You Asked For A Top, We Give You A Tomato

Tomato by Wendy Bernard

Before Knitting Daily went live, I sent out a survey to all you charter members asking you what you wanted to knit. A rousing 37% of the 4,120 folks who replied said you wanted to knit a short-sleeved top.

Drum roll, please: So, in honor of Knitting Daily going live, and of this being our first week of official newsletters, I have a little gift for you: Fresh from Amy Singer’s book No Sheep For You, I am pleased to present the Tomato knitting pattern, designed by Wendy Bernard. Yes, my knitterly friends, that link takes you to the pattern for the Tomato. Yes, of course it’s free. It’s a gift, with love from Interweave to you, to say “thank you” for the wonderful, overwhelming, enthusiastic response to Knitting Daily. You people rock!

I confess I am a little late to the No Sheep For You party. In fact…um. I hadn’t opened the book until last week. (I know, I know. I have a copy at work and everything. Silly, right? But I’ve had this little website baby I had to bring into the world. Amy, of all people, will probably understand.) The survey results begging for more short-sleeved knitted
No Sheep For You by Amy R. Singer
top patterns made me remember the Tomato, which I had seen on the No Sheep Knitalong site. I went and found the book, cracked it open…and WOW. Reading Amy's book is like reading Elizabeth Zimmermann, only with less wool, and more pandas. (Read the book. Turns out that pandas love bamboo and bamboo is grass but hemp is not grass. Got all that?)

So now, Amy is my new Yarn Substitution Guru. You know how you can’t always find the yarn specified in the pattern? You know how sometimes you just can’t knit with wool because it’s summer, or you are allergic, or it’s just too itchy? You know how hard it can be to substitute yarns? Yeah, baby. Amy knows too, especially since she really is allergic to wool. She has an entire chapter in the book with tips on how to substitute yarns so your knitting comes out looking like a handknitted dream, instead of like a knitted nightmare. I’ve been knitting all my life and I didn’t know some of that stuff. I found out why I love hemp yarn so much, and what the difference is between tencel and modal, and why being geeky about
In my natural habitat
gauge is important enough to stand the pain of swatching. (OK, I kind of knew that part, since I wrote a Knits article on gauge once. But still: Amy explained it better and made me laugh, too.)

I stayed up really, really late Thursday night and read the book straight through. (Yes, I am that wild about good knitting books. Better than a novel, sometimes.) When I got to the end, I realized I HAD to knit the Tomato myself, because I wanted to practice some of my new-found non-sheepy knowledge. It was Friday afternoon, I was lusting after organic cotton yarn, and Erin, our new web analyst, had not yet been to the LYS down the street from the office.

A field trip was in order. Erin and I spent a lovely bit of time in Monika’s Woolen Treasures yarn shop, sitting amidst piles of Blue Sky yarn, gleefully agonizing over color choices. Monika and Erin convinced me to be brave and make a REALLY hot Tomato…out of a color I have never knit with before. What are knitting friends for?

Next time: In which I choose a gorgeous-but-scary color, and then come to grips with my REAL big-girl self.

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26 thoughts on “You Asked For A Top, We Give You A Tomato

  1. I have made this one and with this pattern you can skip the fair isle part and it becomes a very simple pattern to knit for those that have basic increase, decrease knowledge. Also by dropping the fair isle pattern you can easily size the sweater to fit those in betweens, which provided me with a better fitting sweater. Food for thought. 🙂

  2. I love the tomato pattern. It’s the perfect casual summer top. I’m looking forward to working on the project, but I noticed that the pattern and most of the patterns on the site are for intermediate level knitters. What about introducing some basic patterns for tops that beginner knitters would feel comfortable working on? I’ve been knitting for a year and I’ve completed several sweaters, but I’m still learning new skills with each project that I attempt. I’m sure there must be other knitters like me who still have a lot to learn and are looking for patterns that present a challenge without being overwhelming. Thanks for listening.

  3. Wow, I feel better. Everytime I get a new knitting book, I simply must stop and read it cover to cover…they are way better than some novels I’ve read. It’s nice to know I’m in such good company with that habit. Thanks for the top…now I’ll have to go buy the book! Darn it all! LOL

  4. Hurrah love the top and love that you went to my sister’s shop and bought the new yarn!!! wish I wasn’t here in Ohio but happy my sis has a fab shop and also is one fab knitter too!! she is what got me started and now I am spinning too!! give my sis a big hug for me when you see her again! and can’t wait to see what your Tomato looks like when done!!! Hugs Linda

  5. I have been thinking of knitting the Notre Dame de Grace Pullover from the summer edition of Interweave Knits for my mother. I can’t track down the Reynold’s Alpaca anywhere in Canada and (after your discussion of substituting) I was wondering if anyone could suggest a few alternates…. even just a plain wool would be fine.

  6. I LOVE the Tomato pattern – I will knit one each for my 3 daughters. Could I substitute Berroco’s Cotton Twist which seems to be a medium worsted type yarn. In Australia we go by ‘ply’ so I’m not used to the ‘medium/sport/worsted’ type of yarns. Guess I’ll have to add another book to my collection to 🙂

  7. Wow, I mostly knit for my family members, now this is a project that I have to knit for myself! Love the style; I’ll knit in white with navy blue fair isle!!!!

  8. This is my kind of pattern. I avoid seams at all costs and prefer knitting with circular and double pointed needles for that reason. Also, knitting from top down allows me to try it on as I go and adjust it needed.

  9. Thank you SO much!! This is great–I have this and the Lotus Blossom Tank pattern for free all because of you! That book is on my list of must-haves! Can’t wait to knit a Tomato and can’t wait to see the colors you chose–a sneak peek pretty please?!

  10. What a lovely top. I started it last night – lucky to find enough cotton yarn in my stash. It takes quite a lot doesn’t it for a short sleeve top.
    And I have ordered the knitting book No Sheep for You from out local library.
    Thank you very much for all you do.
    The knitters in my Knit club at the library love the free patterns. We meet every Friday.
    Coo Knitter

  11. Thank you so much for bringing up the topic of wool allergies. I’m actually waiting for my copy of No Sheep For You from Amazon and now I’m more anxious then ever to receive it after your comments. Love the new site and have been visiting every day. I have one request though. I know I can’t be the only one with a wool sensativity (anyone with eczema or with an allergy should not be handling wool). I would love to see Knitting With Non-Wool Fibers as one of the chat topic options. As a knitter/weaver/spinner being told I can’t be around wool anymore was devistating and challenging. It would be great to be able to share that experience with other people who are trying to convert patterns and subsitute fibers. It would be a great resource for us. Keep up the good work!

  12. Something is wrong. I am a member, I have been a member since the beginning, but it keeps wanting me to sign up. I did. Then it said I already was signed up…HELP!

  13. This is one of my favourite patterns in this book because I absolutely love the top down construction. I’ve been designing my own patterns this way for awhile now and things actually fit better this way. I also love the waist shaping. I have curves (okay a lot of curves) and boxy sweaters just don’t flatter.

  14. I had trouble downloading the pattern. I have downloaded free patterns before (the vine baby hat). Not sure what gives. I have some lavender yarn I bought at Stitches several years ago and I thought Aha! this might be a good match.

  15. Thanks for the wonderful top – I’m hoping that I’ll be getting Amy’s book next week for my birthday.

    I love the site, keep up the fantastic work!

    PS. Renee W: Check out I’m just about to finish up my first proper garment, based on a pattern from there, and I’ve been knitting since January. They’re great for new knitters and older knitters alike!

  16. I find the top down in the round patterns to be very helpful in getting a good fit, and they can easily be changed with the addition of lace or cables for different looks.