pale blue vest top with diamond lace pattern

Student vest by Svetlana Volkova available to buy on Ravelry. 37" vest on 34" mannequin


Student Vest, designed by Svetlana Volkova and available to buy on Ravelry, is a simple polo neck sleeveless top with a lovely edge around the armholes and a split high/low hem. It has a bold diamond lace pattern on the front and back.

I used Rico Luxury Alpaca Superfine in a new blue shade 027. Alpaca Superfine is a blown yarn so it's incredibly light and with the high alpaca content it has a luxurious fluffy feel.

The top is knitted from the top down.

You start off in the round at the neck. There are two options for the neck - tall or short. I choose the short version.


blue lace top neck detail


Both options begin with a tubular cast on. This type of cast on gives a neat edge for ribbing. It looks like the rib rolls over without a beginning. It's a wee bit of a phaff but worth doing. I used the tutorial on Ysolda's website.

Then the neckline and back are shaped with short rows.

The designer uses the simple wrap and turn method which is explained in the pattern. I find this video by Elizabeth Smith Knits to be very clear on how to resolve the wrapped stitches, especially picking up the wraps on the purl side.


blue vest top shoulder detail


It has a contiguous shoulder construction where your increase rapidly (increasing on both right and wrong side) until you get the width of the shoulder.  It is so neat

The body is then worked separately, back and forth.

The diamond pattern is charted only (it's a big A4 chart). It is a simple geometric pattern but you do need to pay attention when the lines intersect. I made a mistake and had to rip back 15 rows when I finally admitted to myself that the holes were wonky. 

The designer recommends an Italian Cast Off which is a tubular cast off that gives a lovely finish to a 1x1 rib like the tubular cast on at the neck.

I had every intention of doing an Italian Cast Off. And I even started it. However, I hit a snag.

A snag was off my own making.


blue lace top


There is a squishy K1, P1 rib running down the length of the armholes and body. Then the designer switches to a K1 P1 rib for the bottom hems. That K1, P1 does not line up with the armhole and body rib. I decided to maintain that rib but didn't fully consider how the hem rib would fit in and so I fudged it and ended up with a K2 at each side of the body.

Having never done an Italian Cast Off I didn't realise that it's generally worked over a consistent and regular rib, like K1,P1 rib. And I certainly didn't understand it enough to change those instructions to suit my own K1, P1 rib that also had a K2 in it.

After realising that snag WHILST working the Italian Cast Off... I had to unpick it. Which is something I did NOT want to do. Rico Luxury Alpaca Superfine is a very sticky yarn which means that unpicking a  cast off is difficult and time consuming. And it's not something I wanted to do again.

So... I just cast off in rib. 😆


After that I used mattress stitch to sew up the two sides.


I was concerned about the fit of the top. Whilst knitting I knew my stitch and row count were very slightly tighter than the pattern specifies but I also knew it would relax once washed. I learnt this from my gauge swatch - a good example that you should wash and dry your gauge swatch.

I kept faith and it did relax once washed (by hand in Eucalan and dried flat). It came out as the pattern specified.

Unfortunately the pattern only has two sizes (something I should have noted, as I like to use patterns that have a wide range of sizes for shop samples). I knitted the smaller size which has a 37" (94cm) circumference. The larger size has a 42" (106cm) circumference.

The designer recommends - 2 to + 4" of ease. We have two mannequins in the shop. 👇


blue lace top

Student Vest 37" vest on 38" mannequin, shows -1" of ease


blue lace top

Student Vest 37" vest on 34" mannequin, shows +3" of ease


If you do want to knit your own Student Vest I would advise reading the pattern all the way through. It's not difficult but it is concisely written and you may miss some info especially if you're not an experienced garment or lace knitter.


You can buy a copy of the pattern for Student Vest on Ravelry or as a digital pattern in the shop

You can buy Rico Luxury Alpaca Superfine here. I used shade 027. You need 5 balls for either size.

You will work in the round for the neck and shoulders.  The rest of the pattern can be worked back and forth on circulars or on straight needles. Check out our  knitting needle collection here. I used a 100cm circular needle and the Magic Loop technique to knit the small circumference neck. As I increased for the shoulders I was able to then switch to a 60cm circular and knit regularly in the round.

Fiona Wright

make your own Student Vest

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