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A Vest for Charles

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Charles Musgrove had the good taste to fall for Anne Elliot, but ended up marrying her sister Mary. Doesn’t he deserve a handknit, too? Inspired by a knitted vest worn by Charles I to his execution in 1649 (and still in the Museum of London today), this vest should bring Charles Musgrove better luck.

Two stitch patterns from the original are used: the Diamonds and Crosses brocade border is separated by welting and topped by King Charles Brocade (a.k.a., Double Diamond). The King’s vest was knit in silk by a master knitter at 21 stitches per inch! A more manageable gauge and rustic woolen-spun yarn make this vest au courant for the Everyman (or woman).

What you’ll love about knitting A Vest for Charles:

  • Worked all in one piece from the bottom up to the underarms, then the fronts and back are worked separately, finally joined with a three-needle bind-off
  • Integrated button bands and Seed stitch edgings make for a handsome, virtually finish-free project.
  • Historic knit-purl patterns, one above the hem and the other over the rest of the body, will pique and keep your interest while knitting
  • Bonus: A vest means no sleeves! You will still create a handsome, fully-fashioned garment without having to knit sleeves.
What you’ll love about wearing A Vest for Charles:

  • Subtle knit-purl patterns make this a special knit that whispers about how it was hand-crafted with love and talent
  • Button-up style means this is a versatile garment that you can dress up or down
  • You’re wearing an item inspired by Jane Austen’s Persuasion, as well as by a pivotal moment in British history
Finished Size
31¾ (36, 39¾, 44, 47¾, 51½)-inch/80.5 (91.5, 101, 112, 121.5, 131) cm chest circumference, buttoned, with 5-stitch front bands overlapped
Vest shown measures 36 inches (91.5 cm)

  • Brooklyn Tweed Shelter (100% Targhee-Columbia wool; 140 yds 128 m/1.75 oz 50 g): #08 truffle hunt, 5 (6, 6, 7, 8, 9) skeins. Size 6 (4 mm) 29-inch or longer circular (cir) needle (ndl). Adjust needle size if necessary to obtain the correct gauge, and choose length close to desired chest circumference.
  • Markers
  • Stitch holders or waste yarn
  • Spare cir ndl same size or smaller than main needle for three-needle bind-off
  • Tapestry needle 10 (11, 11, 11, 12, 12) ½-inch buttons
17 sts and 30 rows = 4 inches in St st

Skills Needed
  • Casting on
  • Binding off
  • Three-needle bind-off
  • Knitting
  • Purling
  • Chart reading
  • Increasing
  • Decreasing
  • Working flat
  • Sewing on buttons

7/23/19: Updated pattern corrects some confusion with the short row shoulder shaping. For older versions of the pattern from Jane Austen Knits and The Best of Jane Austen Knits:

  • Under “Shape right front neck”, work Next row to 2 sts (not 3) before previous wrapped stitch, then work decrease and turn (decrease secures yarn so no need to wrap). There will be no wraps to work as a result.
  • Same for “Shape left front neck” as for right, then do not break yarn at end of section.
  • Eliminate Rows 3&4 of Shoulder Shaping for Right & Left Fronts (just before breaking yarn).
You will get a PDF (715KB) file

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