Saturday, December 12, 2009

WIP, or how to knit a seamless vest

The knitted-gift list is very short this year, just another plain vest for DH, this time in mustard yellow. It's pretty much the same as the green vest, with some tweaks to the armhole shaping. It's even the same yarn, Simply Shetland lambswool & cashmere, so I didn't have to check gauge! The construction is just as outlined in Knitting from the Top, by Barbara Walker, which you absolutely must get, because it is the bestest book on top-down knitting. It's weirdly satisfying to see how the different pieces grow and come together, so I thought I'd share.

The first step is to measure, measure, and measure again, check gauge, and plan out the vest. I make notes and little diagrams on an index card--this one I got to basically copy off the last vest.

Cast-on with a provisional cast-on. I always use the long-tail method with scrap yarn, because it's the only way I know. Any provisional cast-on will work.

Knit the back, starting with short rows for the shoulder shaping. (It's all curled up, but it looks like a squat trapezoid.)

Knit down for a while, then increase for the armhole shaping. Place on spare needles.

Pick up two separate sets of stitches from the provisional cast-on, one for each shoulder, and leaving a section in the center unworked (back of the neck). Knitting in the opposite direction, do the short-row shoulder shaping again, except separately for each shoulder. Meanwhile, increase at the neck edge for neck shaping. This is the worst part, where there are 3 different working ends to the vest, and the short-rowing and neck-shaping are occuring simultaneously. Soldier on!

When the neck increases are enough for the two sides of the front to meet, join, and work as one front piece. Fold at the shoulder "seams" (where the provisional cast-on used to be), and you can start to see some vestishness.

Knit down for a while, increase for the armhole shaping, until even with the back. Then--this is the fun part--go from 2D to 3D by continuing around to the back, casting on extra stitches under the arm, and knitting in the round. This part always makes me squee!

That's all for now. More steps as I get to them...


Thea said...

my DH just informed me he's in the market for a vest....

Julie said...

that's so awesome! Looks great.

VeganCraftastic said...

I still have yet to knit any kind of sweater like object for my husband :)