Knitty: little purls of wisdom

pink needle

beauty shotblank

by Amy O'Neill Houck


Mod Waterfall is an unstructured vest made of simple rectangles. The finished piece is shawl-like and subverts its rectangular shapes with lots of drape and flexibility in wearing. Play around with wearing. I like to lean towards asymmetry if I pin Mod Waterfall closed. Open or closed, I sometimes turn the back neck to make a bit of a collar.

The vest’s construction pays homage to one of my favorite designers from the 1970s, Judith Copeland. Copeland’s classic book, Modular Crochet, has just been re-released by Dover Publications, and I encourage you to check it out. Her designs are nothing like Mod Waterfall, but they embody a cozy, patternless sweater style you can endlessly adapt. The modular style of crochet is so called because garments are built in seamless sections that grow from the center outward. The back of Mod Waterfall is created with a row of foundation half double crochet that is then worked from the center outward on both sides. The fabric is turned on its side, meaning your row edges become the neckline and waist edges of the garment.

spacer model: Meghan Garrison
spacer photos: Amy O’Neill Houck

XS[S, M, L, 1X, 2X, 3X]
shown in size M on a 34-inch chest

Cross Back: 14.5[16.5, 18, 20, 21.5, 23, 25] inches
Length: 20[20, 20, 21, 22, 22, 22] inches
Note: This pattern is designed to be worn with about 4” of positive ease in each size. Choose your size by taking your cross back measurement and adding 4 inches.



spacer Skacel Rylie by Hikoo [50% baby alpaca, 25% mulberry silk, 25% linen; 274yd/250m per 100g skein]; color: 084; 3[3, 4, 4, 4, 5, 5] skeins

Recommended needle size
[always use a needle size that gives you the gauge listed below -- every knitter's gauge is unique]
spacer 1 US F-5/3.75mm crochet hook
spacer 1 24-inch US #5/3.75mm circular needle

spacer One crochet stitch marker
spacer Shawl pin for wearing. Mod Waterfall is photographed with a kilt pin fastening the fronts in some shots – a shawl pin would work just as nicely, and both give lots of flexibility in wearing.
spacer yarn needle



It’s important to block your swatches for this pattern, especially the crochet swatch. The pattern yarn is relatively inelastic and the crochet section stretches in row gauge with washing by 15-17%.

Knit: 17 sts/30.5 rows = 4 inches in stockinette stitch, after blocking
Crochet: 17 sts/16 rows = 4 inches in hdc-blo crochet, after blocking


[Knitty's list of standard abbreviations and techniques can be found here.]


Mod waterfall is reversible. The crochet is actually the same on both sides, and even though the knitted fronts look different from either side, the waterfalling fronts mean you see both sides, and it can be worn both ways for varying effect. Therefore, in the instructions, I refer to side A and Side B instead of left and right.

Sizing and Shape: Mod Waterfall is simple and flexible. See Sizing Notes in the pattern that tell you how to easily modify for a different fit.

fhdc: Foundation Half-Double Crochet
hdc-blo: half-double crochet in the back loop

Center Back side A (crochet)
Fhdc 85[85, 85, 89, 94, 94, 94] sts.

Sizing Note: Mod Waterfall is designed to fall 3” below the natural waist. If you want a longer vest, here’s where you’d make that change. Just add approximately 4.25 sts per inch, and be sure to carry that measurement across when adding front stitches (below).

Ribbing Pattern: Ch2, hdc-blo across, turn.

Work Pattern for 4.75[5.25, 6, 6.5, 7.25, 7.5, 8.5] inches. Do not turn after end of last row. This end becomes the Neck Edge.

Add Neck and Front Stitches:
In last stitch of final row of Center Back side A, yo, insert hook into bl, pull up a lp, ch 1, yo, pull through all lps. Continue to fhdc for 89[89, 89, 93, 98, 98, 98] stitches total. Place a marker in the last fhdc. This marks the waist edge of your garment Front.

Sizing Note: If you modified the length, just make sure to fhdc the length of your foundation +4 sts.

Work Shoulder and Begin Front of Side A
Ch 2, work in Ribbing Pattern across all 174[174, 174, 182, 192, 192, 192] stitches until front measures 2.5[3, 3, 3.5, 3.5, 4, 4] inches. Fasten off.

Center Back Side B
At the waist edge of the center back – at the base of the foundation chain, at the opposite edge to the neck edge – insert the hook and slip stitch into the first stitch of the back side of the foundation row. Ch 2, work in Ribbing Pattern for 4.75[5.25, 6, 6.5, 7.25, 7.5, 8.5] inches, ending at Neck Edge.

Work neck and front as for Side A.
Then work shoulder and front as for Side A.

Sizing Note: if you modified the length of your Mod Waterfall, be sure to carry your new length over to Side B.

Knitted Front Panels
Starting at the waist edge, (opposite to the neck edge) of the front of Side A, and working into the back side of the foundation row of your front sts, join yarn and pick up and knit 83[83, 83, 87, 92, 92, 92] sts.

Sizing Note: if you’ve modified the length, work the same # of sts as your back sts, less two.

Knit 2 rows.

Begin Welt Pattern:
Row 1 [WS]: Purl
Row 2 [RS]: Knit
Row 3 [WS]: Purl
Rows 4-10: Knit
Repeat Rows 1-10 for pattern.

Work in Welt Pattern until knitted section is 11[12, 14, 15.5, 17, 18.5, 20] inches.
End by working Rows 1-3 of Welt Pattern, then bind off.

Repeat for Side B.


Side Seams
With RS together, and beginning at waist edge, using US F/3.75mm hook, loosely slip st Front to Back, inserting hook into back lp of Front sts, and front lp of Back sts. Work until the opening measures 7[7, 7, 9, 9, 9.5, 9.5] inches. Try on before fastening off. Adjust armholes to your comfort.

Sizing Note: This is a good place for a sizing check. You can easily make the armhole as big as is comfortable. Don’t fasten off until you’ve tried the vest on. Armholes shouldn’t be overly loose, but snugly comfortable. They will stretch slightly with blocking.

Weave in all ends.

Soak with wool wash in cool water, then rinse gently. Squeeze out excess water, roll in a towel to remove more water, then lay flat, evening edges to dry straight.

Amy O'Neill Houck blogs at and tweets @plainsight. Miriam can be found on on the web at, and on Twitter @mimknits.

Amy and Miriam both have patterns on