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Vest on Valentine’s
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Vest on Valentine’s

A vest in two weeks flat, and I could not be any happier with it! Do you get that feeling when you are plugging away on a project and you can actually visualize yourself in the future using/wearing that project? You see yourself so happy that it is now in your life. You look at it admiringly and try to remember life before it. You could easily wear it everyday – making it part of your “uniform”.

My Tess Wrap Vest is this kind of garment. My own personal uniform.

…A beautiful lightly variegated moss stitch vest uniform….

Tess Wrap Vest

Tess Wrap Vest
Pattern: DROPS vest, originally titled Sleeveless Jumper with Belt
Yarn: Tess Designer Yarns Superwash Merino, 1.2 hanks (~650 yards)
Source: Maryland Sheep and Wool, May 2007
Needles: Size US 7 and 8 circulars

Tess Vest: Side View

Tess Vest: Back View

…and just because I love it so much – more photos! this time with a yellow top…

Tess Vest:  Collar/Neckline Detail

Tess Vest: Side Panel Detail 

Back Collar/Shoulder  Detail 

Can you tell why I like it so much? :)   It is just so darn wearable!  If you are familiar with the original pattern, you will notice that I made a few modifications.  The original pattern has a 2×2 ribbing for the hem, and the front panels and neckline.  While the ribbing looked okay (enough to attract me to the pattern) I thought it looked a little odd at the bottom when (inevitably) the picked-up stitch rib portion is shorter than the hem rib section.  I opted to go with a double moss stitch pattern – it keeps the spirit of the original, but adds more depth, in my opinion.  It also did not draw in severely at the bottom edge.  The collar is one of my favorite features of this knit:  I knit it for about 9 centimeters on each side, so I had enough of an edge to turn the collar up or down.  I could have knit even more for a more dramatic flare collar, or even put a few short rows in there for some more differentiation… but I am happy with how this looks the way it is now. 

The yarn was great to work with – Tess Yarns have been a favorite of mine for several years, and this was my first time working with this weight (worsted) rather than the sock weight.  The deep brown was what drew me to this yarn back at the Festival stand in 2007, and it is what I still love about the vest.  There was a little dye transfer on the needles and on my hands, but nothing too major.  The yarn is sold in huge 570 yard hanks, so, I only ended up using about 1.2 hanks, approximately 620-650 yards of the yarn with the Medium size vest.  I still have more yarn – it would make some great hat/mitten/scarf combos, I think.  I am looking forward to May’s Festival so I can pick out another color of this yarn for another future project!  Tess Designer Yarns is always on my list of places at MDSW!

When I first started this vest, I knew that I didn’t want to knit over five feet of knitted i-cord for the belt, so I decided to try my hand at some braiding techniques that I read about in one of my Christmas gift books.  I picked up 200 Braids to Twist, Knot, Loop, or Weave with a gift certificate to the bookstore.  It is an Interweave Press publication from 2007:  “profusely illustrated” (as one reviewer noted), spiral-bound, and very informative.  I see this book as a great resource for all sorts of trims and finishes for knitting and weaving projects. As I flip through the pages, I wish there had been something like this available when I was a child – my sisters and I were obsessed with making friendship bracelets out of DMC floss when we were young, and this book has so many designs that we would have loved! 

There are so many techniques discussed in the book, and it has great photos to illustrate each step of the process.  Yarn is used in several of the samples, as well as ribbons, thread, beads, satin cords, fabric strips, etc.  There is so much you could do with this!

My creation

Selected images from the book, 200 Braids...

Following some of the models outlined in the book, I decided to braid some sample yarns I had in the stash alongside the Tess yarn for this belt. Of course, once I started going, I had to make another… and I probably could have kept going to make more and more belts!

Braided Belt

Tess Merino / Araucania Pomaire / Zaol Big Cash

Braid Belt Two
Tess Merino / Habu N-24 (Paper wrapped in Raw Silk)

Tess Vest with Braided Belt 

 I love how they turned out – simple, quick to make, and uses up some stash! Funny thing is, after making two of the belts, I figured that I preferred the vest without a belt… I like the way it looks open. I have the option to wear the belt if I want, but in the mean time, I can use these braids elsewhere – as hair bands, or as straps for my yoga mat!

Vest-uary Vest #1 complete!

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48 Responses

  1. andrea

    Oh, Lolly! I love it so much! The shade of brown. The texture. The shape. How it looks paired with a warm color AND a cool color. This one is such a winner! And the short yardage is amazing. I might need to stash bust with one of these too. It looks beautiful!

  2. Harpa J

    What a lovely vest!

  3. Mick

    This is so great! I really love it. The color really sings in the photos with the yellow top; you can see the gold undertones. I wear a lot of brown, but haven’t found a yarn that I love in that color, so thanks for the tip!

    Also, friendship bracelets. Ah, memories. Did you and your sisters ever do hairwraps with the floss too? Because boy, was that the rage my summer before 9th grade. What a nerd I was!

  4. jillian

    It’s beautiful! I know exactly what you mean about those “uniform” pieces, you wonder what you did before them :) The color is gorgeous and versatile too. I like your mods – it’s more eye catching than the original.

  5. Kala

    Gorgeous, I love it with the yellow shirt!

  6. Elinor

    It’s beautiful! That color is divine. I am so vest obsessed right now. It is hard to focus on other (more pressing) projects. gah! To the queue!

  7. beautyredefined

    Just like everyone else said, I just love that vest with the yellow shirt. That color just makes the golden tones of the brown stand out. Beautiful work, and in only two weeks? Impressive.

  8. Annette

    Beautiful! You’ve inspired me to look for more vest patterns. I’ll also be taking a closer look at the Tess booth at Stitches West in 2 weeks!

  9. little_lj

    Wow, that vest is awesome! I found your blog, and its so great, really inspiring. I am just a beginner knitter myself, but I am hoping to get better! Currently attempting my first item of clothing (cardigan!) and it’s great to have blogs such as yours for inspiration!

  10. felinemagnet

    That turned out so nicely! I like the double moss stitch. That shade of brown is so hard to find in ready-made items and is my favorite. I’ll have to check out that booth at the festival!

  11. Kelly

    I am in love with your vest! The texture and color are amazing! And I especially love how the color just “pops” with the yellow shirt! Another awesome project!

  12. Leslie

    Isn’t it great when gratifying, fun knitting also turns into an extremely wearable garment? (That’s how I feel about my Aftur pullover!) :)

  13. Terra

    Love this vest with the yellow shirt as well- brown and yellow are definitely your colours!
    I have put this vest in my ravelry queue now thanks to you! And I love the braid book- what a great book for a knitter/weaver to have! I can’t wait to see how you incorporate braids into your weaving projects. Great vest!

  14. k

    Looks great! Wow, I am so behind…must stop getting distracted by other projects. I love that brown yarn.

  15. whitney

    Oh, Lolly, it looks so great! That brown is amazing, and it looks great with both of the shirts you paired it with. And the vest looks wonderful on you.

    I would have loved that braid book as a kid, too.

  16. sarah b.

    I love how versatile that vest is! It turned out great!!!

  17. grumperina

    Your vest looks absolutely fantastic with your yellow top! The whole combo, together with your hair and skin, is fabulous!

  18. Manda

    Awesome vest. This weekend I’m getting re-acquainted with my stash and this vest is a real inspiration for some possible stash busting. Love your mods! The braids are are really cute too.

  19. Sonia

    That turned out great and is particularly stunning with the yellow shirt, no belt!

  20. Aunt Kathy

    Wow i want to learn those braids. I love those. The vest is great, you have the prettiest blue eyes

  21. Lisa

    Looks fabulous on you. Love the color and the belt you braided. I can see why you are so happy with it!

  22. margene

    Fabulous!! You picked the perfect pattern and made it even better. Nice work!

  23. megan

    I love it with the purple Filene’s basement top!

  24. Renee

    Love your new vest Lolly!

  25. Coleen

    I love this vest! It looks great on you and now I want one!

  26. knit1frog2

    Beauti-ous! :)

  27. martha in california

    the vest looks lovely!

  28. Anna

    It certainly does look extremely wearable. And you’re looking fabulous!

  29. Estella

    Okay, now you have me wanting to knit a vest! It looks fantastic!

  30. anmiryam

    It looks great. You look great. What fun. I hope you wore out for Valentine’s Day!

  31. Christina

    It is beautiful! I love the color! You did a great job on it!

  32. Cara

    ok I am totally in love with this vest!!!! great job :)

  33. Stephanie

    Great vest. I love the brown and I think the moss stitch is a wonderful modification.

  34. Prunila

    It looks so well done! this stitch makes it very special too, congrats!!!

  35. Valerie

    I have to say that vest looks really beautiful on you! I’m also going to add that it looks much better with the yellow shirt then with the purple one. Something about the bright color really brings the knit to life. Bravo! I can’t wait to see more vests in the future!

  36. Emily

    Totally winner! I must echo all the compliments on how flattering it is on you, and how divine the color is. I’m not so much a fan of open vests myself, but the deep v-neck it formed in the shots where you have it tied is adorable. Hmm… must investigate pattern and whether it could be easily converted to deep v-neck … Vests are something I’ve been meaning to knit more of. We avoid the bone-rattling cold here in the south, but it does reach the freezing point and get chilly … a vest would be perfect winter wear here!

  37. Nachaele Olson

    I love it! The color if fabulous!

  38. Josiane

    It will be a very versatile garment, that’s for sure! Brown looks great paired with almost any colour, and the style of the vest (with or without belt) goes with pretty much everything as well. Lovely!

  39. Robin in VA

    It’s gorgeous!! Love the brown!

    Hey…I just got the latest issue of Simply Knitting….and….YOU’RE IN IT!!!

  40. stacey

    very cute – and a nice neutral color to wear with anything underneath!

  41. lekkercraft

    The vest looks great! I love the alteration of the borders – it makes it looks so much cleaner. My mom bought that braid book to make some straps for purses she was crocheting, and I’ve enjoyed looking through it. I might have to convince her to loan it to me!

  42. Hilary

    It looks fabulous! I’ve had this pattern in my queue for awhile, and seeing your great version of it makes me want to cast on right away!

  43. Margarita

    Beautiful!!! the color, the vest itself. Really beautiful. Like you say, I also like it better without the belt. The braids are also very pretty. I read you as often as possible and I always like your place. It is wonderful. Thanks!

  44. Jenna

    There’s nothing better than a quick project that you know will become an indispensable item in your wardrobe. In the pictures, you can already see how useful it is, since it goes so well with both of the colors you’re wearing it with. Yay! I love the sassiness with the belts, too. Totally boho chic. Enjoy it, it’s lovely!

  45. lynette

    you knit that so fast. it looks so good on you especially with the yellow top. i totally know what you mean. when i’m knitting a project for myself, i see myself already wearing it and can’t wait to finish.

    when i knit my purple vest last year, i took the skein of yarn with me to the store to pick out the blouse to wear with it. you’re making me want to queue it now.

  46. tiennie

    That is a lovely vest Lolly! Hope you had a wonderful valentines with your valentine!

  47. lucy

    Brown with both the yellow and purple is a nice combo. I just love how a vest is a vest and not a sweater. Wonderful Lolly.

  48. gleek

    so very pretty! that brown yarn is just gorgeous. i love the variegation in it..

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