b r o o k l y n t w e e d
  Striped Vest in Handspun and Recycled Tweed
First, my apologies for stringing you all along bit by bit with this piece. In truth I knit the thing from start to finish in a very short period but like to take a little extra time with presentation. Plus I loved photographing this thing! Not to mention the obvious fun of milking a good steek for all it's worth.

Striped Vest (by b r o o k l y n t w e e d)

Pattern: Generic Vest
References: Knitting in the Old Way by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts and Knitting Workshop by EZ
Yarn: My handspun shetland, "Low Country" fiber from Hello Yarn; Recycled Irish tweed wool from this thrift store sweater.
Needles: US8/5.0mm KnitPicks Harmony Circulars

Start Date: 6 May 2008
Finish Date: 11 May 2008

Striped Vest (by b r o o k l y n t w e e d)

This was one of those projects that came together eerily well, on it's own, with very little planning. I had just finished spinning a batch of Shetland that I becom very fond of. I had a good amount of it - about 9 oz. of aran weight - and didn't want to knit a small project, but knew there wasn't enough for anything substantial. A few day's earlier my sister-in-law had sent me this wool sweater she had picked up in Portland from a thrift store. When the vest urge hit me hard, the handspun and the sweater were sitting quietly next to each other in the corner when the big yellow light bulb appeared over my head.

Striped Vest (by b r o o k l y n t w e e d)

I swatched a small square, striping the two wools together and really loved how it felt and how the colors looked together. After I had my gauge, I was off and running. The rest is all kind of a blur.

Striped Vest (by b r o o k l y n t w e e d)

Vests are wonderful - it's like taking all the thrilling parts of sweater knitting and condensing them down into an efficient summary. No sleeve monotony (the second one undoubtedly causes a temporary lapse of excitement in my process), very little shaping, and steeking, means essentially knitting a tube on autopilot with intermittent technique shifts to spice things up. Just when all that stockinette is starting to wear on you? Armholes. And when you're ready for a little more? Neck Opening. Before you have a chance to get bored? Shoulder shaping. And bam, you have a steek-ready garment. Once you're at this point, nothing can stop the steek-induced excitement and seeing the odd shaped conical tube bloom into its vest-shape is worth every stitch. It's a great rhythm.

Striped Vest (by b r o o k l y n t w e e d)

As for a pattern, I didn't really use one. If you're comfortable with seamless sweater construction, it's an easy jump to wing one of these. I recommend using Knitting in the Old Way by Priscilla Gibson Roberts as a reference. This is by far one of the most well-loved books in the my library, and if you're a sweater constructo-phile like me, this is essential reading. I also referenced EZ's Knitting Workshop to compare her armhole and neck opening specifications (vague but useful). Vests need a slightly more exaggerated armhole depth (mine was about 10.5" before knitting in the armhole ribbing) than their sweater counterparts, but other than that, measurement-wise things are essentially the same.

Striped Vest Collar Detail (by b r o o k l y n t w e e d)

I worked a "slip 2 as if to knit, k1, pass 2 slipped stitches over" centered decrease every other round on the neck ribbing to create the central ridge at the bottom of the v-shapd opening. I used both tubular cast-on and bind off for all the ribbing to add that special finishing touch. Where ribbing is concerned, this is my favorite starting/finishing technique

Low Country Batch Two (by b r o o k l y n t w e e d)

Now, lets talk a little about steeking - many of you have e-mailed me questions about my method. I'm a die-hard believer in the traditional crocheted steek. I'm anti putting a sewing machine to my knitting and I love the finish and process of securing everything by hand and with wool. I steeked this project in the exact same manner as my Saddle Shoulder Aran Cardigan last year. [Check my April '07 Archives for an exhaustive amount of photos on this steeking method]

Facings (by b r o o k l y n t w e e d)
This is what the facings look like on the inside.

If you feel an innate desire to steek - do it! It isn't scary, if you play by the rules, and it's really, REALLY fun. And in my opinion, it makes garment knitting much more intuitive and enjoyable. I'm not a big fan of purling, so it's a technique that I like to employ whenever possible. The definitive online steeking compendium is Eunny Jang's and can be found here. Everything you need to know is there, so no excuses for all of you who sent me guilty e-mails admitting to your masochistic urges to cut your knitting.

Striped Vest (by b r o o k l y n t w e e d)

I've never been a vest wearer, in fact I can't ever remember owning one, but now I'm a changed man. I've already found this thing very useful for keeping warm without overheating. It's very rain-jacket friendly and looks good layering with a lot of different things. Most of all, though, I think I just like having handspun on my person at all times.

I'll be out of town from tomorrow (Thursday) through Sunday - I'm taking a little vacation. When I come back - I have more finished knits to share. Until then, good knitting.


It looks absolutely stunning. I have to try steeking in the very near future. Thanks for sharing this :)

Thanks, as always, for sharing your remarkable knits and equally amazing photographs! As is usually the case, I'm absolutely in awe (and quite envious of your considerable gifts).

Wow - such a great way to recycle and combine your own handspun... Great pics, great techniques: as always. BTW: have done myself a vest too (from Knitty.com, More Stripes) and used Eunny pictorials: the best and yes i have used crochet steeks for the same reason - and believe me it had nothing to do with knowing how to use a sewing machine. To me, it just makes more sense: i am sure our ancestors would have done it the same way.

I asked you once to marry me after your aran cardigan, I AM happily married with 3 children, but after this....I need to ask you again!!!
your work is stunning and I love to read your blog. You are very inspirational!

Absolutely fabulous work!!!!

Wow, that is just inspired. The yarns work so well together and the vest looks really sharp on you. I am thoroughly impressed.

Well, Jared, you have done it again. Simple yet stunning. Lots of inspiration going on here.

This is just so fantastic! I love the look of that striping. And really, just 3 days?? Time to get my steek on!

Doesn't that just make ya proud!! Handspun and handknit, impressive. You are quite the handsome vest wearer!

That vest is lovely. I love the colors. The combination of your homespun and the thrift store sweater is wonderul. I love it.

Thanks for the educational and inspirational post.

how do you like the knitpicks needles? I have the harmony DPNs, I have considered getting the circular set one day. I adore knitting with wood/bamboo.

It looks great!

It looks wonderful -- such beautiful colours. It's a fantastic use of what might otherwise be bits and pieces.

Two questions, if you don't mind:

1. It's hard to tell the length, partially because you're lanky and partially because of the layering. An inch or two below the belt line?

2. I can't see any jogs from the striping. Did you use any particular technique to control that, or are they just tucked into a side and not visible in the photos?

Again, congrats on another wonderful sweater!

absolutely & completely stunning. :-)


it's gorgeous jared! i really love the variegation in the striping mixed with the solid tweed.

I'm curious about this tubular cast-on business for the edges. Is this different than just picking up stitches for ribbed borders?

Word about "Knitting in the Old Way." I find that I have to purposely leave it on the shelf because every time I pick it up I'm inclined to start new projects.

Great. It's 100°F outside, and now I want a handspun wool vest.

Seriously though, it's fantastic!

Wow, your work is so lovely! You've made a believer out of me. I just ordered yarn for my first ever Fair Isle sweater vest and I WILL STEEK!

I hear the postman ringing the door bell now!

Tora in Chagrin Falls, Ohio

Best looking vest I've seen in a long time!

I've been thinking tweedy stripey vests for a certain young man in my life for a few months now...and now...well frankly I'm inspired.
Glorious photos.

it is fabulous.

It's so beautiful and classy; I love it. The colors are wonderful.

It is breathtakingly beautiful! What a brilliant use for handspun that is too scant for a full sized project.

How wonderfully wearable - with anything - I love this vest! Nice job, as always!

I'm a little confused about where you steeked? I've only ever seen it done for a cardigan, and have never done it myself. Was it for the neck opening?

Your vest is gorgeous. I love the way the colors melded.

That is a nice looking vest! I have never been much of a vest wearer myself, but it could be a good way to prolong sweater season. You look ready for spring weather without appearing overdressed.

You are the King of Tweed! This vest is wonderful!!!

Damn, Jared. That was one hell of a post. Your vest looks so wonderful - so much the better that the nice tweed came thrifted! Well done!

That is one good looking sweater, great job!

FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC. :) It's a beautiful sweater and the photos are awesome.

have a good vacation!


Oh, Jared.

I wish there were another way to say, "Thank you". Here goes, Arigato gozaimashita!

Your time and effort in these posts is so appreciated and the garments are priceless.

BTW, I hope (a lot & often) that Big Blue is coming....maybe in IK?

Your work is so clean, contemporary... classic.

Beautiful vest, wonderful colors!

Congratulations ! It is beautiful !

Lovely, of course, and very fetching. I think I've already mentioned that I'm all about leaving steeks au naturel. Except for those one stitch Norwegian steeks, which definitely need the security of a little crochet reinforcement.

Looks wonderful - knitting has certainly made me more appreciative of the humble vest

Thank you for posting so often! I just so enjoy your photo and your words. Well, this vest is just fantastic! I love the colour and simplicity of it. It looks warm and calm. Look forward to the next post.

It looks so good on you, the colors are amazing! Wow!

I love the striping, the way one set is the same colour and the other set keeps subtly changing. Just great!

I love blue and brown together - this is done very well!

It's fantastic! Steeking is on my list of new techniques to try this year and is vest making! :)

Goodlord! You look absolutely distinguished in that vest! (Honestly, I never knew vests would look this stunning on a man but you've changed that!)

stunning vest! My man would love this but I'd leave the steeking to him :)
One project finished, how many more to do??? ;)

SO beautiful. I loved this project from the moment you first posted it in progress. Looks amazing. I swear, you know how to make a simple piece SING.

I want to say, welcome to the vest club, because that's where I started & what I've knit more than anything else. But it would be presumptuous, because you've knit WAY-hay-hay more sweaters than I have. But welcome, anyway :) Vests rock.

Tracy in Qatar

Positively perfect!

Definitely a great project! I am just starting to get into the recycle a sweater idea (mostly to reclaim yarn from failed knitting projects), so it is wonderful to see such a successful result!

Jared, that is so stylish! Beautiful colours - you make me want to start spinning...

Love it! You never cease to amaze me.

This vest is GORGEOUS. I love that you combined handspun with rescued yarn from a thrift store find. What an unbelievable FO.

Am utterly blown away by the vest. So beautiful!!

Your vest is gorgeous. Just fantastic.

Jared- You did a great job on the "vee"- impeccable.

You look very "David Niven" in it- I hope you wear it lots.

Lovely. Just lovely. Kudos to the spinner, designer and knitter.

Encore, encore! Lovely colors, and lovely color changes.

Westminster, MD

Those yarns seem destined to be together.

This is ridiculously smart. I absolutely love it.

This is freakin awsome. I absolutely love it - you may have switched me over to vests too. I really love how perfect everything looks when you finish. Taking the time to do the little things adds up to a truly professional result that's better than buying the most expensive knitted items. The way you treat your materials and process is a true inspiration. Thanks for sharing!

gorgeous combo - your eye for color and texture is uncanny.

After reading your April 2007 archive on the crochet steek, I'm curious -- what happened to the Scott sweater? I remember admiring the pattern when it first came out from RYC.

Wonderfully handsome!

Beautiful...Jared, absolutely beautiful! Both!! :)

I'm new to the knitting world so I've only recently discovered your blog. And can I just say: Completely. Inspiring.

Right now, I'm still pretty excited about knitting socks. But looking at your brilliant craftsmanship and the resulting stunningly beautiful garments makes me want to devote my entire life to learning knitting techniques.

Anyway, as has been said by dozens already, the vest is AMAZINGLY GORGEOUS. If I were you I would wear it EVERY DAY. Seriously. I'm not kidding.

Wow...that just looks fabulous! Isn't it nice when something relatively simply ends up so beautiful?

Thoroughly handsome! I love vests, I always found them to be kinda sexy in a yesteryear movie star sort of way!

Lindo trabalho ficou perfeito.

Awesome job - it's just amazing how well the thifted yarn goes with your handspun. Now I have an urge to go sort through the local thrift shop!

Ah, what a great job. Great idea to incorporate your hand-spun into your knitting!

Beautifully finished, lavishly documented and you recycled a thrift sweater. Doesn't get much better than this. Your post made my morning!

It looks great! Awesome job

What can I say that hasn't been said....it is freakin beautiful!!!

Wow! Nice to see the finished photos. Your vest really is amazing. Nice to know you've discovered the wonders of a vest. I love a nice vest! Such a versatile garment. I hope you get as much enjoyment out of wearing it as I have following along on this project.

Yes, a most handsome garment!

As a couple of people have mentioned, the vest looks awesome. The brown is great--it works for either spring or fall. I think I can take steeking off my too-scary-to-try list now!

I am currently concocting plans to travel to brooklyn, break into your place (wherever that may be), and steal this thing. It is freakin' amazing! And I have never been a vest person either. I think I may need to knit one up. Awesome job, I'm jealous I don't have one ;)

simply stunning-wow the colors are the striping are really amazing-thanks for sharing your knitting escapades!

amazing! one question: did you use jogless joins for the stripes? it looks so perfect! i can't wait to try steeking now :)

I love your vest and I love your photos. Thanks for sharing it all with us!

I love the dark blue stripe -

Incredible work, as always. You look so handsome in it!


This is so beautiful! I want to make one! And I want the figure to carry it off! GRRR! :)

"Vague but useful" is my new favorite descriptor. Love!

Your blog is such a pleasure to read. Great information and stunning pictures! What a fantastic resource - thanks so much for sharing.

Fantastic results... and very inspiring! All those things you said about guilty urges to cut my knitting... I have them and they are flaring up. I'm not a vest wearer, but I think it might be time to get out of my rut and try something new... bold... sleeveless

Thanks for sharing, I look forward to the next post! :)

Wow, I just love the colors of the vest. It looks so classy, but it also has a very contemporary feel to it. Love it!

A couple of people have been asking about the jogless joins. But isn't that because the whole thing was knit in the round, and both the neck and the sleeves were made with steeks? That's why the colors match so well on either side of the neck and sleeves, right?

Like everyone else said, a true inspiration. This may be my favorite of your FO's.

You have added class to the idea of recycling a sweater! I will never look down at that again!

...who is that stunning model?
"all that can stir, all that can stun, all that's for the hearts lifting..."
Cirasie', congratulations for another great knitting success...you are awesome and so is your vest.
Your secret admirer from Serino!!!

It's so beautiful! Makes me want to run home and make a vest with my recycled wool.

That is a handsome vest -- the colors are perfect together! It must have been fun to bring together the recycled yarn and yarn you created.

The vest is just fabulous. It's beautiful! You should be very proud. Thanks for all of the instructions.

Makes me want to go and knit myself a vest!!! Thank you.

this is one beautiful piece of knitting. i adore the simplicity and the rustic look. almost shaker like. bravo. less is more, and more is a bore, as they say.
i enjoy steeking too, and love the passage where elizabeth says that it disables you to frog and reknit, and then she says something like who does that anyway.


Have a great time!

Wow! The vest is stunning!! :)
Very inspiring--


That is insanely gorgeous! What a great way to use some handspun, too. You're an inspiration!

I really enjoy the way you blog (evidently hundreds of other people do too!) as it inspires me without realising how or why and then it all comes together! I fist came across your blog when I started to spin and always read it now....thank you for being so creative and eloquent! It really does inspire me to knit and spin more and to think outside the square (even if I am not brave enough to knit outside the square yet!). Thank you and it is such a lovely vest...

This vest is just incredible! I admired the fabric in previous posts, but seeing it worn just brings out how beautifully designed and executed it is. Add me to the list of people wondering about the placement of the color changes - I don't see any evidence of them, even in the lower body where there are no steeks to hide them in.

I'm plotting one for my husband already, and if he doesn't want it, it might just be for me!

With your magic touch, straw into gold!

You have inspired me to knit a bib, because your posts always make me drool.
I'm sure you get this all the time, but you have a real creative gift. Thanks so much for sharing it!

Clearly you are indeed a vest man. So many great elements to this - color, fit, and the fact that your handspun and recycled yarn combined so perfectly. A FO to be proud of for sure.

Cool pics nad cool vest! Love the colours.

gorgeous!! as always, your work inspires me. Thanks.

Your pictures are quite sexy. I just love checking out your blog and seeing your amazing work. Thanks for sharing it with us and providing so much inspiration! :)

just watch... now everyone will be knitting vests! with you and your stripe vest (which I must find yarn for and tackle; I have never done steeking) and Dr. G's Memory Vest (which you can find on ravelry under projects I believe) the world is about to become ablaze with vests...

You're a wonderful knitter, but your photography is to die for! Sometimes I'm not sure if I read your blog to look at the items you knit, or how you present them - equally beautiful!

I absolutely love this! Thank you for the wonderful inspiration for all those skeins of handspun that are just not quite ENOUGH for any given project.

Gorgeous vest - your color combinations are amazing. I can't wait to hear how your other projects are coming along!


I was just bitten by the vest bug. How incredibly synchronicitous! And what a lovely example you have made!

This is the first time I've read your blog, and I have to say you have me with this vest. Beautiful work!! So inspiring. I definitely have to try something with steeking!! I've been trying to get my DH interested in wearing vests to work - I could certainly crank those out faster than a sweater.

That is a awesome vest!!

Who IS the model???

Hi, so good?
I discovered your blog and loved.
His works are beautiful, you're an artist.
I am Brazilian and not speak English so I can not communicate with you (translate that text on google).
But visit your blog daily.
Congratulations and good luck.
a hug
Andrea Ramos Muccio

Genius. What else can I say? Thanks for sharing your beautiful work and the beautiful photos, it's an inspiration every time!

Fabulous !! My boyfriend would like to have the same !! Congratulations !


Oh wow, this is a thing of beauty indeed. Perfect.

Muito lindo! gostei muito da combinação das cores ;)

Jared, beautiful and simple!
Great idea to recycle and use handspun.

Just a note - in the beginning, when I click on Knitting Workshop by EZ link, I get Knitting in the Old Way.
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