(sorry about my management of posts this weekend – post on colour coming on Tuesday)
Since I last wrote about a cardigan, I made another EZ yoked sweater. Partly I was waiting for the Knit along knitters to finish their Elizabeth Zimmermann sweaters. I am now waiting for a second batch so I can show what we have all done…
My cardigan is finally finished and I love it so much I have decided to give it it’s own blog post. I will include some better photos once I have the next round up.
You may remember that making a cardigan can be done in pieces or one piece, like my Cyrene jacket. Or it can be made in the round like a jumper and then it is sliced down the middle when all is said and done. I wanted to do it this way but I was pretty scared. The idea of cutting knitting was freaking me out.
Then I hummed and harred about what to do with the yoke – plain, coloured or patterned.
Having done three colourwork versions of the Elizabeth Zimmermann colourful yoke jumper I was keen to try something different.
I saw this wall when I was in London Bridge and I thought – how interesting. One of these end on bricks would be a mistake. A whole series of them creates an interesting pattern. And of course the same is true of knitting. One purl stitch in the middle of a plain jersey of stocking stitch stands out like a sore thumb. But arrange them in a pretty pattern and you can get a stunning effect. It was Aida from Athens that showed me how to do this when she visited London recently.
I was disappointed with my efforts which, compared to the colour work; it all lacked drama. Sue Stoney suggested I get a book of vintage patterns and it was tempting. But three IG people suggested bobbles! Or popcorn stitch if you are American. Brilliant idea. Oh I do love asking for suggestion on the blog and on IG – so exciting and rewarding. I don’t even know most of them and here they are telling me what to knit, and I obey and love it. Happy days.
So I learnt how to do bobles from the internet, and while they are not perfectly made, nor aligned they are big and rumbustious and dramatic and I have such pleasure is seeing them sitting proudly on my jumper. For it is still a jumper until it is made into a cardigan.
Becoming a cardigan
I read all I had by Mrs Zimmermann. But she doesn’t have a “chapter on cardis”. She covers button holes, and there is a section on borders in Knitting without tears. There is information on how to cut your knitting apart for an opening. But she didn’t give me enough to confidently tackle it. I found I needed to read the five part steeking series by Kate Davies.
Kate Davies likes to do a crocheted edge before cutting, then cut, then pick up stitches. She realises that many are scared of a) cutting and b) what happens to the cut edge – will it unravel? I worry about these factors, but not so much. For me the main worry was making the picked up stitches look really neat and deliberate and not wonky and very home made (it is my first cardigan, remember? Maybe it’s ok to look a bit shabby!)
I wondered what stitch to use for the button bands – the tradition seems to be ribbing – either parallel with the hems and neckline, or at right angles to it. Moss stitch is nice and always appropriate where ribbing is suggested (Helene used it on her yoke sweater to great effect). My Cyrene jacket has moss stitch borders and very pretty they are too. Mrs Zimmermann often promotes garter stitch which is nice and stable and fairly easy to do. She has a section on making mitred edges. I also consulted Karen Templer who explained the difference between the picked up button band as suggested by EZ and the vertical seamed band, where a narrow strip is knitted and then sewn on.
Worrying about how hard it was paralysed my efforts for weeks. And when I wrote my knitting round up I jolted myself to act. I committed to cut!. Along the way I devised a steeking method that suited me far better than the complicated suggestions out there.
Steeking for simpletons and beginners
You will have knitted a column of extra stitches at the CF of your jumper. I included just four. Others say five or seven. I used the lemon yarn to mark the CF. I machine stitched the two middle columns of knitting stitches, just in case, and then picked up 80 per cent of the stitches to create the button band (advised by Zimmermann). In retrospect I would say 70 per cent is sufficient. Also (as you can see) I did not get nice square edges at the top and bottom. This would need more care next time. On the left you will see I have already knitted the button band and on the right I am about to start.
The button holes look a bit messy too. I used the Zimmermann method of decreasing two stitches and then M2 on the next row. I did this every 13th row so the button holes were evenly spaced, putting one at the neck and one at the hem.
Once the bands were knitted I cut along the dotted line. The stitches held together OK, helped by the sewing machine stitch. I overstitched the edge and it looks neat. I washed it, and pressed it and it seems to be fine. The second picture shows that the front hem is a bit sloping but it improved when I washed it.I found some buttons in my collection and stitched them on to match the button holes.
Here it is on.