Elizabeth Zimmermann’s New Zealand sweater

I have really fallen for the New Zealand sweater, which I wrote about here. 

I have now made up two of these delightfully simple but fantastically elegant tops. Not so my teeth, smeared in raspberry flesh. (One day I will learn how to use Photoshop).

I have already posted about the green one. When I was making that one up I put pictures on Instagram and several people urged me to make a sleeveless version.

I like a sleeveless jumper. I am not sure about you but I have found that the flesh on my arms has held out a bit longer than other areas so I don’t mind flashing them. The little cap sleeves are cute, and with a high round neck we have a little top that is not too revealing. I knitted this in cashmere DK – from a range of small remnants, more or less matching; a reduced cost “set” from Colourmart. But it might be ideal in cotton or linen or silk. I also had an idea of buying white yarn and then dying it before knitting knitting it, or knitting it in white and then dying it to create an ombre effect. This would be a very exciting project for me and a little top in silk would be a nice summer project.

To make the short sleeve T shirt I used only 130 stitches cast on in the round, and I finished it at the waist so it is a neat little summer top that can go under a jacket or even over a shirt for an extra layer of warmth in autumn. In linen, silk or cotton it might make a top cool enough for people in the Southern Hemisphere.

I think this is a sweater that would be great for little kids and huge men too. Here is Wyeth in his. It seems that his wife Betsy has use a piece of I-cord to trim the yoke, and I believe she has used Quaker stitch for the cuffs. I would like to have a go at both techniques. Wyeth refers to this jersey as “like armour”.

Andrew Wyeth in New Zealand sweater

As well as knitting nice new things I have been tidying up at home and finally uncovered my two unfinished knitting projects.

When I first conquered knitting a jersey I admitted I had tried to make a garment twice before. Once to make an owl sweater by Kate Davies, and a second time to make a cardigan by Lisa Richardson in Kidsilk Haze (!). I couldn’t do the shaping on the owls jersey and as for the cardigan – you can see how I got hopelessly lost in the pattern and my front and sleeve are all wrong (probably the back too!).

Both these projects had saddened me as I had got lost and gone wrong and didn’t have the knowledge or experience or energy to sort them out. So, with a sense of shame (for the cost of the materials, for the embarrassment of failure) I did what I do with my UFOs – I squirreled them away in a dark cupboard. I am pretty sure I started the cardigan in 2012. The Owls jersey before that – so probably before Ted was born and he is six next month.

So this weekend, after unpacking and photographing them, I unravelled them so I can repurpose the yarn.

The Owls sweater was knitted in soft roving British yarn made from a  blend of 80% merino wool and 20% kid mohair – Rowan Cocoon in a very light grey. I showed this yarn to my husband, who assumed it was cashmere (know nothing, men, eh?). He loved it which helped me decide I will finally make a sweater for him (I made a sweater for my son Gus and knitting for tall men is a labour of love).

I thought I might turn him into a great artist if I knitted him one like Andrews! If not an artist, I might encourage his carpentry efforts which are getting more professional and splendid by the cupboard. Nick likes to wear a warm sweater when he is working in his shed as it can be a bit cool in there. He often expresses frustration at the lack of length of his RTW jumpers, including the sleeves, and believes that wool always shrinks (hmm.) He let me measure him this weekend. For future reference I found he would need a width of 42″, length from back neck of 27″, length from underarm to hem of 18″ and a sleeve of 24″. The nice thing about this rather chunky yarn is that it can be knitted on 6-7mm needles which would mean I could create the comparatively huge amount of fabric relatively quickly. However I will need to buy quite a lot more yarn, and it  won’t be exactly the same shade, I don’t personally think this matters much. (Actually when trying the jumper on he wanted a further four and a half inches of length! This means the back neck length goes to 31.5″, underarm to hem increases to 22.5″. The sleeve will be tried on later).

Anyway I have been thinking of another Knit A Long as I can explain this pattern to you with ease. You will find it in Knit One Knit All, but the book is rather expensive and I would not recommend it. Too many of the items in there are clever without being very nice, in my opinion. If you like rustic 1980s styling then you may love it, and there are some cool slipper and glove patterns, but the tops are ugly is you ask me. Also I have made a few modifications to the NZ that I could share with you as we go along. At the moment I have an issue with how best to do the short rows that create the very nice shaping across the yoke. I can’t help create a sort of lacey effect. I quite like it but I am not sure it is what everyone wants.

So I am going to do a third one, and then if there is any interest I could organise another knit along (the last one was lots of fun and soon I will show you the second round of results), maybe in November so one of these could be a Christmas present for a loved one?


26 Responses

  1. Sue Newth

    Hi Kate, I’m keen. I would like to make a long sleeved looser version and slightly longer but am not at all experienced in the method of knitting just with measurements and not much else. Kind regards Sue

  2. Sue

    I really like this jumper and would definitely be up for another KAL. I think I even have the wool! I am currently knitting a jumper with Mark with two different shades and find that if I do two rows with one shade and two rows with the other, it evens out the colours a bit. If it doesn’t even them out, then I have gentle stripes!

    • fabrickated

      It is great fun knitting along with you Sue, and thrilled you have the right yarn at the ready. Looking forward to seeing Mark’s jumper. I bought additional yarn to make the sweater for Nick and the colour is quite different. I am hoping that doing the body in one shade (icy grey) and the yoke and sleeves in the other (slightly browner and warmer grey) will look just fine, but maybe gentle stripes would have been a whole lot better!

  3. Jenny Lark

    There is a Craftsy class called ‘Short Rows’ with Carol Feller which I believe I got as a free class which talks about 4 different techniques and helps to hide those wraps. I love short rows as you can achieve such lovely shaping. I am learning Brioche at the moment, or trying to, as I broke my arm 6 weeks ago and everything has been on hold. Thank goodness for wonderful husbands, well just the one. You are doing so well with your knitting; it’s hard to believe you have been doing it for such a short time.

    • fabrickated

      Thanks Jenny. I shall have a look for the craftsy course. Sorry to hear about your broken arm. I broke mine a few years ago and it was a terrific nuisance. Hope it heals well very soon.

  4. Verona Woodhouse

    Do a search for ‘German short rows’ – very easy and an amazingly tidy effect compared with some of the faffy methods

    • SJ Kurtz

      Thanks. “german short rows” is very helpful. I stopped knitting because of CTS, but I still have a trove of this one yarn that I love and just….I want to touch it every day, and that’s what makes knitting a wonderful thing.

    • fabrickated

      I did German short rows on my Ankestrick jumpers – I just didn’t know they were called German short rows. So I will try that approach on Nick’s sweater and report back!

  5. felicia

    I can’t participate in this KAL right now, as I have a different kind of sweater in mind for my next project. But I’m definitely interested in reading along.

  6. Verity

    I’ve been so impressed with your knitting and astonished by the number of sweaters you manage to complete. This post included information that made me feel less incompetent: you included your husband’s measurements and wrote that “knitting for tall men is a labor of love.” Apparently I am taller than your husband or prefer longer sweaters as those measurements are a bit short for me. At last I understood that you must be very petite and therefore knit half as many stitches to complete a sweater. This in no way diminishes my admiration for your abilities.
    Several people have mentioned short row information that might help with the lacy issue you’re having. Purl Soho’s site has a nice tutorial complete with pictures.
    I was interested to read that you thought Betsy trimmed the sweater with I-cord, I was thinking she knit it in as she knit the sweater (and wanted to know the technique she used).

    • fabrickated

      Thank you for your very kind remarks about my knitting achievements. I think I am just the kind of person who get enthusiastic and a little bit obsessive!

      Nick is just over 6′ tall Verity. I am about 5′ 5″ and probably a UK 8 in tops. I also like quite a slim fit so you are right my sweaters are quite small, relatively.

  7. Maggie

    I just got back to my sweater from the last KAL. I have one sleeve and now a few inches of body. I’m hoping to be monogamous with this one until it is done.

  8. Helen

    The colours of these two sweaters are lovely on you.
    I’ve started knitting a jumper for my daughter, a hat and scarf for son and have another EZ patterned yoke in mind but I’ll be up for another KAL!

  9. Michelle

    I’ve admired your NZ sweaters, and I really enjoyed the first knit-along, so I think I may just have to join in again! I’ve just finished the body tube on my second EZ yoke sweater (and experimented with a bit of shaping) and will start magic looping the sleeves this evening so hopefully it will be completed in time for a new knitting project in November. I think I may look into the remnant sets from Colourmart for ideas.

    • fabrickated

      So exciting Michelle. A second EZ yoked sweater – I have three and want another one too. You have to be quick with the colourmart sets – join the mailing list. Also they list on their site a day before the email – search by new today.

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