at the underarms by taking two stitches together on either side of the gap. This means you will k1, p1, k1, p2tog, rib across front of body 'til the gap, k2tog, p1, k1, p1. Repeat for the back.
Work 4 rounds of 1x1 ribbing and BO off loosely (i.e. with a size 2 needle).
Join the four stitches at the underarm securely. Try a three-needle bind off by picking up the stitches left on the waste yarn and being very careful; to get the yarn at the end of the 4 stitches, I had to knit two stitches. Or you could wing it with a crochet hook. If you have holes at the joins, stitch them closed with another piece of yarn (or the leftover), or more preferably, invisible thread or embroidery floss. I only had a hole in the front of one side.
Steam-block or pin & spritz. Here is a good tutorial for lots of different kinds of blocking. Honestly, I usually just use pin & spritz or wet blocking (soak garment, squeeze in a towel, pin on a blocking board, put under a ceiling fan overnight). Blocking helps even out your stitches, which is fantastic for people like me with slightly uneven tension. It isn't necessary, and frankly I don't do it every time because of the waiting factor, but it will make your garments look better.
A few WIP pics: