Posted on 8 Comments

Cousinly Vests

I know I should save this post for after Christmas, and after the gifts have been safely distributed, but darn it, I need a little cheer right about now, after a weekend of thinking about terrible, terrible things that continue to linger in my mind.

These four coordinating vests for four cousins do cheer me up a little, so how about we go with that?

[Dear Boring Office Guy, if you are reading this, I didn’t just say “vest” and I didn’t just say “cousins” implying that one would be for you. Please just delete this post from your email and go do your homework. Love, Mom. P.S. XOXOXO]

I’ve been working on these, off and on (but mostly on), since the hurricane hit at the end of October. I finished last week:

I just love seeing them all together like this. They coordinate so nicely! Even if they are never all worn together at the same time, at least I have my photos, right? Right. So, let me tell you a little bit about these guys, in case you are thinking of making your own sometime. They all use the “Kid’s Vest” pattern from More Last-Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson as a base, but they’ve all also been modified in some way.

For all of them, I eliminated the duplicate-stitch initials on the front, sewed the shoulder seams together (instead of 3-needle-bind-off), and used Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchey Bind-Off on the neck.

I used Knit One Crochet Too’s 2nd Time Cotton in four different colors:  913 (Granite), 658 (Dark Blue), 669 (Stonewash), and 290 (Claret).

The Solid

Size: 11-12 years

Yarn: 3 hanks 913


The pattern only goes up to size 9-10 years, so I used a little math to increase the range. In most instances, the change required is obvious. For instance, the pattern tells you to cast on 100 (112, 124, 136, 148) stitches for the various sizes. Each larger size requires 12 more stitches than the previous size, so you can deduce that it takes 160 stitches to go one bigger.

This approach worked pretty well nearly everywhere, and in the places where there wasn’t an obvious sequence, I just took an educated stab at it. Perhaps if I had a big, burly 12-year-old, I’d have had to go bigger, but Boring Office Guy is on the smaller side of 12, and I think this ought to fit him nicely.

I have to tell you, this vest caused me the most angst of all of them. I ripped out the collar ribbing twice before getting it right. After I blocked it, it still seemed somehow not “right” but I didn’t catch on to what the issue was until I was in the middle of the next vest: I had knit too few rows on the back section.  Ugh. So, I ended up ripping out all of the upper body ribbing (sleeves, too) and the shoulders of the back, and re-doing all of that. It was annoying, but I’m glad I did it.

This is the simplest vest of all of them, but appropriate for a young man who is nearly a teenager. (gulp.)

The Striped

Size: 9-10 years

Yarn: 1 hank of 290 and 1.25 hanks of 658.


I wanted to try some fading stripes for Flufy’s vest, and this is how I did it:

  • Ribbing in red
  • 16 rows in red
  • 1 row in blue
  • 8 rows in red
  • 2 rows in blue
  • 4 rows in red
  • 4 rows in blue
  • 2 rows in red
  • 8 rows in blue
  • 1 row in red
  • the rest of the vest, including neck and arm ribbing, in blue

The Contrast-Edged

Size: 3-4 years

Yarn: 1.25 hanks 669, .25 hank 658


The only additional change I made to this vest was to knit the ribbing in a darker color than the body.

The Floral

Size: 6-12 months

Yarn: 1 hank 290, small amounts of 658, 669, 913


I needed a vest smaller than the 18 month size, so I improvised in the same way that I did with The Solid. In other words, I cast on 88 stitches (12 less than the smallest listed size) just as I had cast on 160 stitches (12 more than the biggest listed size) for the big vest. I made adjustments in the same manner throughout the pattern, and I think it worked ok, except I don’t have a baby around here to test the sizing on. I may be off in calling it “6-12 months.” Regardless, it will fit a baby at some point, while said baby is still little.

In order to feminize it a bit, since this is the only cousinly vest going to a girl cousin, I sewed a few flowers onto the front. The flowers were made according the pattern found in Linda Permann’s Little Crochet.

The End

So there you have it: four vests for four cousins. Like I mentioned in a previous post, my boys also have two older cousins, and I’d have loved to do the same for them, but the rejection-factor vs. knitting effort when dealing with teenage boys seemed like too much of a risk to me. Hey, I’m not even sure my own kids will embrace handknit vests. (But I am hopeful.)

I think maybe the time has come for me to plan to be away from the blog for a few days. I have no shortage of things to write about, but time is at a premium.

I still have to put up the tree and figure out what I am going to feed people for Christmas. And there’s the little matter of the shopping list that I have not even begun to make yet. Yeah. December 17th, and I’m still just leisurely making and buying without a plan. I am perfectly calm about it right now, but I suspect this is all leading to meltdown territory sometime in the next week. It’s probably better if I don’t add “blogging” to my list of must-do’s.

This post took me 3 hours (gah!) between the writing of it, the looking up of useful links for it, the proofreading of it, and the business of being distracted by things from my Twitter feed [note to self: stop reading things that make you sad. I said stop it!].

I should probably be stepping away from the computer right now for all kinds of reasons.

I’ll see you around, here and there. I’ll be sure to drop in with short-and-sweet stuff whenever possible, but the long, meaty posts will have to wait a few weeks. Be merry!


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Posted on 8 Comments

8 thoughts on “Cousinly Vests

  1. Lisa, I just wanted you to know how much I enjoy your blog. I just get so much enjoyment from reading. Before ca put me in bed most of time and all I used to knit quilt bead etc. Now I am not able to do it I really smile everytime a new post pops up! I hope you and all your family have a wonderful holiday season. We should all pray for healing and peace especially for all of Newtown my heart strings hurt for all the families that lost children and the teachers. Hope that 2013 is a very peaceful year.

    1. Thanks, Patti! That makes me feel good 🙂 What is “ca”? I’m unable to figure out the abbreviation.

  2. They all look wonderful! I hope you and your family have a very merry and peaceful Christmas.

    1. Thanks, Kat, same to you!

  3. Wonderful! I have a project that I really can’t share, the daughter in law is an it specialist and goes more places on the net than I do. I did share it on my Facebook sewing group, I don’t think she goes there. I agree with you about needing cheer, I’ve been on the edge of tears since that day.

    1. My own kids have seen me make these, so they can guess they’re coming anyway 🙂 My BIL and SIL don’t read my blog (i’m pretty sure, anyway) so I think I’m safe there. If not, no big deal. I’m reaching the point this year where I don’t much care about surprises as long as I manage to finish everything on time, LOL!

  4. Wow! This is very productive and the vests are great! I’m still knitting on the one blanket. Blah!
    I hope you (and everyone in the whole world, including me) gets through the grief and anger and move on to a new year full of hope and peace and love.
    Merry Christmas to you and yours, Lisa. I’m glad that I “met” you this year.

    1. Thanks, Sally! I appreciate the well-wishes, and the same to you! Have you really only been coming around here for this year? It seems like longer 🙂

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