A step by step guide to knitting the dreamy Max Vest.
Ever gotten half way through a project and thought “Hang on, am I even doing this right?”
We have 🙋♀️
That’s why we’ve created these step by step overviews to help guide you through the knitting process.
THE MAX VEST
Upgrade your layering game with Max. Max is a cutie patootie little vest, with a cropped shape and a V-neck, perfect for pulling on top of a skivvy or if you're feeling brave enough, rock them solo!
If you're a total knitting newbie - WELCOME! 👋 Learning to knit can feel a bit like learning code. We've stripped away the complicated jargon and tried to keep things really simple so even the newest knitter can master the skill 🧶
Before we get started on the pattern it’s a good idea to learn the basic stitches you’ll need to complete your masterpiece. You can use the yarn that came in your kit to practice with. The video below covers every technique you'll need to learn (spoiler - there's only 5!). Learn how to cast on, do a knit stitch, a purl stitch and put them together to create a rib stitch, lastly, we learn casting off. Once you've got these mastered you'll find this pattern is a cinch!
💭 For more detailed videos of each technique, head down a little further where we've got specific videos for each stitch type.
YOU'VE GOT THIS ⚡️💪
Remember learning a new skill can be a little challenging at first, and you’re bound to find yourself making some mistakes along the way. But as with learning anything, your brain and your hands slowly start to get the hang of it, muscle memory is created, and soon the thing you found tricky/daunting/scary is like second nature!
If you get stuck, reach out to us and we'll give you a (virtual) hand! 😎
TEST YOUR TENSION
Before you start your project, you should make sure your tension (how tightly or loosely your knitting is) is juuuust right 🥣 We do this by knitting a “tension swatch”. It's a bit like goldilocks, if the tension is too tight, your piece will be too small, and if it's too loose it may not hold its shape and might be too big.
If done correctly, your 10x10cm knitted swatch should be 7 stitches wide and 9 rows high. To test this, jump on your needles, cast on around 12 stitches, then knit in stockinette stitch (row 1 knit, row 2 purl) for around 10 rows. Then get a measuring tape and measure out 10x10cm and count your stitches and rows to make sure you're knitting at the correct tension.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
Your kit comes with everything you need to knit your masterpiece.
- 10mm circular needles
- 15mm needles
- Chunky Merino yarn
- Darning needle
THE TECHNIQUES YOU’LL MASTER
Casting on is the first step in any project. It's the term we use for getting the wool onto our needles! We recommend using the two-needle technique as it's one of the simplest methods. Two-needle cast on uses your two needles (surprise!), starting with a slip knot on your left needle, each stitch is knitted to form a new loop and this loop is then added to your left needle. You repeat until you’ve made the desired number of stitches.
💭 Casting on, like many things in knitting, can be done in a number of ways - our suggestion is a simple technique but you can pick any that’s right for you.
This handy little stitch makes up the backbone of most knitting patterns. Each knit stitch looks like a little ‘v’.
The second most common stitch, purl stitches look like little bumps (or purls!). You knit a knit stitch with your yarn tail at the back of your work and your needle going into the back of the stitch, the purl is the opposite, so your yarn tail is at the front of your work and your needle goes into the front of the stitch.
A rib stitch is a textured pattern usually used on the cuffs and necks of jumpers. It’s made by alternating knit and purl stitches in the same row, then knitting the same stitch sequence in the next row.
We reduce the number of stitches on our needle by knitting or purling some stitches together. This simply means we put our right needle into the second stitch on your left needle and collect both the first and second stitch and knit them as you would a single stitch.
To cast off, knit two stitches then slip the first stitch on your right needle back over the second stitch and off the needle. You’ll have one stitch left on your right needle. Knit another stitch so you’ve got two stitches on your right needle and then slip the first stitch off. Continue to the end of the row. When you’ve got the last stitch on your right needle, cut the yarn and thread this through the final stitch to secure. To see casting off in action watch our "Master The Basics" video above.
CHANGING YOUR YARN BALLS
You'll need to change your wool balls at points in the process - when you finish one ball and starting another. If you’re just starting a new ball of the same colour then the best method for beginners is when you've got about 20cm of wool left on your current ball, you incorporate the tail from the new ball into your next stitch. You do this by starting your next stitch with your new tail and knitting on with that new ball, making sure the loose ends for both balls are on the wrong side/inside of your knit. Then all you need to do is tie the two ends together in a knot.
ONTO THE KNIT!
You can knit the Max in size 1, 2 or 3. Both pieces of the vest are knitted flat, at the end we'll stitch each panel together to make your cozy masterpiece. Your pattern is read like this: 1 (2,3).
We knit from the bottom up, starting at the rib and going up to the shoulders.
First, we cast the required number of stitches using your 10mm circular needles. We recommend using the two needle technique. Two needle knit cast on uses your two needles (surprise!), starting with a slip knot on your left needle, each stitch is knitted to form a new loop and this loop is then added to your left needle. You repeat until you’ve made the desired number of stitches.
💡 Casting on, like many things in knitting, can be done in a number of ways - our suggestion is a simple technique but you can pick any that’s right for you.
Once you've cast on the right number of stitches you move on to the rib. We knit the rib following the instructions in your pattern.
1x1 Rib Stitch is a textured pattern usually used on the cuffs and necks of jumpers. It’s made by alternating knit and purl stitches in the same row, then knitting the same stitch in the next row. When doing your Rib Stitch it’s important to make sure your yarn is on the correct side of your needles (at the back for knit stitches and at the front for purl stitches.)
Once we've finished the 9 rows of rib, we switch to the 15mm straight needles.
💡 To switch to a different size needle we just hold the new needle in our right hand and knit onto it.
You'll work in stockinette stitch for the rest of the front panel.
Stockinette Stitch (or stocking stitch) is a basic stitch that most knitting patterns often don't explain! You create stockinette stitch by knitting one row and purling the next. This means all of your knit stitches (the little Vs) will be on the right side of your jumper.
Simple right?! 😎
At step 4 you'll cast off your first stitches to begin the arm holes. From this point up we're working the shaping of the front panel and the V-neck.
To cast off, knit two stitches then slip the first stitch on your right needle back over the second stitch and off the needle. You’ll have one stitch left on your right needle and one stitch cast off. To cast off more than one stitch, knit another stitch so you’ve got two stitches on your right needle and then slip the first stitch off.
Now, knitting the V-neck can be a little tricky. We split the panel into its shoulder sides and cast off a bunch of stitches in the middle to create the V-neck. You'll knit the right shoulder up first and then the left shoulder. So from step 6 you're going to just work the stitches for the first shoulder, back and forth, turning your work at each step. The rest of your stitches will just hang around on your needle- you'll come back to them later. Once you've finished the first shoulder panel, you'll cast off your stitches for that shoulder. Cut your yarn and thread it through your last stitch to secure it.
As we create the V-neck we'll knit two stitches together at points along the pattern. To knit two together you just pick up 2 stitches with your right needle instead of the normal one, and then knit the stitches as you normally would.
You'll work your way up the shoulder per the pattern and cast off the stitches to complete the shoulder. Then rejoin the yarn by tying it in a loose knot to the bottom of the first stitch left on your needle. You'll repeat the pattern in mirror image for the second shoulder.
💡Just remember you knit all the rows to complete one shoulder before you move onto the next. It will seem a little weird on the first shoulder because you’ve got all the extra stitches sitting on your needle but that’s totally correct.
The back is also knitted from the bottom up. It's a little easier because we don't have the V-neck to contend with! You'll have the techniques down pat from the front side so the back will be a breeze!
SEWING IT TOGETHER
Now it’s time to get to work with the darning needle to sew your masterpiece together. We lay our pieces flat and sew them together one by one.
Step 1: lay your front and back pieces on a flat surface, the right sides facing you.
Step 2: Sew the shoulder panels together using the invisible seam technique.
Step 3: Fold your vest in half long ways with the wrong sides facing each other. We're going to sew it together using a Mattress Stitch, from the bottom rib up the side to the start of the arm hole.
💡 We've included handy videos below for both the invisible seam and mattress stitch.
THE V-NECK RIB
Okay guys almost done!!! It's time to knit the V-neck rib - you’ll be pretty good at this now!
So first things first. We pick up an even number of stitches in even spacing around the neckline. Pick up a stitch for every row and make sure you space them evenly.
Mark your middle stitch at the bottom of the 'V' and mark the beginning of your loop (the place where you start knitting your first loop of rib). These markers will help you keep track of your knitting. A spare piece of yarn or ribbon make good stitch markers!
Okay time to start knitting the rib. We want the middle stitch (the one you've marked at the bottom of the V) to be a knit stitch, so we count back to the beginning of the loop (knit, purl, knit, purl... ) to determine what stitch you start with. Your first loop will be a simple rib stitch - knit 1, purl 1. On the second loop we start to cast off some stitches around the bottom of the V-neck to create the shape.
The armholes are knitted in the round, just like the neckline. This time we want an even number of stitches around the armhole. Make sure you mark the start of your loop so you can keep track. You'll do three loops of rib stitch before casting off!
The last thing we do for every piece is weave in the ends. That’s basically just tidying up the piece so all loose ends are trimmed down and tucked in.
FINITO! You are done! 💪🔥🥳
Time to rock that baby out and about 😎
We'd LOVE to see how you go! Share your masterpiece with us by tagging @cardigang_knits on socials or by sending us an email at email@example.com
Until next time! 😘🧶💕
Morgan & Cat xx