A step by step guide to knitting the cutie, Smith 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.
At each stage we’ll show you how each section your knit should look, and at the end, how to sew it all together. Voilà! We’ve also included videos below covering the main techniques and stitches. So head on down to the bottom of the page if you just need a quick visual reference.
THE SMITH VEST
Smith's a booty-shakin' dreamy little piece who's always up for some fun. The friendliest gal in town she's always on the hunt for new friends. She's a slightly oversized vest with a garter stitch waistband, and she's easy to layer over any winter outfit.
Learning to knit can feel like learning code. We've stripped away the complicated jargon and tried to keep things really simple. If your head is still spinning a little, here's a handy video to help you better understand the layout of your pattern.
TEST YOUR TENSION
Before we dive in let's check that the tension is in line with what we need. We knit a swatch to make sure the tension is juuuust right. It's a bit like goldilocks, if the tension is too tight, your jumper will be too small, and if it's too loose it may not hold it's shape and might be too big.
If done correctly, your 10x10cm swatch should knit 7 stitches and 9 rows.
Before we get started, learn all the basics with our how to video. This one covers Casting on, 1x1 Rib stitch, Knit stitch, Purl stitch and Casting off. Once you've got these mastered you'll find this pattern is a cinch!
ONTO THE KNIT!
You can knit the Smith 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 garter stitch banding and going up to the shoulders.
First, we cast the required number of stitches using your 15mm 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 garter stitch band.
Garter Stitch is a basic stitch that's created by knitting every stitch in every row - super simple hey?! 😎
Once we've finished your garter stitch rows, 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.
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 uneven 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.
CHANGING YOUR YARN BALLS
A final tip to keep in mind.
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.
VIDEOS FOR A BIT OF EXTRA HELP!
Don't worry, YouTube was our best friend when we taught ourselves how to knit.
Here are some videos that should be helpful but feel free to go searching for your own. There are a number of techniques people use for a lot of the common stitches in knitting so there's no one right way.
Find what works for you! If you get stuck, reach out to us and we'll give you a hand! 😎
Testing your gauge
1x1 Rib Stitch
Decrease a stitch