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                                                                                      Updated November 2014


A place for Knitting Machine Enthusiasts to find out about Knitting Machines, Yarns or Anything that has to do with Machine Knitting
Vest Pattern
   with a Shawl Collar
      and Buckles
         for the Front Closure


          
As you can see above, vests can come in all sorts styles.  You are not limited to the traditional shape and just wool yarn.  You can use furry yarn, or even actual "fur yarn", as in "Mink Yarn" which is yarn made out of mink fur!  By the way, you can buy mink yarn at Great Northern Yarns.  You can pattern a traditional shape like the pink vest above, or extend the ribbing on a cocoon shape, or change the front in all sorts of ways.  Use your imagination, these days pretty much everything goes and who knows, you may come up with something brand new yourself!

I will us this page as an exercise to go over everything we have learned and few things we have not actually put to form yet.  So, I will go over how to pattern a vest that is:
-  Sleeveless
-  With bands for the armholes
-  That has a V - neck
-  With a Shawl collar
-  With front bands and buckles for closures
-  And a ribbed bottom
-  That hits the hips
-  And is form fitting, so the body will be shaped also

Well, that is a mouthful!  But after completing this pattern, you should:
   1.  Have templates to work off of for other patterns
   2.  Change the templates for different designs
   3.  Create just about anything you want


First, you will need to draw a schematic, I have one for you to download or you can draw one yourself.  You will draw the front of the vest and the back this time, since the back is also shaped.  No need to draw a sleeve, since it is sleeveless, but you will need to figure out bands for the armholes and for the front.

SIDE NOTE:  At the bottom of this page are templates for all items that we have gone over in this section.  You can download them and put them in a binder to refer back to.  They are in PDF format.  You can also download a ton of templates for all sorts of sweaters, jackets and sweater coats on the Knitting Calculator page.

We will construct the vest in sections, the neckline and armholes, the back and then the two panels for the front, then the collar.  Now, a lot of people always shape the back neckline, I do not, and they also knit the shoulders with a slight slant, I do not do this either.  For me, it really does not look or fit any different since knitted sweaters stretch, and for me is more work than it is worth.  The only time I shape the back neckline is if it mimics the front and is over 4" deep. Others will argue that it does make a difference, but it is up to you what you would like to do.

Some people also divide the garment up into sections, usually 4 and then reset the row counter to zero each time they hit a new section of the pattern.  This works well especially for novices or really complicated patterns.  I reset the row counter to zero after knitting any kind of a ribbed band at the bottom of the sweater or sleeve and I knit set in sleeves in sections.  Other then that I knit the garment in one section as I get a little confused.  Working the pattern in sections is also a real time sver if you have mistakes, you can catch them earlier rather then get to the end and realize something is off.  I would encourage you to try it and see if it makes thing easier. 

                          Click on this link for Sweater in Sections

This section will have brief explanations of how I got to where I was going, as you should have already read the previous pages and should understand the Magic Formula and other calculations.  For a detailed explanation click on the links below to download a detailed explanation and all the calculations and measurements, which you can use and follow along.  Also if you want to do the calculations yourself, you can download both Part A Templates as one has the math completed and the other is blank.

                          Body Measurement & Sweater Template
                        Calculations for Shawl Collar Vest - Part A
                   Calculations for Shawl Collar Vest - Part A, empty
            Directions for Shawl Collar Vest with Calculations - Part B
                      Final Instructions for Vest with Shawl Collar
      
                                        
                 OK, LET's START and FINISH the CALCULATIONS....
           
       ARMHOLES, BANDS AND NECKLINE

First we will start with the armholes and necklines.  Some will start with other parts of the garments, but for me if I figure this part out first it makes things easier for me.  You can start with any item you want, it is just a preference.

To calculate the armhole you need to take the chest width and deduct the back width.

Chest width 20” – 15” = 5” in stitches to shape.  
5” x 7 stitches = 35 stitches /2 sides = 17.5


The armhole depth is 8.5” that includes 1” of ease:

8.5” x row gauge of 15 rows per inch = 127.5 rows.
I will round down to 127 rows

This is the total rows to complete the armhole, NOT the amount of rows you use for shaping.  You will only some of the rows for shaping.

                                     ARMHOLES

Since this is a vest with an armband I also need to know the width of the band which is 1.5” and if you double it over you do not count the width times 2, just the width once as the band is doubled over and stitches in place.  You will need adjustment for 2 areas:

1.    You decrease the shoulder width
2.    You increase the armhole height

If you do not you end up with a smaller armhole and a wider shoulder, the vest will not fit right.

Armhole band is 1.5” with a stitch gauge of 7 per inch = 10.5 stitches
I round up to 11

Armhole band is 1.5” with a row gauge of 15 per inch = 22.5 rows
I round up to 23


SIDE NOTE: 
I then deduct either 1.5” or 11 stitches from the shoulder area on each side to accommodate the armband otherwise the shoulders will be 1.5” wider and will not fit.  YOU DO NOT HALF THIS NUMBER as there is another band on the other side the same width.  If you had a neckline band, you would do the same thing to each side again, but we have a collar, so we do not.

Just because it is easier and there is less than 21 stitches, I will use the formula where I bind off 50% of the stitches then decrease the rest over every other row.

So, here is what we know so far:

-  There are 127 rows for the armhole to knit
-  We need to add an additional 23 rows to make room for the armhole band:

127 + 23 = 150 total rows for the armhole

-  We have 17.5 stitches to shape on each side for each armhole area, or round up to 18, 50% of 18 is 9 for the initial bind off then decrease 1 stitch every other row 9 times:
 
Total rows used is 1 + ( 9 x 2 ) = 1 + 18 rows = 19 total rows used
150 – 19 = 139 rows left to knit evenly


Then knit the rest of the rows evenly EXCEPT that is incorrect, as you will be shaping the neckline and armholes at the same time at one point.  For now just keep these numbers in mind.

We also need to know on which row to start our armhole shaping, so you take total length without counting the ribbed band at the bottom and deduct rows for armholes.  You start your armhole shaping in row 255, you can see how I go there on Part A of the instruction aids.

****Also, we will need to remember to deduct 11 stitches from the shoulder area and we will get to that when we create our instructions for the front and back panels.

ARMHOLE INSTRUCTIONS:
-  After you knit the bottom band, move all the ribber needles to the main bed and reset row counter to zero.
-  Knit to row 255
-  Bind off 11 stitches each side to accommodate the band
-  Bind off 9 stitches on each side
-  Then decrease 1 stitch every other row 9 times
-  Knit an additional 128 rows and either bind off or place stitches on waste yarn

                                  ARMHOLE BANDS

First you have to decide what kind of band you want.  I have decided to knit an armhole band twice the width in Stockinette stitch and then fold it over.  You could have chosen to use rib stitch or not fold them over, I happen to like them a little thicker.

So, the width will be 1.5” x 2 = 3”, and I am also adding an additional stitch on each side for seaming:

3” x 7 = 21 stitches + 2 more stitches is a total for 23 stitches wide

I then take the armhole depth and double it for length plus add a few extra inches and then I rip back what I do not use for a perfect fit.

ARMHOLE BAND INSTRUCTIONS:
-  Cast one 23 stitches in desired stitch pattern
-  Knit 345 rows
-  Remove on waste yarn
-  Set aside
-  Knit 2

                                        NECKLINE

The neckline in this case is a v neckline with a Shawl Collar.  As mentioned above, you will be shaping the neckline and the armholes at the same time.  Depending on the depth of the neckline, will decide if you start shaping the neckline or the armholes first.  In most cases, with a v neckline, you will start it at the same time or before the armholes.

The neckline depth is 7” and you need to know rows:

7 x 15 = 105 total rows

The Back Neck Width is 7.5” and you need to know stitches:

7.5 x 7 = 52.5 stitches

You then divide in half as you have two sides for the front, a left and right:
 
52.5 / 2 = 26.25 or 26 stitches to shape on each side of the neck

SIDE NOTE:  If you were knitting a pullover you would be able to only shape one side at a time, so one side would be in hold position, you shape one side, then remove on waist yarn or bind off and shape the other side.

You have 26 stitches to shape evenly over 105 rows, but I also want to have the last inch in rows to be knitted evenly, 1 inch is 15 rows, so I actually have: 90 rows to shape 26 stitches.  By eyeballing it I know that I will have to use the magic formula to figure this out, which I have in Template B.


So, you bind off one stitch, then…
  • Decrease 1 stitch every 4th row 12 times
  • Then decrease 1 stitch every 3rd row 14 times
We also need to know which row to start shaping the neck, so we take the 90 rows and deduct it from the “ARMHOLE” rows, not from the neck down.  If you get a negative number do not worry about it, all that is telling you is that you will start the neckline shaping BEFORE the armhole shaping:

                                  150 – 105 = 45

… so you will start your neckline shaping 45 rows AFTER you start the armhole shaping, you will start neckline shaping on row 300 and shape the neckline and finish the armhole at the same time.

NECKLINE INSTRUCTIONS:
-  On row 300 bind off one stitch
-  Decrease 1 stitch every 4th row 12 times
-  Then decrease 1 stitch every 3rd row 14 times
-  Then knit 15 rows and remove on waste yarn or bind off
              (you should be finishing the armholes at the same time)

   

                            BACK PANEL


So, now we know where we will start shaping for the neckline and armholes but we only need both calculations for the front since we will not be shaping the back neckline.  We move on to the Back Panel of the Vest, and it is knitted as one panel and not broken up in sections, like the two front panels.  If you are knitting a back panel that is too wide for your knitting machine, then you would break it up into two sections and then seam them together down the middle of the back.  I do not shape the back neckline unless it is a really low neckline that mimics the front neckline and you should not shape the back neckline if you are adding a collar, as we are, anyway.  Below are some back necklines that you would shape:
                      
This is the first time we will be shaping the sweater to mimic the body shape, as in a smaller waist than the hips and chest area.  Because of this my directions in this area will be a little more detailed.

SIDE NOTE:  Some people break up the components for building and knitting a sweater into sections and at each section restart the row counter to zero.  You would knit the ribbed bottom and reset the row counter to zero, then knit from the bottom of the sweater to the underarm and reset the row counter to zero again, the knit the rest of the sweater, or variations of this formula.  For me it was confusing.  But, I do knit the ribbing, if there is any, and reset the row counter to zero then knit the rest of the sweater.  You should experiment and see of this makes things easier for you and you can compartmentalize sections in any way that you want.  See APPENDIX A on TEMPLATE A or:

                  Click this link for a template with a Sweater in Sections

Most of the measurements that you need you already have from Template A, and you have also calculated rows and stitches.  We also need to remember which and when to half the measurement as there is a back and a front.

BODY MEASUREMENTS
              STITCHES
Back Neck Width 7.5”                    52.5 Stitches
Back Width 15”                            105 Stitches            
Hip Width 42/2 = 21”                   147 Stitches
Waist Width 30/2 = 15”                105 Stitches
Bust/Chest Width 40/2 = 20”        140 Stitches

You divide the hip, chest/bust and waist in half as you have a front and a back.  In addition, you shoulder width is 1/3 of your back width, as per earlier instructions, BUT THIS IS JUST AN ESTIMATE, the actual measurement is Back Width - Back Neck Width / 2.

You will be decreasing from the hips to the waist and then increasing from the waist to the bust BUT, you will finish all increases 2 inches below the start of the armhole shaping.  So, our rows for the entire vest length is 405 and we need to make sure our numbers balance to this number of 405 rows.  We need the following measurements in stitches and rows:

2” in rows is 30 rows:  increases are completed 30 rows before armhole shaping.  We start the armhole shaping on row 255 and deduct 30 from this number = 225.  We finish shaping on row 225.

225 - 120 = 105 rows for shaping from the waist to 2" under the armhole shaping

-  From the waist to the hip in rows:  120 rows:

Total vest length is 30” – 3” ribbed band = 28”
28” – 20” from neck to waist = 8” x 15 = 120 rows

-  The difference in stitches from the hips to the waist is 42 stitches/2 sides is 21 stitches:

Waist is 210 / 2 = 105 stitches – (294 /2) = 147 stitches

-  The difference in stitches from the waist to the chest is 35 stitches/2 sides is 17 stitches:

105 waist stitches – 140 chest width stitches = 35 stitches

SIDE NOTE: I wondered why use the chest measurement for the back, and it is because the armhole starts at the breast area and if I used the “Back Width” it would not be wide enough and the back width is further up at the shoulder blades.  Also, the rest of the decreases happen in the armhole shaping.

-  Underarm rows                                     150 rows (from above)
        
-  Hips in stitches 294/2                            147 stitches

- Waist in stitches 210/2                           105 stitches

Now we can figure out how to decrease from the hips to the waist and then increase from the waist to the just below the armhole shaping:

1.  Decreases from hips to waist:  Total stitches 21 over 120 rows

2.  Increase from waist to underarm:  Total 17 stitches over 105 rows

Decreases using the Magic Formula:  21 stitches over 120 rows (we half the stitches as we knit decreases for each side).
42 / 2 = 21
21 goes into 120, 5 times
5 + 1 = 6
21 x 5 = 105
120 – 105 = 15 left over
21 - 15 = 6


Increases using the Magic Formula:  17 stitches over 105 rows (we 1/2 the stitches as we knit the decreases over 2 sides).
35/2 = 17.5 or 17 stitches
17 goes into 105, 6 times
6 + 1 = 7
6 x 17 = 102 with 3 left over
17 – 3 = 14


SIDE NOTE:  If you decide to knit, say 10 rows at the waist all the same, make sure to deduct 10 rows, 5 from the hip to waist rows and 5 from the waist to underarm rows.

BACK PANEL INSTRUCTIONS:
-  Once all rib stitches have been transferred to the main bed, knit 1 row evenly
-  Then decrease 1 stitch each side every 6th row 15 times,
-  Then decrease 1 stitch each side every 5th row 6 times.
-  Then increase 1 stitch each side every 7th row 3 times
-  Then increase 1 stitch each side every 6th row 14 times
-  Knit 30 rows even and prepare for armhole shaping

ARMHOLE SHAPING:  Now, from our calculations above we know to start our armhole shaping on row 255, so all these rows should add up to 255.

120 rows + 105 rows + 30 rows = 255!  Right on the number!  Armhole shaping instructions are above.

**** SHOULDER ISSUE:  A final issue is the shoulder width will be less the same width as the band.  It will be 1.5” less on each side at the shoulder.  So, when you initially shape the armhole, you will bind off on each side an additional 11 stitches in addition to the armhole bind off of 9 stitches.  This is one of the rare times you will have more than one bind off as with most garments only 1 initial bind off at the beginning of the armhole shaping is preferred.  As the band is seamed to the armhole area, it will widen the back width and the shoulder area back to the original width.


      FRONT PANELS with FRONT BAND

The front panel in this case has two side, the front left and the front right.  Since that is the case, we will not be putting ½ the vest front in hold position, instead we are knitting a complete left side and then a right side.  Instructions are for one side, when knitting up the other side remember that you need to make all your increases and decreases on the opposite side; meaning if we start with the left panel our shaping will be on the left hand side, for the right panel it will be on the right hand side.

Since we have two panels instead of one for the front, you will need to ½ certain measurements again; the waist, hips and chest.

BUT!!!!  REMEMBER that we also have a front band for closures, and for me they will site next to each other, not on top of each other.  If you have chosen buttons, then your bands would sit on top of each other.  I have decided to just fold the band over on the sweater, so I will not deduct for the band.

                      FRONT BANDS AND BUCKLES

Now, what I do since I am seaming the band into place and I am knitting it vertically, I add a stitch on each side for seaming and I am also going to double the band over, so I will knit it twice as wide.  The band will site on the opposite side that you will use for shaping.  Since this is easy to knit up we will do this first.
Band width:   1.5” x 2 = 3” x 7 stitches = 21 stitches
21 stitches + 2 stitches for seaming = 23 total

Band length: 30” total for vest length – 3” for ribbed band = 27”
27” – 7” for the front v neckline depth = 20”
20” + 3” to rip back = 23” x 15 rows = 345 rows

INSTRUCTIONS FOR FRONT BANDS:

-  Knit 2
-  Cast on 23 stitches
-  Knit 345 rows and mark for buckle placement
-  Remove on waste yarn, fold in half and lightly steam

BUT!!!  We are not done yet for the front band as we need to mark where we will place our closures.  I chose buckles for a different look.  I can sew my buckles on and they are the same height on each side, which is ½” inch tall.  So, I need to mark, while I am knitting my band, where they will sit.  I have 6 buckles with one that starts right at the neckline and one on the bottom on the ribbed band.  Therefore, I have 4 left.

-  4 x ½” = 2” x 15 rows = 30 rows total that the buckles take up in space
-  I then take the length of the band, which is 20” x 15 rows = 300 rows
-  300 rows – 30 rows – 7 for the top buckle = 263 rows to distribute evenly BETWEEN the buckles
-  263 rows / 4 = 65.75, need to use the magic formula yet again…
- 4 goes into 263, 65 times
- 65 + 1 = 66
- 4 x 65 = 260
- 4 - 3 = 1

INSTRUCTIONS FOR BUCKLE PLACEMENT:
-  Place the first buckle at the top of the band in the middle of 7 rows
-  Place a buckle 66 rows apart 3 times, counting 7 rows for the height of the buckle at each point
-  Then place a buckle 65 rows apart 1 time, counting 7 rows for the height of the buckle
-  Place a buckle on the ribbed band in the middle

                                   
FRONT PANELS

Now on the the two front panels...

Stitches for the Front Panels:
Back Neck Width         26.25 stitches (52.5 ÷ 2 sides)
Hip Width                   63 stitches
Waist Width               42 stitches
Bust/Chest Width       59 stitches

In order to shape the front panels we need to know increases and decreases  so, we need to do a little more math.

Stitches for Shaping:

Hip width – Waist width = 63 – 42 = 21 stitches to decrease
Bust/Chest Width – Waist Width = 59 – 42 = 17 stitches to increase

Rows for Shaping:
-  From above we know we have 120 rows for decreases and 105 rows for increases

Math for Decreases:
-  Decreases is 21 stitches over 120 rows
-  21 goes into 120,  5 times
-  21 x 5 = 105
-  120 – 105 = 15
-  21 – 15 = 6
-  5 + 1 = 6

Decrease 1 stitch every 6th row 15 times
Then decrease 1 stitch every 5th row 6 times

Math for Increases:
Decreases is 17 stitches over 105 rows
17 goes into 105,  6 times
17 x 6 = 102
105 – 102 = 3
17 – 3 = 14
6 + 1 = 7


Increase 1 stitch every 7th row 3 times
Then increase 1 stitch every 6th row 14 times
Knit 30 rows then start armhole shaping

SIDE NOTE:  If you are really paying attention, you will see that the increase and decrease instructions are exactly the same as for the back panel.  That is almost always the case, and if you finish all body panel shaping before the armholes and neckline, that is the only place the back and the front will differ.  But, you should always check just in case.  The front and back body panels will NOT be the same if they are different, such as a regular fitted back panel and handkerchief front panels.

INSTRUCTIONS for FRONT PANEL, Knit a Left and a Right:
-  After knitting the ribbed band, move all the rib stitches to the main bed and knit 1 row.
     -  Decrease 1 stitch every 6th row 15 times
     -  Then decrease 1 stitch every 5th row 6 times
     -  Then increase 1 stitch every 7th row 3 times
     -  Then increase 1 stitch every 6th row 14 times
     -  Knit 30 rows then start armhole shaping

Finish armhole and neckline shaping and bind off shoulder stitches or remove on waste yarn.  Shoulder stitches should be around 15.

 
               

                           THE COLLAR

Finally we are going to knit up the Shawl Collar and then move onto assembling the vest.  We know from our schematic, Template A, that it is 7” deep and has a back neck measurement of 7.5”.  We will be knitting the collar horizontally and changing the tension 6 times, 3 each side.  We will double the width of the collar as it folds over on itself.  We will create directions to knit the collar to almost it’s midpoint, knit some even rows, a folding row, a few more even rows, and then reverse the directions to knit the other half.

MEASUREMENTS, ROWS & STITCHES:
-  Collar Depth is 5” x 15 rows = 75 rows to knit the collar almost to the mid point and up to the area for even rows
-  Front band is 1.5 x 15 rows = 22.5 rows or 23, knitted evenly, twice, with 1 folding row that we do not count
-  Back Neck Width is 7.5” x 7 stitches = 52.5 stitches or 53, cast on row
-  V neck depth is 7” x 7 rows = 49 stitches to shape each side, do not half as you will be increase 49 stitches each side
-  V neck depth is 7” x 2 sides = 14”
                  14 + Back neck width is 7.5” = 21.5” total length
21.5” x 7 stitches = 150.5 stitches at its widest point, or 151 stitches  
-  75 rows divided by 3 = 25 rows, for each tension change
•    25 rows at the neck 1 tension tighter (TD4)
•    25 rows at tension (TD5)
•    25 rows I tension looser (TD6)
•    Then reverse for the other side

MATH CHECK:
-  49 stitches + 49 stitches + 53 cast on stitches = 151 stitches

-  25 rows x 3 = 75 total rows to almost the mid point


We need to increase 49 stitches on each side over 75 rows which means 98 stitches:

INCREASES
-  We will increase 1 stitch each side every other row, 23 times (46 rows and 46 stitches)
-  Then increase 1 stitch on one side every row, ALTERNATING SIDES 52 times

DECREASES
-  We will decrease 1 stitch on one side every row, ALTERNATING ROWS 52 times
-  Then decrease 1 stitch each side every other row, 23 times

MATH CHECK:
2 x 23 = 46 + 52 rows = 98 stitches + 53 cast on stitches = 151 Total Stitches

INSTRUCTIONS FOR SHAWL COLLAR:
Make sure to change tensions every 25 rows:
-  25 rows at TD4, the 25 at TD5, then 25 @ TD6, knit all middle rows then reverse the tension when decreasing:  TD6, then TD5, then TD4

-  Cast on 53 stitches at tension, knit 25 rows at this tension
-  Increase 1 stitch, every other row 23 time
-  Increase 1 stitch every row, ALTERNATING ROWS, 52 times
-  Knit 23 rows @ Tension 5
-  Knit 1 turn row @ Tension 7
-  Knit 23 rows @ Tension 5
-  Decrease 1 stitch every row, ALTERNATING ROWS, 52 times
-  Decrease 1 stitch, every other row 23 time



                      FINAL INSTRUCTIONS
       KNITTING a SHAWL COLLAR VEST


I bet you thought we were done.  Surprise!  We are not!  Once we have all the information above, we then need to put it into some sort of cohesive format with logical steps, building one area at a time.  The following is how a final pattern instruction sheet would look like. 

                                  

            You can also download the Final Instructions: click here


                                 

Knitting Machine:       Studio 4.5mm, Standard Gauge            
Yarn Used:                 Any Light DK - DK Weight Yarn
Yarn Gauge:               Rows/1”: 15   Stitches/1”: 7
Stitch:                        Stockinette
Tension Dial:              5
Experience:
                Advanced Beginner - Intermediate

Size:                           M – L
Closures:                 6 Buckles, ½” tall that snap into each other,
ties or other closures that sit next to each other.  You can change to buttons if you know how to knit up a button band and make the necessary changes to the pattern.
Neckline Depth:          7”
Armhole:                    7.5” with 1” of ease
Total Length:             30”
Neck to Waist:           20”
Waist to Hips:             8”
Bust:                          38”
Waist:                        28”
Hips:                          40”
Ease:                          2”      
                      
         
______________

                                        BACK PANEL

Cast on 147 stitches and prepare for rib stitch.  You will knit 45 rows in rib then transfer all the rib stitches to the main bed, knit 1 row and reset the row counter to zero.

You will now decrease 42 stitches to the waist, 1 each side:
  • Decrease 1 stitch each side every 6th row 15 times       
  • Then 1 stitch each side every 5th row 6 times
You should be on row 120 and have 104~ stitches

You will now increase 35 stitches up to 2” below the armholes, which is an additional 105 rows:
  • Increase 1 stitch each side every 7th row 3 times
  • Then 1 stitch each side every 6th row 14 times
You should be on row 225 and have 139 stitches on the main bed

Knit another 30 rows even and prepare for armhole shaping:

You should be on row 255

ARMHOLE SHAPING:

Armhole shaping should be done at the same time on both sides.  Decrease 11 stitches on each side by binding off stitches.  This bind off is to accommodate the armhole band.  Then move onto the armhole shaping:

You should have 118~ stitches and be on row 257

Bind off 9 stitches on each side:

you will be on row 259 and have 100 stitches even

Then decrease 1 stitch each side every other row 9 times:

Leaves 82 stitches and you should be on row 277

Knit an additional 128 rows and either bind off or place stitches on waist yarn. Place the middle 52 or 53 stitches on waste yarn, this is your neckline and where you attach the collar. Place the left 15 stitches on waste yarn, then the right 15 stitches on waste yarn, these are your shoulder seams: 

You should be on row 405

which is the total rows for the length of the vest, excluding the ribbed bottom band.

The armhole bands are doubled, so you will knit the bands twice the actual width, plus one extra stitch each side for seaming.  The actual width of the bands are 1.5” or 11.5 stitches, twice is 23 stitches plus one extra on each side for seaming is 25 stitches.  I also knit an additional 2 inches or so in rows to rip back the rows I do not need for a perfect fit.

ARMHOLE BAND INSTRUCTIONS:
  • Cast one 25 stitches in desired stitch pattern
  • Knit 345 rows
  • Remove on waste yarn
  • Light steam in half lengthwise
  • Set aside
  • Knit 2

                                    FRONT PANELS

The front panel in this case has two side, the front left and the front right.  Since that is the case, we will not be putting ½ the vest front panel in hold position, instead we are knitting a complete left side and then a right side.  Instructions are for one side, when knitting up the other side remember that you need to make all your increases and decreases on the opposite side; meaning if we start with the left panel our shaping will be on the left hand side,
for the right panel it will be on the right hand side. 

We will attach the front bands over the front areas, in other words, I will fold it over and stitch it in place, you will have triple the thickness, so we do not deduct for the band.   You will also be shaping the front neckline and the armholes at the same time at one point, which is different from the back where there was no shaping with a neckline.  We are lucky enough to have the armhole shaping completed before we start the neckline shaping.

Cast on 73.5 or 74 stitches and prepare for rib stitch.  Knit 45 rows then move all rib stitches to the main bed, knit 1 row and reset the row counter to zero:

You are on row #1 with 74 stitches

You will now shape your decreases to the waist.  I am assuming that you are starting with the left panel, so all shaping will be on the left:
  • Decrease 1 stitch every 6th row 15 times
  • Then decrease 1 stitch every 5th row 6 times
You are on row 120 with 53 stitches
  • Then increase 1 stitch every 7th row 3 times
  • Then increase 1 stitch every 6th row 14 times
You are on row 225 with 70 stitches

Knit 30 rows then prepare for armhole and neckline shaping:

You are on row 255

ARMHOLE SHAPING:

On row 255 you will bind off 11 stitches:

You are on row 256 with 59 stitches

Knit back 1 row and bind off an additional 9 stitches:

You are on row 258 with 50 stitches

You will then decrease 1 stitch every other row 9 times:

You are on row 276 with 41 stitches

Knit an additional 24 rows to row 300 and prepare for neckline shaping.  With this pattern you have finished your armhole shaping so you will finish knitting the armholes while you are shaping the front neckline.  Also, the last inch in rows, 15 rows, you will knit evenly for the neckline.

You are on row 300 with 41 stitches

NECKLINE SHAPING:

    
On row 300 bind off one stitch:

You are on row 300 with 40 stitches

Decrease 1 stitch every 4th row 12 times:

You are on row 224 with 28 stitches

Then decrease 1 stitch every 3rd row 14 times:

You are on row 276 with 14 stitches

Then knit 15 rows and remove on waste yarn or bind off and you should be finishing the armholes at the same time.

FRONT BANDS INSTRUCTIONS:

Now, what I do since I am seaming the band into place and I am knitting it vertically, I add a stitch on each side for seaming and I am also going to double the band over, so I will knit it twice as wide.  The band will site on the opposite side that you will use for shaping.  Since this is easy to knit up we will do this first.  As you knit the front bands, remember to place a marker for where the
buckles site.  Before we knit the band we need to know where to place the markers for the buckles:

INSTRUCTIONS FOR 6 BUCKLE PLACEMENTS:

  • Place the first buckle at the top of the band, middle of the top 7 rows
  • Then place a buckle 66 rows apart 3 times
  • Then place a buckle 65 rows apart 1 time
  • Place a buckle on the ribbed band in the middle

Buckle Placement Instructions in Detail:

  • Place a marker in row 4, for the top buckle.
    • Count an additional 3 rows
    • Knit an additional 66 rows
    • Knit 3 more rows and place a marker
    • Knit 4 rows
    • Knit an additional 66 rows
    • Knit 3 more rows and place a marker
    • Knit 4 rows
    • Knit an additional 66 rows
    • Knit 3 more rows and place a marker
    • Knit 4 rows
    • Knit an additional 65 rows
    • Knit 3 more rows and place a marker
    • Knit 4 rows
    • Knit another 107 rows
Knit 2 bands paying attention where to pace a marker for the buckles.  With the above placement markers in mind you will cast on 23 stitches and knit 345 rows total and then remove on waste yarn.  You will rip back what you do not use when you assemble the vest.  Lightly steam and set aside.

                                   SHAWL COLLAR

Finally we are going to knit up the Shawl Collar and then move onto assembling the vest.  We know from our schematic that it is 7” deep and has a back neck
measurement of 7.5”.  We will be knitting the collar horizontally and changing the tension 6 times, 3 each side.  We will double the width of the collar as it folds over on itself.  Here are the directions to knit the collar is to it’s midpoint, or folding line and you will then reverse the directions to knit the other half.  Also keep in mind the collar at its widest point is ~151 stitches.

  • 25 rows at the neck 1 tension tighter (TD4)
  • 25 rows at tension (TD5)
  • 25 rows I tension looser (TD6)
  • Knit 23 rows evenly
  • Knit 1 row 2 tensions looser and do not count, it is the turning row (TD7)  AND it will be knitted in this middle area where all rows are knitted evenly
  • Knit 23 rows evenly (TD6)
  • Then reverse for the other side
We will have tension changes on row:
  • Row 1 - 25 @ TD4                               
  • Row 26 @ TD5                             
  • Row 51 @ TD6                             
  • Reset the row counter to zero

  • Then knit 23 rows to accommodate the band at TD5         
  • knit 1 row at TD7                                                                      
  • Then knit another 23 rows at TD5                                     
  • Reset the row counter to zero

  • Row 1 - 25 @ TD6
  • Row 26 - 50 @ TD5
  • Row 51 - 75 @ TD4
COLLAR SHAPING:

Cast on 53 stitches at tension TD4, complete the following increases and decreases paying attention to which row you are on, and when to reset the row counter to zero.
    
INCREASES:
  • We will increase 1 stitch each side every other row, 23 times
  • Then increase 1 stitch each side every row, 52 times ALTERNATING SIDES
  • Reset the row counter to zero

      • MID SECTION: 
  • KNIT 23 Rows at Tension 5, all rows even
  • Knit 1 row at tension 7, this is your folding row
  • Knit another 23 rows at Tension 5, all rows even
  • Reset the row counter to zero and change the Tension to 6
DECREASES: 
  • Then decrease 1 stitch each side every row, 52 times ALTERNATING SIDES
  • Then decrease 1 stitch each side every other row, 23 times

                                      Bind Off and set aside

  
                                 FINAL ASSEMBLY

Now we can assemble the vest.  Some people steam all the garment pieces before sewing them together, I do not, I only steam the bands.  If I had sleeves, I would not steam them.

First, I would attach the 2 front bands to each of the front panels with the cast on row at the top and then rip back what I do not need by hand and finish seaming at the bottom of the vest.  Lightly steam if you need to.

Stitch the 2 front panels to the back panel on the sides and at the shoulders.  You can do this by hand or on the knitting machine, or even a sewing machine.

Then I would attach the 2 armhole bands paying attention to have the seam at the underside of the arm.  Rip back what you do not need and finish seaming.  Lightly steam.

I would then attach the collar to the back neck and front necklines paying special attention to cover the front bands.  Let the collar fall over itself for a natural curve.

Finally, I would sew in the buckles in their places.

And that is it!

Things to watch out for:

  • Do not over steam the vest, it will make it stretch and lie flat, rather than allow the yarn loft to sponge up.  If in doubt, do not steam at all.  This is probably the biggest issue with new knitters, you will never steam heavily any garment or item, it ruins the shape and makes the item look worn out or knitted unevenly.  You steam just enough to help the shape of the garment and then let it cool before you remove the pins that are holding it in place, sometimes overnight.
  • Make sure the buckle placements are the same on both bands.
  • Make sure when you attach the front bands, the rip back edge is at the bottom.
  • When ripping back, do not rip back too much, do a little at a time to get the perfect length.
  • Make sure when you attach the bands for the armholes, the seam is on the underarm.
                                             
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