FO: Wood Hollow Vest
Pattern: Wood Hollow Vest, by Through the Loops, Here
Yarn: Berocco Ultra Alpaca - Light, in color 4207 (gray)
Size: Second smallest, with major gauge shenanigans
Around June, I was talking with my mom and asked her what she'd like for Christmas. She said, "A finished vest!" At that point I wasn't aware of having started a vest, so my curiosity was piqued.
Further investigation revealed that I needed to start a vest, and also finish it. And it should be cute, and have cables. When we found ourselves in a yarn store, as tends to happen, we picked out some Colrain (a nice and shiny aran weight merino/tencel from WEBS) in periwinkle and a bit of dark blue for the edges. We checked out bazillions of patterns, and I considered just making one up myself, but ended up being glad I didn't.
I'm a big believer in surprises, so having gathered all kinds of data about what was desirable in a vest and what was not, I went off on my own to make the final choice for the pattern. Wood Hollow won, because its main cable was identical to one Mom had liked in a different pattern but it called for the right weight of yarn and looked like something I could finish in the relatively limited amount of time I had.
I don't normally swatch, but I also don't normally make non-sock garments where exact size is important. So I sucked it up and made a swatch, grappling with the ever-present problem of swatching flat for something that will be in the round. (Oh yeah - I was modifying it to knit in the round.) And it's a really, really, really good thing I swatched, because that yarn + that pattern, even using numbers from the smallest size, would have been huge.
The pattern calls for Cascade 220, a light worsted, and Colrain was an aran. Fair enough. I got out some leftover Cascade 220 and swatched again, and my results were much the same. I swatched on smaller needles, which barely made a difference.
At this point I went back to the drawing board and searched around for a pattern that would work well with the Colrain, but didn't come up with anything I liked as much as Wood Hollow, so I started looking for a yarn that was nearby in terms of yarn stores, and that knit up around 6.5 spi. If I could've found a straight merino, I would have gone with that, but the Berocco knit up very nicely and should be pretty warm. It's 50% merino, 50% alpaca.
I made it a bit longer than called for because Mom likes sweaters that way. Probably should have added a bit of waist shaping, but I didn't even think about it until I was seaming the tops.
Someday I'll make another of these for myself. Had to pay close attention to the pattern, but it moved pretty quickly overall.