Thank you everyone for your kind, supportive messages following the Grenfell Tower fire. It meant a great deal to hear from so many kind people – it has been really hard and upsetting for so many people, but I do believe that things in our industry will improve as a result of this major tragedy. They need to. We don’t have any news of Jessica. I feel bad to speak about knitting – but life goes on – work, family and our creative work.
I so enjoyed making the seamless yoked sweater described in Knitting without tears by Elizabeth Zimmermann. I thought I would try her second seamless pattern – the raglan sleeve. I don’t really go for the raglan as I like a more defined shoulder line. But as the knitted raglan seems to be a variation on the yoke sweater which rather suits me, I decided to give it a go.
I wanted to use my four ply cashmere set which came in lovely shades of beige, soft blue and grey.
In order to ground the jersey and make it work with my dark coloured trousers and skirts I started off by casting on 2×2 rib in deepest charcoal. This shade is my black. Although Zimmermann suggests adding the ribbing or hems at the end I had a clear idea of what I wanted with this sweater. I wanted an ombre effect – shading – from deep to light. Dark grey to light beige, via light blue.
Zimmermann also suggests starting with dpns and using two lengths of circular needle cords I just stick with one, finding that magic loop works well for me.
As with the yoked sweater the three tubes of knitting – one body (200 stitches) and two sleeves (40 stitches, gradually increased to 66) – are joined on the needles, leaving a few stitches (16 in this case) on a thread at the underarm.
You can see in the photo above how I tried to blend the colours by introducing a line or two of the next colour before I progressed to the block of colour. Knitting with four ply and 3.5mm needles is slow progress, but I find the knitting most pleasant. The finer needles are easier to use, more precise and elegant. I like the effects I got with the chunky yarn but it is much harder on the hands.
Eventually I was ready to join the sleeves to the body and I put all the stitches on to the one long circular needle. At this point I came across a knitting pattern for a similar jumper. This is a top down, raglan sleeved jumper in two styles So Faded by Angela Mowry. Although Angela has made her jersey with some fabulous hand dyed yarns I think the basic idea is an ombre sweater. I decided to include a detail from this pattern – ie I purled the very top of the raglan sleeves. My neckline is lower cut and I produced a waist length jersey similar to her cropped version. Although I didn’t set out to copy the Mowry jersey specifically I soon realised that you don’t really need a pattern to make a straightforward jumper like this. Elizabeth Zimmermann empowers you to create your own jumper to your own specifications.
And as well as finishing my jumper I bought some new shoes! These are like trainers but made of leather. They come in navy, but like many commentators I wish that darker trainers had darker soles. But lighter trainers look good with a white sole. I think the cool beige leather is a great colour and picks up the beige at the top of my sweater. I like lighter colours on me, and this is a good summer sweater. Overall a really fun project. The main issue for me was I didn’t know how best to strand or join the yarns over several rows. I just twisted, and swapped colour but it wasn’t very satisfactory.
The sweater also looks nice for work – I haven’t really needed a jacket in this warm weather and a sweater is a good substitute that can be put in my bag if it gets too warm.
Now I have made a couple of yoke jumpers, and this seamless raglan sleeved jersey, from Knitting without Tears I may try the third version of a seamless sweater – the exciting seamless saddle-shouldered sweater – “a little more sophisticated, but worth the effort, really, and great fun to make”, according to Zimmermann. I love the boring black and white photos supplied. They inspire because they are so blank. I am looking at this and seeing red – or stripes or colour blocked sleeves. Or maybe there would be room to do some patterning across the upper chest, or just a plain sweater. It’s so exciting – the endless possibilities implied by this simple photograph.
In the meantime one of my IG friends Lois has asked for a lesson in how to make these jumpers (which are all based on the same principle). I will do a blog post to explain it for her, which may be of interest and useful for others.