Just before Christmas I started working on a vest pattern. I was still working on the Evelyn Howard Scarf at the same time but I've discovered that my pattern writing improves when I take breaks from one project to work on something different. It seems that I forget enough of what I'm doing so that on my next review of the pattern I notice misleading wording more often... Or perhaps my brain just comes up with better ways of expressing the information if I let the processing go on in the background.
I've had some art instruction in my past experiences and it was common for a teacher to give assignments that had specific parameters of the medium to work in as well as certain "rules" to follow regarding execution. I like that approach and I use it often to inspire my own creativity. It forces my brain in directions that I might not have gone otherwise.
My goal for this vest was to develop something that is one step up for a beginner from a scarf and would be a garment that did not demand a great deal of fitting but could flatter a variety of figure shapes. It had to require only basic skills, no complex finishing, no picking up for bands or buttonholes. I've realized that really experienced Knitters also love these kinds of projects for TV and social knitting where they want to work on something that does not require a lot of referring to a pattern. That also means that the yarn has to do a lot of the work with interesting colour or texture.
I started swatching with the Wooly Stripes yarn pictured above. I have a different colourway with fuchsia, burgundy, green and blue. Now that I write patterns my first swatch is always in stocking stitch so I can confirm that I get the ball band gauge. The colours were gorgeous but a little too strongly striped for my purposes. I also wanted to avoid having separate knit bands so I needed a flat stitch. The front of the vest that I was envisioning shows both sides of the fabric depending on how it is worn so I also needed both sides to look good. Next I tried garter and then a garter based lace that really didn't show up well with the colour changes. I switched to a simple knit/purl stitch combo and that really made the colourway zing. Unfortunately that doesn't show well in the photo below. The stitch also had the advantage of being easily memorized. That makes it much easier for the Knitter to incorporate new stitches or delete stitches while staying in pattern. When I blocked my swatch the fabric looked great and laid very flat. I also got the same gauge as my first swatch.
I had an idea for a silhouette from a fashion show that I had seen. It was a jersey knit garment that I thought when viewed from the front was a scarf and then the model turned and I realized it was a vest. Cool! I'll write more on this vest as the pattern progresses and let you know how it goes.