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Coze: Easy Knit Vest Pattern


COZE VEST
Favourite & Queue on Ravelry

This is one of those patterns I had to write because I only have two hands, and 24 hours in a day, and I simply can’t do it all by myself. Knit all the amazing variations, I mean. That’s where you come in, dear knitter. Together, we can do this!

A Comfortable Coze

I’m terrible at coming up with names for patterns. I don’t know, maybe I have too many criteria (multiple connotations, a nice ring, appropriateness, etc.), but at any rate, I’ve been reading a lot of Georgette Heyer recently and I love the phrase “a comfortable coze”, meaning a tête-à-tête, so I finally alighted on ‘Coze’ as a name for this vest. The OED informs me that the word was probably derived from French ‘causer‘ (to chat), and cites a quotation which uses it as a verb: ‘cozing’. Just like a good book, I think of these knitting patterns as our way of having a comfortable coze, and a cosy one, at that.

The vest is amazingly simple. It’s made up of 2 garter stitch rectangles – nothing but the knit stitch, over and over. This means that even a beginner can knit it, and even a beginner could figure out how to substitute a stitch pattern for garter stitch. For example, any of the patterns from The Little eBook of Knitting Stitches would look lovely.

Instructions

If you’re sensible & orderly & don’t like ripping out knitting…

  1. Knit a gauge swatch at least 15cm2 and measure the number of rows & sts per 10cm/4in. (Perform each measurement 3 times and calculate the average).
  2. Measure the distance between your shoulders or measure the back of your favourite top.
  3. Calculate the number of sts you need to cast on to get the back of the vest the right size.
  4. Measure the height you want your vest to be and calculate the number of rows you need to work, based on your gauge.
  5. Cast on the right number of sts for the back, knit for the right number of rows.
  6. (yawn)
  7. Measure across your side and halfway across your front (around your widest part). Calculate how many sts you need to cast on to achieve this width. Cast on this many sts, and knit until your second piece is the same length as the total of the sides and top of your back piece. You’ll probably want to count rows and match them up.
  8. Cast off your second piece and sew it onto the back piece (see schematic). If you’ve knit your sections in garter st, mattress stitch from the outside along both sides, leaving a gap large enough for your arms at the top (try the vest on before you cut the excess yarn or weave in ends). Then backstitch across the top from the inside of the vest, making sure the outside looks neat.
  9. Try it on, if it looks good, weave in your ends, making sure they’re not visible when the shawl collar is folded over.
  10. C’est tout!

If you’re like me & just can’t be bothered…

  1. Guesstimate and cast on a bunch of sts and knit a few rows.
  2. Measure against the back piece of your favourite cardigan. If you haven’t guessed right, see how many sts more/less you need, rip out and start again with the right number of sts.
  3. Knit until the piece is long enough, or until you think you’ll run out of yarn if you knit any more. Don’t cast off, in case you need to adjust the size. Slide all the sts off the needle, because you need the needle to knit the next piece, and put the back gingerly to one side.
  4. The piece that makes up the front needs to be at least half the width of the back piece. You’ll want to add a bit more width, assuming you’re not 2-dimensional, and if you have boobage, you’ll probably need even more. I wouldn’t know. So cast on half the number of sts as you did for the back plus a bit more.
  5. Knit until this piece is the length of the sides and top of your back piece added together. If you have some yarn left over, you can add extra rows to each piece (remembering that for each row you add to the back, you’ll need to add 2 rows to the “front” piece).
  6. Once you’ve used up all your yarn and your vest is long enough, cast off both pieces and sew them together as described in step 8-10 above.

The specs for my vest are as follows:
The first piece is 38cm/15in wide and 34cm/13in tall.
The second piece is 25cm/10in wide and 110cm/43in long.
My gauge is 14sts x 25 rows in 10cm/4in.
I used up all of 200gr of heavy DK-weight wool (approx. 400m/437yds) with 5mm/US 8 needles.


Variations I’d love to see you make

  1. lace (all-over or just on the edge)
  2. stripes
  3. fair isle
  4. moss stitch (preferably English moss-stitch, but I’m not too picky).
  5. cabled edge
  6. long
  7. baby-sizes (how quick would this be?!)
  8. with a counterpane square for the back
  9. with the long piece picked up & knit lengthwise
  10. pockets!
  11. buttons (double-breasted?)
  12. a fringe

I do hope you’ll join me in cozing. Just ‘cos. :)

30th October, 2012  // Layers, Tops // tags: , , , .

Free Circular Shawl Knitting Cheat Sheet



Favourite & Queue on Ravelry

The only thing more mindless to knit than plain top-down shawls are plain centre-out shawls. Following on the popularity of my first Shawl Shaping Cheat Sheet (to date it’s been downloaded by over 12,000 knitters), here is a second cheat sheet, this time for medallion-style shawls knit in the round.

The hardest part of creating this cheat sheet was deciding which shapes to include. In the end I went for the swirl (or spiral) because it’s ever-popular, even though it stands out a bit from the others because it uses single increase units instead of double, and the hexagon because, although it might not be an obvious shape for a shawl, it has several advantages: 1) it tiles (tesselates) nicely, so it can be used in a modular fashion, 2) it can be blocked reasonably round, and 3) it can be folded in half for a very wearable shawl shape.

If you’re new to knitting in the round, you may want to read my page All About Circular Knitting. Barring the cast on, which can be a bit fiddly even for experienced knitters, these shawls make great beginner projects. As with the first cheat sheet, they can be knit in any weight yarn, and you just keep knitting until you:

  1. Get bored,
  2. Expire,
  3. Suspect you might be knitting a ranch house,
  4. Need the needles for another project,
  5. Realise it’s been a year since you started the round,
  6. Become convinced your stitch count has more figures than your income,
  7. or, you know, decide your shawl is large enough.

“I call this the Rosetta Stone of shawls.” – PurlOnions
I received this comment on my 5 Basic Shawl Shapes Cheatsheet just today and it made me chuckle in delight, not just because it’s an amazing compliment to my work (thank you, dear PurlOnions!) but also because I’ve been a bit obsessed with Egyptology recently!

And speaking of languages, I want to thank lovely Jennifer (Nylwenn on Ravelry) not just for translating the Cheat Sheet and the Bow Pouch patterns beautifully into French, but also for putting up with my slow communication. Merci beaucoup!

Other Excellent Uses

  • You can use the circular or swirl instructions to knit top-down hats! Knit until the circumference of your “shawl” is the same as the circumference of your head (where the hat brim will sit), then continue knitting around without increasing until the brim is long enough for you. Bind off and you’re done!
  • Knit each shape until it’s large enough to use as a coaster. You’ll learn about shaping, and have a set of useful accessories at the end. Solid increases will work better for this, and DK or aran-weight yarn.
  • Swap yarn colours every few rounds for an easy-peasy way to create a very attractive shawl. Colour-blocking is still in, no?

A Few Pointers

  • As always when knitting garter stitch, I recommend you use needles 1-2 sizes larger than your yarn calls for.
  • The abbreviations “pm” & “sm” sometimes cause confusion; these stand for “place marker” and “slip marker” respectively.
  • You may want to use a different-coloured marker for the “pm” so that you can distinguish the beginning of the round.

More Shawl Resources

Usage

  • Please DO NOT redistribute this PDF file.
  • Please DO NOT link directly to the PDF file. Link to this page, or use this short link: http://bit.ly/shawlshapes2
  • You are welcome to use this PDF for educational purposes.

Please note this cheat sheet has not been tech edited or test knit! If you do find any errors, despite my best efforts, please let me know and I will correct them as soon as possible. Enjoy! :)

25th September, 2012  // Downloads // tags: , , , , .

Free Shawl Knitting Cheat Sheet

5 basic shawl shapes

Shawls that you can knit until you run out of yarn are the bread-and-butter of knitting, to me. I know there are knitters who can’t stand the tedium of plain knitting, but I love the opportunity to think, listen to the radio, watch a film, or even read, while my hands are busy and productive.

This 1-page cheat sheet provides the shaping formulas, and row-by-row instructions for knitting 5 such shawls: square, circular, triangular, semi-circular, and heart-shaped. All you need is some yarn, a pair of needles, and some stitch markers. If you’re stuck on a desert island, you can improvise with plant filaments, some smooth sticks (sharpened to a point), and a few seashells with holes in them. You’ll need the instructions though, so click here & print them out now, and tuck them away safely in your pocket!

These shawls grow outwards from the neck, and are bound off around their circumference. This means that you can start knitting without any plan, and decide at the end whether or not you want to add a border in a different stitch pattern. Or you can just add a fringe. Once you get the basic idea, other modifications are very easy to make too: coloured stripes, textured stripes, different stitches, m1s instead of yos, etc. You can knit the shawls with any yarn from lace-weight to bulky. If you’re working in garter stitch, I recommend going up a needle size or two, to get a fabric that drapes nicely. The most important thing is that you like the way it feels.

I should note that the square, circle and semi-circle shawls will not be perfect in shape, but they can be blocked to be this way. For a (pretty much) perfect square or circle, it would be best to work in the round. And for a less semi-hexagonal semi-circle, distribute your increases across the row in a less linear fashion (like Citron, for example). Nevertheless, the former two shapes provide nice shawls that will stay on your shoulders, unlike the variations knit in the round, which need to be folded.

Need I mention that these make great summer knitting projects, when it’s too hot to think? Please knit them in the brightest, most brilliant & beautiful colours of yarn you can find. Thank you.


If you like this cheatsheet, you might also like the CRESCENT SHAWL SHAPING WORKSHEET & FILL-IN-THE-BLANKS SHAWL DESIGN.


Usage

  • Please DO NOT redistribute this PDF file.
  • Please DO NOT link directly to the PDF file. Link to this page, or use this short link: http://bit.ly/shawlshapes
  • You are welcome to use this PDF for educational purposes.

Translations

– Edna of Tricô Sem Costura has kindly translated the PDF into Portugese.

PORTUGESE ERRATA (10/11/11):

Circular:
CARR. 9: 1M, laç ✽meia
até o marcador, laç,
passe o marcador, 1M,
laç, rep. a partir de ✽
mais duas vezes, meia até o último
ponto, laç, 1M.

– Ravelry user Nylwenn has very kindly translated the cheat sheet into French. Cliquez ici pour télécharger “5 formes de base pour châles”.

13th May, 2011  // Downloads, Knitwear Design // tags: , , , .

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