The Katama Tank pattern is now available for purchase! With its slightly cropped length (the hem hits slightly above the widest part of the hips), body-skimming fit, lace yoke, and not-quite-halter styling, this tank makes the most of a relatively small amount of yarn. The lace yoke and garter stitch edgings may be worked in a contrasting yarn, thus utilizing a luxury and/or hand painted yarn to great advantage. (For more details on sizing, fit, yarn requirements, and construction, see the pattern page on Ravelry.)
This pattern came about because I gifted 2 skeins of Lorna’s Laces Pearl to an advanced beginner knitter, and the recipient then requested a pattern it could be used for-- something other than a scarf or shawl! I suppose if the length was cropped another few inches, this tank might come in at under 2 skeins for size M, but in the end I compromised by writing the pattern for a more standard length, and adding instructions for using a lovely yarn like Pearl for the yoke and edgings only.
The lace yoke actually does a great job of getting the most out of a small amount of yarn; in all sizes, just one skein of Lorna's Laces Pearl (silk/bamboo, 220 yds/100g) is enough for the yoke and the garter stitch edgings. I was playing around with working decreases into lace stitch patterns when I came up with the idea for this yoke; the decreases along the sides of a variation of the "feather and fan" stitch pattern made nice diagonals that seemed tailor-made for a racerback or halter-type yoke.
Problems? Always, but then I enjoy a bit of a challenge. The main issue turned out to be grading the pattern for a wide range of sizes while keeping the essential design elements, specifically how to keep the lace at a decent level (meaning just above the girls) for all sizes, while still bringing the back lace panel high enough in all sizes so that the modified racer back had the right shape and bra coverage. A strapless bra works just fine with this top, by the way, but I don't like them, and wanted to provide coverage for other undergarment options! (And yes, I'm old school enough to prefer that bra straps be covered.) In the end I compromised by providing both a high back and a low back (back same as front) option, because in some sizes I think the low back option will actually cover normal bra straps. The high back version is shown at top and below, and the low back version is above, on the mannequin.
As for the name, Katama Bay separates the island of Chappaquiddick from the rest of Martha’s Vineyard. For at least 20 years I've been visiting Martha's Vineyard regularly, most often staying on a boat in Edgartown Harbor, which lies at the northern end of Katama Bay. When I first started going there, the harbor was known as a safe, usually calm spot to anchor, because the other end of Katama Bay was closed off from the ocean by a barrier beach, but in 2007, during an April storm, the ocean broke through the beach, and now a very strong current flows through the bay and the harbor. Not necessarily a bad thing, and not for the first time: over the last 250 years, the beach at the southern end of Katama Bay has been breached, and re-closed, a number of times. I took the photo below in August 2008; the breach is shown in the upper right, and Edgartown Harbor in the lower left.