Below are some tips as well as tutorials for the Raincheck Vest! Here are the topics I cover on this page:
- Picking a yarn
- Adapting the pattern for non-curling edges.
- Picking a size
- Working the diagonal eyelet stitch pattern
- Other techniques used in the pattern
Picking a Yarn
This pattern is meant to be knit with linen or cotton yarn, or some kind of blend. The reason for this is because of the raw edges (you can learn more about ‘raw edges’ in this blog post about a similar design). I knit up 2 samples so you could see what it would look like in 2 different yarns. The first is Quince & Co Kestrel, an 100% linen yarn:
This yarn creates a super drapey garment. And because it’s 100% linen, you can actually iron it – this helps keep the raw edges nice and flat (see my blocking section below for how I did this).
The other yarn I used was Berroco Remix, a nylon/cotton/acrylic/silk/linen blend:
This yarn is so soft and because of the blend of non-wool fibers, it still has nice drape and the raw edges stay relatively flat with just a regular wet block or steam. However, it will likely curl at the edges a bit more. Below is a picture of my Mom Lorraine wearing her Raincheck. As you can see, the Fronts curl in more than with the Kestrel yarn.
Other Yarn Ideas:
Here are some other yarn ideas you can consider:
- Double-strand sport-weight together (on a US 10, or whatever needle size you need to get gauge) – since there are a lot more linen options in sport-weight, this may be a great option to think about. Some ideas are: Berroco Meraki, Juniper Moon Farm Zooey DK, or Sandness Garn Line (just to name a few).
- There are quite a few cotton yarns that I think would work well, but since cotton still has the tendency to curl a bit, you may want to consider follow my instructions below (for non-curling edges) if you choose one of these. The best way to tell if a yarn is going to curl dramatically at the edges is when you swatch (again, you can refer to this blog post about the topic for more info): Blue Sky Fibers Organic Cotton Worsted, Katia Concept Cotton Merino, Valley Yarns Goshen, or double-stranding Berroco’s sport-weight Pima Soft.
Don’t want curling edges? Add some trim!
If you are using Remix (or some other non-100% linen yarn) and don’t want any possible curling at the hem or Front edges, just make these pattern adjustments:
- After cast-on, work a Garter stitch trim for about 1″ (or more, depending on your desired look). A Garter stitch trim is just knitting every row. Then after you have your desired Garter hem length, you will proceed with rows 1-3 in the “Hem” section of the pattern.
- Note: If you follow the instructions for the rest of the Body as is, then your vest will be 1″ longer (or however long you made your Garter hem). If you don’t want any additional length added, then you take rows out of Body-Section 2.
- After your vest is complete (so after your shoulders are attached together), you will pick up stitches along the fronts in the following way:
- Step 1: Using a needle size smaller than the one you used to knit the vest, join yarn at the bottom hem of the Right Front (“Right” from the perspective of wearing the garment) and pick up and knit 2 stitches for every 3 rows up the entire side until you get to the back of neck. And then pick up the same number of stitches going down the Left Front (at the same ratio).
- Step 2: Work in Garter stitch (so knitting every row) for about 1″ (a little less would be fine as well – I’d say just at least 1/2″ worth), ending after working a RS row.
- Step 3: BO all sts knitwise on a WS row.
- If the curling of the fabric around the armholes also bugs you, you can also pick up stitches around each armhole in the same manner as you did for the Fronts. The only difference is you’ll be working in Garter stitch in the round (not flat). That means you will knit 1 round, then purl 1 round (and repeat those 2 rounds over and over again).
Picking a Size
In the pattern I recommend that you pick a size that is approx. 1-4″/2.5-10 cm larger than your actual bust. If you are in-between sizes or unsure, I would recommend that you go with the larger of the 2 if you intend to wear your vest as more of a layering piece. It’s A-line shaped, so it’s also a good idea to look at the schematic at the full hem circumference and keep that in mind when you’re picking a size.
Also worth noting about the size is that the finished bust measurement is the actual dimensions of the piece. However, even after steaming the front edges (after blocking) they will roll a bit since it’s a raw edge (fiber type will impact how much it rolls). So this vest will wear more like an open style garment, despite the fact that the schematic shows the Fronts meeting in the middle. You can see in my photos how the Fronts don’t meet in the middle when I’m wearing it (example below), even though the circumference is 3″ larger than my actual bust – just something to keep in mind! At the bottom of this page I do have some tips if you want your fronts to be more flat.
Diagonal Eyelet Pattern
As you can see from the photos, there is a decorative diagonal of eyelets along the Left Front. You’ll be instructed in the pattern to place a removable marker on the Left Front and the eyelet (“k2tog, yo”) is created right after this marker on every RS row in the body. In order for the eyelets to appear in a diagonal, you’ll have to move the removable marker on every RS row. I created a video tutorial so you can have a visual of this stitch pattern:
Other Techniques Used in the Pattern:
k3tog (knit 3 together):
A k3tog is very similar to a k2tog, except that instead of knitting 2 sts together you’ll be knitting 3 sts together. So you can refer to the video above, but work 3 sts instead of 2.
The blocking process will be slightly different depending on the yarn you choose to use. If you knit your Raincheck in Quince & Co Kestrel, you can follow my photo tutorial below (these instructions are specific to 100% linen yarn):
- Step 1: Although it may go against all of your instincts, you can put your vest right in your washing machine! I used a cold gentle cycle:
- Step 2: When it’s done and it’s time to take it out, it will look like this – a big clump – don’t worry!
- Step 3: Bring your clump over to your blocking tiles and place it down:
- Step 4: Start to gently shape the piece on your tiles:
- Step 5: Get your measuring tape out and make sure dimensions such as Hem Width, Bust Width, Crossback and Armhole Depth match up with the schematic. If not, adjust the piece so it does match.
- Step 6: One of the things I love most about working with Kestrel is that you can iron right onto it! This is how you can get the hem and front edges nice and flat (note: if you aren’t happy with how your front edges look though, you can follow the “optional” instructions listed in the pattern for picking up these edges):
For Berroco Remix, I hand-soaked my Raincheck just like you would do in regular wet blocking. I laid it flat to dry, just like I did with Kestrel:
Because you can’t iron directly on Remix fabric (because it has acrylic, you definitely do not want to put an iron directly on the fabric!), to ensure that the front edges stay as flat as possible, I made sure to pin them flat (they overlap by about 1″ as you can see above). After blocking, you can also steam the front edges to help relax them a bit, just make sure you hold the iron above the fabric and not on the fabric.
I hope these tips have been helpful! Feel free to email me if you have any additional questions – I’m always glad to help.