Hi, all — happy Anna Vest Knitalong kickoff day! As promised, today’s post is a tutorial on how to knit inset pockets, but just a few things before we get to that:
Please review the introduction before getting started on the knitalong, as there is some pattern errata and other important details. And please also read through the Techniques section at the beginning of the pattern, which contains all sorts of useful tips. Several people have mentioned this will be their first time knitting a garment, and I think it’s a great place to start. It is not a lot of knitting, not very complicated, but will teach you some very valuable skills, especially with regard to finishing. And you get to knit inset pockets! I also think it’s helpful that this vest is knitted in Andalusian Stitch, which is a really simple knits-and-purls stitch pattern, very easily memorized, that also makes it super easy to see where you are in the pattern and ensure you’re doing things on the right row, and so on. And if you post in the comments here and/or use the hashtag #annavestkal on Instagram, you’ll have me and the rest of the group to help you if you run into any trouble!
Ok, now about this tutorial. We’re working here with the Anna Vest pattern. Pictured above are the two front pieces. On the left of the photo is the right front of the vest, which already has its pocket. And on the right of the photo is the left front of the vest, which is ready for the pocket to be created, along with the pocket lining hanging out on a DPN. So those are the two pieces we’re working with below. Note that the pattern calls for the pocket to be knitted in stockinette stitch, which gives a very subtle contrast between the body and the pocket lining. For my black Anna (yarn is Fibre Co. Terra from my stash) and for this tutorial, I’ve opted to knit the pocket lining in Andalusian Stitch, same as the body. Hopefully that will make it even easier for you to see when we’re working with the front or back of the fabric as we go through these simple steps. You can knit your pocket in either stitch, your preference, or even knit the lining in a contrasting color if you like! So here we go—
STEP ONE: CREATE THE POCKET EDGING
This pocket has a ribbed top edge, so basically we just knit the front piece of the sweater until we get to where we want to create that ribbing. In the Anna pattern, on row 23 (a RS row) I have you place markers as you work across the row, delineating the 21 pocket stitches (pictured above, top left). For the next few rows, you maintain the body stitch pattern as established, while knitting 1×1 ribbing between the markers (above, top right). Then it’s time to bind off the top edge of the pocket, i.e., the stitches between the markers (above), which is done on a RS row. Drop the markers as you encounter them, and when you’re done, double check that you’ve bound off the correct number of pocket stitches by confirming that you still have the right stitch counts on either side. (I’m knitting the second size, so I have 12 sts on one side and 14 on the other.) Note that they’re all resting on the needle, with the bound-off gap in the middle.
The next row, the join row, is a WS row, so go ahead and turn your work — and that means both the body and the pocket lining. For the next step you should be looking at the back side of both pieces.
STEP TWO: ATTACH THE POCKET LINING
Here’s where it’s handy if you’ve knitted the pocket lining on a DPN and just left it there, ready to be worked with. At this point, all you do is purl across the first set of stitches on the working needle, then across the pocket lining stitches, then across the second set of stitches on the working needle. (Take care to pull those stitches tight when you’re jumping from the main needle to the DPN, and back.) And voilà, your pocket lining it attached! From this point forward, you just carry on with the body in the established stitch pattern. Here’s how it looks from the front after knitting the next couple of rows:
Note that the pocket lining doesn’t become a pocket until you sew it down. Until then it’s just a flap, flapping around on the back of your knitting. To keep it secure and prevent any strain at the join, I like to take a few removable stitch markers and just pin it to the body (pictured above).
You can go ahead and attach it if you like or, to take the more cautious approach, wait until the pieces have been blocked, and then do the seaming. To attach it, you simply whipstitch one stitch at the edge of the pocket to the adjacent purl bump on the body, and do that on every other row. Then work across the bottom of the pocket in similar fashion. As noted in the Anna pattern, the Andalusian Stitch pattern makes it easy to identify a straight column of stitches to work with, but you might still find it helpful to slide a small-gauge DPN down through the purl bumps on every other row of the body, making it easy to see which stitches you’re whipstitching into. (Or Cocoknits has a good tutorial on this using waste yarn instead of a DPN.)
Ok, let’s get knitting! If you’re doing the knitalong, be sure to use hashtag #annavestkal wherever you post, so everyone can see!
(Stitch markers and pouch from Fringe Supply Co., of course.)