If I’m being a smart knitter, a prudent knitter, a practical knitter, then I have a pattern in mind when I go into the yarn store and I buy the perfect gauge and precise amount of yarn I’ll need for my well-planned project. That happens about one out of every six time I go to the yarn store. More often then not, I wander through the store picking up skeins here and there telling myself I’m sure to find the perfect project for each tomorrow afternoon. It’s not often I find the perfect project. I have a large yarn stash. But recently, I did a grand thing and found the perfect project for some Knit Picks Billow chunky cotton I bought on a bit of a whim a few months ago. (It was on SALE. How could I not?) And now, my friends, I give you my racerback vest!
I found inspiration here. I liked the racerback and flowy elements of the vest, but really didn’t like how it looked in such a small gauge and tight fit. So I tweaked the pattern a bit, as we knitters do. The original pattern (knit on US7 needles) probably takes far too long to knit up. Mine takes an afternoon. Can you imagine! One afternoon of very satisfactory knitting and you’ll have yourself a beautiful summer vest! It practically makes itself.
Here’s my pattern:
Needle: US 11 (worked back and forth on 24″ or 32″ circulars)
Yarn: Knit Picks Billow (rustic cotton) in Gosling & Natural (I added a little thread of neon green/yellow wool at the very bottom to add a subtle pop of color … I like the effect!)
CO (55 )
Row 1: K1, m1, knit to last st, m1, k1
Row 2: purl
Repeat Rows 1 & 2 four more times until you have 65 st.
Work center back:
Knit 27 st, and place them on a holder. Knit 11. Keep these 11 stitches on your needles and place the remaining 27 unknit stitches on another holder.
Working on the 11 st at center back, Knit 12 row in stockinette.
*Row 13: k1, m1, knit to last st, m1, k1
Row 14 & 16: purl
Row 15: knit
Repeat from *until yo have 17 st on needles then begin increasing in the same fashion every other row until you have 27 st. on your needles. End on a WS row & place center back 27 st. on holder. Cut yarn.
Work front sides beginning with the front right side (as if you’re wearing it):
Join at back edge (closest to center back),
*RS: ssk, knit to last st, m1, k1.
Repeat from * five more times (6 total). Then stop decreasing at beginning of row, continue to increase at end of RS row:
* RS: Knit to last st, m1, k1.
Repeat from * until you have 36 st total. End on WS row. Then put these on a holder and begin the left front. Join yarn on a WS row and purl first row, then complete the left front in the same manner as the right:
*RS: K1, m1, knit to last 2 stitches, k2tog.
Repeat from * five more times (6 total)
Then continue without the decrease at the end of the row until you have 36 st. End on WS row, do not break yarn.
RS: K1, m1, knit to end, CO 10 (knitted cast on), knit across center racerback, CO 10, Knit to last stitch, m1, k1.
Then work to desired length, continuing to increase at beginning and end of each row:
RS: k1, m1, knit to last st, m1, k1
BO when you’ve reached your desired length. To ensure a nice stretchy bottom edge, I used EZ’s sewn bind off. Because the whole thing is done in stockinette, the edges naturally curl a little. I like the rustic vibe of the slightly curled edges, but if you prefer a more tailored look, I think a nice seed stitch edge worked for two inches or so would look lovely.
Have fun knitting, you knit wits!