Annie goes Ivy League!
(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.
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.
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.
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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