Shepherdess Alpaca is the kind of yarn you might buy just to have around (you know what we mean!). On its own it is so stunning and so beautiful, the design challenge is to do as little as possible, just enough to make it wearable while not getting in the way of its natural charisma.

Drift Vest | Purl Soho

Our Drift Vest does just that. It is an approachable knit with an up-the-back, over-the-shoulders, down-the-front construction, but such simplicity magnifies the details. And so, we added some short rows for shaping and stockinette selvedge stitches against a reverse stockinette ground. The resulting two side seams match the attached I-cord edge, both framing plains of purl bumps with smooth knit stitches.

Drift Vest | Purl Soho

Shepherdess Alpaca is 100% undyed, handspun alpaca, making the Drift Vest a wonderfully warm layer for under your coat this winter and come spring, your sole outerwear. As you drift from season to season, it’ll have you covered! -Laura

Drift Vest | Purl Soho

Materials

Drift Vest | Purl Soho

Gauge

11 ¼ stitches and 15 rows = 4 inches in stockinette stitch

Sizes

37 (39 ¾, 42 ¾, 45 ½, 48 ¼, 51 ¼)

To fit actual chest circumference of 33–36 (36–39, 39–42, 42–45, 45–48, 48–51) inches, with 1–4 inches of ease.

  • Finished Chest Circumference: 37 (39 ¾, 42 ¾, 45 ½, 48 ¼, 51 ¼) inches
  • Finished Length from Shoulder to Bottom Edge: 20 ¼ (20 ½, 22, 22 ¼, 24, 24 ¼) inches
  • Finished Length of Armhole: 7 ½ (7 ¾, 8 ¼, 8 ½, 9, 9 ¼) inches
  • Finished Length from Underarm to Bottom Edge: 12 (12, 13, 13, 14 ¼, 14 ¼) inches

SAMPLE: The sample pictured here is size 37 inches, modeled with 1 inch of ease.

Drift Vest | Purl Soho

Notes

Construction

This piece is worked flat in reverse stockinette stitch. This means that the purl side of the fabric is the right side, and the knit side of the fabric is the wrong side.

Special Abbreviations + Techniques

K3tog (knit three together): Insert the right needle into the next three stitches, knit together. [2 stitches decreased]

M1pL (make one purlwise left): Pick up the strand between the previous and next stitch from front to back,  (as you would to m1L), purl through the back loop. [1 stitch increased]

M1pR (make one purlwise right): Pick up the strand between the previous and next stitch from back to front (as you would to m1R), purl through the front loop. [1 stitch increased]

Sssk (slip slip slip knit): Slip 3 stitches knitwise one at a time, insert the left needle into the front of the slipped stitches, knit together. [2 stitches decreased]

Wrp-t (wrap and turn): If you visit our Short Row Tutorial, keep in mind that this pattern is worked in reverse stockinette stitch rather than in the tutorial’s stockinette stitch, so the right and wrong sides are flipped.

  • On the right (purl) side: Keeping the yarn in front, slip the next stitch purlwise from the left needle to the right needle. Bring the yarn to the back. Return the slipped stitch to the left needle. Bring the yarn to the front. Turn the work so the wrong side is facing you.
  • Wrong side (knit) side: Keeping the yarn in back, slip the next stitch purlwise from the left needle to the right needle. Bring the yarn to the front. Return the slipped stitch to the left needle. Bring the yarn to the back. Turn the work so the right side is facing you.

Working wrapped stitches with their wrap: This technique is also a little different than we explain in our Short Row Tutorial

  • When picking up wraps on the wrong side of the fabric, work them together with wrapped stitches as follows: Work to the wrapped stitch, lift the back of the wrap and place it on the left needle tip next to the wrapped stitch, then knit wrap together with wrapped stitch.
  • When picking up wraps on the right side of the fabric, work them together with wrapped stitches as follows: Work to the wrapped stitch, slip wrapped stitch to right needle, lift the front of the wrap and place it on the right needle tip next to the wrapped stitch, insert left needle through front of wrap and wrapped stitch and purl them together.

Pattern

Back

Begin at Bottom Edge

Cast 54 (58, 62, 66, 70, 74) stitches onto the straight or circular needles.

Row 1 (wrong side): P2, knit to last 2 stitches, p2.

Row 2 (right side): K2, purl to last 2 stitches, k2.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until piece measures approximately 12 (12, 13, 13, 14 ¼, 14 ¼) inches from cast-on edge, ending with a wrong-side row.

Shape Armholes

Row 1 (right side): K1, sssk (see Notes), purl to last 4 stitches, k3tog (see Notes), k1. [4 stitches decreased]

Row 2 (wrong side): P1, p2tog, knit to last 3 stitches, ssp, p1. [2 stitches decreased]

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 zero (0, 0, 0, 1, 1) more time(s). [48 (52, 56, 60, 58, 62) stitches remain]

Next Row (right side): K1, ssk, purl to last 3 stitches, k2tog, k1. [2 stitches decreased]

Next Row (wrong side): P2, knit to last 2 stitches, p2.

Repeat last two rows 4 (5, 6, 7, 5, 6) more time(s). [38 (40, 42, 44, 46, 48) stitches]

Continue Working Back

Row 1 (right side): K2, purl to last 2 stitches, k2.

Row 2 (wrong side): P2, knit to last 2 stitches, p2.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until piece measures 7 ½ (7 ¾, 8 ¼, 8 ½, 9, 9 ¼) inches from beginning of Armhole shaping, ending with a right-side row.

Shape Shoulders

NOTE: For this portion of the pattern, you will be working back and forth in short rows, turning the work partway through each row rather than continuing to the end. For extra help, see both the Notes section and our Short Rows Tutorial. Please note that our tutorial is demonstrated on stockinette stitch, while this pattern is worked in reverse stockinette stitch.

Short Row 1 (wrong side): P2, knit to last 4 (4, 4, 5, 5, 5) stitches, wrp-t.

Short Row 2 (right side): Purl to last 4 (4, 4, 5, 5, 5) stitches, wrp-t.

Short Row 3: Knit to last 8 (8, 8, 9, 9, 10) stitches, wrp-t.

Short Row 4: Purl to last 8 (8, 8, 9, 9, 10) stitches, wrp-t.

Short Row 5: Knit to last 2 stitches working wrapped stitches with their wraps so that the wraps fall to the wrong (knit) side of the fabric (see Notes), p2.

Next Row (right side): K2, p9 (10, 10, 11, 11, 12), place previous 11 (12, 12, 13, 13, 14) stitches on stitch holder or scrap yarn for Right Front, bind off following 16 (16, 18, 18, 20, 20) stitches knitwise for Back Neck, purl to last 2 stitches working wrapped stitches with their wraps as you come to them, k2. [22 (24, 24, 26, 26, 28) total stitches: 11 (12, 12, 13, 13, 14) stitches on hold for Right Front, 11 (12, 12, 13, 13, 14) stitches on needle for Left Front]

Place a locking marker or piece of scrap yarn in the last row at each Armhole edge to use as a reference point later.

Front

Left Front

Work Shoulder Even

Row 1 (wrong side): P2, knit to end.

Row 2 (right side): Purl to last 2 stitches, k2.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 two more times.

Shape Neckline

Row 1 (wrong side): P2, knit to last 2 stitches, m1L, k2. [1 stitch increased]

Row 2 (right side): Purl to last 2 stitches, k2.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 one (1, 2, 2, 2, 2) more time(s). [13 (14, 15, 16, 16, 17) stitches]

Next Row (wrong side): P2, knit to end of row, turn work so that right (purl) side is facing you, cable cast on 6 (6, 6, 6, 7, 7) stitches, [19 (20, 21, 22, 23, 24) stitches]

Continue Working Front

Row 1 (right side): K2, purl to last 2 stitches, k2.

Row 2 (wrong side): P2, knit to last 2 stitches, p2.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until piece measures 4 ½ (4 ¼, 4 ¼, 4, 5, 4 ¾) inches from marker at Shoulder, ending with a right-side row. Remove marker.

Shape Armhole

Row 1 (wrong side): P2, m1R, knit to last 2 stitches, p2. [1 stitch increased]

Row 2 (right side): K2, purl to last 2 stitches, k2.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 three (4, 5, 6, 4, 5) more times. [23 (25, 27, 29, 28, 30) stitches]

Repeat Row 1. [24 (26, 28, 30, 29, 31) stitches]

Next Row (right side): K2, purl to last 2 stitches, m1pR (see Notes), k2. [1 stitch increased]

Next Row (wrong side): P2, m1R, k1, m1R, knit to last 2 stitches, p2. [2 stitches increased]

Repeat the last 2 rows 0 (0, 0, 0, 1, 1) more time(s). [27 (29, 31, 33, 35, 37) stitches]

Continue Working Front

Row 1 (right side): K2, purl to last 2 stitches, k2.

Row 2 (wrong side): P2, knit to last 2 stitches, p2.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until piece measures 12 (12, 13, 13, 14 ¼, 14 ¼) inches from end of Armhole shaping, ending with a wrong-side row.

With right side facing you, bind off knitwise.

Right Front

Work Shoulder Even

Return 11 (12, 12, 13, 13, 14) on-hold Right Shoulder stitches to needle, and with wrong side facing you, rejoin yarn…

Row 1 (wrong side): Knit to last 2 stitches, p2.

Row 2 (right side): K2, purl to end.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 two more times.

Shape Neckline

Row 1 (wrong side): P2, m1R, knit to last 2 stitches, k2. [1 stitch increased]

Row 2 (right side): K2, purl to end.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 one (1, 2, 2, 2, 2) more time(s). [13 (14, 15, 16, 16, 17) stitches]

Next Row (wrong side): Cable cast on 6 (6, 6, 6, 7, 7) stitches, working across newly cast-on stitches first, p2, knit to last 2 stitches, p2. [19 (20, 21, 22, 23, 24) stitches]

Continue Working Front

Row 1 (right side): K2, purl to last 2 stitches, k2.

Row 2 (wrong side): P2, knit to last 2 stitches, p2.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until piece measures 4 ½ (4 ¼, 4 ¼, 4, 5, 4 ¾) inches from marker at Shoulder, ending with a right side row. Remove marker.

Shape Armhole

Row 1 (wrong side): P2, knit to last 2 stitches, m1L, p2. [1 stitch increased]

Row 2 (right side): K2, purl to last 2 stitches, k2.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 three (4, 5, 6, 4, 5) more times. [23 (25, 27, 29, 28, 30) stitches]

Repeat Row 1. [24 (26, 28, 30, 29, 31) stitches]

Next Row (right side): K2, m1pL (see Notes), purl to last 2 stitches, k2. [1 stitch increased]

Next Row (wrong side): P2, knit to last 3 stitches, m1L, k1, m1L, p2. [2 stitches increased]

Repeat the last 2 rows 0 (0, 0, 0, 1, 1) more time(s). [27 (29, 31, 33, 35, 37) stitches]

Continue Working Front

Row 1 (right side): K2, purl to last 2 stitches, k2.

Row 2 (wrong side): P2, knit to last 2 stitches, p2.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until piece measures 12 (12, 13, 13, 14 ¼, 14 ¼) inches from end of Armhole shaping, ending with a wrong-side row.

With right side facing you, bind off knitwise.

Finish

Sides

Fold the piece in half at the Shoulders so that the wrong (knit) sides are together and the right (purl) side is facing out. Using Mattress Stitch, seam along the knit selvedge stitches at each side, working from the bottom edge to Underarm.

Body Edging

Turn the piece inside out so that the wrong (knit) side is facing you. Cast 2 stitches onto a double pointed needle (for the neatest possible finishing, use a Provisional Cast-On). Do not turn. Slide the stitches to the other end of the needle.

Starting at the left side seam (as you look at the piece), work an Attached I-cord along the front bottom edge of the vest as follows: *Knit 1, slip 1 purlwise with yarn in back, pick up and knit 1 stitch from edge (3 stitches on needle), pass the slipped stitch over the picked-up stitch and off right needle, without turning, slide stitches to other end of needle, repeat from * along bottom edge, picking up 1 stitch for each of the bound-off stitches.

Continue to work an Attached I-cord up the cardigan opening, now picking up 3 stitches for every 4 rows as you go. In the same manner, continue around the neckline, down the other side of the cardigan opening, and around the bottom edge to the side where you began.

If you used a Provisional Cast-On, join the beginning and end of the I-cord with the Kitchener Stitch. If you just cast on normally, bind off the I-cord stitches and sew the beginning and end together.

Armhole Edgings

Cast 2 stitches onto a double pointed needle and with the piece still inside out and beginning at center of Underarm, work an Attached I-cord around each Armhole, picking up 3 stitches for every 4 rows and working up one side, over the shoulder, and down the other side back to where you began. Join ends of I-cord together, as for Body Edging.

Ends + Blocking

Weave in the ends and block as desired.

Drift Vest | Purl Soho