CRAFT: KNITTED PEBBLE VEST + A Video

Knitted Pebble Vest \ HOMEGROWN KITCHEN

This video has been a long time coming. Filmed by my friend Fraser (with music by the lovely Nadia Reid), it is a little glimpse into our simple life. Growing and cooking food with my children is something I treasure. In the kitchen my children have their own little chairs so they can stand next to me at the bench and I often carry my son in the backpack while I make dinner. Food is so much a part of their life, and I hope it will nurture a healthy appreciation for good food.

3-year-old Pebble Vest

This baby vest is a free pattern from Nikol The Thrifty Knitter (follow this link for the pattern). This is a relatively easy vest to knit, if you know the basic knit and purl stitch you will be able to make it. I would say it is beginner/ intermediate level. There were a few new terms in the pattern for me so I YouTubed them including Twisted German Cast-On and Kitchener stitch. You really got to love YouTube for learning new things.

You will need:

As the pattern states this is for a newborn. To make it for my (on the smaller side) 3-year-old I used a chunky 12 ply wool.

  • 8mm needles
  • I used two and half 50g balls
  • Safety Pin for holding stitches
  • Crochet needle for sewing in ends
  • Seven buttons – I didn’t have any spare that fit so I took the finished vest into to my local wool shop and matched the colour and hole size to get it right.
  • Darning needle to sew buttons

*Please note, I have only knitted this vest once in this size so can’t guarantee this can be reproduced exactly as I have made it. I am not a pattern maker, just sharing my craft successes. It took roughly 6 hours to make (I am not an extremely fast knitter) and once the hem is complete (12 rows) you can get an idea of the size against your child (or get measurements if making as a gift).

If you make this vest I would love to hear how it works out. Or if you have any other favourite patterns for toddler clothes please share. I am always looking for a new project.


My Dutch Grandma (Bonnema) taught me to knit, as well as crochet and embroidery. As a child I remember visiting my grandparents in Christchurch where they lived in a large old villa in Papanui. The house was surrounded by gardens and trees including a huge walnut tree in the front yard.  Whenever we visited I would be assigned a new craft to complete during our stay. During the day we helped in the kitchen and explored the gardens, and at night we would play a round of Rummikub (a Dutch game) and then Bonnema would teach me a new knitting stitch or crochet chain.

Knitted Pebble Vest \ HOMEGROWN KITCHEN

I loved, and still love, using my hands to create something. As I grew older, and eventually left home, visits to my Grandparents became less and for years I barely picked up a knitting needle. Sewing became my preferred craft, and cooking. Sometime around buying a house, and setting up a nest for my first child I found myself yearning to knit (and sew). I churned out a few little vests and a cardigan for my baby to be.

As soon as daylight savings finishes and the nights inside become longer I find myself digging out my wool and needles. I often find unfinished projects, recklessly abandoned when the days got longer and the evenings were spent in the garden rather than sitting on the couch being a Nana. The first craft of the indoor season that I will I share is my daughters birthday gift. We are not big on spending lots of money on ‘things’ so I made her this vest to keep her warm through the winter. It is actually a pattern for a baby vest that I (sadly) only came across this year as I would have loved to make this for my babies. As I read the pattern I started thinking that surely it was possible to make it with thicker wool and a bigger needle size. Heck, I would give it a go. With a few false starts matching the needle size to the wool I felt confident I was on the right track.

Now, if you are a knitter like me, you will know that wool is rather expensive. Sadly it often is not at all economical to knit your own clothes. Possibly why so far I am sticking to baby/toddler clothes and hats as they require less wool than, say, an adult jersey (and I am too impatient to knit something that will take more than a few weeks from start to wearing). I am always on the look out for second-hand knitted clothes that I can unravel and re-knit. Or in this case I unraveled a wrap I knitted to wear while I was pregnant but is no longer flattering on my non-pregnant person.

Knitted Pebble Vest \ HOMEGROWN KITCHEN

Knitted Pebble Vest \ HOMEGROWN KITCHEN

Knitted Pebble Vest \ HOMEGROWN KITCHEN

Knitted Pebble Vest \ HOMEGROWN KITCHEN

Knitted Pebble Vest \ HOMEGROWN KITCHEN

*A mandarin tree. It may seem like a strange thing to give to a three-year-old but it is something she will enjoy for years to come. Poppa came around and we planted it in the garden where she can (with my assistance initially) look after ‘her’ mandarin tree. Growing up I sometimes thought my Dad’s gifts were too ‘practical’, and yes they were often something I really needed and got a lot of use out of. Now with children of my own I can appreciate the need for simplifying and reducing the unnecessary ‘stuff’ that clutters our lives.

Knitted Pebble Vest \ HOMEGROWN KITCHEN

* The handmade wooden pencils pictured above were a gift from my sister bought while she was living in Peru.

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  1. Beautiful vest….love the colour. I knitted my first proper garment for my 4 yr old son last year – a vest too. Was neat to do and proper woollen things are so much warmer to wear. Loved the story about the butterfly cake too and will be baking that soon for Monty’s birthyday next month. Thanks for all the inspiration 🙂

    1. Thanks Nicky, I love knitting there is something very calming about it. It’s my ‘zen’ time after a busy day with the kids. Enjoy the cake 🙂

      Nicola

  2. Hi Nicola – I loved crocheting at the end of a busy day when my children were little too! I made them (and their friends) lots of gorgeous woollen vests, and was happy that they all loved to wear them. I think they were so cozy and warm but kept their arms free for playing. And of course everything looks great on children! Life is different now that they’re bigger, busy in another kind of way (no more quiet evenings while the little ones sleep), so I rarely crochet except when a group of crafty friends & I get together for to be creative & have a glass of wine or two.

    It’s lovely to see what you’re making…perhaps I’ll become inspired again 🙂

    1. Yes vests are the best for little ones because they tend to get there sleeves into food otherwise and wool not so easy to ‘just throw in the wash’. Nice to hear from you as always Sam 🙂

  3. I LOVE your Homegrown Kitchen Video. It is absolutely beautiful! Not sure if it was meant to bring a tear to my eye, but it did! I am also now going to see Nadia Reid when she plays at the Boathouse next month.
    Thank you for all your inspiration. xx

    1. OH dear, I think it is the music is just sooo heartfelt, she is truly a beautiful musician. I think their maybe a few new Nadia Reid fans at the boathouse next month, me included. Enjoy 🙂

  4. Judy Manderson says:

    What a true inspiration you are Nicola – will definitely source some wool and start knitting
    Your Home grown site is fantastic – will look forward to making and sampling some of your recipes

    many thanks,
    Judy

  5. The vest is fantastic!I LOVE the colour. I love that you unravel clothing to make new that is the coolest thing ever!! My MIL makes lots of vests for my boys generally this pattern “hotshot vest” http://justonewip.blogspot.co.nz/2010/06/little-rascals-e-book-is-collection-of.html they look so cute in them and people always comment on the clothing. I love handmade clothes. The video is the cutest thing ever!! Aww so super lovely!! What a moment to treasure for ever! I just love it thank you so much for sharing. Mx

    1. I forgot to add that a fruit tree is THE best gift you can give anyone especially a child! I will be buying trees for my boys in the future. Mx

      1. I know, the only catch is our property is getting so full I am not sure where to put any more fruit trees! Espalier will be my only choice 😉

    2. Thanks for the vest link, will check it out once I finished some other projects! x

  6. My grandma Marmie used to crochet me singlets to wear to keep me warm. At the time I thought they were the most embarrassing thing out but now I wish I not only had the patterns but had one for me to wear now. 🙂 Your pattern comes at an opportune time as I will knit this up in a smaller gauge yarn to keep it a little less bulky to be worn as an undergarment. 🙂 My Nanna, who passed away this year was the knitter and knitting is the skill I’ve retained. There is little better than knitting clothes for your little ones except perhaps people asking where you bought such gorgeous clothes and being able to proudly say “I made it”. 🙂

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