Vest for Ida

by exercisebeforeknitting

Last fall, my cousin Ida asked me to knit her a long wool vest. With the help of Ravelry, she picked out Bryant’s Slipover. I decided to use Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport instead of DROPS Alpaca. Ida wanted a sturdy vest so a light alpaca yarn would have been inappropriate.


It took me a whole year to cast on but less than two weeks to knit. It was a great project to bring with me to Boston because the stitch pattern was very easy and required little attention. Furthermore, at a gauge of 30 sts/4″, there was a lot of mindless knitting to do so it was perfect for long travel delays. As of this morning, Ida’s vest is ready to mail!


I hope I will be able to post pictures of Ida wearing this in the near future. Until then, you get me.


Yarn: Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport, 3 skeins each color

Needles: US 4

I made many modifications to this pattern. The only elements that remain of the original design are the stitch pattern and plunging neck. The pattern called for knitting the pieces separately and then seaming them together. Since the stitch pattern is essentially a two-row stripe of each color, I felt seams would be unsightly; indeed, some examples on Ravelry bear this out. Instead, I altered the stitch pattern to knit the vest in the round. Had I not wanted to try the vest on Ida over the weekend, I would have steeked the armholes and neck just to avoid having to knit back and forth. As far as I am concerned, it would be foolish to knit this any other way but in the round.

The pattern called for 5×5 ribbing in the main color; however, I decided to use a 3×1 corrugated ribbing because I thought it would look better with the tension of the stitch pattern.

Although I love how the vest looks, I found the pattern difficult to wrangle. For example, the gauge was reported to be 8 stitches and 12 rows/inch and the armhole depth I chose was 7″. Normally, I would divide my stitch gauge by my row gauge to determine approximately how many stitches to pick up at the edges. In my case, I planned to pick up two stitches for every three rows and then all of the bound off stitches across the back and front, adding a few here and there at the corners to close holes. Next, I would look at the pattern to see how many decreases I would need to do to arrive at the requisite number of stitches. This is where I ran into trouble. At perfect row and stitch gauge, I picked up 244 stitches for the neckline. The pattern called for 150. I decreased down to 180 but I wish I had only cut down to 200 stitches. The armhole and neck edging actually shortened the armhole depth by a full inch. I was able to stretch it back when I blocked the garment but it would have been better to pick up more stitches.


The result is that the neckline will not be as deep as Ida had hoped, I’m afraid. I am a little concerned about the armhole being too shallow for her. It fits me perfectly but she’s taller so I don’t know if it will work for her. I will rip the edgings and redo them if the armhole is too constricting.


With any luck, this vest will be on its way to Berlin tomorrow! If it fits, there may be some modeled pictures in the near future!