My mom taught me to knit and purl when I was 14. Throughout high school I made many scarves (most were red and gold – the color of the Gryffindor house) and a few iPod cases (back when iPods were so big). All with cheap yarn, those two stitches, and my own imagination. My knitting skills grew tremendously when my family got high-speed internet. Suddenly I could watch videos demonstrating different stitches! I could download patterns! I could connect with other knitters and easily share photos of our projects!
Sidenote: The amount of information freely available on the online knitting worlds is phenomenal. I can’t think of any other artistic communities that so readily shares resources. Ravelry is my go-to for exploring patterns and yarns.
Although today I do a lot of other fiber crafts (crochet, weaving, and embroidery), knitting will also be my first love. It feels so comfortable to me. In my 15 years knitting, I never made the leap towards making something outside of an accessory. I was scared of trying out garments. Until two weeks ago. Two weeks ago I started knitting a vest!
It’s amazing to think that a ball of cheap wool could turn into an outfit!
The same concerns run throughout all my knitting projects – fit and taste. Fit is a constant worry of mine, especially since I hate making a test gauge. I also want the things I make to be something I would buy if I saw them in a store – I don’t want to wear an item only because I made it, and sometimes my judgment is clouded by sentiment in that regard.
These issues are heightened with a garment because the investment is comparatively monumental, both financially (yarn is expensive!) and time-wise. I’m also a lot pickier about my clothing than I am accessories. What if I spend all this time and money on something so large, and it doesn’t work or I don’t like it?
So I started with a vest. My thinking? It’s a proper garment, but it isn’t as large or fitted as a sweater, and there’s more room for error. I used wool because I’m a stickler about what fibers I work with, but I to a lower quality wool than usual. In total the yarn cost me less than $25.
I love the way it turned out! In hindsight, I’m torn on the yarn choice – the speckles are mask the fine knit details, but they also hide my knitting errors. I know I’ll wear this a lot, and I think it’s something I would buy if I saw it in the wild! Below are some photos of the vest work as an actual outfit. Yep, I put my handmade wool vest over my cheap, thin, acrylic $15 sweater from Target. The vest is so warm and cozy!
The vest is supposed to have pockets, but in my excitement I completely forgot to knit them. I think I’ll knit them this week and add them on. I may also add snap closures, but I’m undecided on that.
P.S. Did you notice our dog Cory in one of the above photos? :)