Years ago, my husband and I were having dinner with some new friends. We'd actually met this couple in Lamaze class. That would be over 18 years ago because if we were all in Lamaze class we were definitely first time parents. I don't know anyone who takes a birthing class the second time around. Anyway, our new friends were not only new to our acquaintance, but to Austin in general, having just moved here from New York City. In our desire to show our new friends a uniquely Austin good time we took them to one of our favorite Tex-Mex restaurants. One of the couple asked how long the restaurant had been around and I replied that it was an Austin tradition. "Really," the husband commented in surprise,"How long has this place been open." "Ten years," I answered, " That's why it's an Austin tradition." Having come from the Northeast my friends had to laugh at the idea that an establishment just ten years old would be considered traditional. But, I stand by what I said back then. Sometimes, traditions are pretty quickly established.
Consider this example: two summers ago I made this top using this tutorial.
The following year I made the top again, but this time used my hand dyed fabric and altered the pattern a little by moving the location of the strap ties from the shoulder to the front chest.
Now summer's here, I have an inexplicable desire to make the pattern again. Actually, I just finished two new versions of this top. They're not from the same source and one is sewn while the other is knitted, but they're essentially the same idea.
Version #1 is a repeat of the tank from previous years, but with one significant addition.
I was inspired by Jennifer Casa's Undaunted pattern to add elasticized thread to the waist. Maybe it's because this version is the newest one, but it is definitely my favorite. Though, truth be told, I wear all three. They're so easy to wear and, though I'm of the belief that nothing is actually "perfect" for Texas summer weather(how do you dress for 100 degree temperatures), these little numbers come pretty darn close to ideal summer tops.
Version #2 is basically a knitted take on this tank. The pattern is the Summertime Tunic from the 2008 summer issue of Interweave Knits. My original inspiration to move the strap location came from this pattern. This despite the fact that I'd never made it.
I used Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy, a yarn that I've had sitting in my stash and giving me the hairy eyeball for a long time. It feels so good to use the yarn, but, as luck would have it, I still have more. Anyway, this hemp/cotton blend is also a qualified perfect weight for our summer weather and I love the ties almost as much as the top itself.
I made them from some leftover fabric I purchased from Bolt 44. Love that place.
So, it is with confidence that I declare the making of this summer top my personal Austin tradition.
As a postscript to the original story: The restaurant that I originally called an Austin tradition, Seis Salsas, closed down just a few years later. Some traditions apparently last longer than others.
On a totally unrelated topic, if you're interested in another opportunity to take my batik workshop, I've just listed a new date/class in my Etsy store. Check it out here.