From now until spring, if you happened to stumble into Purl Soho’s backroom during a Purl Bee meeting, you’d most likely find us all cloaked in various Bee projects, fending off the draft from our backroom’s elegant but quite drafty fenestration.

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My co-workers usually rush for the sweaters and shawls, but I always beeline to a Super Easy Blanket. I adore its comfort, how its garter stitch is so sumptuous and cushy and how its ridges embrace me. Then one day I thought, Why not just pop some holes in that blanket and let the fabric speak for itself? And the Sideways Garter Vest was born.

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A rectangle of garter stitch with two well-placed slits for armholes, nothing could be simpler to make… or wear. “Sideways” because I knit it that way, the Sideways Garter Vest is designed for effortless versatility. Wear it longer in the torso and shorter at the collar, or for those especially windy meetings, flip it upside down for a more generous collar and cropped body. The Sideways Garter Vest, knit in a combination of Purl Soho’s Worsted Twist and Worsted Twist Heather, is definitely my new go-to for Purl Bee meetings and beyond! –Laura

PS: For extra security and warmth, pin the collar shut with one of Fog Linen’s gorgeous Brass Cloth Pins!

Materials

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Gauge

16 stitches and 32 rows = 4 inches in garter stitch

Sizes

To fit shoulder widths measuring 14-15 (16-16 ½, 17-17 ½) inches

  • Finished Dimensions: 30 (35, 37 ½) inches across x 30 inches from top to bottom (including fold-over collar)
  • Finished Height of Armhole: 8 inches
  • Finished Width across Shoulders: 12 (14, 15) inches
  • Finished Width of Fronts: 9 (10 ½, 11 ¼) inches

FIT: The length measurements are the same for all three sizes, and you have a choice of how to wear the vest: either 12 inches from hem to underarm with a 10 inch collar; or upside down with 10 inches from hem to underarm and a 12-inch collar.

Notes

This piece is knit ‘sideways’ from one vertical edge to the other, rather than from top to bottom or bottom to top.

The colorwork is done with a technique called intarsia. Each row will involve two balls of yarn, which is much easier than it may sound!  To work intarsia in garter stitch on the right side…

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Cross Yarn A over Yarn B and knit the next stitch with Yarn B.

To work intarsia in garter stitch on the wrong side…

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Bring Yarn B to the front purl position, and cross Yarn B over Yarn A.

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Bring Yarn A to the back knit position and knit the next stitch with Yarn A.

Pattern

Begin with Front Left

With Yarn B, cast 48 stitches onto the longer needle. Put Yarn B to the side; do not cut it.

With Yarn A, cast 72 stitches onto that same circular needle. [120 total stitches]

NOTE: When you switch colors in the following rows, be sure to use the intarsia techniques described in the Notes, above.

Row 1 (right side): With Yarn A, knit 72 stitches; with Yarn B, knit to end of row.

Row 2: Slip one knitwise; with Yarn B, knit 47 stitches; with Yarn A, knit to end of row.

Row 3: Slip one knitwise; with Yarn A, knit 71 stitches; with Yarn B, knit to end of row.

Repeat Rows 2 and 3 until piece measures 9 (10 ½, 11 ¼) inches from cast on edge, ending after working a right side row.

Cut Yarn A.

Make Left Armhole

Next Row (wrong side): Slip one knitwise; with Yarn B, knit 39 stitches, cut Yarn B; with scrap yarn, k32, cut scrap yarn; join Yarn A and knit to end of row.

Work Back Vest

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Next Row (right side): Slip one knitwise; with Yarn A, knit 71; join yarn B and knit to end of row.

Repeat Rows 2 and 3 from FRONT LEFT section until piece measures 12 (14, 15) inches from scrap yarn, ending after working a right side row.

Cut Yarn A.

Make Right Armhole

Next Row (wrong side): Slip one knitwise; with Yarn B, knit 39 stitches, cut Yarn B; with scrap yarn, k32, cut scrap yarn; with Yarn A, knit to end of row.

Work Front Right

Next Row (right side): Slip one knitwise; with Yarn A, knit 71; join Yarn B and knit to end of row.

Repeat Rows 2 and 3 from FRONT LEFT until piece measures 9 (10 ½, 11 ¼) inches from scrap yarn for Right Armhole, ending after working a right side row.

Bind Off (wrong side): With Yarn B, loosely bind off 47 stitches knitwise (one Yarn B stitch will remain on the left needle), cut Yarn B; with Yarn A, bind off remaining stitches knitwise, cut Yarn A.

Armholes

Weave in Ends

Note: Work the following instructions for each Armhole.

At each set of scrap yarn stitches, where the colors transition, there is one Yarn A end and one Yarn B. To weave in these ends, first orient the garment with the wrong side facing you and in same direction as it was knit (with the cast on edge nearest you).

To weave in the Yarn A tail…

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Thread the tail onto a tapestry needle. Gently tug the threaded tapestry needle to close any gap in the fabric.

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Then insert the needle (in a downward motion) through the purl bump of the stitch just below the scrap yarn and just to the left of the color transition, as well as through the next purl stitch below. From there, weave in the tail to secure it.

To weave in the Yarn B tail…

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Thread the tail onto a tapestry needle. Gently tug the threaded tapestry needle to close any gap in the fabric. Then insert the needle (in an upward motion) under the nearest vertical strand of Yarn A.

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Now insert the needle (in a leftward motion) under the vertical strand of Yarn A one row up. From there, weave in the tail to secure it.

Pick Up + Bind Off

Note: Work the following instructions for each Armhole.

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With the right side facing you, slip the 32 stitches just below the scrap yarn onto the shorter circular needle; continuing with the same end of the needle, slip the 32 stitches just above the scrap yarn onto the needle. [64 total stitches]

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Use the tip of a tapestry needle to pull out the scrap yarn.

Bind off (right side): Join Yarn A and bind off 24 stitches purlwise (one Yarn A stitch will remain the right needle), cut Yarn A; join Yarn B and bind off 16 stitches purlwise (one Yarn B stitch will remain on the right needle), cut Yarn B; join Yarn A and bind off remaining stitches purlwise.

Use the ends at the top and bottom of the armhole to close up any gaps.

Weave + Block

Weave in the remaining ends and block as desired.

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