As I've blogged recently, I've been reworking an old design... the initial idea, progress report one, progress report two, progress report three.
It's done, and I'm very pleased with it.
I love how the exaggerated cowl contrasts with the very fitted body, and I adore the classic oatmealy texture of the yarn, which was screaming out for a cable.
As I mentioned, it's reworking of a vest I knitted years ago.
But this time, I wanted to knit it from the top down. As I've said before, working top-down has some excellent advantages: you can adjust the length and the body fit as you go, and you can manage yarn usage if you're worried you might run out.
And for a vest it's easy-peasy! Here's the original pattern:
Plaid Cable Vest
Ladies XS, S, M, L
Bust: 34 (36, 28, 40) inches/86 (92, 96, 101) cm
Length: 19 (20, 21, 22) inches/48 (50, 53, 56) cm
3 (3, 4, 4) x 100 gm Rowan Plaid – Sample is in colour 160
1 pair 8 mm needles
1 cable needle
2 stitch markers
11 sts and 16 rows over 4 inches/10 cm square in stocking stitch using 8mm needles.
C6B: slip 3 stitches to cable needle and hold in back; knit 3; knit 3 from cable needle
Directions are for smallest size with larger sizes in parentheses.
Using 8mm needles, cast on 48 (52, 56, 60) stitches.
Row 1 (RS): knit 31 (33, 35, 37), place marker, knit 6, place second marker, knit to end. The markers indicate the position of the cable.
Row 2: knit 11 (13, 15, 17), purl 6, knit to end.
Row 3: knit.
Row 4: as row 2.
From here, you’ll work the body of the vest in reverse stocking stitch – purl on right side rows, knit on wrong side – while working the cable in stocking stitch.
Row 5 (RS): purl to first marker, knit 6, purl to end.
Row 6: knit to first marker, purl 6, knit to end.
Row 7: purl to first marker, C6B, purl to end.
Row 8: knit to first marker, purl 6, knit to end.
Row 9: purl to first marker, knit 6, purl to end.
Row 10: knit to first marker, purl 6, knit to end.
Row 11: purl to first marker, knit 6, purl to end.
Row 12: knit to first marker, purl 6, knit to end.
Row 13: purl to first marker, knit 6, purl to end.
These 8 rows establish cable pattern.
Repeat cable pattern until piece measures 4 (4 ¼, 4 ¼, 4 ½) inches/10 (11, 11, 12) cm from cast on, ending with a WS row.
Continuing in cable pattern, p2tog at beginning and end of next 2 right side rows.
44 (48, 52, 56) stitches.
Continue even in cable pattern until piece measures 8 (8 ½, 8 ½, 9) inches/
20 (22, 22, 24) cm from cast on. Increase 1 stitch at beginning and end of next 2 right side rows. 48 (52, 56, 60) stitches.
Continue even in cable pattern until piece measures 12 (12 ½, 13, 13 ½) inches/
30 (32, 33, 35) cm, ending with a WS row.
Cast off 2 (2, 3, 3) stitches at beginning of next two rows.
Cast off 1 stitch at beginning of next 2 (4, 4, 6) rows. 42 (44, 46, 48) stitches.*
Work even until armhole measures 6 (6 ½, 7, 7½) inches/15 (16, 18, 19) cm, ending with a WS row.
Cast off 6 (6, 6, 7) stitches at beginning next two rows.
Cast off 5 (6, 6, 6) stitches at beginning next two rows.
Cast off remaining 20 (20, 22, 22) stitches.
Work as for back until *.
Work even until armhole measures 3 ½ (3 ¾, 4, 4 ¼) inches/9 (9.5, 10, 11) cm, ending with a WS row.
Work first 14 (15, 16, 17) stitches. Attach second ball of yarn and cast off centre 14 stitches. Work to end.
You’ll work both sides of the front at the same time from here. Tip: don’t put your needles down unless you’ve worked a row on both sides – it’s too easy to lose track of where you are.
Continuing in pattern, decrease 1 stitch at neck edge next 3 (3, 4, 4) right side rows. 11 (12, 12, 13) stitches remain on each side.
Work even until armhole measures 6 (6 ¾, 7 ¼, 7¾) inches/16 (17, 19. 20) cm, ending with a WS row.
Cast off 6 (6, 6, 7) stitches at armhole edge, work to end.
Cast off remaining 5 (6, 6, 6) stitches.
Block pieces to desired measurements. Sew left shoulder seam.
With right side facing, pick up 22 (22, 24, 24) stitches along back, 12 (14, 16, 18) along left front, 14 stitches along front, and 12 (14, 16, 18) along right front. 60 (65, 70, 74) stitches total.
First row (wrong side facing), purl all stitches through back loop. Work in stocking stitch for 8 inches. Note that the purl side of the cowl is the inside, so that it matches the body of the vest when folded over.
Cast off loosely.
Sew right shoulder and cowl seam, reversing seam for cowl, as the inside of the cowl is visible when folded over.
With right side facing, pick up 48 (52, 56, 60) stitches around armhole. Cast off knitwise, working stitches through the back loop.
Work both sides alike.
Sew side seams.
Obviously, the cowl instructions and edgings remain the same, no worries about that. For the sake of this tutorial I'm going to ignore the cable for the time being. The vest is worked in reverse stocking stitch, so the right side is the purl side.
Let's focus on the back, and work with the numbers for the smallest size. We start at the top of the back neck.
The back neck and shoulders are shaped: you have 42 sts, then cast off in five steps: 6 twice, 5 twice, and then the remaining 20.
So to work from the top, I cast on 20, and then cast on in steps: 5 stitches twice then 6 stitches twice, giving me 42 stitches.
In detail it goes like this:
Cast on 20 sts. Purl 1 row (RS). Cast on 5 sts, purl to end. Cast on 5 sts, knit to end. Cast on 6 sts, purl to end. Cast on 6 sts, knit to end. 42 sts total.
Then you work even in reverse stocking stitch for a while on those 42 sts, until you need to do armhole shaping.
We need to work out how far to work. The pattern tells me that the armhole should be 6 inches long before the shoulder shaping. And I know that I work 4 rows of armhole shaping for the smallest size - that initial cast-off over two rows, and then 1 repeat of a two-row pattern. And at my row gauge, 4 rows is an inch. And so therefore I need my armhole to be 5 inches long measured from the final cast-on step. So I work even for 5 inches.
And armhole shaping in reverse is easy and fun. In the original, it goes like this:
Cast off 2 (2, 3, 3) stitches at beginning of next two rows.
Cast off 1 stitch at beginning of next 2 (4, 4, 6) rows.
So I cast on 1 st at the start of the next 2 rows, and then cast on 2 sts at the start of the following 2 rows. And I have 48 sts, as required.
And then these stitches go on a holder.
Next up: converting the upper fronts.