Finished Object: Gilmore Vest

I finished my Gilmore Vest on March 7, a week late.  Oh well.  My friends at knit night encouraged me to finish despite my trepidation regarding fit.  And really I was so close, just one armhole ribbing away from being done.  Blocking certainly helped too.  I chose to wet-block this because I will be washing it occasionally.  Pre-block it was too short and kind of lumpy in the wrong spots.  Post block (and some gentle tugging for length) it looks much better.  I’m amazed and happy with how much more drape fabric got post-blocking.  I wore the vest last Sunday, both because I was hoping for some finished photos of it being worn and because it provided just enough warmth on a cool spring day.  Goooooo! Woooool!

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Lumpy and Bumpy versus Smooth and almost drapey

Pattern: Gilmore Vest, Rav link if you prefer
Yarn: Patons Classic Wool in Peacock, just over 2 skeins
Needles: US 6 for st st gauge of 4.4 sts/inch (approx 6.2 rows/inch), US 5 for hemline ribbing, US 4 for neck and armhole ribbing – note the gauge measurements are pre-blocking
Knit: flat in two pieces, then seamed per pattern instructions

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Do you notice the difference in length pre & post block? It is maybe an inch but I notice it (you can’t see my belt loops or pockets in the post-block, outdoor photo).

My mods

  • Hemline ribbing done for 3.25 inches  (instead of 4.5 inches)
  • Waist shaping added (or subtracted depending on your point of view) – reduced the stitch count by 4 inches then increased it again by about 3 1/2″ – I could have gone a bit narrower at the shoulders.
  • Armhole shaping started 13 inches from hemline – reduced 10 sts on either side over… um 12 rows (bound off 5 then decreased 5 over, um 10 rows?)
  • Worked straight until 18″ then started the neckline shaping
  • Evaluated the back piece to determine where and how often the shaping would occur on the front.  Decided to start the v-neckline around the smallest part of my waist (so about 7″ in) and  the decreases ended up being a mix of every 6 rows and every 8 rows.  I was slightly off in my calculations but once I had 10 stitches remaining I worked flat until I got to the proper length.
  • 3 needle bind-off for the shoulders
  • Picked up stitches for the neckline ribbing (3 sts for every 4 rows as suggested by my Finishing Book plus one extra to match my rib pattern).  This turned out to be either 180 or 182 stitches.  I worked 11 rows plus the bind-off row (for ribbing that is about 2 inches thick per the pattern).  Then I carefully whip-stitched the ribbing edges down at the bottom of the V.
  • Mattress stitched the side seams and then followed the same ribbing logic for the armholes.

What I’d do differently:  Just find a DK weight yarn for this pattern.  I think it looks a little bulky on me and while I’m not waiflike, I’m not really thick either.  I think I could have used a bit more ease near the hips or maybe a bit less at the top.  I’m not really sure.  Knit that extra inch in length, I think the hemline ribbing hits at a bad spot.   I’d also start the armhole a little sooner.  The armhole does trouble me because I still feel like the straps were almost too long but the armhole itself sits too high and seems just a bit snug.  I need to experiment with fit more to find the correct solution for that.  I’m really  happy that I picked up the stitches and really really happy that I took the time to figure out how to do a tubular cast-off (even though I could use more practice at it).

March 18, 2010. Tags: , . Knitting. 4 comments.

Knitting Olympics Fail

I failed to get the gold, but I’m slowly working my way toward the finish line anyway.  I have high hopes that I will finish it tomorrow.  I thought maybe today but grafting 181 (or was it 182) stitches is kicking my butt.  Just like the cold that knocked me flat on Friday and Saturday.  I spent both days on the couch with my knitting, but the idea of knitting was just too much to bear in addition snot-induced headache.  Excuses, excuses (did you hear about the cross-country skier that completed her race despite several broken ribs and possibly a punctured lung?).  Running out for a different needle to finish my neck and arm bands around 3:30 pm on Sunday didn’t help my cause either (but I’m so glad I did it – my ribbing looks much better 2 sizes down from my stockinette needle).

This is where I was last night, around the time the IOC president gave a speech and NBC did their weird intermission/show premiere timing (which I didn’t watch on principle).

Progress as of closing ceremonies

I got as far as casting off about 6 or so stitches using EZ’s sewn-cast off when I decided it didn’t look quite right and if I was going to do this I should do it right.  A 1×1 rib just seemed to be begging for a tubular cast-off, but my instructions didn’t quite mesh with my reality (I needed to start casting off a purl stitch not a knit stitch).  I unpicked those cast-off stitches, stuck them back on the needle and grabbed some spare yarn.

Tiny Swatches Save the Day

tiny swatches

One of my bits of knitting advice to new knitters is that swatching is good, swatching helps and specifically when you get stuck on something during a project try it out with different yarn before tackling it on your project to avoid excessive ripping.  Technique Swatches instead of Gauge Swatches.  First I did a small swatch to try out the tubular cast-off as my go-to reference, Knitter’s Guide to Finishing Techniques, states.  Then I did a small swatch of EZ’s sewn-cast-off for comparison.  Definitely not the same edge, even though I’ve read that tubular cast-off is also known as sewn cast-off.  And finally I did a little swatch as I was finding my neck-band to be – 1×1 ribbing that started with a purl stitch.  That wasn’t going to work (it is the bottom swatch).

Frustrated and tired I decided to move on to the seaming.  Which I then had to rip out  because I didn’t managed to get my edges to meet properly at the armpit.  I decided that was that and what I had accomplished for the day and left everything on the couch and went to bed.  Today I partially blocked the edges to get them flat, placed safety pins every 10 rows on each side and !!! I guess I didn’t count as accurately as I thought.  Doh.  A little fudging in the seaming fixed that though.

uh oh

I spent the afternoon seaming, and then did a fourth tiny swatch, again replicating my rib situation and starting with a purl instead of a knit, this time I switched up how I slipped my stitches onto new needles (I slipped that first purl stitch onto what became the back needle) and tried the tubular cast-off again.  And it worked great, in fact I think it looks a little better than the original (which made the last visible stitch skew left).  I’ll try to get close-up shots for the FO wrap-up post.  Soon.

March 2, 2010. Tags: , . Knitting. 6 comments.

4 inches then 14 inches

I cast-on the smallest size of the Gilmore Vest last Friday night for my Knitting Olympics challenge.  That night I did some quick calculations and decided if I could knit 3 inches every day I’d get the vest done no problem.  On Saturday night, around  4 inches into the pattern I started worrying about the calculations for my waist shaping (not in the pattern).  I stopped to do the math.  And that is where it got messy.  Frustrated and unsure how to proceed I didn’t knit on this on Sunday, or Monday or Tuesday.  Uh oh.

But it get worse.  Wednesday (day 5) I’m looking at the most recent issue of Knit Scene and notice that it has a vest pattern – and the model wearing it has 2 inches of positive ease.  I measure myself.  I think and think and when I arrived at knit night – I ripped out those 4 inches (that should have been about 15″) and cast-on for the next size up.


Luckily I spent most of Friday knitting.  And managed to knit 14 1/2″ in one day (up to a total of 17 1/2″ and only 4″ behind schedule).  This is unheard of for me and not at all the endurance knitting I was planning. I wanted slow & steady, not fast and furious wondering if I my forearms will survive more than one day of knitting this much.  The first christmas that I decided to knit for people I managed to get some sort of injury that left my arms aching and unable to knit for a week.  I don’t want to repeat that.

Knitting Olympics Progress

February 20, 2010. Tags: , . Knitting. 2 comments.