Week 6 EZ seamless sweater with a colourful patterned yoke – #EZYokeKAL

posted in: knitting | 25

For those who have joined me in making an Elizabeth Zimmermann seamless sweater, we are coming to the end. Which may be a relief to those who did not!

This post covers how to finish your sweater; we will discuss hems and underarm seams. Unlike a seamed sweater we are nearly there. Once you have done these processes, which are pretty fast, you will be able to wear your jersey! There is a final stage involving wetting and drying your garment and I will come to that too.

Your average hand knit starts with the finish – either ribbing at the base (or the neckline for top-down sweaters). But Zimmermann leaves this decision to the end. It’s up to you, (many of the knitalong team started with ribbing or similar). That is fine. But me? I enjoy thinking about the finishes (and the colours) while I am knitting mindlessly. I feel, a bit like a naming a baby, each item has its own personality and the right finishes present themselves during the construction, or more usually when it is tried on.

You will have (or you should have) tried on your sweater. It’s easier once you have finished the neckline, but you can try on with the needles still in if you are careful and your circular needles are on the long side. Or you can pull some waste wool through, or use a piece of hat elastic. Looking at these photos I am thinking do I want ribbing or hems? I decided I like the rolling (unfinished) hems and, although I plan to do folded up hems on this jersey – to emphasise the vintage look, I will try the unfinished hems on a future knitted garment.

So today decide how you want it to end. Think through all the openings – neck, sleeves and hem. You can have different finishes. Your options, (to stabilise the stocking stitch that likes to roll in, given the face is slightly shorter than the back), according to Elizabeth are:

  • garter stitch
  • 1×1 ribbing
  • stocking stitch with a hem

We can add, without much trouble

  • 2×2 ribbing as I did on my ombre sweater
  • moss stitch (as used by Helene)
  • just leave the edge and let it roll

OK. We left your sweater, last week, with additional back neck shaping, if you wanted it. The shaping can be done as part of the neckline finishing and I covered this already. I will summarise the ribbing version as it is probably the simplest.

Start at the left shoulder, turn your work and K1 P1 until you get to the right shoulder, slipping the first stitch every time. Add two stitches from the remainder at the end of each row, then turn, slipping the first stitch again, and keep the ribbing pattern all the way back to where you started (left shoulder), adding two more stitches. You are adding two stitches on each row, knitting back and forth, until you have done six rows. Now continue right round the whole neckline, knitting up the stitches from the front of the sweater, adding about one inch to the ribbing depth.  The ribbing on the front is much shorter than the back, but it is barely noticeable in wear

Back neck has deeper ribbing than the front

Sleeves and Hem finishes

With the sleeves and hem you need to pick up one stitch for every stitch at the base of the sleeves and sweater – then rib it, or make a hem. I will describe the hemming process which I had not tried before I met Mrs Zimmermann, and I like it. The hems make a sweater very comfy to wear and look old-fashioned which pleased me. Also as a dressmaker they are more similar to what we are used to.


Knit up the stitches on the lower edge, taking them from behind the cast on stitches so that you have a neat finish.

Picking up the stitches on a sleeve, behind the cast on stitches

Knit one round, then reduce the stitches by 10 per cent, by knitting the 9th and 10th stitch together. This just pulls it in a bit and stops it being bulky. Then knit a hem the depth that you want – one to two inches. Instead of casting off -you stitch, loosely and with a blunt yarn needle the stitches to the sweater. This means minimum bulk and smooth wearing. Nice!

Hem on my blue jersey – lemon detail just for fun

If you want a hem at the neckline then do one round of purl stitches around the neckline, then continue as above. This makes the hem turn in OK. Mrs Z didn’t tell me this – this is my contribution. I hope it works for you, but do share if you have a better idea.

Underarm seam – weaving/grafting/Kitchener stitch

Use a blunt darning needle and a long piece of yarn to make the join look almost invisible. It’s a great finish.

Here’s how. Pick up the stitches you have on waste yarn loops, say 13 from the sleeve and 13 from the body. Arrange on needles so that the wrong sides face each other so you have a front and back needle. Keep the loops loose and do this exactly as it says even if you have to do it more than once.

*Pull wool through the first stitch on front needle as if to knit. Take stitch off. Pull wool through second stitch on front needle as if to purl. Leave stitch on. Pull wool through 2nd stitch on back needles as if to purl. Take stitch off. Pull wool through the 2nd stitch on the back needle as if to knit. Leave stitch on. Repeat from *

After doing this pull up the stitches carefully and it will look like it is knitted together.  The long yarn ends are used to sew up the little hole that still remains. Do this as neatly as you can.

Soaking, blocking etc

I haven’t got much experience of this so can’t give great advice. My seamless sweaters have been made in Merino yarn or cashmere.  I just wash them on a cold wash in the washing machine, then lay them out flat on a towel on the floor, and make sure they were even and shaped well. This is how I wash knitwear any way. Works for me. Please comment below if you have any better ideas.

25 Responses

  1. Linde

    Now you’ve conquered Zimmerman tomorrow ????? I’m going to have to dig around in the recesses of my brain for your next mountain.

  2. Kerry

    Kate, thanks for the inspiration to try a jumper with a colourwork yoke. At the time of your first post on the EZ knitalong I had actually just picked up stitches for a cardigan pattern with steeking and a colourwork yoke but had intended (somewhat trepidatiously) to knit it as a jumper. So why not join in I thought, already feeling out of my depth! But I like EZ’s no nonsense and inclusive approach to knitting so wanted to give it a go. I chucked my yarn and needles in my suitcase in case I found time on my holiday and managed to knit my way through almost 200 grams of wool before my return this week (we watched Outlander in England, and then Top of the Lake in Italy – proving you can knit in 35C!) I am starting on the sleeves so I am somewhat behind but I am enjoying the process of knitting with absent (virtual?) fellow knitters. By the way my yarn is a cherry red so I am somewhat perplexed as to what colours to do for the yoke, but I am getting ahead of myself…

    • fabrickated

      I was so excited to have you join in Kerry and I wished that I had found the time to meet you in London and give you coloured yarns! With yoke colourwork I like a good contrast, so I would use a green in there, plus a light and a deep. Let’s say your green is deep, then the light might be white, or light beige or pale pink. And I would add a neutral that you wear alot (trouser or skirt colour) say navy or deep brown? Of course it depends on what you have already. And by the way the little sheep would be a great look and black and white would look super with red.

      • Kerry

        You’re very sweet Kate, I was kept very busy by my friends and had no time either. Also thank you for the offer, I think I didn’t reply at the time, apologies. I’ll give some thought to the colours you’ve suggested, my neutral is black, and I really like your suggestion of the little sheep with the black faces-brilliant thinking!

    • fabrickated

      Neither of which I have ever had a go at! I would love to do some hats and have them on my list. It certainly is a nice way to bring some colour into an outfit. I have seen some self patterning yarns that ensure you just knit away and it comes out with a pattern on it! How marvellous is that?

  3. April

    Thank you for this knit-along. I didn’t participate, but there is much that I will take from it to improve my knitting, try new ideas and look into lighter weight wools that aren’t too prohibitively expensive.
    I’d like to share this with you and your followers. I found it as I was researching wools, interchangeable knitting needles.
    It is the first one, with a cast of international knitters. (No pun intended)

    • fabrickated

      Thanks for your very kind feedback April. It has been fun to work with others virtually! And thank you so much for information on the Nottingham knitting event. My daughter went to University there so I know the city fairly well. I would very much like to attend. Are you going yourself?

  4. SJ Kurtz

    You are making me want to knit one more sweater/jumper. My right wrist says no, but the photos of the sleeve graft…I dunno why, but it made me really really happy. Maybe I should just undo one of my old makes and redo it, just for fun. At some point, I read something about adding a stitch to fill the hole at the end, and it worked on some of the sweaters, but not all. LOOOOOOONNNNNNNG tail for finishing. Lousy place for a knot or two.

    • fabrickated

      I know! Whenever I see someone doing a craft I just want to do it too! We learn and are inspired by copying others. I am glad you liked my grafting – I found it strange at first. I have now done it with garter stitch too. Next thing I am going to try is casting off with a needle. And you are so right long, long, long. Very good.

      I am sorry your wrist says no. Both mine ache. It’s the knitting, the typing and the lifting of small children into car seats and out of swimming pools. And maybe doing the plank etc. It’s just about impossible to stop doing these things. I am trying to do more sewing now but I can’t resist another knitting project.

  5. felicia

    I’ve just tried mine on, after the second brutal decrease. It fits! Hallelulah! And I think it even will look good (after knitting the bottom and sleeve bottoms to get rid of the curl). I’m really excited now because this is looking extremely positive. I have a question: when you say turn your work, does that mean I’ll be knitting from the inside (the purl side), with working yarn on the left? And am I supposed to start that immediately after the third brutal decrease? Or should I knit a couple of rounds after the decrease before starting the neck? I’m intending to garter stitch the neck and the bottoms.

    • fabrickated

      Oh Felicia – I am so happy for you. Just what you wanted. Turn the work means, as you say, knitting on the purl/back/inside. I don’t think the working yarn changes sides. Not sure what you mean by this. You can start immediately after the third decrease or you can add a few rounds. It depends on the sizing (for you). You may not want to do the third set of decreases – do you want a high neck? It might suit you better a little more open – I know you prefer a slightly softer, unstructured look. Just to mention that with garter stitch it is not brilliant for the hems as you have to turn the work to get the effect. So super for the hem if you do a split/divided hem. For the neck it works but if you go back and forth on your circular needles, as if you are knitting on regular pins, then you will have to sew the neck band together. There maybe a way of knitting garter stitch in the round but I don’t know it. So maybe a divided hem and what about seed/moss stitch for the neck and sleeve hems? Hope this helps.

      • felicia

        Thanks Kate. I was going for your final version of decreases, at 5, 7 and 8 inches I think? But you gave me an idea, and I did my final (third row) of decreases by knitting 3, then knitting 2 together. So I decreased by 20% rather than by 33%. You do a garter stitch on circulars by alternating rounds of knitting and purling.

  6. Maggie

    My current plan is for ribbing at the neck but hems for the sleeves and body. I have knitted red trim on the bottom of my sleeve and think I will do that on the body too.

    I block just as you say, using my washing machine then laying flat. I use the hand wash cycle, which limits agitation. But the washer spins the water out so the sweater is much lighter and doesn’t stretch out so much when you handle it. If I knit a garment in pieces, I wash them and pin them out flat to dry before sewing them together.

  7. Michelle

    Yoke completed! I’ve just finished a ribbed neckline; I wasn’t happy with my first attempt which was a little too high for my liking so I undid a few rows of the yoke and had a second go. I will try a hem for the body and sleeves – it looks a really neat finish and not one I’ve tried before. Then it’s just underarm grafting and dealing with lots of ends to darn in! It’ll be slow-going this week but I’m getting excited about the prospect of a finished EZ jumper.

    • fabrickated

      Whoopie Michelle. Very well done. I certainly found the neck line a bit high too. That’s why I made this one a little lower and feel more comfortable in it, actually. The hems are fun to do and personally I like the look of them. The grafting and weaving in won’t take any time at all!

      I would LOVE to see your jersey when it is finished. Will you send me a photograph?

      • Michelle

        Dropping in (after another week away with no internet) to let you know I have finally finished my jumper. Yay!! Slightly retro – think Famous Five meets Nordic ski lodge – but I love it. I really prefer the hems to ribbing so I shall definitely do that finish again. And there will certainly be another EZ jumper or two, I think I’m hooked. So many possibilities.
        Thank you, Kate, for hosting this knitalong. I’ve not taken part in one before but it’s been fun and has taken me a long way out of my knitting comfort zone which is no bad thing at all. I have learned so much from this, and reading about everyone else’s progress has been really encouraging and helpful. The magic loop technique is fantastic, the colourwork was really enjoyable and knitting with the restrictions of a printed pattern was really quite liberating, even if I did have a momentary panic over the sizing. All I need to do now is decide on a colour for the next one!
        I will try to get a photo, can I email?

  8. Helen

    I’ve been loving this series Kate. On Saturday morning I was cleaning up after breakfast and suddenly thought that there would be another post to read, put down the dirty dishes and had a look!
    It’s been really inspiring. On Saturday evening I had my first attempt at colourwork and it’s looking ok. I need to master the ‘continental’ style of knitting with the left hand and found some great tutorials on YouTube.
    I think I’ve decided on colours for this jumper so I’ll be just starting when everyone else is finishing….

    • fabrickated

      Oh Helen, what a lovely comment. I am not sure anyone has ever interrupted the washing up to read one of my blog posts before, but I am honoured that you did! I felt six weeks of describing how to knit a jumper would be worse than watching paint dry, but I found it a fun process to write up and I am so happy that we have half a dozen soon-to-be-completed garments. However actually finishing may take a few of us a week or two so you may well catch up with us. I am so excited by you joining in. The two handed colourwork is not too hard but it needs to be loose. With this sweater there is only a limited amount of it so it is fairly easy to experiment, and not the end of the world if you have to rip it back. However I also found that before and after soaking/drying it looked warped and buckled but settled down very nicely after the application of water.

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