Designing those just-right finishing touches on the Colorburst vest

The self-striping Colorburst yarn effortlessly adds interest to my vest so I can get creative on other design elements.

I really hope you’ve tried the steeking of the V-neck opening on the custom sweater vest design we’ve been working on as our project this month. Yesterday, I demonstrated how to do that, and how to calculate evenly distributed increases for V-neck shaping. Today we’ll look at the ribbing edgings for the V-neck and the armhole openings, and I’ll share the instructions for the 3 different textured stitches you’ve seen in my vest and the swatches that didn’t make it into the vest.

Colorburst in the Earth and Sky colorway make the perfect sweater vest.

To add the ribbing to the V-neck opening, we need to know the length of the diagonal edge and the number of rows that were used. In the example we’ve been looking at for the last two days, we had 64 rows. The diagonal measurement after I cut the steek open and the shoulders for each side lay flat is 9”. In this case, the row gauge may not match the diagonal measurement because of the shaping. I use the inches measurement to calculate how many stitches to pick up for the 2×2 ribbing and I use the row count to figure out how to distribute the picking up of the stitches along the edge evenly.

After carefully cutting the steek open for the V-neck, the ribbing can be applied.

The next important piece of information I need is my gauge for the 2×2 ribbing. I knit mine with slightly smaller needles, so when I measure my ribbing gauge along the bottom of the vest I get 25 stitches across 4”. This means that for one edge of the V-neck shaping I need 9 × 25 ÷ 4 = 56 stitches. In the end, I’ll pick up 56 stitches on each side of the V-neck opening, add the 1 stitch on the locking stitch marker, and the 46 stitches waiting on a holder for the back of the neck for a grand total of 159 stitches. This will work perfectly so that the ribbing at the valley of the V-neck will allow me to use double-decreases every other row so that the center stitch travels up vertically. Now, I sew the shoulder seams and get set to pick up stitches.

Take the ribbing gauge from the waistband.

We need to figure out how to distribute the picking up of stitches for the ribbing along the diagonal edge of the V-neck opening.

  • First, let’s do a little thinking through of all this. There are 64 rows, and we need to pick up 56 stitches, which means that there are 8 extra rows that we will need to skip evenly across as we pick up.
  • So 8 is our small number and 64 is our big number. 8 divides into 64 evenly, so we won’t need to use the “magic” formula from yesterday just yet.
  • For the neck opening we need to skip one row for every 8 we pick up stitches along.
  • Starting on the left edge of the neck opening, I don’t want the first or last row to be the skipped one, so I will first pick up and knit 4 stitches, then skip 1.
  • Then I’ll repeat [pick up a stitch in each of next 7 rows, and skip next row] 7 times, and I’ll have 3 rows remaining to pick up 1 stitch in each of them.
  • Then I’ll add the stitch off the locking marker, pick up 3 sts, then [skip 1 rows, pick up 1 stitch in each of next 7 rows] 8 times, and finish with 4 more stitches.
  • Finally, I’ll add the 4 stitches across the back neck.
  • My favorite technique for picking up stitches is to use a crochet hook that doesn’t have a flat thumb rest or a thick handle on it; these Knitter’s Pride rosewood hooks are sharp and perfect for this task.

Using sharp and straight Symfonie Rose hooks to pick up stitches makes my life so much easier.

You can load up the crochet hook with quite a few stitches before transferring them off the tail end onto your knitting needle. I used a size 4US [3.5mm] circular needle to work the ribbing around the neck opening.

Use the crochet hook to draw up a loop in the end of each row and then slide them off onto the knitting needles.

The final step for this sweater vest is to add the same 2×2 ribbing edging to the armholes. The number of rows across which we need to pick up stitches will most likely not be the same as that of the neck opening, so we may need to use the “magic” formula to figure out how to distribute the ribbing stitches evenly. Starting with the 3 stitches that are bound off at the start of the armhole shaping on both front and back, we know we’ll need to pick up 6 stitches across that area. Then the armhole depth is 9”. With the row gauge of 29 rows per 4 inches, we use the calculation, 9 × 29 ÷ 4, and that gives us 65 rows to work across as well.

Unique Quilting Clever Clips are the perfect tool to ensure even seams when joining the sides of the sweater vest.

I use my 2×2 ribbing gauge of 25 stitches per 4” and the same 9” measurement to see how many stitches I’ll need to pick up. 9 × 25 ÷ 4 = 56 stitches. The total will be 56 + 56 + 6 (for the bound off stitches) = 118.  I don’t want my armhole ribbing bands to stick out like wings, so I’ll actually decrease the total number of stitches I need to pick up by 7%. That gives me approximately 109.74 stitches to pick up. 2×2 ribbing requires a multiple of 4 stitches when knit in the round, so I’m going to use 108 stitches in total. I still will need 6 across those bound off stitches at the base of the opening, 108 – 6 = 102. So that will be 51 stitches on each side. Now I need to know how many rows to skip when I’m picking up 51 stitches along 65 rows: 65 – 51 = 14 rows to be skipped. It’s time to use that “magic” formula to figure out how to distribute these skipped rows evenly.

My armhole ribbing set-up row instructions will read, “Join yarn at seam under arm, pick up and knit 3 sts across bound off edge, working along edge of armhole, *[sk next row, pick up a stitch in each of next 3 rows, sk next row, pick up a stitch in each of next 4 rows] 5 times, [sk next row, pick up a stitch in each of next 4 rows] 4 times, now working from top shoulder seam, rep from * once, pick up and knit 3 sts across bound of edge, join to work in the round.” Total 108 sts.  Work 2×2 ribbing for 4 rounds. Bind off in 2×2 ribbing.

All done! I painted with texture while working up this vest, just trying out something a little unconventional.

You’ll see in the photo above that I played around with textured stitches in my version of the vest. This was a lot of fun, but I realize that not everyone would love this, so the instructions this week have all been for a plain stockinette vest. If you’d like to experiment with some of the textures I’ve shared this week, I’ll give you instructions for them below.

From left to right, the stitch patterns are called, Modified Seed Stitch, Crossed Rattan Stitch, and Tucked Brocade stitch.

I hope you share your custom sweater vest designs modelled by the men who received them. Please ask any questions you may have about particular areas you design or knit with trepidation.

And now, I’ll share the instructions for these three stitch patterns.

Modified Seed Stitch

Special stitch

Wrapped stitch Insert RH needle between first and second sts on LH needle and knit up a loop, place this loop on the LH needle tip. Knit that loop together with the first stitch through their back loops.

Worked across an even number of stitches

Row 1 (RS): Knit.
Row 2: [sl 1, p1] across.

Row 3: [k1, wrapped st] across.

Row 4: [p1, sl 1] across.

Row 5: [wrapped st, k1] across.

Repeat Rows 2-5 for pattern.

Crossed Rattan Stitch

Cast on a multiple of 2 stitches, plus 3 for symmetry and edgings.

Special Stitches

Lift st Insert tip of RH needle between 2nd and 3rd sts on LH needle and knit up a loop and extend it generously across the gap towards the stitches on the RH needle.

Reverse yarn over (rev-yo) Bring yarn from back of work over RH needle and return between needle tips to the back of the work.

K1tlb Knit 1 through back loop.

Left-leaning increase (llinc) With LH needle tip lift loop of yarn from 2 rows below first st on RH needle and knit into this loop.

Set-up Row (WS): K2, [p1, k1] across to last st, k1.

Row 1 (RS): K2, [lift st, rev-yo, k1] across to last st, k1.

Row 2: K1, k2tog, [p2tog, k1tbl] across to last 3 sts, p2tog, llinc, k1.

Rep Rows 1 and 2 for pattern, ending with a row 2.

Tucked Brocade Stitch

Special Stitch

4-row tuck stitch (4tk-st) Counting horizontal strands between first stitches on both needle tips, count 4 down and insert hook below all 4 horizontal strands, yarn-over twice and knit up stitch enough to reach the current row.

Cast on an even number of stitches, plus 6 for symmetry and edgings.

Set-up Rows

Knit 8 rows.

[Knit 1 row; purl 1 row] twice.

Row 1: K3, [4tk-st, k2] across to last 3 sts, 4tk-st, k3.

Row 2: P3, [sl 1 st knitwise releasing extra loop, p2] across to last st, p1.

Row 3: K2, *insert RH needle as if to knit 2 sts together, knit but bring RH needle tip up between the 2 sts and only slip off first st, knit next st on LH needle, pass partially knit st over the st just worked; rep from * across to last 2 sts, k2.

Row 4: Purl.

Row 5: K2, [4tk-st, k2] across to last 2 sts, 4tk-st, k2.

Row 6: P2, [sl 1 st knitwise releasing extra loop, p2] across.

Row 7: K1, *insert RH needle as if to knit 2 sts together, knit but bring RH needle tip up between the 2 sts and only slip off first st, knit next st on LH needle, pass partially knit st over the st just worked; rep from * across to last st, k1.

Row 8: Purl.

Repeat Rows 1-8 for pattern.

The week flies when you’re having fun knitting with self-striping Colorburst yarn, Knitter’s Pride Karbonz , and the very yummy Knitter’s Pride rosewood crochet hooks! See you in a couple of months with more exciting knitting topics!

This is part 5 of 5 in this series

Go back to part 4: Colorburst looks best with a steeked V-neck

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