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This long vest is incredibly flattering, due to its natural swing and beautiful drape. It also has a California vibe to it (IMHO) with its tailored nonchalance. All of this inspired me to call it the Balboa Vest – Balboa is a swing dance that started in California in the 1920's.
The back is knit bottom up in a simple-to-work, subtly textured sand stitch that becomes quite sophisticated in the heathered yarn. Dramatic decreases at the sides create the swingy shape.
Generous armholes are shaped to allow this vest to be easily worn over many sleeve styles. The fronts are then picked up sideways and worked separately in a rickrack ribbing towards the middle with short row shaping and dramatic decreases along the lower edge to create the shaped front. The front pieces finish with wide bands of the sand stitch to echo the back and add a little more structure. Vertical pocket slits are created along the way.
The ribbed collar and armhole edges are added at finishing, along with the pocket linings. The vest is shown here with snap closures, but it would be lovely with a zipper that goes all the way up the collar for added versatility.
Finished Knit Measurements at Underarm (a few inches below bustline): 30 ½ (34 ½, 38 ½, 42 ½, 46 ½, 50 ½)" [77.5 (87.5, 98, 108, 118, 128.5) cm] based on BACK width. TO FIT SIZES: XS (S, M, L, 1X, 2X) or Bust Sizes 28-30 (32-34, 36-38, 40-42, 44-46, 48-50)" [71-76 (81.5-86.5, 91.5-96.5, 101.5-106.5, 112-117, 122-127) cm].
Yarn Used: Knitpicks Swish DK (100% Superwash Merino Wool; 1.75 oz/50g [123 yds/112 m] per balls): 9 (10, 11, 12, 13, 14) balls in Color #24948 Squirrel Heather. NOTE: Although the yarn is called DK, it was used as a worsted weight in this pattern due to its loose plies.
Pattern Gauge: 16 sts and 24 rows = 4" [10 cm] in Sand st; 19 sts and 30 rows= 4" [10 cm] in Rickrack st.
Yarn Label Gauge and Information: A worsted-weight merino wool yarn with a gauge of 5.5 sts = 1" [2.5 cm] on size 5 [3.75 mm] needles.
Total Yardage Required: 1100 (1215, 1345, 1460, 1590, 1710) yds [1006 (1111, 1230, 1335, 1454, 1564) m].
Some suggested yarn substitutes to try:
If you have a yarn substitute to suggest for this project, email us!
Knitting Needles Used: Size 9 [5.5 mm] OR SIZE TO OBTAIN GAUGE: 24" to 40" [60 – 100 cm] circular needle (circulars recommended to hold rows of ~30" [76 cm] of sts); Size 9 [5.5 mm] OR SIZE TO OBTAIN GAUGE: 16" [40 cm] circular needle or DPNs to work armhole edges.
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