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Archive entry for December 2017

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December 2017

On Christmas morning


A jolly little waistcoat for the lucky 3 year old who is having a new toy engine or or aeroplane.
... what little boy wouldn't be thrilled to receive this attractive woolly on Christmas morning, teaming up with his new toys. Quickly knitted in tough Fair Isle Fingering, and you can use up your odds and ends for the various motifs.

How far away those days seem - or actually "are"! Even in my era - as attested by James May in Top Toys - boys (not girls of course!) were fixated by rockets and action men - though Airfix was as popular as ever.
Nonetheless - a "jolly little waistcoat" - for retro 3 years olds and their retro parents.


The waistcoat is worked in one piece and in one size - stated as a 3 year old but remembering that children tend to be larger than they were in the early 1950s. As usual, you could probably increase the size successfully by using a heavier wool and larger needles.

Back and Fronts in one

Using No 12 (2¾mm) needles and main shade (MS) cast on 145 stitches, and work 1½ inches in k1/p1 rib - rows on the right side having k1 and each end.

Change to No 10 (3¼mm) needles and stocking stitch, and work in pattern from chart, reading knit rows from right to left and purl rows from left to right.

Work the 24 pattern stitches 6 times across with last stitch on knit rows and first stitch on purl rows as indicated.
Carry MS wool across on each row but join in lengths of appropriate shades (or use bobbins) for each motif: work the required number of stitches for the motif colour, drop wool, then pick it up again on the return row.

Work the 52 rows once, then, continuing to work motifs from the chart, and with right side facing, divide for armholes thus:

Next row: pattern 36, turn, and leave remaining stitches on a spare needle or stitch holder.
Next row: Cast off 3, pattern to end.

Continue in pattern on these 33 stitches for the right front, decreasing 1 stitch at the armhole edge on the next 6 rows. [27 sts]

Work straight in pattern to the end of the 34th row of the chart.

With right side facing, continue in MS only, shaping neck by casting off 4 stitches at the beginning of the next row, then k2tog at the neck edge on the next 5 rows.
Next row: Knit.

With wrong side facing, shape shoulder by casting off 9 stitches at the beginning of the next and following alternate row, (armhole edge).

With right side facing, join wool to the remaining stitches.
Next row: Cast off 3, pattern 70, turn and leave the remaining stitches on a spare needle or stitch holder.
Next row: Cast off 3, pattern 67.

Continue on these 67 stitches for back, decreasing 1 stitch at each end of the next 6 rows.

Work straight to end of the 34th row of the chart.

Change to MS only and work 8 rows straight, then with right side facing, shape shoulders by casting off 9 stitches at the beginning of the next 4 rows; cast off remaining stitches loosely.

With right side facing, join wool to last 36 stitches, armhole edge, and cast off 3, pattern to end, then work to correspond with right front.

Ribbed Front Borders

Using No 12 (2¾mm) needles and main shade (MS) cast on 11 stitches and working in k1/p1 rib, with rows on the right side having a k1 at each end, make a strip to go up the right front when slightly stretched.
Sew in position as you go along and leave the stitches on a safety pin at the top.

Make a similar strip for left front with the addition of 7 buttonholes, the first to come in the 3rd and 4th rows from the bottom edge, and the 7th about 1 inch from the top (allowing for 8th to be worked in the neckband later), and the remaining 5 at equal intervals.
Mark the position of the buttons with pins on right front to ensure even spacing then work holes to match.

To make a buttonhole:
Rib 4, cast off 3, rib to end and then back, casting on 3 over those stitches cast off.

Neck Border

Join shoulder seams.

Using No 12 (2¾mm) needles and main shade (MS), rib the 11 stitches from the right front border, pick up and knit 43 stitches all round the neck, then rib the remaining 11 stitches from the left front border. [65 sts]

Work ½ inch in k1/p1 rib making the 8th buttonhole after ¼ inch has been done. Cast off in rib.

Armhole Borders

With right side facing, using No 12 (2¾mm) needles and main shade (MS), pick up and knit 89 stitches round each armhole.
Work ½ inch k1/p1 rib; cast off in rib.

Making Up

Omitting ribbing, press each piece carefully on wrong side using a warm iron and a damp cloth.
Sew on buttons.


2 oz Fair Isle Fingering in main shade and 1 oz each in emerald and scarlet.
Oddments or small balls in brown and royal blue (see photo at the end).

A pair each No 12 (2¾mm) and No 10 (3¼mm) needles.

Eight buttons.


32 sts to 4 inches on No 10 (3¼mm) needles over Fair Isle pattern.

Size matters

One size - width all round under arm 22 inches.
Length from top of shoulders: 12 inches.


k1: knit 1.
p1: purl 1.
k2tog: knit 2 sts together to decrease a stitch.
stocking stitch: 1 row knit, 1 row purl.

A word on the wool

Original called for Patons Fair Isle Fingering about which there is some information available on Ravelry. This pattern is in ounces but it seems the yarn stuck around for a while as some vintage stocks can be seen in 25g balls.
Measured by a user to be about 150m or 160 yards to a 1 oz ball, and the ball band states "4ply".

Jamiesons are Kings (or Queens) of Fair Isle and Shetland knitting - their Spindrift yarn sounds a good substitute: equivalent to a traditional 4ply; ideal for Fair Isle knitting; extensive colour pallet of over 220 colours; supplied in 25g Balls (105m); tension: 30sts x 32 rows on 3¼mm needles.


In transposing any pattern it is always a risk that errors will be introduced, in spite of dedicated proof reading.
If you have any problems with this pattern, please and I will try and assist.


© Christina Coutts 2007

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