Pattern Radar: Fly me to the moon

Here is a short and sweet Pattern Radar post.  Today, the Pom Pom Quarterly released their new issue (#26) with 11 patterns inspired by the moon and its phases.  And they are fantastic!  Look at this:

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© Amy Gwatkin

This is Ixchel by Catherine Clark.  Isn’t it gorgeous?  This is such a beauty.  I think it is a showstopper, and on top of that, it looks like it would be totally fun to knit.  Not convinced? How about this beauty?

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© Amy Gwatkin

I am a crazy fan of black and white knits and this one hits all of the right notes for me.  It is practically luminescent.  The design is Luna by Anna Strandberg.  I think it is so classy, with lovely architectural lines and a modern shape.  It makes my fingers itch to knit it!

I’ll show you one more, because I can’t resist:

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© Amy Gwatkin

This is Artemis by Esther Romo.  It is positively swoon-worthy.  It has been a long time since I’ve seen a collection with three designs that capture my attention so thoroughly.  (And while these are my favorites in the collection, it has 8 other great patterns!)

I can’t end without pointing out two things.  First, all three of these designers are new to me! And that makes me all kinds of happy.  Second, we see continued here the trend to use more diverse models in knitting pattern design.  I mentioned this in a recent post, and am very happy to see more and more designers and publications using models of all shapes, colours, and ages.  These beautiful models make me all kinds of happy, too.

Pattern Radar April 2018

Today seems like a good day for another Pattern Radar post.  The sun is shining here in my little corner of England, and everyone is smiling.  I had planned to head into London today to go yarn shopping, but the sunshine changed my mind and instead I am sitting in my back garden soaking up the sun.  Writing this post is my alternative to buying yarn.  (Much cheaper, too!)

Here are six new-ish patterns that have caught my eye.

Twill and Plain by Marzena Kołaczek

marzena

© Marzena Kołaczek

Marzena writes a beautiful blog.  It is in Polish, but never let a little language problem stop you from enjoying an excellent knitting blog!  You can be content with the photos, or use Google translate, or even try to learn a new language through knitting. Her photos are gorgeous, she has a great sense of style, and is a talented knitter.  I just love this sweater.  It is so subtle, and the juxtaposition of the twill and the stockinette is very classic and chic.  I also love the neckline; it has just the right proportions.

Mint Leaves by Joji Locatelli

mint leaves

© Joji Locatelli

This one made me do a double take.  It really deseves a second and a third look.  I love my Neon cardigan, blogged here, designed by Joji, and I have long wanted to try another of her patterns.  I love the geometry of this one.  It manages to look both casual and tailored.  You can’t see it in this photo, but the patterning is on front and back and it cascades to the sides in a very beautiful and organic way.  I usually don’t like bobbles or reverse stockinette very much, but this sweater may make me re-think.

Rocket’s Cardigan of the Galaxy by Mary Annarella

rocket guardigan

© Mary Annarella

First of all, how can you not like a cardigan named after Rocket, my favorite of the Guardians of the Galaxy?  In fact, the whole idea of this series is genius: Cardigans of the Galaxy, each design inspired by one of the characters.  And she calls them Guardigans!  I am so there.  Why is this one Rocket?  Mary says: “He gets a top-down cardi that’s the color of money (golden green!) with a diamond lace-and-cable motif that weaves in and out of a broken rib pattern. And hey, who isn’t a little broken?”  Of course no cute gimmik will get me to like a cardigan that doesn’t have good design.  This one does, and I trust Mary to deliver on all of the details and fit that make up a great cardigan.

Kilim by Vithard Villumsen

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© The Knitter

Love!  I love this design which has fantastic, chunky colourwork, and strikes both traditional and modern notes.  To me, it combines the colours of Turkish pottery with the fabrics and motifs of Kilim tapestries.  This design was published last year but has only recently come to my attention.  I have never heard of this designer before but he has definitely caught my eye with this piece, and I will be watching him to see what he comes up with next.

Hawley by Julie Hoover

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© Julie Hoover

Julie Hoover is the queen of simple, understated, but absolutely chic design.  I drool over all of her patterns, which manage to look both fashionable and totally comfortable.  This one, with its beautiful rippling cables and great proportions, is very appealing indeed.  It is a grown-up and luxurious version of the standard cabled pullover. I love the line of the shoulder and armscythe, the long ribbing at the hips, and the fantastic way the ribbing transitions into the cables.

Yoshino Cherry Blossom Hat by Susan Rainey

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© Susan Rainey

Today is the first day that feels like spring, and all of the cherry trees in our neighbourhood have just burst into bloom.  Cherry blossoms are such a short-lived luxury; what could be better than a cherry blossom hat?  This hat has delicate pink beads for the blossoms and looks just like the branches of a cherry tree against the brilliant blue sky.  It is designed by Susan Rainey, one half of the fabulous blog-writing duo, The Rainey Sisters!  I have been reading their knitting blog for over ten years, since before I even heard of Ravelry.

I hope that you enjoy these patterns.  I am going to stop writing now and start being lazy!

Pattern Radar February 2018

Take a little bit of knitting ennui, add a smidgeon of pattern over-abundance, and stir it up with a handful of work-induced stress: what do you get?  Pattern indifference.  It’s been a while since I’ve been excited by new patterns.  But now that is starting to change.  Maybe because the days are getting longer, maybe because I’ve got some knitting mojo back, and maybe because there are a lot of cool designs popping up.  Whatever the reason, it’s time for a Pattern Radar post.

1. Strathendrick by Kate Davies

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© Kate Davies

I love this new design from Kate Davies.  She says: “The landscape which surrounds my home provided perfect inspiration for something I’ve long wanted to design – a statement allover sweater in which vintage colourwork combines with a contemporary look and shape.”  I think she nailed it: this is a fantastic pullover – I love the colours, the shape, the juxtaposition of vintage and contemporary, and the fluid drape.  I also love that Kate models her own stuff.  I love the gorgeous photos her husband, Tom, takes.  I love the design ethic and the love of nature in their stuff.  There is 20″ of ease in this sweater.  That’s a lot of ease, and a lot of stranded knitting, but it’s got my fingers twitching despite that.

2. Inkwell by Alice Caetano

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© Alice Caetano

I have a thing for black and white geometric patterns.  This goes all the way back to the 1970s, when I would wear black and white geometric sweaters with mini skirts and my favorite white go-go boots.  (Doug reminds me that I was still wearing this look when he met me in the 1980s.)  I don’t think I’ll ever go back to that style, but I would wear Inkwell in a minute with a black pencil skirt or a pair of jeans.  This design is from the Winter 2018 edition of amirisu – the whole edition is a glorious tribute to black and white geometry.  I love the details on this one, in particular the way the central patterned section on the front is angled downwards towards the middle, creating a very flattering line for those of us who are no longer wearing mini skirts and go-go boots.

3. Trembling by Anna Maltz

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© Anna Maltz

This design just went live on Ravelry today.  It is from Anna Maltz’ new book, Marlisle: A New Direction in Knitting.  This is a very cool pattern, and the longer you contemplate it, the cooler it gets.  Not only because of the way she is creating interesting riffs on marl (in which two different colour yarns are knit together), but also because of the fantastic, and nearly imperceptible shaping in the yoke.  I love this!  (Admission: I don’t even like marl very much.  This might make me change my mind.)

4. Cahal by Linda Marveng

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@ Eivind Røhne

Linda is on a roll these days.  She keeps knocking out great patterns.  What I love about this one is how much she has accomplished with some texture and some rectangles. She has combined them into a truly fascinating and eye-catching shape.  I love the piece around the neck, from both front and back.  I love the visible seaming which really draws the eye to this feature. I like the way it drapes over the shoulder, too, creating a drop shoulder which is not a dropped shoulder, if you see what I mean.  This pattern has only been released in Norwegian so far, but the English-language pattern is on its way, so clear the knitting decks!

5. meander by Lori Versaci

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© Chrissie Knight for VERSACIKNITS 2017

I guess I have Lori Versaci on my mind these days, as I have just this week cast on one of her designs.  This cardigan is fantastically lush.  Click on the link and look at the close-ups; it really is beautiful, and cozy, and soft, and lofty – you can tell just by looking.  The sample cardigan is knit in Woolfolk Tov, a very lush yarn.  I looked it up and it would cost me £345 ($480) to knit this in Tov in my size – that is a lot of dough – but oh how tempting!  I think I would wear this all the time if I had it!  I would have to fight off my daughters for it.  This one is going on my wish list and in the meantime I will be keeping an eye out for a possible yarn substitution.

6. 1704-12b Elvira bukse by Viking of Norway

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© Viking of Norway

Pattern Radar is for patterns which catch my eye, and this one certainly has done that!  I love these intricately patterned leggings.  If I were more skilled at stranded knitting, these would be on my needles right now!  (They would, however, not end up on my butt, but would rather end up on Emma’s – she could really rock these!)  These would require both knitting skill (and the ability to follow a Norwegian pattern) and a bit of style fearlessness to wear, but I think they are fabulous.  Apres-ski, anyone?

The sartorial equivalent of wrapping paper

A few days ago, the headline “The Christmas jumper is out!” jumped out at me (!!) from the online pages of The Guardian.  What I had expected to find when I clicked on the article was something like “The ugly Christmas jumper is out! The tasteful Christmas jumper is in!”  Sadly, this was not to be.  The article claimed that the Christmas jumper is now “out”, and the Christmas suit is “in”.  As illustration, here is the Christmas suit:

christmas suit

The Guardian December 1, 2017; Photograph: Handout

From the frying pan into the fire, dear Reader!  At least the article states clearly that the Christmas suit is “the sartorial equivalent of wrapping paper”.

I know that the novelty Christmas jumper has been very trendy (at least here in the UK) for some years now.  Instead of escalating the trend with ever more garish Christmas clothing, why don’t we adopt a more lovely Christmas jumper tradition? We hand-knitters can lead the way! Here are a few ideas.

Birkin by Caitlin Hunter:

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© Jonna Hietala

 

Julgran by Andi Satterlund:

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© Andi Satterlund

 

Skógafjall by Dianna Walla:

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© Tolt Yarn and Wool

 

#05 Selburose Pullover by Lena Skvagerson:

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© Lena Skvagerson

 

Are these not doing it for you?  Well, there is always a Christmas suit with your name on it:

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The Guardian December 1, 2017; Photograph: Handout

 

It’s mitten time again!

Yesterday a fantastic anthology of craftivism mittens and mitts popped up in my pattern highlights section on Ravelry.  It is a collection of designs called Join Hands, and as I was savouring the patterns, I realised that it was time for another post about great mitten patterns (previous posts include Merry Mittenmas!, A dozen great patterns for fingerless mitts, and Mittens!). This seems to be becoming an annual feature on the blog, one which I am more than happy to continue.  So, without further ado, here are my picks of the season.

We must do better by Dianna Walla

we must do better

© Dianna Walla

I like all of the patterns in the Join Hands pattern ebook, but this is one of my favorites.  I love anything Dianna Walla designs (she is a fantastic blogger as well; check her out here).  These mitts really speak to me, both for their meaning and for the great lines of the design and the very simple but bold patterning. The proceeds from the ebook will be split equally between the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Poverty Law Center, two worthy organisations!  The phrase “We must do better”, knitted around the cuffs, is taken from the book We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Iznik by Barbara Gregory

iznik

Crissy Jarvis © Barbara Gregory

Barbara Gregory’s designs are nearly always winners in my book.  I love her use of colour and whimsy.  (I knit one of her sweaters which I blogged about here.)  She puts out great mitten patterns every year.  This year I was taken with the design called Iznik.  I am a big fan of tiles, and the Iznik tiles and pottery from Turkey are very distinctive and beautiful.  She uses duplicate stitch for the third colour, so these are not as difficult as they appear, using two-colour stranded knitting throughout.

Petronela Mittens by Anna Lipinska

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© Anna Lipinska

This year I seem to be attracted to big, cosy mittens.  I have a cold right now, so perhaps that factored into my selection, but it seems to be a trend on this list.  These mittens are very spare but look like just the right thing to wear for a brisk winter walk.  In fact, these mittens are almost enough to make me wish to take a brisk winter walk, which is saying a lot.  I like these in natural colours but could imagine making them in almost any shade.  Make them for your teenagers and watch them not be able to text.

Herati by Sari Nordlund

herati

© Nicole Mlakar

I like almost anything from the Pom Pom Quarterly.  This pair of mittens really caught my eye (not hard to do with this sumptuous shot – all those beautiful reds and golds).  These are knit with Quince & Co Finch, a favorite yarn, and I just might have these very colours in my stash!  I hesitate to knit mittens without a gusset (see my post To gusset or not to gusset) but these have been circling around in my brain and could very well end up on my needles.

Black and White Mittens by Carolyn Vance

black and white mittens

© TKGA, 2017

These mittens are published in a journal called Cast On, The Educational Journal for Knitters, Winter 2017/18; it is published quarterly by The Knitting Guild Association, a non-profit organization.  This suggests that this pattern is educational; I just think it’s cool.  I am attracted to geometrical prints and also to black and white patterns. These are knit in sport weight yarn on tiny needles, to get a gauge of 10 stitches to the inch in pattern.  The design uses a technique called twined knitting – I don’t know it (I guess that is what makes this educational), but can also be knit with traditional stranded stockinette.

Lines Mittens by tincanknits

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© tincanknits

I love what tincanknits do with colour, but this pattern shows how great they are with natural shades as well.  I really like these mittens – I love how the grey and white play against each other, I love the geometry of the lines, and I especially love the photo.  If I had these, I would hang around on cliffs all day waiting for someone to photograph my hands artfully arranged against the rocks.  These are knit in a cashmere blend, by the way, which makes me want them even more.

Tveir Fingerless Gloves by Ella Gordon

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© Ella Gordon

I had to include this very Christmas-y design here.  These fingerless gloves are so cheerful and pretty.   They make me think of eggnog and gingerbread and wrapping paper and Christmas tree ornaments.  It’s a very sweet pattern, from the Shetland Wool Week Annual 2017.

Pink Pine Pair by Nataliya Sinelshchikova

pink pine

© amirisu

These are fantastic mittens with a super interesting construction. I covet these, in the exact colours.  I want this pop of pink!  And then maybe I would make a pair with a pop of red!  Or a pop of orange! Or a pop of purple!  Maybe I need many pairs!   I have never heard of this designer and this is her only pattern on Ravelry, but if this is the first she is off to a good start.

I hope this post inspires you to knit a pair of mittens.  I believe there should be a design for everyone in this selection (including all of those on your gift list).  Happy knitting!

Pattern Radar – August 2017

I have been in a bit of a knitting funk lately.  I have also been suffering from pattern overkill; the never-ending stream of new patterns has had the unintended effect of de-energising me.  My creative streak has been taking a nap.

Over the past few weeks, however, something has happened.  New designs are being released for the fall, and many of them have made me sit up and take notice.  Without any further ado, here are some of the designs which have captured my attention.

1. Öræfi by G. Dagbjört Guðmundsdóttir

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© Ístex

This pattern has just been released today and I think it is fantastic. It hits so many buttons for me.  The mix of geometric patterns, the natural shades, the slouchy shape, the mix of traditional and modern – these are all saying “knit me!”.  If I were my 20-something self, I would knit this in a New York minute.  But hey, I have two 20-something daughters, so this may yet hit my needles.

2. Tangled Up in Gray Pullover by Sloane Rosenthal

Photography for Interweave Knits Fall 2017 by Nathan Rega

© Interweave / Harper Point Photography

The Fall 2017 issue of Interweave Knits has some great sweaters in it.  My favorite is this beautiful design by Sloane Rosenthal.  She is a new designer to me, but this pattern puts her right on my designer radar.  This is a casual pullover but has enough crisp tailoring to make it really stand out.  (The back view is spectacular too.)  This one is going right into my queue.

3. Whiskey Creek Pullover by Amy Christoffers

Photography for Interweave Knits Fall 2017 by Nathan Rega

© Interweave / Harper Point Photography

This edition of Interweave Knits also has three great designs for men. It is hard to pick only one for this post.  I love this design by Amy Christoffers; it is very spare, with lovely details. The shawl collar is elegant in a non-fussy way and stands out against the reverse stockinette of the upper body.  Like many of the other sweaters in this post, it combines the modern with the rustic.  Here is a link (Rav link) to all of the patterns in the Fall 2017 issue; in addition to the other men’s sweaters, the cowl by Kyle Kunnicke is a favorite.

4. Skiddaw by Kari-Helene Rain

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© The Fibre Co. 2017

The booklet Fell Garth 2 by The Fibre Company (Rav link) has some fabulous patterns. Again, it is hard to decide which to show here, but this pattern has a very unique shape which caught my eye. It feels fresh and young, with a great swing. Plus, I just love this green! Notice the light shining through the seed stitch on the hem; you can tell the fabric is beautifully light and airy.

5. Loving by Kim Hargreaves

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© Kim Hargreaves 2016

Sometimes, simple is best.  I love the great, classic lines of this pullover by Kim Hargreaves, from her new book, Grace.  I’ve knit a few of Kim’s sweaters (I even knit one twice: see here and here).  Her sweaters don’t waste away in the back of a drawer.  This lovely garter stitch pullover would look great at the office or with jeans.

6. Uncloudy Skies by Deb Hoss

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© Deb Hoss Knits

Deb Hoss designs lovely, classic sweaters.  If she were an architect, you would say that her buildings had “good bones”.  I haven’t knit any of hers yet, but she is definitely on my radar.  This design has impeccable fit and drape. I think it would suit a lot of people (like me!) and would be eminently wearable.

7. Threipmuir by Ysolda Teague

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© Ysolda Teague

Ysolda can always be counted on for her beautiful designs. As she states on the pattern page for Threipmuir: “This yoke is inspired by Icelandic Lopapeysas but the finer gauge provides a larger canvas for more intricate patterning.”  Like the first sweater in the post, the mix of the traditional and the modern is really striking.  I am more likely to wear a sweater made in fingering weight yarn, however, and I love these brilliant hues.

8. Helix cowl by Andrea Rangel

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© Harper Point 2017

Andrea’s new book, AlterKnit Stitch Dictionary: 200 Modern Knitting Motifs, hasn’t even been released yet (here in the UK it has an August 25th release date), but this cowl pattern from the book really attracted my attention.  Actually, everything about this book looks great; the stitch patterns seem both modern and fun.  I have it on pre-order and am looking forward to some entertaining swatching when it comes out.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this Pattern Radar post.  These designs should be enough to pull anyone out of the knitting doldrums.

A baker’s dozen of men’s knitted vest patterns

My last post was a whimsical look at men’s sweater patterns from the early 70s including some wild vests. I have been wanting to knit a vest for Doug for some time now, but find that I can never find the perfect pattern. (Note that I am using “vest” in the American sense here. I will continue to spell colour with a “u” thus confusing those who want to categorize me.) While there are some fabulous patterns out there, I find that most of them fall short on one dimension or another.  In particular, they are (1) designed for someone considerably thinner, considerably younger (or both) than Doug, (2) they are made with a thicker weight wool, such as worsted or aran, and/or (3) they are boring. This last must be commented on:  I am told time and time again that men want boring. My man doesn’t.  As evidence of this, have a look at the last sweater I knit for him.

Doug wants a vest that he can wear to work with a shirt and tie, that he can put a sports jacket over comfortably, that has color and ‘pops’.  He also says he wants it to have buttons so that he can take it on or off during the day (but he could overcome this for the right pattern).  I want a vest which is fun to knit, which is challenging but not scary, and preferably not with steeks (but I can overcome this for the right pattern).  I also think that it would be better in fingering weight yarn to cut down on bulk.  Here are a baker’s dozen of great men’s vest patterns.  None of them seems to hit all of the requirements.  But they come pretty close.

We’ll start with a few vests knit in aran or worsted weight wool, move on to some fancy colourwork projects and end with some fantastic fairisle. (All links are to the Ravelry page.)

1. Laredo by Angela Hahn

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© Jamie Dixon

I seriously love this vest.   Angela is a great technical designer and she charts this out in three lengths so that the pattern starts and ends on appropriate rows.  I keep seeing it in a rich colour, perhaps a strong gold or deep purple.  But it is made with an aran weight wool and isn’t the office-appropriate vest I am searching for.  When Doug needs a vest to go on safari, however, this one is so there.

2. Dr. G’s Memory vest by Kirsten Kapur

Dr G's memory vest

by throughtheloops

This is a fantastic vest.  It is knit in a worsted weight wool, but I also think it would look great with a sports coat. I love how the ribbing on the sleeves matches the pattern running up the side of the fronts, and how the two patterns come together and then separate at the shoulder to provide shaping.  Oh, the technical deliciousness of this pattern is so appealing! Every feature is so beautifully thought out. Kirsten designed this in memory of her father, Dr. G, who suffered from vascular dementia.  In order to receive the pattern, one must donate to dementia research, as detailed on Kirsten’s blog here. So, a gorgeous design and a good cause.  (I already have the pattern and it is definitely in my queue.)

3. Argyle Vest by Veronik Avery

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by Veronik

This is an old one from Veronik, dating from 2007, well before her Brooklyn Tweed collaboration. It is found in her book, Knitting Classic Style: 35 Modern Designs Inspired by Fashion’s Archives.  I already own the book, which puts it in the plus column.  I love argyle, and I think this design uses it to its best – it is a strong motif, but doesn’t overpower the vest.  I love these colours but can imagine all sorts of options from subdued to wild.  The problem once again is the yarn weight – it’s knit in aran.  Plus – intarsia – not quite in my comfort zone. But it’s pretty huh?  Especially when worn with a pout, like the model kindly demonstrates.

4. Drew’s sweater vest by Marly Bird

Drew's sweater vest

© Marly Bird

I love this vest! First of all, it buttons, unlike most of those I am reviewing here.  But it also has great features: the shawl collar, the twisted garter rib stitch, the beautiful fan pattern that goes up the middle fronts and around the collar.  It also is charted in a huge range of sizes – from 36.5″ to 60.5″!  You would be astonished (or maybe not) at how many vest patterns end at a size 48″.   Not only that, but it looks like a vest which would actually look good on big men.  I think this one will end up in my queue.  The problems – it’s knit in aran wool, and the shawl collar means no jacket.

5. #19 Men’s Houndstooth Vest by Josh Bennet

vogue_houndstooth_vest_medium

© Vogue Knitting, Winter 2009/10 Photo by Rose Callahan

I love houndstooth, and this one is scrumptious! Really, this is a lovely vest, elegant and totally office-worthy (especially if not paired with this shirt).  However, it is knit in DK weight wool, STRANDED, which means this has some serious weight to it. Only a guy with rock solid abs and a tendency to be cold all of the time could get away with this one.  (Imagine trying to pull it off when the office heater was set too high.) If you look like the model, I urge you to knit this vest! I wouldn’t steer you wrong. Otherwise, I would suggest that a pair of houndstooth mittens might help ease the pain.

6. #8 Fitted Waistcoat by Franklin Habit

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© Soho Publishing

I’ve featured this waistcoat on the blog before.  I think it is totally beautiful.  It is definitely on my radar, but I am waiting to see a few more projects pop on on Ravelry. I want to see what it looks like in real life on people who don’t wear a size small like this model.  I am worried that its cut, not only the trim waist, but also the deep arm scythe and the narrow shoulders, won’t suit Doug’s shape.  But someday, maybe….

7. Estefan by Brandon Mably

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© Rowan Yarns, 2014

This is another vest that I’ve featured before on the blog.  (Oh no! Have I become hopelessly repetitive and redundant?)  Abstract away from the fantastic tile background, and from the attractive model staring at you with smouldering eyes and come-hither look, and ….you still have a great vest. Brandon Mably is a colour wizard.  This is knit in cotton, in a sport weight.  I don’t really see myself doing this kind of colourwork in cotton, but I can imagine knitting it in wool.

8. Lean on me by Anna Maltz

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© Anna Maltz

This is a pretty pattern published in the Winter 2014 edition of Knitty magazine (this means it is free as well!). I love its use of colour and pattern, particularly paired with this shirt! Like the Houndstooth vest above, however, it is knit stranded with DK yarn, which will produce a heavy fabric.  That, and the way the stitch pattern biases, leads me to suspect that if you are carrying some extra weight around your middle, this vest will highlight it.  On the other hand, it is awfully pretty and there are endless options for playing with colour.

9. Order of the Phoenix Winged Vest by Kyle Kunnecke

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© Interweave & ©Harper Point Photography

I think Kyle Kunnecke is a great designer; he is so clever and has such a sense of fun in his designs.  You don’t have to be a Harry Potter fan to think this is one seriously cool design.  One of the best things about it is that from the front it looks like a completely straight, classic v-neck vest that would like right at home with a jacket and tie; then you turn around and kazaam! I’m not sure this has “Doug” written on it, but if he has a (late) mid-life crisis and buys a Harley, this is going on the needles.

10. Carraig Fhada by Kate Davies

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© Kate Davies Designs

Kate’s recent collection, Inspired by Islay, contains a few very nice pieces for men.  This vest can be made with either a crew or v-neck style (it is designed as a unisex piece and has directions for both men’s and women’s versions).  There is a huge range of sizes, from 32 to 60 inches.  It is knit up in her new signature yarn, Buachaille, a sport-weight wool.  I love this yarn, which feels good on the hands and takes to cables or colourwork really well.  If you follow the link, you can see one done in shades of grey with a very thin green stripe (in place of the yellow here) that is equally lovely.  I think that single row of a bright, contrast colour really makes this pattern pop.

11. Fall River Vest by Mary Jane Mucklestone

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© Interweave Knits

I love this Fairisle Vest designed in natural shades by Mary Jane Mucklestone.  This is the first vest in this post that is knit in fingering weight wool.  (I can see why you might think that fingering weight would be a slog for a man’s sweater; but for a vest – no sleeves!  A vest seems like a reasonably-sized canvas for some fingering weight colourwork with no chance to get marooned on sleeve island.)  This is a fairly standard Fairisle man’s vest, but an especially lovely one I think.  This uses seven gorgeous muted shades that really work together to add richness.

12. Luke’s Diced Vest by Mary Jane Mucklestone

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© caroline bergeron

This is a great vest.  I am clearly attracted to designs in which different patterns play off against each other.  And it buttons down the front.  But it is knit in sportsweight wool. And it looks hard to me.  (And the model looks to be about 15 to me.  I know this is a very nit-picky complaint; I am showing my age.)

13. Wartime Farm Sleeveless Pullover by Susan Crawford

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© Susan Crawford

This vest has an interesting story.  From the pattern description: “In the wake of the popular Wartime Farm BBC TV series, you can now knit your very own authentic Fair Isle Sleeveless Pullover, modelled on a 1938 original and as worn by Alex Langlands no less!  For each pattern sold, a £2.50 donation will be made to the Women’s Land Army Tribute Campaign to help raise money for a permanent memorial to these forgotten ladies and their untold toil during the World Wars.”  This is knit in fingering weight wool, and is not steeked (it is knit in one piece to the arms and then knit back and forth). I think that it is fantastic.

These are all great vests, but I am still wavering.  I have three other options to consider.  I can (1) design my own, (2) modify a women’s vest pattern, or (3) modify a men’s sweater pattern and knit it as a vest.  I have lots of ideas about each of these, and may blog about them soon.