The beginner’s vest

green vest

This is a vest made not long after I took up knitting again, and it’s one of my favourite knitting projects. When I started knitting again, I gravitated towards vintage and retro patterns. As it happened, I was a voracious op shopper at that time, and the op shops I frequented had a really good supply of patterns from the 40s-70s. The pattern for this vest was from the English Woman’s Weekly from 9 November 1974.


The colour combinations suggested in the magazine included grey and blue, amber and rust, oatmeal and sage and turquoise and grey. I was going through a green and brown phase at the time, so used a light green and olive green 5ply from the Bendigo Woollen Mills back room.

It was my first attempt at colourwork, and even now I’m pretty impressed with how it turned out. The knitting’s quite even and there’s pretty much no puckering. However, I never wear it because of a few rookie mistakes. The biggest problem is that it’s too short. This is probably because I used a 5ply instead of an 8ply yarn, and also suspect ‘gauge swatch’ was some manner of strange term I’d never come across. My increases are a bit… holey, even though I’m sure I knew how to do bar increases. So, while there’s not actually many mistakes, they’re pretty noticeable ones.


All that said, I can’t bare to unravel it. Even though it just takes up precious wardrobe space, I still feel proud when I spy it under the piles of knitwear. I definitely want to knit the vest again, but with 8ply and after a gauge swatch. It’s also a project that makes me feel a bit sad. I think it was a fairly adventurous knit for a relative beginner, and it makes me wonder where that sense of adventure went; after all, it’s only yarn and patterns are merely serving suggestions…

On the topic of serving suggestions and a sense of adventure, the magazine didn’t just have a snazzy vest pattern. Amongst other things, it also had a fantastic ad for a well loved foodstuff:


Anyone for paella beanz?

8 Responses to “The beginner’s vest”

  1. Lynne Says:

    I’ll skip the beans thanks!

    I think the vest is lovely – the colours work well together and the increases are a “design feature”. I think you should be very proud of it.

  2. Sonia Says:

    It’s a great looking vest, such a fierce beginner!

  3. Yorkshirepud Says:

    I love your vest. I’ve just posted about my first projects when I came back to knitting and I’m now suitably embarrassed as hell.

  4. drk Says:

    i would totally wear that if i were you. it looks perfectly fine length wise, and such beautiful colourwork. but i know what you mean, people would say that about some of my earlier stuff that i never wear. i think its an essential part of the process though, being able to accept that the things you made first were Growth as a Knitter items. i would definitely give that another go.

  5. WithaQ Says:

    If the length is really bothering you, now that you are more experienced you could chop off the ribbing, pick up the live stitches and knit a new, longer band??? I’m with DrK though, I think the length is OK

  6. kgirlknits Says:

    totally agree with those above – the length looks great!

    I think it is such an impressive first knit – would never have picked it! and I would weep at unpicking that, if I were you…it’s part of your knitting history!

  7. bells Says:

    oh it’s lovely and for an early piece so great. DO it! The length is great. I really love your style Emma!

  8. jules Says:

    It’s beautiful!! You should totally wear it. I think the length is what defines it as a 70’s fashion piece, rather than a daggy fairisle ; )


Leave a Reply