Part of the point of pulling out all those hand spun yarns last month was to see what, if anything, I could do that used the Kaffe Fassett aesthetic. His sense of colour and pattern was extraordinarily influential in my early knitting days and while I haven't made lots of his designs his influence has always been lurking in the background.
I knew I wanted to make a vest; something with sleeves would probably have been too bulky in the yarns I had without becoming an out and out coat, and I didn't want something that big. So, after poring through the vast number of his books that I own, I chose to work with a variation of his Ikat Stripe pattern from his Pattern Library book (I'm not sure of that's the correct title but I'm too lazy to get up and search for the book right now).
I decided to work the stripe pattern vertically around the upper body, and later on a wide border will be added around the bottom edge to make the lower portion of the vest. I determined my gauge, and after first mis-understanding the pattern by thinking it was a 15 stitch repeat (in fact it was 21 stitches) I plotted the length of my vest from shoulder to a reasonably flattering point at my lower waist. Once the stitch repeat count error was discovered, I realized that a 21 st count equaled 4 repeats down the back, but the 15 st count I had planned on resulted in 5 repeats. I liked the odd number much better, so I re-graphed the ikat pattern to be 15 st instead of 21 st. It's a really random pattern anyway and doesn't matter much of I mess it up - it just adds to that handcrafted look, right?
I graphed one 18 row repeat, and 2 different 6 row repeats. The blue and grey section with black & white checks on either side in the photo is an 8 row repeat, and is the center back of the vest. All of the greys, browns and whites,and some of the blacks, are natural wool and/or alpaca colours; the blues, purples, reds and the remaining blacks are dyed.
I cast on provisionally (crochet cast-on) at the left back shoulder, and knitted in pattern across the back to the right shoulder edge. Once I got the back width established, I unraveled the cast on and put the left back on a second circular needle (I'm using # 5 US if anyone needs to know). I calculated the armhole depth, and have put those stitches on holders for now. I'm now ready to start knitting around the sides toward the fronts. Stay tuned for the next Ikat Vest installment!