Gallery: The Ivy League Vest

Annie goes Ivy League!

Katie's notes:

(Katie Himmelberg is assistant editor of Interweave Knits.)

This colorwork beauty, designed by Interweave Knits editor Eunny Jang, modernizes a Fair Isle classic with its close fit. Using a modest six colors, this vest is a complete study in Fair Isle; the classic construction elements include steeks and two-color corrugated ribbing.

View The Ivy League Gallery

When selecting a size, be sure to check all the measurements shown on the schematic; the stranded fabric is very firm (but flexible) and a too-tight vest may be uncomfortable in the waist area. The sample I tried on was a little smaller than my actual measurements, and while not uncomfortable, was definitely on the tight side! So, if you're looking for a more relaxed fit, I'd choose the size with a waist measurement that is larger than your own. For a close fit, choose the size that is closest to or less than your waist size.

Don't be afraid to switch up the colors to suit your personal palette; as we discussed with the Bonbon Pullover, the key is to choose colors with similar values so that you'll have the same balance between light and dark. Contrast is key; it really makes the patterns pop.

from Winter 2007 Interweave Knits

I think the Ivy League looks great as shown in the magazine, and it could be worn with a number of different outfits; over a long, sleek turtleneck, a v-neck tee that echoes the neckline of the vest, or a jersey dress.

Sandi's notes:

Note that in the pattern, Eunny points out: "The deep V-neck accommodates a bust size up to 5" larger than finished size." Thus, the V-neck is why the finished waist size is a better guide to which size to knit than the bust size. For example, after a bit of weight loss this past autumn, I now have a 40.5" bust and a 37" waist. The finished bust sizes for the Ivy League go up to 41.75", which would give me 1.25" of positive ease (not including the ease added by the V-neck). However, I would hesitate to make the 41.75" size because the corresponding waist measurement, as shown on the schematic, is only 35.5".

Freaked by Steeks? If you are in love with the Ivy League Vest, but are put off by the very mention of the word "steeks" in the introduction…well, don't be. Eunny has a wonderful, hold-your-hand tutorial on steeks in the Winter 2006 issue of Interweave Knits (and I checked, back issues are still available if you missed that one). The big fear with steeks seems to be the fear of the fabric unravelling once it is cut; however, as Eunny points out in the article, knitted fabric is less likely to unravel if you cut down through the rounds/rows than if you cut across a single round/row. Also, garments such as the Ivy League Vest are usually knit with a "hairy" wool whose little hairs naturally hold the stitches together. So: Be a fearless knitter, and fear not the steeks.


Sandi Wiseheart is the founding editor of Knitting Daily. She is now the author of the popular Knitting Daily blog: What's on Sandi's Needles.


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45 thoughts on “Gallery: The Ivy League Vest

  1. This is the type of stuff I usually really need help with….. I have at least three vests that I covet deeply, but I was having size issues….this makes a lot of sense, and now maybe I can settle on a vest and a size and get going !!!

  2. Thanks, as always for a great post. While this vest is not my style, it’s always really interesting to see how different designs come up on different people.

    As for the competition, I’m still REALLY disappointed that I can’t enter because I’m in Australia, but thanks anyway for checking into it. And best of luck to all of those who can enter.

  3. This once again shows that the bust size is never a complete story. Unless you are a standardly proportioned person, it pays to look at the schematic and do some math.

    I know I have a 7 inch difference between my waist and bust and a 14 inch difference between my waist and my hips. I have to modify everything. It’s normally not that difficult, but I have always been a bit reluctant to try fair isle because it would require using incomplete pattern repeats. Eunny has shown me this doesn’t matter. I’m definitely going to be trying a fair isle after I work through some of my WIPS.

  4. I made Eunny’s Endpaper Mitts a few months ago and loved the construction AND the instructions. The results garner lots of compliments and now I feel ready to tackle a larger Fair Isle project. Knitting Daily is just in time with this post!

  5. Huh! GO figure!! I would have thought that the fair isle pattern, being horizontal, would only look good on certain body types. But I think that vest looked good on everybody!
    Also good to know – would the waist be a better guage for all garments with a deep v like that?
    And thanks too for looking into the non-US resident contest qualifying status. 🙂

  6. I just LOVE the Galleries. They are so amazingly helpful and informative. I was surprised at how different the length of the vest looked on everyone. If you could add the height of the women as well as their bust size (except for Bertha, of course), that would be very helpful too.

  7. THANK YOU for checking on and modifying the contest rules.

    I love these gallery posts, btw. Please keep them coming. Even if I don’t intend to make the particular sweater shown, I learn a lot from them. 🙂

  8. As a Canadian obsessed knitter, I am so happy that you checked into the issue regarding the contest! Thank you!!

    Also, I love the galleries. While I love the magazine, seeing the knits on different sized/proportioned women is really really helpful.

  9. I agree that the vest looks SOOO much shorter on Stephanie and Toni than it does on Karen and Debbie. Is it just the rise of their jeans/pants? I would want the vest a little longer. How does one extend the length of a fair isle design without “messing up the artwork”?

  10. Hello – Since both Katie & Sandi both mentioned selecting the size with relation to your own waist measure, I was surprised not to see waist sizes shown in the gallery. Also it would be helpful on such a close fitted garment to see listed shoulder to waist measuement of both the garment and the model (it looks as thou some of the staff is more ‘long- waisted’ than others, so what would be your tip for this and if it is knit longer, then how much more yarn would be required.
    Thanks for doing such a sPLENDID job with the gallery and fitting suggestions. It is a big help for me and even encourages me to knit something I might not otherwise knit when I see it on different shapes. My shape is more like Sandi’s (just larger) so I like seeing the changes she offers, and her final knitted garment.

    thanks a bunch – molly z.

  11. BRAVO Sandi!!!!! Thank you for looking in to the contest rules.I am sure you have a lot of greatful Canadians today. I know I sure am greatful that I can enter the contest know. As for what I will buy? hhhhuuuummmm Since the situation has changed for me and after reading some of the other comments on friday I think I will give a portion of the winnings away.I read so many stories about woman that could only dream of nice yarn due to financial difficulties and that really made me sad. I just can’t imagine not being able to buy that special yarn that calls to your heart and hands every once in a while.So I will make arrangements with my LYS to set something up so I can give someone a chance to pick out something nice for themselves. As for what I am dreaming about a nice pair of Glass Knitting Needles and a few skeins of Teal Cashmere!!!!! Good Luck Everyone!

  12. knitted fabric is less likely to unravel if you cut down through the rounds/rows than if you cut across a single round/row – I must be dense but I don’t understand ‘through’ vs ‘across’ in this sense. I thought there was only one way to cut a steek & that was through. Please explain.

  13. Since we’re being advised to choose a size based on the waist measurement, I think that the Ive League vest may be one that we should get the models’ waist measurements on as well. I like it with both 2″ positive ease and 4″ negative ease, but it may be that both of those are really more similar than they seem if the models have a similar waist circumference. Can you help us out Sandi?

  14. Thank you, Sandi!!!! Although we are in the grips of a terrible winter snowstorm (almost nationwide) I no longer feel out in the cold. Your efforts are appreciated.

  15. Would you per chance have some more willing models to try the Ivy League vest on? All of your models were in the 32-34 bust siz. Can we take the sample sweater to its noted max of 35.5 (4 inches negative ease)? Just to make it difficult (grin)
    What did all the women think about the length of the vest? It looks short on many of the models. Thank you!

  16. Yahoo!! Thank you so much for including Canada in the contest. It’s so nice, also, to be listened to!

    (Btw, Quebec is still a part of Canada, so shouldn’t all those super stylish Montreal knitters still be able to enter?)

    The best part of this contest is being able to fantasize about my dream yarn. I’ve always wanted to knit the Lady Eleanor Entrelac Stole in La Lana Wools Forever Random, but just have never been in a position where I could even imagine spending that kind of money on a single project. If not that, Norah Gaughan’s Tzarina Wrap from Wrap Style, or Pam Allen’s wonderful Floral Gathering Sac from IK Fall 2001, both also in La Lana yarn. I think I’ve had the Floral Gathering Sac in my knitting queue since 2001! But being in Vancouver, I can’t really claim La Lana wools as my LYS. There, I’ve been wanting some beautiful Lorna’s Laces Lion and lamb to make a top by Carol Rasmussen Noble. Or, some Alchemy silk purse!!!

    Finally, I liked Colleen’s comments above. I also was struck by the knitters who must always compromise on the yarn for their projects, or do without entirely. There were times in my own life when I couldn’t responsibly spend money on good yarn, and it’s not much fun. So I think I would also find some way to share the winnings so that someone less fortunate could have a fun shopping spree too. Good idea!

    Grete in Vancouver

  17. if puerto rico is out, does that mean guam, and the US virgin islands are out as well? are they just talking continental north america? wouldn’t that leave out hawaii? or is that because it’s an official state?

  18. Another excellent gallery. Length seems like an issue with this sweater and I’m once again wishing I knew how tall the models are. Maybe, instead of finding out all those measurements and typing them up, you could get one of those growth charts and take all of the pictures next to it!

  19. What an interesting gallery! I would never have predicted that this vest would look so good on such a wide range of people. I compared the pics to those of the Henley Perfected sweater, and I’m thinking that the extra structure provided by stranding allows the vest to skim rather than cling.

  20. Sandi, you said that other countries could not enter the contest, but the page for entry didn’t say that originally. I entered and chose an American internet LYS…is that legal?

  21. God bless you for consulting with the Powers That Be (so glad I’m not alone in using that phrase)! Even if Canada weren’t in for the contest (although I’m delighted, of course, that it is) having checked rather than just assumed makes you very wonderful!

    And I completely concur about steeks and other cutting of knits (Elizabeth Zimmermann’s trick of turning a pullover into a cardigan– the best thing ever invented for people who hate knitting back and forth–for instance); yes, it’s really hard to make that first cut, but it’s definitely worth it.

  22. Yes – moaning again because I live in Quebec…along with Kate Gilbert and Veronik Avery and Mona Schmidt and I am sure many other notable knitters. But hey – legalities rule our life! What can ya’ do???

  23. Sandi has 6 inches? I’m doing my gauge swatch, using Reynold’s Whiskey. Because its in the round, I’m swatching a sleeve, just to get a head start (hopefully). Sandi, how did you do your gauge swatch?

  24. I’m beginning to think Interweave only hires women who weigh less than 130 pounds! I love the galleries, but it’s a little frustrating to see the lovely sweater modeled on women who are varying degrees of thin. I understand that the model sweater is knit at a small size, but I don’t know that this gallery really added anything useful for those of us who might weigh a little (or a lot!) more. That said, I do appreciate the effort and the galleries have been generally good to see.

  25. I loved this vest, when I saw it in the magazine; and, it was on my top five list of choices to make. After seeing this gallery however, it has jumped up to my very next project to make. Thank you.

  26. now this is a fantastic idea – run one horizontally, too!
    “Maybe, instead of finding out all those measurements and typing them up, you could get one of those growth charts and take all of the pictures next to it!

    Comment by: Cynthia G | December 3, 2007″

  27. Canada Knitters…..LOVE YOU!!!!
    Thanks so much for opening the contest to us!! I live in the capital city of New Brunswick and we are sorely lacking in yarn shops. I drive 110 kms to Crickett Cove in Saint John just to get good yarn. Its so sad! But you keep me going! You guys always have great patterns and I can get the yarn from department stores to knit some of it. Thank you so so much!!

  28. Clearly those people at Interweave are slavedrivers, and that’s why all the models seem so…petite. Handcuffed to layout tables, etc.

    I would find it useful, if we’re going to totally invade the privacy of the models, to know their heights. Seriously, am I the only person over 5’8″ on this thing? Am I a freak for having a bust measurement of 40?! I know you can only photograph the sample you’re given, and squishing me into that thing would take a can of Crisco and a winch, but I’d like to know if they look all cute and petite and adorable *because* of the vest, or that their cuteness and petiteness and adorability is coloring my appreciation of the vest.

  29. Am I the only one having problems with downloading free PDFs? I wanted to make the lace cap for a Christmas gift but will have to mark it off, I guess. Every time I try to d/l, it gets to 94% then gives me this message:
    Internet Explorer cannot download lace_cap.pdf from

    The connection with the server was reset.

    I am having problems d/l most of the patterns but that is the only one I get that error message with.

    Any suggestions? Is there another way to get the pattern, please?

    Lesley Ann

  30. Alex D–no, you are not the only one that is over 5’8″ on this thing! I am 5’9″ with a bust of 41. I am VERY INTERESTED to see how tall the people are, too. I look to see how sleeve length is (when there are sleeves!) and am especially interested in figuring out how to lengthen the thing so that the waist falls at my waist and not above it like nearly everything commercial does. So any help with how to calculate: where my waist is, where said sweater waist is and how to make the two come together is really appreciated!

    So, Sandi, how do I know when to START the waist shaping even if I know how long the vest is from waist to hem?

  31. Love it.

    I am a cellist by profession, but I wonder if I am in the right place, because while sitting there playing Beethoven’s 6th Symphony in rehearsal, all I can think about is how to knit the pattern on the sweater of the person sitting in front of me.

    Thanks for a great website.
    It keeps my “other” obession (music) from taking over my life completely.

    But as a musician, I notice that I also have to be very careful not to injure myself while knitting/crocheting. How often does this topic come up?
    Also, ultimately I hope to design my own performance clothing- mostly formal.
    I would love to see more designers go in this direction.