Archive for the ‘vests’ Category

Vesterday

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I am pleased to announce another new design, published for free in PopKnits Issue # 05, Fall/Winter 2009 (Ravelry link). It was such a pleasure for me to work with Stephanie Pajonas at PopKnits to publish this pattern!

This child-size, stranded vest employs a vintage houndstooth pattern with a low scoopneck. The houndstooth is framed by 1×1 rib at the bottom edge, neck edge, and armholes. Although I designed this as a small scale way to practice steeking neck openings and armholes, it plays a very functional role in a child’s wardrobe. A scoopneck vest offers the promise of warmth without the headache of sleeves, buttons, or constricting neck openings. It is the ideal layering piece for a child.

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Sizes: 2 (3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8), shown in size 2

Yarn: Briggs & Little Sport in Khaki and Washed White

Needles: US 4 (3.5 mm) and US 2.5 (3.0 mm)

Gauge: 28 stitches and 32 rows = 4″ in stranded pattern on US 4 needles

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Beatrix wanted to wear this as soon as I finished it in June. Since wooly vests do not mix well with the heat of summer, I told her she could wear it to school in the fall. We call it her back-to-school vest (or more accurately, her ‘to-school’ vest). It is still far too hot to wear to school, but she waits patiently!

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I said there would be some baby stashbusting projects to come, so bear with me! I had quite a bit of yarn left from my Pod of Cetaceans cardigan last winter. Not knowing what else to do with it, I set out to use it up in baby projects. Sadly, I do not feel very excited about the prospect of baby knitting this time around. If I must knit a few baby items, let me use great yarn! I love everything about New England Highland: the weight, the spin, the tweediness, and the wonderful color saturation.

Best button find EVER

Earlier this summer, I found the most perfect buttons to match this navy blue yarn. Unfortunately, the lime green proves difficult to photograph against the navy background!

Harrisville stashbuster

I did not use a pattern for this cardigan, only some basic measurements.

Harrisville stashbuster

Yarn: Harrisville Designs New England Highland in #33 Midnight Blue (Ravelry link)

Needles: US 7

some New England Highland leftovers

I cut it pretty close with the yarn on the second sweater, coming out with only scraps remaining. Again, I did not use a pattern for this one, just measurements. I think there were four decrease rows in the yoke.

A cardigan for New Baby

Yarn: Harrisville Designs New England Highland in #7 Tundra and #44 White (Ravelry link)

Needles: US 7

I promise there will be a break from baby and child knitting! I intend to publish two new patterns in October, both for adults! Stay tuned!

Ultimate Stashbuster Vest

Done!

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

Down the rabbit hole

What started as a casual, ongoing, secondary project quickly grew into a terribly addicting, compelling project not long after I wrote about it.

Almost done with the knitting

It was bound to happen. I wanted my stashbusting vest to be a project to work on slowly throughout the year, adding scraps as they became available. Well, let’s face it: there is no shortage of Nature Spun Sport scraps in my house. Shortly after I posted about my Ultimate Stashbusting Vest, I felt a tremendous urge to FINISH! Right away! Sadly, a stranded vest with six colors and no repeated peeries requiring large amounts of math at regular intervals does not make for a good portable project. Alas! I have been dying to finish this for six weeks. Now, it is almost ready!

Down the rabbit hole

With the major knitting done, I steeked the vest yesterday and picked up stitches for the first armhole edging this morning. 
I can't stop

The other armhole and the neck edging remain to be done. Oh, and then there’s this little matter of weaving in ends…

The ultimate stashbusting challenge

In my stashbusting efforts this fall, I discovered Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport comprises the majority of my remnant stash. While not a fancy or exciting yarn, it is a nice, inexpensive wool that comes in a million colors. I heart Nature Spun. Most recently, I used Nature Spun Sport for Ida’s vest, a DROPS sweater for Beatrix, and my Winter Sunrise hat. It is also the yarn used in the never ending Katharine Hepburn Cardigan, which I will finish sometime in my lifetime. Excepting the two cones I bought from Whitney’s recent destash, it is worth noting that most of the NS in my remnant stash predates my blog. This means it is at least three years old. I must use it up or throw it out. Period.

With small amounts of at least 13 colors, I suppose I could knit hats. Many, many, many hats. However, I noticed nearly everything could be grouped into shades of orange/brown or shades of blue. Starting with the former color grouping, I decided to knit up the biggest stashbusting project ever: a fair isle vest like the Ivy League vest I knit last year, using only what I had. I will buy more of one particular color if I run out. However, I will not buy additional colors to use in the project.

With the ribbing

Using the same 3×1 ribbing as Ida’s vest, I cast on last October.

Ongoing Brown Sheep Nature Spun Stashbuster Vest

The vest grows slowly, in part due to the stitch gauge and in part due to its relegation to secondary project in my knitting basket. Now, several months later, I have reached the V-neck divide.

Ongoing Brown Sheep Nature Spun Stashbuster Vest

I’m still not sure the bright orange and white peeries jive with the darker peeries. I think they look good from a distance but it’s a little jarring from the knitter’s distance. I added them in the first place because the other peeries blended together into one dark blob.

My favorite panel

This is my favorite peerie of them all. I intend to use it in other designs, I like it so much. From some angles, it looks like the standard XOXO; but from other angles, I see orange butterflies. Do you?

I am willing to accept this may turn out to be the ugliest thing I’ve ever knit. After all, orange and brown are not exactly my favorite colors. However, I think it might be a nice fall vest under a jacket. Furthermore, the planning stages alone taught me valuable lessons about stacking and centering peeries, and stranded knitting in general. I remain hopeful.

On wool

Ivy League Vest

Last winter, it became clear that I would not be able to continue my half marathon training without warmer clothing. Specifically, I needed better coverings for my head and hands. I walked into the local outdoor gear shop looking for the appropriate accessories. Now, some of you will point out the contradiction of a knitter buying synthetic mittens. This point was not lost on me; I felt appropriately ashamed but cold, nevertheless. Actually, I had decided my enemy was not cold, it was wind. Not only that, but who wants to knit mittens to cover sweaty hands during a long run? Not I.

So there I stood, talking to a salesman about the accessories to buy. He showed me some brand name, very expensive hats to block the wind. Neoprene, polypropylene, wind-block fleece, all materials designed to keep you warm. When I said I needed something specifically for a long run-a run lasting about two hours-he quickly abandoned the hats he’d shown me, instead turning to a different line. The answer, he said, was wool. Specifically, a $50 wool hat whose materials had been specially engineered to keep one warm in the cold and provide enough ventilation to prevent overheating. What did he mean by specially engineered materials, I asked. Isn’t that just what wool does? Generations of sheep represent the only technological innovators on this front, as far as I was concerned.

I’m not saying there is no room for technical fabrics. After all, I would never be able to run through the winter without fleece-lined, polypropylene tights. However, it is clear to me that no amount of human engineering can compete with thousands of years of selective pressure on sheep to produce the most effective insulation from the cold.

I need not tell you how I made it through the rest of the winter, of course. I am cheap and unabashedly so. I dug out an old wool hat I knitted years ago and stole the tufted mittens I knit for Aaron. To my amazement, 5 a.m. runs in -15 degree weather were no big deal. Actually, to be completely honest, the 5 a.m. part was still a big deal but the bitter cold was not.

I’ve been considering this experience lately, as it comes time to find Beatrix some warm winter clothes. I decided to design a heavy wool jacket for her as a cheap alternative to a winter coat. In fact, I find some of my heaviest wool sweaters far warmer than my biggest parka. Although my sense of parental guilt will likely drive me to the store this winter to buy her a coat she’ll quickly outgrow, I hope this heavy sweater lasts her two winters.

Grow Like a Weed Jacket

Last week, I sent the pattern to a handful of test knitters. Hopefully, I will be able to offer it to you soon!

In the meantime, I have some stealth mittens under way at the moment. I will certainly share them with you next week when they have met their intended recipient. Until then, I’ll leave you with the beginnings of Bryant’s Slipover vest (Ravelry link), a project I’m knitting for my cousin Ida. I promised to knit this last year but I found myself sidetracked by other things. Since I will be seeing Ida in Boston next week, I decided to finish it so I could leave it with her! Wish me luck on that one, the gauge is 7.5 sts/in and I’ve not yet reached the waist.

Pretty slipped stitch pattern or 1970s uphostery?