Amanda vs Lena Tee

Real talk: I always forget how long it takes to knit something. My Lucinda Sweater, whilst glorious, took me a solid six months and by the end I was starting to go knit crazy. So for some unknown reason, Past Amanda made the choice that her next project would be another top knit up on tiny needles. Cue 11 months later and we finally have a second top. Huzzah! Say hello to Lena!

This is the Lena Tee from Carrie Bostick Hodge. It is a sleeveless, boxy tee with a split hem and contrasting bands at the hem and the top. I made the fifth size version (46 ¾” finished) to have about 6” ease. And let me tell you – as a lady who tends to wear fitted clothes 6” is decadent. I could eat a whole loaf of bread and unbutton my jeans and no one would know. Bwah ha ha!

The yarn is a super lovely blue and otherwise a total mystery to me. This bad boy was snaffled from Japan back in 2012 from La Droguerie in Shibuya. It was a totally surreal experience – the store was stunning with gorgeous cones of yarn all over the store – but there was no clear labels regarding ply or content. After spending a solid half an hour wandering I picked out this amazing royal blue yarn and the lovely sales assistance got me the right amount by spinning it off the giant cones. Apparently I purchased enough to get an awesome free bag that I still use to carry my knitting today. Though it is looking pretty grubby at this point…

So let’s talk construction: this was simultaneously super easy and also the project I have screwed up the most. Oops! There is nothing particularly challenging here (stockinette in the round for the win!) but I still somehow managed to stuff up the front panel after the armhole split a couple of times. On the plus side this lady is no longer afraid of frogging bits that don’t work any longer. And I am feeling pretty good about short rows after all the practice. Huzzah!

Due to my super awesome She Hulk strength I tend to knit pretty tight so I found the neck bind off tough. Every single time I tried to finish the neckhole it ended up way too tight. At one point I had knit and reknit so many times that I damaged some of the stitches and had to undo the shoulder seam and reknit some parts. Ugh. In the end I did a super dodgy improvised bind off and it while it is not the best binding ever it is serviceable and I can finally wear my top. I rate that as an epic win!

The Deets

Pattern:           Lena Tee by Carrie Bostick Hodge

Yarn:                About 1km of mystery yarn from La Droguerie

Needles:          3.5mm and 3mm interchangeable circulars

Size:                46 ¾

Alterations:     Freestyled the neck binding

See also:         What the Hay

Overall, I seriously dig this tee. I have been wearing it constantly this autumn. Part of me is tempted to try this again in a linen yarn but I think it’s time to knit on something larger than a 3.5mm needle for a while. Maybe some dog jumpers? I bet that would be rad!



  1. Try doing your bindoff with a needle two sizes bigger — that’s worked for me to combat tightness. (or you might need more than that, but it’s worth trying.)

  2. Gorgeous top my love. With your casting off, use one needle a size or two bigger. (the right side needle). I too can be a tight knitter and had the same issue.. I find this helps.

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