I used a pattern from Sirdar Big Softie Knits for Beginners and the yarn was Sirdar Big Softie in meringue. I'm not a complete beginner when it comes to knitting, and I have knitted a couple of scarves and hats before, but this was the first time I'd made any clothing (or at least the first time I'd finished any clothing - more on that below) so I think it was good to use a simple pattern to get my confidence up, and this did just the job! There are simpler patterns and smaller projects (hats, scarves, fingerless gloves etc.) in the pattern book and it contains a pull-out section with instructions on how to knit so I think this would definitely be a good introduction to knitting for a complete beginner, or a nice collection of quick and simple patterns for the more experienced knitter.
The only problem that I had was that, as the name suggests, the yarn is very soft so when I was using it to stitch up the seams it had a tendency to stretch and pull apart leaving me with lots of wispy pieces (but I have since thought of a use for them which may be either ingenious or ridiculous, so it's all good!). Apart from that the pattern was really straightforward, clear and easy to follow, and the pull-out section was useful for the only part that I was slightly unsure about (picking up stitches to attach the polo neck and sleeves).
I'm modelling it here with my second version of the Sewaholic Hollyburn skirt, which is now being worn as it was originally intended to be with tights and boots and is proving to be a very useful and pretty skirt!
I'm happy with the top but I think I need to wait until autumn turns into winter to wear it properly - the chunky wool means it's a little too cosy still at the moment.
I've now moved on to finishing off a cardigan that I started waaaay back at the start of winter in 2011 which uses double knitting wool and 4 mm needles, which seem very small in comparison with chunky wool and 10 mm needles! And the knitting takes so much longer to grow! The cardigan is looking lovely so far, but part of me is missing the speed at which my tank top grew, so here are a couple of close-up photos of the lovely chunkiness...
To alleviate my craving for quick knitting, I'm currently planning a small chunky wool project to add to my autumn/winter accessories collection. More on that soon!