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Knitted Vest: The Seaside

Updated on October 17, 2013
BlossomSB profile image

As a teacher at all levels and mother of five children, Bronwen has been interested in a variety of crafts for both children and adults.

The Finished Vest: Front
The Finished Vest: Front | Source
The Pattern Charted on Graph Paper
The Pattern Charted on Graph Paper | Source

Designing the Vest

Recently I wrote an article entitled 'Knitting an Aussie Retro Sleeveless Pullover.' it was for one of my sons-in-law. That inspired me to try designing my own sleeveless pullover, or vest as it was called in the pattern.

It did not seem so very difficult. All I needed was some graph paper and a pencil to begin with, and then some felt-tip colours when I had the design. I decided to make it for Christmas for my younger son. As he and his family live near the beach, it would be fun to make it a seaside design.

As you can see, the chart is 10 squares wide. I made the star and the place name, RYE, 9 squares high and a multiple of the ten, that is, 30 squares wide. If you want to use another place name, incorporate it in the rest of the design as I have done. It needs to be a multiple of 10 squares wide and any change can be taken up with adjusting the size of the star.

The basic instructions were for a garment that would be 97 cm (approx). However, I had already discovered from my first effort that it was very approximate and was more likely to be at least 101 cm.

The yarn was to be 5-ply and I chose a practical dark grey wool for the waistband. Using a 3.00 mm (No. 11) circular needle, I cast on the 208 stitches.

I continued on and knitted the K. 1, P.1 band for about 5 cm. I found the circular needle a little cumbersome to begin with, but the band looked fine as you can see below.

The Waistband is Completed
The Waistband is Completed | Source

Casting On

Everyone seems to have a different way of casting on. I think that my favourite way helps to make the edge firmer and stronger.

I make the first loop, and knit into that to make the second stitch.

After that I put the right hand needle in behind the whole stitch, not just into the loop. I continue to knit that way for all the rest of the casting on.

Adjustments to the Design

Having never designed a pattern like this before, as I knitted I found that some adjustments were necessary. My design was only for 125 rows, but I needed about 100 rows up to the armholes and 60 for the armhole.

As you can see from the finished article, I made several adjustments and additions as I went along.

  • Instead of one row of the Main Colour between each pattern, I substituted three rows each time.
  • Above the yachts I added a pattern that looked like the sun and this added eight extra rows.
  • I discarded the seaweed pattern below the dolphin and substituted another pattern of eight rows.
  • Above that I added six rows of blue waves with a seventh of white foam.
  • After the dolphin I commenced another eight row pattern, but as it incorporated the shoulder shaping, much of it disappeared in the shaping.

It's Growing Well.
It's Growing Well. | Source

Try This Poll

Designing your own pattern makes a garment really personal. Have you ever tried to do this?

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Following the Chart

I soon found that following the chart was not difficult, as with circular needles only plain knitting is needed to achieve a stocking stitch effect. It had taken time to make the design and I thought it looked really attractive. However, I had not designed the chart as well as I thought I had.

1. There were not enough rows. There needed to be around 100 rows (or rounds) for the body and another 60 for the armhole and neck shapings. My body design only had about 85 rows.

2. In some places I had three colours and these were inclined to tangle and be difficult to manage. Two colours at a time were much easier to handle, so as you may notice, in some places the garment pattern differs from the design, e.g. The rays from the lighthouse begin horizontally and do not dip down. I omitted the seagull's eye and beak for the same reason and worked them in by hand later using a lazy daisy stitch for the beak and a small backstitch for the eye.

The Shaping

The shaping of the armholes and neck can be found in my article,

I hope you have much fun designing your own personalised vests.

Although it was a considerable amount of learning as I went along, I was quite pleased with the final result and hope that my son will be, too. Actually I was about to design one for my older son, but a granddaughter came along with a pattern she would like me to make for her and it looks quite complicated, so that might take me right up to Christmas. Just as well that my older son lives in a much warmer climate. Maybe the Christmas after!

The Finished Vest: Back
The Finished Vest: Back | Source

© 2013 Bronwen Scott-Branagan


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    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 2 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      OldRoses: Thank you. I once bought a knitting machine, but I'm afraid it languishes under the bed. It's so much more relaxing just sitting in front of the TV and knitting. Unfortunately arthritis attacks many of us as we grow older, but knitting helps - so does diet, I notice.

      PurvisBobbi44: Afghans are lovely and they can be made with yarns left over from other projects - and they usually last much longer than the other garments, so they're like a memory quilt. Thank you so much for your comments and share.

    • PurvisBobbi44 profile image

      PurvisBobbi44 3 years ago from Florida


      You are so talented and the vest is beautiful. My mother could do anything with her knitting and I miss all her beautiful projects she planned and made.

      The last thing she made me was an afghan in different shades of purples and lavenders. I will cherish it always.

      I am sharing this with Twitter and pinning on my re-pin board on Pinterest.

      You have a wonderful week.

      Bobbi Purvis

    • OldRoses profile image

      Caren White 3 years ago from Franklin Park, NJ

      You are so amazing! I would never have thought of creating my own design. I've just started knitting again after a 15 year hiatus. I had to give up counted cross-stitch because I developed arthritis in my hands and fingers. Knitting helps keep them limber. Thanks for the wonderful explanation of how to graph and knit an original design. Voted up and shared.

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Lady E: Designing the pattern on graph paper is the secret - and then following it! At the moment I'm making a vest for myself in the Cornish tartan and I thought I knew the pattern so well that I didn't follow the graph and a couple of lines of colour are missing in one of the pattern repeats. Oh, well, it still looks good and as it takes an hour to do a round, I'm not unravelling it. Do try, it's fun and creative. Thank you for your comments.

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 3 years ago from London, UK

      It's awesome. I particularly like the way, RYE is knitted in - perfectly. (never out of line or shape) Knitting is an art. I can only knit a scarf but after reading this Hub, I should have a bit of adventure with it. :-)

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      jennabee25: Thank you. It's such fun making the design so you don't have to work with too many colours at once, and fun knitting it and watching it grow, too.

    • jennabee25 profile image

      Jenn Dixon 3 years ago from PA

      Fantastic Fair Isle work!!

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Eiddwen: Thank you! - for the comments and for your good wishes. I hope you have a great day, too. Do you, lovely creative lady, have time to knit, too?

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      Thank you so much Blossom for this very interesting hub which I am saving a swell as voting up.

      Loved it and wishing you a great day.


    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Michael-Milec: Thank you! Yes, knitting is my excuse that I'm not wasting time when I watch TV, but actually it's more about listening than watching, or I'll be making lots of mistakes. It is always pleasant to be creating and watching something grow. I guess we had a similar motivation, as I was born during the Great Depression. We just had to learn to knit and often it was unravelling old garments and reusing the wool; it must have been much worse for you in the aftermath of war. May God bless you, too.

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 4 years ago

      Hello BlossomSB

      Beautiful design , artistically made. It's quite demanding on concentration . Isn't ?!

      You just took me " far back in history" where this preteen boy- out of need - have knitted a sweater for himself since nothing was available to purchase in by a war devastated country. It's amazing what the people could-provided for themselves, producing first the material needed.

      Knitting is rewarding at the pleasantly used time.

      Voted up and interesting.

      Have a blessed weekend.

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      tobusiness: The skill used to be just something everyone did, but sadly, not these days. However, it's never to late to learn; it just needs a little patience. Thank you for your lovely comments.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      My mum, bless her... was exceptionally good at knitting and crochet. Unfortunately; I'm pretty useless, but I love people who are artistic and you are always so wonderfully clever. Beautiful work.

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      sandramack2013 : Thaaaaank you!

    • sandramack2013 profile image

      sandramack2013 4 years ago


    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      This time when I hit 'Post Comment' my other replies came back and all the 'Approve' buttons returned, too! There's a gremlin somewhere!

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Oh, dear! I just replied to all those lovely comments and when I hit 'Post Comment' they all disappeared and even the 'Approve' all came back.

      Please forgive me, but I really don't have time to reply to each one separately again! They were lovely comments. I was surprised that so many who wrote said they could not knit, but then I'm not very good at crochet as I'm left-handed. When we were student teachers we had to learn to teach knitting, embroidery and even simple work with a sewing machine for Primary aged girls, and out in the schools we did it, but that WAS a long time ago. Bless you all for your lovely comments.

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Frank Atanacio: thank you. I've never forgotten how impressed I was when I saw a local teenage boy designing his own patterns on graph paper and then knitting them. Ever since I've wanted to have a go. Now I know it's not so easy!

      ChitrangadaSharan: It's a great winter occupation when the nights are long. I hope you have lots of fun and satisfaction with your knitting.

      purl3agony: I haven't seen that book but I'm going to see if I can find it, it sounds as if it would be very interesting. I don't really know how it got big, I just scanned it. I'm not so good at that, so I transfer it to an email, then to the desktop and then to the article. So it just happens!

      kschimmel: I'm not sure it is so even! Actually I think it's too loose, but at least it's finished. Thank you for your comments.

      Kathryn Stratford: thank you for your lovely comments, especially as you don't knit. Perhaps this will inspire you to try.

      Rayne123: I taught all of my daughters and even my sons, but the males in the family decided they didn't have the patience. I really enjoy watching it grow and producing useful garments.

      ExpectGreatThings: Now crochet - there's something that I really admire. Some of my granddaughters are not so keen on knitting, but love to crochet. I can only do simple edgings as the instructions are usually too difficult for a left-handed person.

      kidscrafts: Thank you! Also for sharing. It's good to hear from you.

      wetnosedogs: Now there's an idea. The only problem is that I'm not good at selling, but I like the thought of it.

      Genna East: It's never too late to try. Thank you for your comments, especially as you don't knit.

      Jackie Lynnley: that is so lovely of you. I think I'm surprised that so many write that they cannot knit. When we were student teachers ( a very long time ago) we had to learn to teach knitting, embroidery and even use a sewing machine (if the school had one, which they often didn't), and we were supposed to teach these things to all the girls.

      LadyFiddler: Thank you. It's fun to write and share interesting activities with my hub friends. The only difficulty is finding the time! But I guess that's fairly universal.

      Faith Reaper: Thank you. I admire those who just seem to whip up beautiful crocheted garments. Bless you, too.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

      Oh, what a lovely and intricate design ...your finished vest. A lovely woman at my workplace attempted to teach me to knit, but I just cannot do it, something about the holding of the needles. However, I learned to crochet in junior high school.

      Up and more and sharing

      Blessings, Faith Reaper

    • LadyFiddler profile image

      Joanna Chandler 4 years ago from On planet Earth

      WAW that was wonderful great job my great aunts on my dad side do a lot of knitting they knitted sheets, table maths, cloth etc.

      Your hub was well done and properly illustrated keep up the good works

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

      It's women like you that give women like me a bad name. lol. I cannot knit and I have tried more than once. I remind myself of my granddaughter pretending she can crochet (which I can do). It is very pretty, I will share it with my daughter-in-law who has tried to teach me. I will just share it with everyone. ^

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Once again, I regret not learning this wonderful craft and art form. Beautiful photos, Blossom, and very helpful guidelines. :-)

    • wetnosedogs profile image

      wetnosedogs 4 years ago from Alabama

      Very intelligent and a beautiful vest.

      I don't knit, but I had crocheted when I was younger and my grandmother would figure out the pattern without looking at the pattern.

      Now you must sell this pattern somewhere!

    • kidscrafts profile image

      kidscrafts 4 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      This is adorable! I love to see how you created your own diagram! Really Great!

      Thank you for sharing, Blossom!

    • ExpectGreatThings profile image

      ExpectGreatThings 4 years ago from Illinois

      I am so impressed by this!!! Your pattern and example look fantastic! I'm surprised you don't have dozens of requests to make sweaters for gifts. I have tried knitting on several different occasions. My stitches are not uniform, so my items end up with little bulges. I guess I'll stick to crochet. - Ginger

    • profile image

      Rayne123 4 years ago

      I like the idea of this, I myself have to be honest, I dont knit. I tried it once and was not a fan of it. (maybe I could not catch on who knows)

      However it is nice to see so many different topics on hubs to include passions of everyone.

      Every single person a something to offer with love

      thank you


    • Kathryn Stratford profile image

      Kathryn 4 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      I don't knit, but this sounded interesting, so I checked it out. It's a charming design, and I like how you explained it. It must be neat to make your own design! I also like that you explained your adaptations, as well as the "problems" you found.

      Thanks for sharing this creative piece with us. It looks very handy for those who knit.

      Have a great weekend!

      ~ Kathryn

    • kschimmel profile image

      Kimberly Schimmel 4 years ago from North Carolina, USA

      Beautifully done! I wish I could keep my tension so even when doing fair isle work.

    • purl3agony profile image

      Donna Herron 4 years ago from USA

      This is an amazing vest - I love all the little seaside motifs. Reminds me a bit of the book "Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club" if you've ever read it. I'm curious, how did you post your pattern chart so large on this page? I've have a number of knitting patterns on my hubpages, but have trouble posting charts large enough for people to see. Thanks for sharing! Pinned and voted up!

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 4 years ago from New Delhi, India

      I love knitting and thanks for the details of this lovely Vest! Winter season is approaching fast and I will take tips from this wonderful pattern.

      Thanks for sharing!

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

      i never tried this but it does look relaxing great share blossoms :)