New Project: Saddle Shoulder Aran Vest

I’m awful. I know. Instead of putting the button band on that Tomten or finally photographing the long-done and much-worn Cobblestone, or even making the February sock-along stranded socks I was so excited about, like, last week, I started something big and new. One night a week or so ago, when I had just finished a pair of Fuzzy Feet* for myself and asked Mr. HelloYarn if he wanted some, he asked “When are you ever going to make me something big??” and acted all cold and pitiful and kind of whined about his unused buffalo nickel buttons, so here we are, 7 inches into the body of a vest for the poor, chilly man.**

The buttons were originally purchased for the Saddle Shoulder Aran Cardigan, from Spun Out #49, but he changed his mind and wanted a vest. Looking at the Saddle Shoulder Aran Cardigan in a more fitted model than the one shown in the pattern, I thought that just by removing the sleeves (and with maybe just a tad more width removed at the armholes), a great vest would be made.

As you may know, this pattern/recipe gives you all the freedom you could ever want in terms of sizing and selecting cables and edge treatments, but also provides charts for the cables used in the sweaters shown. Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Sheepfold Cable (this looks like a folded ribbon) is included, as well as a Fishbone (I added a reversed Fishbone, as well), both of which I adore far too much to leave out. Poking through all my stitch dictionaries for a third cable, one leapt out at me- the Banjo Cable in one of Barbara Walker’s Treasuries. Mr HelloYarn’s singular passion is playing the banjo, so it was all too perfect for words. I took measurements from the vest he’s wearing in that photo and got to swatching.

The yarn is Classic Elite Skye Tweed, which I stashed wholeheartedly when Webs had the closeouts. This yarn seems like it wasn’t washed post-spinning and is quite oily and stiff. It does crazy things when washed, at least in hot water, which is how I treated my swatches. It blooms and plumps and softens into a very solid-feeling and spongy fabric. Some of the cable definition, which is so amazingly crisp when first knit, is lost, but the scrummy feel makes up for it.

Because we’ve got to use those buttons, the vest will open in the front, so this puppy will have a steeked opening. I practiced Meg Swansen’s crochet-secured steek on my swatches and determined that it is the best invention since yarn and needles, perhaps. It’s clean-looking, flexible, and much fun to execute. It’s so awesome that I’ll do the arm holes and neck, too. The steek is on the wide side (7 sts.) so that the folded-under part will create a nice facing when I add the button band.

Kent’s making one, too. It’s super gorgeous and he’s even sharing his charts. He put a lot of thought into his and swatched like a MANIAC, so definitely check it out if you haven’t, already.

Stranded Mitten Kit News:

I’ll have some kits for the next update. The test knitters are plugging away and making absolutely lovely mittens. The pattern is pretty much good to go and that leaves the dyeing. I plan on making a couple of different colorways for each shop update, not to be repeated, so if you don’t dig any colorways in a certain update, all you have to do is wait a couple of weeks for fresh choices. Cool?

* Note to self: add slipper soles, since this post is what made you knit the slippers in the first place.

** I act put-upon, but it’s all an act. :) This is such great fun to knit and while knitting it, I ruminate about all the other cabled sweaters I want to knit, mainly Na Craga from Alice Starmore’s Aran Knitting, which I do believe needs to be the next Two Person Knit-Along with Jared. He agrees! Well, it was his idea, actually.

30 Responses to “New Project: Saddle Shoulder Aran Vest”

  1. Tana

    Oh my! We both have the same problem. I have a finished entrelac hat (my own design) and a perfectly tailored Salt Peanuts that I’ve finished but have not blogged about. I did finally get the pictures up yesterday, but I really want to get a picture of Salt Peanuts being worn, not just displayed on the bed. But I have so many other interesting projects, I just can’t seem to get it done. Cheers!

  2. maryse

    yes you have a lot of unfinished business there.

    will you sell your mitten pattern without the yarn? just wondering.

  3. Sara L

    Mitten kits!!!!
    Claps hands..waves hands in the air !!

  4. knitxcore

    that vest is going to be ace!!!! maybe i should work on the vest sleeping in the bottom of my knitting basket???

  5. Valerie

    Ahhhh…I knit vicariously through you–and it’s so satisfying. I, um–I mean YOU knit such wonderful things. :)

  6. Dawne

    Yaaaay for mitten kits!! So when did you say that shop update would be …?! :):)

  7. Alice

    Oh man, I am going to have to keep an eye out for these kits… :)

    The sweater looks great so far! I know how easy it is to get distracted…

  8. Arlene

    I just hope you’ll have enough mitten kits! So many of us want them! Everything you do is so wonderful.

  9. Lynn in Tucson

    I have the saddle shoulder aran pattern but I’ve been too intimidated to start it.

    Still am! I think I’ll have to gain some swatching skills…..

  10. Jenna

    If he asked you to make the vest with the Irish accent in place, I’m sure it was absolutely impossible to resist :) It’s looking gorgeous so far, just so perfectly wooly. I’ll be interested to see how the saddle shoulders work sans sleeve – I guess you’ll really just be connecting the tops. Should be interesting…

  11. holly

    Love the yarn and love the cables. I can’t wait to see your finished vest.

    I agree with you about the crocheted steeks. I used them for my first ever steek project and really like the finish they give.

  12. Crystal

    Your such a well-behaved knitter with all of your swatching and testing. It’s turning out great, can’t wait to see it all done :)

  13. jenna

    The vest is going to be incredible. Of course. :) That’s why I keep coming back here…for The Incredible.

  14. Mandy

    Full Disclosure: On of my heel pieces has come off my slipper. I think it’s because the end of the cotton embroidery thread wasn’t secured, but I haven’t had a chance to investigate because I can’t take my slippers off for that long. It’s probably an easy fix, but I’d rather be wearing my slippers than have cold feet so the repair will just have to wait.

  15. whitney

    The vest looks fantastic! I love those tweedy cables oh so much.

    So excited to hear about the impending mitten kits!!

  16. Tina

    The stitch pattern on the vest is awesome. I have wanted to try steeking, but have been too nervous as of yet. Someday I will try it.

  17. Lindsey

    I’m making a saddle shouldered aran too!! I love the yarn you’re using–
    And I’m super excited about the mitten kits!!

  18. merete

    it is lovely. i am about to connect sleeves and body on my saddle shouldered aran and i agree that the sheepfold is too lovely to be left out. i have been checking out the banjo cable as well and i love it. great idea.
    and good luck on na craga. if only one could get near the book it is in. it is just too bad it is not reprinted since it is in such great demand and obviously contains a lot of knitting history too which is my passion. knit on.
    ps. kent’s is so great and i cannot wait till he finishes it.

  19. Arleta

    I finally quit counting my ufos. I’ll get to them some day. ;)

    That’s going to be one good looking vest, though!

  20. Peggy

    I love this. How do you plan on finishing the bottom? I ahven’t made any vests yet, aside from Ribwarmers, so this is fascinating. Hope you’ll share all your tricks.

  21. alice

    This is an odd thing to say, but it’s part of a meme’s instructison… Basically, you made my day – see the second half of this blog post for details.

  22. Diana

    That vest looks like it will be beautiful! I love the tweedy yarn you chose for it.

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