The official plan for the Anna Vest knitalong

The official plan for the Anna Vest knitalong

Ok, lovelies — I’m thrilled so many of you have piped up to say you’re psyched about knitting the Anna Vest with me next month! So here are all the official knitalong details—


We’ll be knitting my Anna Vest pattern, which is contained in the book Farm to Needle, published by and available through Tolt Yarn and Wool. It’s a really beautiful and important book full of several fantastic patterns along with profiles of the yarns and the farms they come from. And it’s available as a print book or an e-book. For pattern sizes and yardage, see Ravelry. [UPDATE: complete pattern/size/yardage details are now posted here.]


The pattern is written for the remarkable undyed worsted from Thirteen Mile (which you can read all about in the book!) and my friends at Tolt have kindly offered 10% off purchases of this yarn (undyed or plant dyed) for knitalong participants. Use code ANNAVESTKAL at checkout — offer good through 02.03.16.


Official cast-on day is February 15th, and I’ll kick things off that day with a blog post about how to knit the inset pockets. Other than that, this is a super casual knitalong — no deadline, no sign-up process, no prizes, no panelists. Just some knitters happily knitting together, and winding up with great garments!


Tag your pics and projects with #annavestkal on social media and Ravelry so everyone can see what you’re up to.


Please note that there’s an error in the print book: “Page 73, Next row (WS): BO 6 sts, work in pattern to end of row, continuing neck shaping as follows:” — should be deleted. It seems to only be a problem for the Right Front (Left Front is okay).”


One thing I want to note about choosing a size for this pattern: When I finished the predecessor to this vest and wore it to Stitches South, countless people of all heights, shapes and bust sizes came into the booth and asked to try it on, and it looked awesome on every single person! It looks good slouchy, with positive ease, and just as good fitted, with negative ease. I almost didn’t have the pattern graded for that reason, and have now seen the Anna sample on a range of bodies as well, and witnessed the same phenomenon. So while the pattern does offer a range of sizes, I’m mentioning that you almost can’t go wrong with the size 38.

So that’s it —I’m really looking forward to knitting this with you all!

54 thoughts on “The official plan for the Anna Vest knitalong

  1. Ravelry lists a range of yardage but not for individual sizes. Will Tolt have this information to know how much to order?

    • Sorry about that — here’s the full version:

      Approximately 520 (603, 688, 774, 873, 968) yd / 476 (552, 630, 708, 799, 886) m worsted-weight yarn

      Shown in Thirteen Mile Worsted (100% Organic Wool, 210 yd / 192 m per 100 g skein). Color: Light Gray Heather; 3 (3, 4, 4, 5, 5) skeins.

    • Hi, Nicole — it really depends on what you mean by “beginner” and how intrepid you are. The hardest part of the pattern is working the neck and armhole shaping at the same time. If you’re comfortable with stitch patterns, decreases, basic knitting project management, and feel good about tackling the shaping, I say go for it! It’s not very complicated, as sweaters go.

  2. It was so much fun seeing your vest get it’s debut in Farm to Needle, and I am thrilled that you have planned a KAL. Will be using some stashed quince & co owl in hemlock.

  3. I’m in the UK – how can I get hold of the book? I looked on UK Amazon but it isn’t there.
    (Would you mind terribly if I reverse engineered it or used an alternative pattern?)

  4. I would love to have a vest in my wardrobe but have no idea how to wear it / what to wear it with…
    How are you styling yours? x Simone

  5. I too would love to join. I’d even consider paying 29.00 for the book… but when I add it to my cart and process, it then costs $20 to ship to Canada, plus the exchange rate is $1.44, so the vest pattern would cost me $70.56. I realize that the tanking Canadian dollar is beyond all control, but I will be watching and admiring the projects from afar as I can’t afford to spend that much on patterns no matter how lovely they all are.

    • Here’s an idea. The Anna vest was modified by Karen from a vintage vest in early 2015. That vest pattern is available free. If you put “vintage waistcoat” into Karen’s search box above, the first result will be a blog bit from April 6, 2015 – click on the blue “vintage waistcoat” there and it will take you to a string of posts about that vest. Scrolling down to Feb 19, 2015 you’ll see the vintage pattern and a link to the free download from the Victoria and Albert Museum. The April 6, 2015 post contains a Ravelry link to Karen’s notes and modifications. She modified the pattern again to become “Anna”, responding to me on Jan 26: “The Anna vest has all of the changes I made with my vintage waistcoat (which were mostly do with the pockets and edging), but for Anna I took it one step further and changed the neck and armhole shaping. The vintage men’s pattern was very narrow across the back neck and shoulders, and larger in the front, which, combined with slightly awkward armhole shaping made it sit high and funny on the shoulders. So this is a more relaxed shape up there for a more flattering fit.”

    • I take that back — it’s been pointed out to me that you can’t buy the digital version on its own, it’s just included in the purchase of the print book. I’m sorry, I didn’t realize that!

  6. I tried to look at the ebook option, but the link asked for a Ravelry code. It reads as if I can only download the ebook if I purchase the hard copy. Nonetheless, this dollar thing is killing me on all fronts (cauliflower is $7 a head at my discount grocery store…) so the vintage version may be the way to go. I will have to dive into the stash and see what I can do, as yarn at my LYS has gone up too! I’d like to knit it in a worsted gauge so perhaps some math help will be needed. I’ll reread the older posts and see what I can do!

    • I’m sorry, that’s my mistake — I didn’t realize you can’t order the digital version on its own. So sorry about that.

      The Anna pattern is written for worsted-weight yarn on US8 needles. The vintage pattern is written for DK yarn on US9 needles, so it would be a looser fabric if you used most contemporary DKs for that. I used Hole & Sons and it knit up beautifully at that gauge.

  7. I love this so much! I’ve been looking for a vest pattern and I think this is the one. :) However, question regarding gauge. What size needle is that figured on? :) I will likely be buying my yarn locally as I work at my LYS but am just trying figure out my options. :-)

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  9. This is such a great design, Karen. It seems to be unisex in the right way; in other words, it would look just as good worn by a man as it obviously is when worn by a woman. (Rather than looking good on neither.)

    For better or worse, my needles are committed for the immediate future. But as is so often the case, I’ll be reading your posts, watching on Instagram, and squirreling away all this knowledge for when my turn comes.

  10. Feeling silly with this enquiry but is there a way to purchase the pattern individually? I do want to join in, using our Topsy Farms yarn (also direct from the farm, worsted, in 4 naturals and over 30 colours.) But sorry, I don’t want to buy the book or ebook at the moment. Have I missed something on Ravelry?

  11. I’m jumping in, using Tahki Tara Tweed. I’m making the 1x size for my wife. It’s only the second hand knit she’s asked for, so I hope it comes out as well as I hope.

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  14. I bought the book. Very nice! But where can I find the instructions for the Andalusian stitch. Not in my repetoire and I am missing it in printed copy?? I have to look it up after buying the book? Please help!

      • Thank you, thank you! I am going to get started. KAL here I come. Love your blog and patterns and BTW I will be swatching. I am rarely on the money and am using Brown Sheep Nature Spun worsted from my stash. Can’t wait!

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  17. Karen, an assist please. I’m knitting the button band and looking ahead to attaching it to the vest. First, is there a preferred seaming technique to join it to the front of the vest? Also, if I understand your directions correctly the band can be knit to it’s total length (as per the pattern on p. 74) and seamed first at the neck edge OR knit the band within a few inches of finishing, join (presumably from the bottom corner?) and then knit the rest to the correct length and seam. I will probably do the latter. My last question concerns which side of the band to knit to the body of the vest. Since the button hole is not centered on the band, is the band to be attached with the hole closer or further from the body of the vest? Hope that question is stated clearly enough. Many thanks for any clarifications and assistance that you can provide.

    • I do recommend knitting it to most of the length, then seaming it on — mattress stitch — and finishing out the last couple of inches a little at a time so you get the length exactly right.

      The band has a smooth finished (slip-stitch) edge and a stockinette edge. You’ll seam the stockinette edge, so the smooth edge is the one that shows.

    • Note that your row gauge on the band will be different than that of the sweater, due to the difference in fabric and needle size, plus you’ll be working around curves. So instead of a strict 1:1 when you’re mattress stitching, you’ll want to ease them together — just line them up and join rows as appropriate to keep them that way, which will mean skipping a row every few rows on the tighter fabric. Does that make sense?

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  19. Hi Karen – just left a message on Ravelry too. I’m doing the right front neck and armhole shaping. instructions say to continue working neck shaping (decrease 1 at beginning of row) every 4th row. does that mean every 4th RS row? (I’m a fairly inexperienced pattern reader… sorry). I think if I do every 4th row, I would end up on a WS and would be BO as per armhole shaping – so am I right to assume it’s every 4th RS row? Seems like this is making sense to most knitters out there as I haven’t come across it in any of the comments etc… I might be overthinking it but I just want to be sure before I continue. Also, errata says to leave of that initial BO of 6 stitches??? but only on the Right Front? That seems strange to me? is that right? Thank you for your patience and assistance!!
    looking forward to the clarification.

    • this is a new thing… replying to your own post. Kinda like talking to yourself I guess (HA!). anyway, with the help of your clues in the post this morning, I think I’m nearing the euphoric “aha” stage that is one of the many reasons I love knitting. I will work this out later this afternoon – I just know it!
      any other words, that may support me getting there…. always helpful. Muchas, muchas gracias!

    • Hi, Marci — it is every 4th row. So you’ve got a decrease row (RS), then 3 even rows (WS, RS, WS), then the 4th one is another decrease row (RS). Etc.

      As you get toward the top of the neck shaping, depending which size you’re making, that 4th might turn into 3rd or 5th, which means some of your decreases will be worked on WS rows. Make sure you’ve read the note about which kinds of decrease to use depending on what you’re doing.

      And yes, there is a cut-and-paste error on p.73. The third paragraph at the top of the page (BO 6 sts) should not be there — cross it out! It appears again lower in the page under “Begin Armhole shaping,” where it should be.

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  23. Could you please tell me what book has the pattern for the Anna Vest. My wife can’t seem to find.

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