My ultra quick 1941 vest project is finished. That’s 7 days from cast-on to finishing off the final end. Considering I only knit an hour or two a day, that’s lightning quick.
The fit is a bit different from most contemporary patterns. For one, the shoulders are wide and shaped, and the armholes aren’t gappy. My tiny cut-out at the back of the neck rides well with a golf shirt’s collar, and the length is just what he wanted. The fabric is soft and lofty. Since I rarely knit for him and the few times I have the results haven’t been optimal (mostly too big or too warm), I’m delighted to have produced a winner.
On the yarn – I think Cascade 220 is a yarn that’s overlooked in the mad scramble to Merinos. Yes, it’s not a Merino, and doesn’t have that silky hand. But it’s not an itchy or stiff yarn, and knits up quite nicely. The number of ends to finish off are minimized because of this yarn’s superior ability to spit-splice, and the 220 yard skeins. In terms of care, it’s quite pill-resistant. I’ve made several things from it, and have never found any flaws in it. Not so much as a knot. So pause a bit in your haste to knit this stuff up only if fulling/felting is your goal. Try some out for a non-shrunk garment. I think you’ll be pleased with the result.
As promised, here’s a modern pattern for the thing in Size 46. To make life simpler for us all, I’ve used Sweater Wizard to construct it.
Man’s 1941 Style Vest in Garter Stitch, a Redaction from Minerva #46
(c) 2006, 2007, 2013 Kim Brody Salazar
Needles: 7, plus size 6 circs or DPNs for finishing armholes and neck ribbing. One stitch marker.
Gauge:4.5 sts10 rws per 1″ Estimated Ydg: 1212 yards standard worsted weight yarn with a native stockinette gauge of 5 stitches = 1 inch.
With rib needle, cast on 102 sts. Estab rib pat on Row 1: *K2 , P2. Repeat from *. End K2 . Work 29 rws. On row 30, increase as below. [2.75″].
Rib-to-Body Inc Row
6 incs total done this way: Work 14 [inc 1 in next st, work 13, inc 1 in next st, work 14] 2x. [inc 1 in next st, work 14] 2x. (108 sts) With body needle, work in pat st until piece meas 14.5″[row 118].
Bind off 6 sts at beg of next 2 rws. Dec 1 st each side, every other row 5x. Cont in pat st until piece meas 25.5″ from start [row 228].
Shape Shoulders and Back Neck
Bind off 7 sts beg of next row. At beg of next row, bind off 7 sts, work 14 sts, attach a second ball of yarn and bind off 42 back neck sts. Complete row. At beg of next row, bind off 7 sts and dec 1 st at each neck edge.Bind off 7 sts beg of next row. Bind off 7 sts beg of next 2 rws. End off.
Work as for back, including all shaping,and, at the same time when piece meas 16.1″ [row 134]
Begin Neck Shaping
Work to center, attach another ball of yarn and complete row.Turn. Work both sides at once. Dec 1 st at each neck edge every 2nd rw 3x, then every 4th rw 19x. Cont in pat st until piece meas 25.5″ from start [row 228].
Work shoulder shaping (at shoulder edge) to correspond with back.
Seam sides. Seam shoulders. With smaller size ndle, pick up 108 sts around armhole edge. Work in K2, P2 ribbing for five rows. Bind off loosely.
With smaller circular or dp needles and RS facing, pick up 48 sts from back neck, pick up 60 sts from left neck edge, place center marker, pick up 60 sts from right neck edge, place end of round marker. (168 sts).
Round 1, 3 and 5 – Work first round in K2, P2 rib until two stitch before the center marker. K2tog, slide marker to right hand needle. SSK, continue in K2, P2 ribbing taking care to match the sequence immediately after the centermost decreases to the sequence immediately before them.
Round 2 and 4 – Work in established pattern.
Bind off. Darn in all ends.