i'm just about finished a lovely sweater vest in a tweedy aubergine alpaca with a twist highlander in "dark thistle." i am veryclose to done. and ververyclose to running out of yarn. and i suspect i would really like it to be a couple of inches longer. but, i'm not sure if i could be bothered to buy more when i just want it to be over with now.
(that little lump in my hand is the remaining yarn.)
it's a top-down seamless v-neck vest knitted all in one, so i've been trying on as i go. the basic recipe is this:
1. measure yourself across the back from shoulder to shoulder (so that's about 15" for me).
2. divide by 3 (for me that's 5")
3. add 2" (so that's about 7")
4. cast on enough stitches to make that many inches with whatever yarn you're using (7" x 4 sts/inch = 28 sts). that's the back of the neck.
5. for the shoulder width: 1/3 (5" in my example) -2" (that leaves 3" for me) times gauge (3" x 4 sts/inch = 14 sts)
6. knit back and forth, increasing at each end of each row until you have added that many stitches on each side (hint: adding 12 sts at each end will mean knitting 12 rows - now you have 12+28+12= 52 sts)
7. once you've reached that width, keep going until you've reached your desired armhole depth -1" (for me it was 6" - unsure how deep your armholes should be? measure a shirt or sweater you like, or check the charts at the craft yarn council).
8. increase one st at each end of every right-side row for 2". put these sts on a holder or scrap yarn.
9. go back to the shoulders. starting with one shoulder, pick up and knit the sts (12 in my case) along the sloping/increase edge.
10. knit straight for 2"
11. continue on increasing 1 st at the neck edge every 4th row. take the number of sts across the back (from step 6 - for me, it was 12+28+12=52 sts) and divide by 2 (26 sts). once you have that many sts on your needle, move the sts to a holder or scrap yarn, and repeat for the other shoulder.
12. now you have the two halves of the front "v" - put them both on your needle and knit across, joining.
13. once you've reached your desired armhole depth -1" (same measurement as in step 7), increase one st at each end of every right-side row for 2".
14. you're ready to join in the round! measure the width of your work so far. how many more inches will you need for it to fit around the bust? your bust-(front+back)/2 = how many inches you need to cast on under each arm (i needed another 4" total; divided by 2 that was 2" or 8 sts cast on under each arm)
15. so: knit across the front, co underarm sts (8 in my case), join and knit across the back, co remaining underarm sts (should be the same number as the first lot), join to the front, and voila! you are ready to knit in the round.
16. work straight for a couple of inches. then, if you feel like it, shape by doing paired decreases down the sides (i did decreases every 6 rows for a bit). try it on. looks good?
17. continue knitting straight until it reaches your waist when you try it on. then, you might want to do a few paired increases along the sides (i would have done more, but yarn is sadly scarce). when it's a good length, rib for an inch and bind off stretchy.
18. armholes: pickup and knit in rib for a half inch, bind off stretchy.
19. neckhole: pickup and knit in rib for a half inch, doing paired decreases every second row at the point of the "v." bind off stretchy.
(a good rule of thum for picking up stitches: if you're picking up horizontally, like at the back of the neck, pick them up 1 for 1. if you're picking up vertically, like most of the armhole, pick up 3 sts for every 5 rows.)
ta-dah! a simple knitted sweater vest, and no seams.