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Joelle’s Favorite Vest

About every six months or so at our weekly Purl Bee meetings Joelle mentions a vest that she knit years ago, "Let's design a version of this!". This favorite vest of Joelle's comes from the wonderful pattern company, Mac and Me. They call it the Ribbed Sweater Vest and used Blue Sky's Sportweight Alpaca for a toasty warm and beautifully drapey look. All we needed was a reason to make any changes to this already great garment.

At a recent meeting when Joelle made her biannual appeal, we realized that we finally had the perfect inspiration for developing our own ribbed sweater vest, the brand new Tosh Merino Light from Madeline Tosh! A very fine, beautifully hand dyed merino, we knew that a ribbed vest in Tosh Merino Light would be really special indeed. It would be feather light for spring, and the hand dyed color would provide a gorgeous shimmer throughout the vest.  We also changed the proportions so you can wear Joelle's Favorite Vest short with a dramatic collar or turn it upside down for a longer hemline and smaller collar (as pictured in our photos). Either way, you'll probably end up like Joelle, with a favorite vest!

The Materials

The Pattern

Gauge

16 3/4 stitches = 1 inch in 3 x 3 rib (unstretched)

Finished Sizes (After Blocking)

Note: These measurements are taken from blocked garments that were fully stretched and, because of the nature of ribbing, are somewhat approximate. If you want to finesse smaller or in between sizes you can block your finished vest more gently.

Small/Medium: 36 inches across, 29 inches from top to bottom. (The Fronts each measure 6 1/4 inches across and the Back measures 13 inches across.)

Medium/Large: 42 inches across, 29 inches from top to bottom. (The Fronts each measure 7 3/4 inches and the Back measures 14 3/4 inches). 

More Notes:

  • Both sizes' armholes measure 8 inches long.
  • The length measurements are the same for both sizes, and you have a choice of how to wear the vest: either 9 1/2 inches from hem to underarm with an 11 1/2 inch collar; or upside down with 11 1/2 inches from hem to underarm and a 9 1/2 inch collar.
  • In the pattern, Medium/Large directions are shown in parentheses after the Small/Medium directions.

Begin

Cast on 303 (357) stitches.

Row 1 (right side): *K3, p3, repeat from * to last 3 stitches, k3.

Row 2 (wrong side): *P3, k3, repeat from * to last 3 stitches, p3.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until piece measures 9 1/2 inches from the cast on edge, ending with a wrong side row.

Next Row (right side): [K3, p3] 13 (16) times, bind off 9 stitches (in rib pattern), p2, [k3, p3] 21 (24) times, bind off 9 stitches, p2, [k3, p3] 12 (15) times, k3.

There are now 78 (96) stitches for the Left Front (as if you were wearing the vest), 129 (147) stitches for the Back and 78 (96) stitches for the Right Front. (285 [339] stitches total)

Left Front

You will now work back and forth on just the 78 (96) stitches of the Left Front (again, "left" as if you were wearing the vest). (I left the remaining 207 [243] stitches on my needle, but if you prefer to put them on holders or scrap yarn, that's fine too.)

Row 1 (wrong side): *P3, k3, repeat from * to last 6 stitches, p3, k1, k2tog. (77 [95] stitches)

Row 2 (right side): P2tog, *k3, p3, repeat from * to last 3 stitches, k3. (76 [94] stitches)

Row 3: *P3, k3, repeat from * to last 4 stitches, p2, p2tog. (75 [93] stitches)

Row 4: *K3, p3, repeat from * to last 3 stitches, k3.

Row 5: *P3, k3, repeat from * to last 3 stitches, p3.

Repeat Rows 4 and 5 until Left Front measures 7 3/4 inches, ending with a right side row.

Next Row (wrong side): *P3, k3, repeat from * to last 3 stitches, p2, knit into the front and back (kfb). (76 [94] stitches)

Next Row (right side): Kfb, *k3, p3, repeat from * to last  3 stitches, k3. (77 [95] stitches)

Next Row: *P3, k3, repeat from * to last 5 stitches, p3, k1, kfb. (78 [96] stitches)

Cut the yarn, and put the 78 (96) Left Front stitches on a stitch holder.

Back

For the Back section you will work back and forth on just the 129 (147) stitches of the Back.

With the wrong side facing you, join new yarn.

Row 1 (wrong side): Slip, slip, knit (ssk), k1, *p3, k3, repeat from * to last 6 stitches, p3, k1, k2tog. (127 [145] stitches)

Row 2 (right side): P2tog, *k3, p3, repeat from * to last 5 stitches, k3, p2tog. (125 [143] stitches)

Row 3: P2tog, p2, *k3, p3, repeat from * to last 7 stitches, k3, p2, p2tog. (123 [141] stitches)

Row 4: *K3, p3, repeat from * to last 3 stitches, k3.

Row 5: *P3, k3, repeat from * to last 3 stitches, p3.

Repeat Rows 4 and 5 until Back measures 7 3/4 inches, ending with a right side row.

Next Row (wrong side): Kfb, p2, *k3, p3, repeat from * to last 6 stitches, k3, p2, kfb. (125 [143] stitches)

Next Row (right side): Kfb, *k3, p3, repeat from * to last 4 stitches, k3, kfb. (127 [145] stitches)

Next Row: Kfb, k1, *p3, k3, repeat from * to last 5 stitches, p3, k1, kfb. (129 [147] stitches)

Cut the yarn, and place the 129 (147) Back stitches on stitch holders.

Right Front

Now you will work back and forth on just the 78 (96) stitches of the Right Front.

With the wrong side facing you, join new yarn.

Row 1 (wrong side): Ssk, k1, *p3, k3, repeat from * to last 3 stitches, p3. (77 [95] stitches)

Row 2 (right side): *K3, p3, prepeat from * to last 5 stitches, k3, p2tog. (76 [94] stitches)

Row 3: P2tog, p2, *k3, p3 repeat from * to end. (75 [93] stitches)

Row 4: *K3, p3, repeat from * to last 3 stitches, k3.

Row 5: *P3, k3, repeat from * to last 3 stitches, p3.

Repeat Rows 4 and 5 until Right Front measures 7 3/4 inches, ending with a right side row.

Next Row (wrong side): Kfb, p2, *k3, p3, repeat from * to end. (76 [94] stitches)

Next Row (right side): *K3, p3, repeat from * to last 4 stitchs, k3, kfb. (78 [95] stitches)

Next Row: Kfb, k1, *p3, k3, repeat from * to last 3 stitches, p3. (79 [96] stitches)

Rejoin

Continuing on the right side of the Right Front...

Row 1 (right side): *K3, p3, repeat from * to end of Right Front, turn work so wrong side is facing you, use a cable cast on to cast on 9 stitches, turn work so right side is facing you.

Now working across the Back, *p3, k3, repeat from * to end of Back, turn work, cable cast on 9 stitches, turn work.

Now working across the Left Front, *p3, k3, repeat from * to end of row. (303 [357] stitches)

Finish

Row 1 (wrong side): *P3, k3, repeat from * to last 3 stitches, p3.

Row 2 (right side): *K3, p3, repeat from * to last 3 stitches, k3.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until piece measures 11 1/2 inches from the top of the armholes.

Bind off in pattern (knitting the knit stitches and purling the purl stitches).

Weave in the ends.

To block your vest, simply soak it in mild detergent (I love Soak wool wash because you don't have to rinse it!) and squeeze it dry (don't wring it - I always roll my garments in a towel and sqeeze the towel). Then lay the vest out on a dry towel and stretch the ribs out to the size you want your vest. It will dry that way - I promise!

All that's left is to enjoy your new vest!

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7 Responses to Joelle’s Favorite Vest


  1. sarah says:

    How I wish I had seen this Friday when I was in your shop form out of town! This is lovely and must be on my needles soon.

  2. Amy says:

    Hi, I was swatching for this today, is the 16 3/4 st per inch correct or should it be 6 3/4 per inch? Thanks, lovely pattern, great for layering this time of year!

  3. marianne says:

    this is lovely! I would like to add it to my ravelry queue, but it doesn't seem to be listed there.

  4. purlbee says:

    Hi Amy,

    The gauge is actually 16 3/4 stitches to the inch, but that measurement is taken while the ribbing is completely relaxed and unstretched. If you stretch the ribbing out your gauge will be more like 8 1/2 stitches to the inch. Gauge measurements in ribbing are always a bit tricky. It's probably easier to think about getting 7 stitches to the inch in stockinette…

    Thanks for your question and good luck!

    Whitney

  5. jenn says:

    this is gorgeous! i learned to knit the beginning of the year and have made a couple of hats, a scarf, leg warmers and socks but have been wanting to try making a sweater. this seems like an easy place to start – thanks so much for sharing :)

  6. Caleigh says:

    Hello, I have just cast on the 303 stitches, and knit the first row. However, I am confused as to why I am knitting 3 stitches at the end of the row? When I turn the work to the wrong side to start the 2nd row, I am only purling 3 stiches, throwing off the ribbing?
    I could be competely missing something here, I just thought I would have someone clarify.

    Thank you!

  7. Caleigh says:

    I'm sorry, I figured it out! Long day!

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