Knitted Viggo Vest

I’ve been knitting for about three years now so I thought it was about time I started to venture out into items other than fingerless mittens, socks, scarfs and shawls. Last year I made myself a cardigan (which I wore whilst on holiday), but the Viggo Vest was my first project to gift to someone that needed to be a certain size.

One of my friends had her first baby earlier this year and I really wanted to make something for them. I started out with a plan to make a baby blanket, but the yarn I had in mind was too thick and dark and despite hours of plotting, planning, and watching, it just wasn’t working. Fortunately another lovely knitting friend came to my rescue and sent some leftover yarn from the item she had made for the same baby. It was some lovely Rowan Pure Wool 4 ply in two coordinating shades so I decided to ditch the blanket idea and make a striped vest. I choose the Viggo Vest pattern, partly because of this adorable photo – I mean who could resist?!

Adorable photo from Viggo Vest pattern

So, I got myself a smaller circular needle so that I could work in the round in the regular way rather than in magic loop as I normally do. I set to work and soon realised the pattern wasn’t quite as straight forward as I’d thought. Firstly, it’s striped and as I learned with my Nemo mittens that means I need to think about jogless stripes. It was a little tricky with this pattern because the stripes were only two rows deep, so I had to do a bit of research into how best to tackle this. In the end I settled with the ‘tug and twist’ method. Then, the pattern got a bit complicated. Well, not complicated, but just new to me. I had to do the shaping by casting off some stitches which got a little fiddly, and I had to pick up stitches to knit on the top ribbing sections.

Starting to cast off to shape for the sleeves

Then came the buttons. In reality not a difficult thing at all, but in my head it was. I didn’t have any buttons that looked right so I scoured my local haberdasheries until I found some. They’re a little bigger than what I was thinking of, but I struggled to find something that suited the colours and the style of the vest so I decided to make slightly larger button holes and got with bigger buttons. I thought it was going to be so complicated and put it off for quite a while, but one weekend I took the plunge… and realised that actually it was incredibly simple!

Buttons!

Buttons! It was a little out of shape so needed blocking, and I was pleasantly surprised at how much that evened it all out.

I bundled it up and sent it off, hoping and praying that it would fit the recipient. It had taken me a lot longer to make than I thought it would and of course in the meantime the recipient had been growing! Fortunately though, it fit, and the recipient’s Mum kindly shared a photo of him wearing it. Isn’t he adorable?

The vest being beautifully modelled

I’ve definitely conquered my fear of fitted clothes (well, for babies anyway!) so won’t be so afraid of similar patterns in the future. I’ll just need to start them earlier!

Much-quicker-than-gloves hat

I thought I’d like to knit my Dad something for Christmas but wasn’t sure what. Then I came across a nice pair of gloves, bought the pattern and yarn, and then got stuck. I had no idea there were so many different sizes in gloves and I had no idea what size my Dad would be. I measured mine and my boyfriend’s hands and the sizes in the pattern seemed huge. I asked friends for advice, and everyone was extremely helpful. The pattern designer even spotted my cry for help and came to my rescue. I was all set to go. Then I started knitting. Oh my word. The whole glove is a rib pattern, so a bit slower than regular knitting (all that switching between knit and purl stitches!) and combined with the fact I was making them in 4 ply yarn on 3.25mm needles, it made for very slow progress. Once I realised this was going to take a LOT longer than I had anticipated, and still might not even fit, I abandoned that idea and put them to one side to make for my boyfriend at a later date (so I can measure as I go!).

So then I needed a different present for my Dad, when I remembered my friends had recommended the Turn a Square hat pattern (fortunately in worsted weight yarn so much quicker). So I chose some new yarn, and eventually got going. I only had a few days before Christmas but I was off work so could dedicate time to it. The cast on took a few attempts (the yarn was quite fluffy and split easily therefore I found myself knitting into part of the strand thinking it is a full strand), but I got there in the end and once I got started on the hat part it was all smooth sailing. The hat is a little long I think – it’s a bit too long for my boyfriend (in photo) and when Dad tried it on he had the same issue. I think if I was to repeat it I’d start decreasing a little before recommended in the pattern. I’m really happy with the colours though, and think I have enough to knit another one the same so may do that for my boyfriend.

Here’s the hat being modelled by my boyfriend:

Turn a square hat

Turn a square hat

And a close up of the stripes:

Stripes close up

Stripes close up

I can definitely see myself using this pattern again, especially with this sort of yarn so that the colour gradually changes as you knit. It’s a good project for trying a new type of cast on – the hat itself is really straight forward but the tubular cast on and rearranging of stitches is a little tricky if you’re used to just a long tail cast on. My project notes are in Ravelry.

Boozy warmers

Knitted gifts aren’t for everyone (though there’s many more options than there are with cross stitching fortunately). I wanted to make some accessories that anyone would appreciate. I did get some yarn and patterns ready to make Christmas decorations, though I couldn’t decide on what to make and many of them seemed to involve lots of separate parts and seaming (I *hate* seaming!). I did make this mini Christmas tree, but didn’t know what to do with it.

Teeny Tiny Christmas Tree

Teeny Tiny Christmas Tree

Then I remembered seeing some great little hats and scarves to put on bottles of alcohol which a friend had made. I dug out the pattern and gave it a go. Fortunately I’d got over my fear of stripes having completed the Nemo mittens, so I made three different sets of hats and scarves for various booze for family members:

Boozy warmers

Boozy warmers

My project notes are available on Ravelry. What’s even better is that they have been repurposed by my sister and her boyfriend, who have added winter accessories to their meerkat toy. Great to see them being put to good use!

Michael Meerkat with hat and scarf

Michael Meerkat with hat and scarf