Cowl Vest | Purl SohoThe original inspiration for this sweater came from Joelle. She envisioned an elegant vest with a cowl whose main virtue would be its simplicity. For me, the challenge (and the fun part) was figuring out how to pare the design down to its bare essentials without sacrificing the details that make a sweater flattering. The result is a seamless tunic with waist shaping and long, loose lines.

We pictured a vest that would pour over the body, that would drape effortlessly, that would hang with an understated ease. The only yarn to answer such a tall order is Jade Sapphire’s 2 Ply Cashmere Silk. The feathery lightness of the cashmere is beautifully weighed down by the substance of the silk. I love this yarn for its year round practicality and its decadent softness.

This sweater is a perfect no fuss, no brainer kind of summer project. Sip your lemonade, dip your toes, take your time – your vest will come together just in time for fall!

Materials

Cowl Vest | Purl Soho

  • 3 (3, 3, 4, 4) skeins of Jade Sapphire’s 2 Ply Cashmere Silk, 45% Chinese Cashmere, 55% Silk. This color is “Latte”. (To determine if you need three or four skeins, see the Finished Measurements section below.)
  • A 24 inch, US #6 circular needle.
  • A 16 inch, US #6 circular needle.
  • 5 stitch holders.

Gauge

6 stitches = 1 inch in stockinette stitch

Sizes

32 1/2 (35 1/2, 38 1/2, 41 1/2, 44 1/2)

  • Hip Circumference: 34 (37, 40, 43, 46) inches
  • Waist Circumference: 30 1/2 (33 1/2, 36 1/2, 39 1/2, 42 1/2) inches
  • Chest Circumference: 32 1/2 (35 1/2, 38 1/2, 41 1/2, 44 1/2) inches
  • Length from Lower Edge to Waist: 12 inches
  • Length from Lower Edge to Underarm: 18 1/2 inches
  • Length from Lower Edge to Shoulder: 27 inches

Sample: The sample shown here is size 38 1/2.

Notes

How to Adjust the Length Measurements…

There are three places in the pattern to conveniently shorten or lengthen the given measurements.

  • At the beginning of the pattern where it says to knit until the piece measures 6 1/2 inches from the bottom edge: instead, measure from your waist to where you want the bottom edge of the sweater to be and subtract 5 1/2 inches from that number. This is how many inches you should knit before starting the waist shaping.
  • At the waist where you knit 24 rounds: if your waist is shorter or longer than 3 1/2 inches, you can subtract or add rounds at this point.
  • At the Back where you knit until piece measures 9 1/2 inches from underarm: measure from the underarm to the very top of your shoulder (I recommend trying the sweater on to make this measurement) and adjust the length accordingly. Make sure that you knit the Front 1 1/2 inches shorter than whatever length you decide to knit the Back.

Pattern

The Body

With the 24 inch circular needle, cast on 204 (222, 240, 258, 276) stitches.

Place a marker and join for working in the round, being careful to not twist the stitches.

Knit every round until the piece measures 6 1/2 inches from the bottom edge (unroll the edge to measure).

Next round: K 102 (111, 120, 129, 138), place marker, knit to end of round.

*Decrease Round 1: Knit to last 3 stitches, ssk, k1. (1 stitch decreased)

Decrease Round 2: K1, k2tog, knit to 3 stitches before first marker, ssk, k1, slip marker, k1, k2tog, knit to end of round. (3 stitches decreased)

Knit 6 rounds.**

Repeat from * to ** four more times. [184 (202, 220, 238, 256) stitches]

Cowl Vest | Purl Soho

Knit 24 rounds. (If you prefer measuring than counting, knit to 3 1/2 inches from the  last decrease.)

*Increase Round 1: Knit to last stitch, make 1 right (m1r), k1. (1 stitch increased)

Increase Round 2: K1, make 1 left (m1l), knit to 1 stitch before first marker, m1r, k1, slip marker, k1, m1l, knit to end of round. (3 stitches increased)

Knit 12 rounds. **

Repeat from * to ** two more times. [196, (214, 232, 250, 268) stitches]

Cowl Vest | Purl Soho

Dividing Round

Knit to 7 stitches before first marker, bind off 12 stitches (removing marker)…

Cowl Vest | Purl Soho

… knit to 7 stitches before end of the round, bind off 12 stitches (removing marker), knit 85, (94, 103, 112, 121) stitches to first bind off, put next 86 (95, 104, 113, 122) stitches on stitch holders. [86 (95, 104, 113, 122) stitches on hold for front and 86 (95, 104, 113, 122) stitches for back]

Cowl Vest | Purl Soho

The Back

Now working just the stitches remaining on the needle, turn the work between rows.

Row 1 (wrong side): Purl.

Row 2 (right side): K1, slip slip knit (ssk), knit to last 3 stitches, k2tog, k1. (2 stitches decreased)

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 three more times. [78 (87, 96, 105, 114) stitches]

Next Row: Purl.

Next Row: Knit.

Next Row: Purl.

Next Row: K1, ssk, knit to last 3 stitches, k2tog, k1. (2 stitches decreased)

Repeat last 4 Rows one more time. [74 (83, 92, 101, 110) stitches] **

Next Row: Purl.

Next Row: Knit.

Repeat last 2 Rows until piece measures 9 1/2 inches from underarm.

Cowl Vest | Purl Soho

Cut the yarn. Slip the first 11 (15, 20, 24, 29) stitches onto a stitch holder, the next 52 (53, 52, 53, 52) stitches onto another holder, and the final 11 (15, 20, 24, 29) stitches onto a third holder.

Cowl Vest | Purl Soho

The Front

With the wrong side facing you, join new yarn and start at Row 1 of the Back. Repeat the Back instructions until the **.

Next Row: Purl.

Next Row: Knit.

Repeat last 2 Rows until piece measures 8 inches from underarm, ending with a purl row.

Next Row: K 15 (19, 24, 28, 33), slip these stitches onto a stitch holder, k 44 (45, 44, 45, 44), slip these stitches onto another holder. [15, (19, 24, 28, 33) stitches remain on needle]

Cowl Vest | Purl Soho

Right Front Shoulder

Working just the stitches on the needle and turning at the end of each row,

Row 1 (right side): K1, ssk, knit to end of row. (1 stitch decreased)

Row 2 (wrong side): Purl.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 three more times. [11 (15, 20, 24, 29) stitches]

Knit 1 row.

Purl 1 row.

Knit 1 row.

Cowl Vest | Purl Soho

Cut a 24 inch tail and, with the wrong sides facing each other, use the Kitchener Stitch to graft the Right Front Shoulder to the corresponding back 11 (15, 20, 24, 29) stitches.

Cowl Vest | Purl Soho

Left Front Shoulder

With the right side facing you, join new yarn.

Row 1 (right side): Knit to last 3 stitches, k2tog, k1. (1 stitch decreased)

Row 2 (wrong side): Purl.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 three more times. [11 (15, 20, 24, 29) stitches]

Knit 1 row.

Purl 1 row.

Knit 1 row.

Cut a 24 inch tail and, with the wrong sides facing each other, use the Kitchener Stitch to graft the Left Front Shoulder to the corresponding back 11 (15, 20, 24, 29) stitches.

Cowl Vest | Purl Soho

The Cowl

With the right side facing you, using the 16 inch circular needle, join new yarn and knit the Back 52 (53, 52, 53, 52) stitches.

Pick up 11 stitches down the Left Front Shoulder.

Cowl Vest | Purl Soho

Knit the Front 44 (45, 44, 45, 44) stitches.

Pick up 11 stitches up the Right Front Shoulder.

Place a marker for the beginning of the round and join for working in the round. [118 (120, 118, 120, 118) stitches]

(By the way, this photo shows a 20 inch circular needle, which works, but I soon switched to a 16 inch needle realizing that it would be a lot easier.)

Cowl Vest | Purl Soho

Knit every round until Cowl measures 10 1/2 inches from the center of the Front neckline.

Cowl Vest | Purl Soho

Bind off VERY loosely. To ensure that my bind off wasn’t too tight, I used a US #9 needle and I knit loosely. Don’t worry if the edge looks a little messy because it will curl under and won’t be visible.

 

Weave in your ends and your vest is ready to go!

Cowl Vest | Purl Soho