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This month’s edition of Dana’s Edit marks my 12th column in this series—we’ve made it a year sharing sweater patterns and inspiration. Thank you for inviting me into your Ravelry queues with my favorite picks.

Since it’s spring and it’s such a transitional time of year weather-wise, I thought I’d veer off the beaten path of sweater picks and give you something different: vests!

A vest can be a versatile piece in your wardrobe and a great layer when it’s chilly, but not so cold that you need a sweater. Also, the lack of sleeves means you will definitely get a vest finished faster than a sweater. Who doesn’t love a fast and satisfying knit?

Summer Fog by Lori Versaci

When I think of what a classic knit vest should look like, Summer Fog is it.

It has a little bit of ease to it, clean lines, and a pocket for your phone. It’s simple, stylish, and functional as a layer for when you need a little something to keep the chill away.

In the MDK Shop
Rich with sophisticated, glazed color, Hektos is next-to-the-skin-soft perfect for sleeveless tops and vests. Thanks for your purchases. They support everything we do here at MDK.

Aeon Vest by Hilary Smith Callis

I made this vest for my Mom. She loves vests so I thought she would love it if I knit her one. I know when she sees her smiling face modeling her vest on MDK, she will be absolutely tickled. Isn’t she the cutest?

Editors’ note: yes, she is the cutest!

But back to the vest. I originally picked this pattern because of the beautiful twisted rib collar and the pockets.

It drapes like a dream, and is so modern that you can wear it with anything. I also loved how it was constructed, so much that I ended up knitting another Hilary Smith Callis vest, Pommier, which has a two-color brioche collar.

Here’s Pommier.

Massaman by Elizabeth Smith

If you’re looking for a pullover layer, Massaman is it. It’s knit in a worsted weight yarn with a gorgeous textured stitch pattern and an added bonus: the cowl is detachable!

You may start your morning with a chill in the air. As the day warms up, if the cowl is too much, you can just remove it.

I think that’s a brilliant design element. Now I want all my knits to have some detachable layer I can rip off when I get too warm.

Harley by Veronika Jobe

If I ever wanted to feel like I’ve got a bit of a badass in me (I don’t, I’m such a rule follower), I’d definitely knit this vest. It has been in my library for forever and it is one of the reasons I bought that issue of Amirisu.

Harley is one of the coolest knits I’ve ever seen, mimicking a motorcycle jacket with a diagonal zipper. It’s knit using worsted weight, but at a tighter gauge to make it a warmer layer. I even love the deep shade of green the sample was knit it; something about it just says cool to me.

Perhaps this spring you’ll add a vest to your wardrobe as an alternative to a great sweater. Who says you need sleeves all the time?

Photo of Dana’s mom by Dana Williams-Johnson.
Pattern photos from Ravelry. com.

About The Author

Dana Williams-Johnson knits every day. Knitting is what brings Dana joy, and she shows that through her use of color (hello, rainbows) and modifications of favorite patterns into replica sweaters for her dogs.

You can read about it all on Dana’s blog, Yards of Happiness, and watch her video podcasts on YouTube.


  • Your mom definitely is the cutest!

  • Thanks for another great column Dana. I love vests and I wanted to make a suggestion. I have almost finished Marte, by Julie Hoover. The cables knit with only a chart were a challenge, but I learned. And that is part of the fun—always something new to learn. Sorry that I can’t post a picture—something else I need to learn.

  • I love this column. I never tire of being introduced to excellent patterns in this “curated” way.

  • Great column, and Mom is a wonderful model! Cute vests.

  • Which to choose, which to choose? All of them, especially with mom showing the way! But Massaman is so cool, detachable cowl. Harley has me, however, even though I’ve already got a badass vest almost done, my Arya Stark themed Open Road by Amy Gunderson.

  • I love your columns! Thank you for sharing! And yes, your mom is super cute!!!!! Love all of these choices!!!

  • So good—you’ve got me completely rethinking the concept of a vest.

    And your mom! She IS the best!

  • I too love your column and have made a couple of your suggestions with more to come. I love the detachable cowl sweater with the great stitch pattern it’s so interesting and perfect for spring and early fall!

  • I was so excited to see your post. Vests are my favourite wardrobe item, so versatile and a great piece to travel with.

  • Love the patterns! I’ve never knitted a sweater, so a vest might be a great option.

  • Dana, I always like reading about your knitting suggestions. You have a great eye. The best part is seeing your Mom today! Thank you!

  • I should have known this article was yours! I’ve been following you forever and love all the patterns you chose, even the Brioche one I’ll never be able to do!❤️!

  • Just what I have been looking for! I love vests, I love Jellybean, and I love Dana’s blog!

  • Dana, I am one who cannot feel comfortable in a sweater. But i just love a vest. Thank you for these links!

  • You are such an inspiration! I love these vest ideas!

  • Love and look forward to your column and enjoy seeing your models who add a better picture of how garments might look.

  • Yes, your mum is beautiful, you have the same cute smile as her. Thanks for sharing, as always.

  • I want to knit all of these vests!

  • It’s easy to see where you got your smile, Dana! Your mama is SO cute! I have a question. What is the Broken Rib Stitch? I looked it up and got several choices.
    1.) R1: K all stitches
    R2: K1 P1 to end (which I just learned as the Sand Stitch (Thank you, Main Squeeze Cardigan!).
    2.) R1: K1 P2 to end
    R2: K1 P2 to end
    Thanks for your help! Love to Jellybean!

  • Living in Texas means vests are best!! And I agree w/everyone — your Momma is a gorgeous Momma!!

  • Love you… but not more than your Mom,,,:)))))). xo

  • Your mom is so adorable! As are your vest picks. I’ve had this one in my queue for awhile too:

  • Love your choices, especially Harley. And congratulations on the Washingtonian piece on you. I had to double check when I saw it to be sure it was you. 🙂

  • Another fabulous edit from Dana. I’m itching to cast Massaman on – just live the detachable cowl. Thanks Dana

  • Thanks Dana for another great collection!

  • A home run Dana! Transitional pieces are what I need in my wardrobe. Beautiful variety in style as well as yarn weight. Mom is so cute! Keep on knitting!

  • LOVE the pic of your mom!

  • I just started this vest by Elizabeth Smith
    I figure it’s a nice classic and since it’s knit in bulky weight it should be fast to finish. I’m hoping that by the time I’m done I’ll have figured out what cardigan I want to knit.

    Your mom is the cutest and I love that you share a smile.

  • You have great taste, Dana. I have purchased the Massaman pattern and added the Harley to my wish list.

  • Now, it would have made my day to see Jellybeanie in your darling mom’s arms!

    Next time? Please?

  • Very cute! I like your mom’s big gold hoops and her big smile!
    I have had vests on the brain and am knitting my first one! well, actually my second- I started a vest for my mother may years ago that I never finished!
    But lately I’ve been getting dressed and thinking, I could use a vest. it’s a real hole in my wardrobe. Of course then I started knitting an eye searingly bright patterned vest that will match nothing and have limited wear. Next I will have to knit a nice solid colored versatile vest like the ones on this page. I like the open fronts, and Massaman- that’s my favorite Thai curry, it might as well become my favorite new knitted vest!

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