Ultimate Stashbuster Vest


It’s done! And I love it. I was worried it would be an eyesore but I could not love it more. AND, it was free. Well, almost. I had to buy one skein of yarn because I ran out. A $3 skein hardly counts. At the outset, I had 11.5 oz of yarn in my stash, now I have 3.0 oz left. The remains will likely go into hats and mittens here and there. 

Stashbusting: from 11.5 oz to 3.0 oz

Pattern: I cobbled this pattern together as I went. None of the peeries are the same but many of them are variations on one basic pattern. For the stacking of patterns, I followed a few general rules. For example, every orange and white peerie is followed by a tan and red peerie, with occasional 3- or 5-row peeries thrown in for better transitions. Because the pattern repeats are all relatively small, I did not concern myself too much with centering the patterns. The exception, of course, was at the base of the V-neck. I made sure the last peerie before the neck shaping centered directly below the V. I thought about offering the pattern for this but since I made up instructions as I went, I can offer no information about standard measurements and yarn usage. Here is the chart image, feel free to use any or all of the patterns as you see fit. I also have the chart in Excel; please email me if you would prefer the Excel copy over the .gif file. 

Yarn: 8.5 oz Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport in six colors – Bev’s Bear, Roasted Coffee, Bordeaux, French Clay, Sunburst Gold and Natural

Needles: US 4.0 (3.5 mm)

Gauge: 28 sts and 32 rows = 4″

Ultimate Stashbuster Vest

To fit this to my 34″ bust, I made a 32″ size for 2″ of negative ease. Eunny Jang’s Ivy League Vest taught me some important lessons last year about fitting a vest to one’s body. Primarily, a vest like this should not have any positive ease. I am much happier with how the garment feels with a full 2″ of negative ease at the bust. For the record, there is no ease (positive or negative) at the waist and hip, only negative ease at the bust. 

Ultimate Stashbuster Vest

The vest is knit entirely in the round. The armholes, neck opening and back neck shaping are all steeked open. Since Brown Sheep is not particularly good for steeking, I used the crochet method but reinforced the steek edges with machine stitching down the sides. I had intended to hand sew; however, machine sewing was much faster and I was desperate to be done! I took care to ensure the floats did not catch in my sewing machine, my greatest fear. After I added the edgings and blocked the vest, I tacked down the facings with a big blanket stitch. This last step is hardly necessary (especially with sewn steek reinforcements) but I like knowing that my facings will not move around.  

The guts

The steeking process is far easier than it seems it ought to be. I would encourage anyone to give it a go! I think my last few posts have linked to Eunny Jang’s steeking chronicles but it’s worth doing again. She takes the mystery out of cutting one’s knitting. 

With my favorite jacket

The edges are done entirely with 3×1 corrugated ribbing for about 3/4″.  I am particularly happy with how the pattern at the shoulder join looks – it is almost seamless! I thought about grafting it together for a completely seamless look but decided the seam would provide important support at the shoulders. 

Shoulder join 

For more photos, see the Ultimate Stashbuster Vest folder on my Flickr account.

Ultimate Stashbuster Vest

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38 comments so far

  1. Danielle on

    Oh, Elinor, this is awesome!!

  2. yahaira on

    I have to say it again, this vest is so gorgeous! I can’t imagine putting a pattern like this together. It fits you perfectly!

  3. Mintyfresh on

    brilliant. you’re making me want to knit again.

  4. paperdiva on

    wow, this is fantastic! I can’t imagine diving into this project>

  5. caroline saunders on

    really amazing work – it’s inspiring me to try fairisle (and steeking – gulp!). your seams are so neat!

  6. Andrea on

    I love your vest. It’s awesome!

  7. crimsonpurl on

    It came out wonderful!!! Great details and F.O. pics!!

    Awesome knit job!

  8. Elinor on

    Oh man! This is some kind of fabulous! I’m in awe. That’s an amazingly beautiful and well-executed vest.

  9. knittinbrit on

    This is beautiful!!! and especially great seeing as you did some major stashbusting.

  10. Gudrun on

    Gorgeous in every way!

  11. nova on

    This vest is perfection itself, Elinor. It’s gorgeous!

  12. Ann on

    Gorgeous vest & lovely colors combination. I love knitting & wearing vests – best garment for our weather here.

  13. kerry on

    Absolutely fabulous!

  14. Sharon on

    This is seriously so damn perfect. I love everything about it.

  15. grumperina on

    It came out great! Can’t believe it was all leftovers!

  16. mai on

    gorgeous, elinor! i love it. and what a great stashbusting project.

  17. heather on

    fantastic – what a great job. Enjoy wearing it!

  18. Holli on

    Oh, Wow! Great work. It’s beautiful.

  19. Becky on

    You did a fabulous job on this. I am really impressed. It looks great.

  20. Laura on

    Your stunning vest is to me the essence of what knitting should be about, down to pairing yarns from one’s stash to make something that looks completely planned and coherent — not to mention, beautiful!

    I wonder, did you find it challenging to include the off-white yarn along with the brown/rust/orange,especially when deciding the placement of the peeries that included it?

  21. Kristy on

    Beautiful job! I love how it came out.

    Thanks for the advice on negative ease across the bust– I think that’s what I need to do as well.

  22. Jennifer on

    I love the vest – I am inspired to make my own from my own huge stash of leftover nature spun sport.

    I nominated you for a Kreativ Blogger Award. Check my blog.

  23. Erica on

    Yup, definitely love it. Just goes to show that you can get something great without having any idea what’s coming. It’s a good lesson that I’ll have to remember; sometimes it’s worth it to completely wing it and see what happens. Came out great!

  24. tiennie on

    Wow! This is so awesome! Fits you so wonderfully!

  25. patricia on

    How inspiring for anyone with stash problems. It looks amazing

  26. amandacathleen on

    amazing vest! Love the color combo, and using up all the scraps. your on a roll here girl!

  27. stacey on

    That is just stunning! A beautiful, perfect fitting vest and a stashbuster to boot!

  28. Ella on

    I love the colors in this vest – that edging is like icing on a cake. Yumm. And I especially love that it was stash yarn!

  29. Pat on

    With leftovers?? Looks like you handpicked every color! It is gorgeous – You knit such beautiful things Elinor – I love watching!

  30. Julia on

    OMG this is gorgeous! I just about fell over. I love the colors, and the fit! Way to custom knit lady! Really, really, well done.

  31. Kim on

    What more can I add… I’m so impressed!!

  32. Karen on

    It’s fantastic. I’m completely jealous.

  33. Linda on

    It is perfect! =) Well done!

  34. Trisha on

    So cute and funky! I really love the way you styled it with the brown corduroy jacket. Great post, very expository about what you did and how you did it! What’s next?

  35. Linda on

    Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous vest. Enjoy it!

  36. gleek on

    such a fantastic and amazing sweater vest! and a stashbuster too :) i love it.

  37. jinniver on

    Really beautiful work! I’m impressed by the steeking; that’s not something I’ve had the courage to do yet. Thanks for linking the tutorials!

  38. [...] love this gorgeous Ultimate Stashbuster Vest on Exercise Before [...]

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