Last year, a friend from work gave me a huge bag of yarn – in it was a partially complete Sirdar 9248 vest. I’d wanted to knit a vintage style vest for a while, so I decided to finish the vest myself! It was made of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino DK Petrol, it’s a gorgeous blue colour and there were about three balls left. I thought it would be a nice quick project but some fun challenges emerged along the way!
As the project was half complete, I decided to frog it and start again. I didn’t know what size it was or whether my tension would match so I thought this way was best!
Next I had a look at the sizing of the pattern to plan my way forward. Firstly, I decided to shorten the vest so that it would sit on my waist – I do this with a lot of my knits for a more vintage look. Next, I had a look at the measurements of the finished vest: my measurements matched a size 10 waist and a size 14 bust. In the past, I’ve just made the size that matched my bust size but this time I wanted to try something different. I made a plan to make the ribbing at the hem for a size 10, remove the section with shaping over the hips to make it the right length, and continue the vest in a size 14. I also shortened the ribbing to 3″ instead of 4″ as 4″ looked too long for the style I wanted.
Combining the sizes involved a bit of maths which took me about three attempts to get right. Eventually I figured out that for a cast on of 109 stitches, I needed the following decrease row to get 95 stitches: p2, (p2tog, p6) 6 times, p2tog, p5, (p2tog, p6) six times, p2tog, p2. With that done, I could carry on with the rest of the instructions.
I was able to carry on with the vest with no more challenges until I got to the ‘V’ neck at the front. By the time I got to the split for the neckline, I realised I didn’t have enough yarn left. I could finish one side of the ‘V’ neck but not the other. When I went to research getting more yarn, I could only find one place that had only one ball left – I think this colour may have been discontinued. I figured it was unlikely that the dye lot would match but I really wanted to finish the vest in the same colour instead of a colour block design. I thought it was worth a shot!
When the yarn arrived I was hopeful that it would be a good match, but when I went to finish the other side of the ‘V’ neck I realised it was a bit brighter. I asked a few people at work if I could get away with it while I was working on it during a lunch break but the consensus was that it was way too noticeable.
However, I didn’t lose heart – instead I made a plan. So that the colour difference would look intentional, I decided to undo the side of ‘V’ neck in the original yarn to about an inch above the split for the neckline then did two rows of alternating stitches in the old and new yarn before continuing with the new yarn. Then I did the same with the other side. The rows of alternating stitches make the colour change less stark and having the lighter blue on both sides of the ‘V’ neck looks like a design choice.
To finish the vest, all I had to do was complete the ribbing on the neckline and armholes and assemble! The ribbing was also done in the new yarn, but it blends with the new yarn on the front of the vest and also looks like a design choice because it all matches.
I wove in all the ends to finish and lightly blocked the vest then it was done! I’m really pleased with the way it turned out: the yarn is so soft and it’s kept me very cosy in the cold January weather. Challenging myself to combine sizes for a better fit was really great and it’s helped me build my confidence in altering knitting patterns! Now that I know this pattern works, I’ve got it in mind for making more vests in different colours in the future. I’m very grateful to my friend who gave me the yarn as I’ve now got a fantastic wardrobe staple!