My Brookdale Vest design was originally published as part of the “Maine Knits” book back in 2016, but I have just re-released the individual pattern and it has LOTS of updates, improvements, and tutorials to go along with the techniques! This open-style vest is knit seamlessly from the bottom-up and features A-line body shaping, a pretty textured stitch pattern and front panels that wrap around the back of your neck for a nice fit along your shoulders. It’s knit with worsted or aran-weight yarn, so it’s also a pretty quick knit! Let me walk you through my favorite 5 features of this design and how it’s been updated from it’s original version:
Rice Stitch Front Panels
The textured stitch pattern you see for each of the front panels is called the “rice stitch.” It’s a fun stitch pattern because it’s so easy to knit and I love the texture it creates. It’s created by working the sequence “p1, k1tbl” on right side rows, with “tbl” standing for “through the back loop” (then on wrong side rows you just knit every stitch!). Never “k1tbl” before? Not to worry – I have a new, quick video that shows you how to do it (you can check it out below):
Wrap-Around-The-Back-Neck Front Panels
Here’s another cool thing about the front panels, other than the rice stitch pattern. See how they actually wrap around the back of the neck, and then meet in the middle? Below is another up-close photo of this:
I really like this design element in open-style cardigan pieces (and I’ve used it before in a few other patterns) because otherwise open-style garments tend to fall off the shoulders a bit. But by having the front panels wrap around the back of the neck, it stays nice and securely on your shoulders. It also allows you to wear it folded over if you like, for a more “shawl collar” type of look (as I’ve demonstrated below):
The tricky part about this design element is just how it all comes together at the end. It’s not overly difficult, but it can be hard to visualize the process when you’re doing it. So this time around I created a step-by-step photo tutorial of this whole process – this way, even if you feel you are a more beginner-ish knitter, you’ll have a visual guide to help you with this part of the pattern. The techniques I show are also relevant to other patterns that have a similar construction.
Updated gauge for more yarn options
The original gauge of Brookdale was 16 sts = 4″. This can sometimes be a tricky gauge to match because it’s in-between a worsted and a bulky-weight. So I altered the gauge slightly to be a bit tighter at 17 sts – 4″ so that it would be a bit more worsted-weight-friendly and allow for more yarn options. It’s just a slight difference, but 1/4 of a stitch can make a big difference in your knitting! In my sample featured here, I used Silky Wool Aran by Elsebeth Lavold. I was familiar with their regular DK-weight Silky Wool, but discovered this aran-weight version at my LYS Mother of Purl in Freeport, Maine. It is a dream to work with, has beautiful drape, a lovely texture and I totally fell in love with this Eggplant color. Below are some other yarn options that I think would work well (just some suggestions – there are definitely tons of options out there!):
- Silky Wool Aran by Elsebeth Lavold (used in sample)
- Worsted by Peace Fleece
- Allagash Knit One Crochet Too
- Rustic Aran by Ella Rae
- Vintage by Berroco
- Ultra Alpaca by Berroco
- Shelter by Brooklyn Tweed
- Tweed Aran/HW Knit Picks City
Update size range
As part of my ongoing efforts to make sure all of my patterns are size inclusive, this updated version of Brookdale has a wider size offering, ranging from a finished chest circumference of approx. 30″ to 64″. Because this is an A-line/swing style, the hem circumference ranges from approx. 34″-68″. I’m wearing the size 3 which has a finished chest of 37.75″ and a finished hem of 41.75″. I recommend picking a size that provides approx. 2-5″ of positive ease at the chest, depending on your desired fit. I went with 5″ of positive ease (the higher end of that range) because a) I like my vests to fit more roomy and b) my hips are much larger than my bust, so I tend to size up to account for my hip measurement. Feel free to choose a size outside of this range as well, depending on your own desired style/fit – the range I provide is meant to just serve as a guide. Also, one additional update I made compared to the original was make the length longer – if you want to make yours even longer though it’s a very easy alteration to make!
I hope you love this Brookdale update as much as I do! Feel free to reach out if you have any questions.