Last July I organised a Knit A Long! It was a crazy idea really as I was still very new to knitting and I hardly knew what was involved. But I loved this particular jumper and I was keen to show others how beautifully simple it was to make one.
About 12 of us got involved all over the world – some very experienced knitters, and some almost complete beginners. And every week for six weeks I explained how to make the jumper, so that in six weeks most of us had a nice, wearable sweater. And some took a little bit longer. And quite a few went on to do another one.
I have since raised the possibility of creating an Elizabeth Zimmermann New Zealand sweater which has a very nice construction. The body is knitted in stocking stitch in the round, then the work divides and the upper part is knitted in garter stitch. The sleeves are created by picking up stitches and I knitted them using the magic loop method. I used Kitchener stitch for the shoulders, and there are some short rows involved that I have not perfected yet, but I am improving.
I have made this up as a sleeveless sweater too, and it worked out well. But when I tried it for my husband in a chunky yarn I was disappointed with it, so I pulled it out and went for the seamless raglan.
Let me make the case for the seamless raglan so you can think about joining in with another cheeky Knit A Long. Here is the inspiration photograph supplied by Elizabeth.
To be frank, although she is great knitter, this doesn’t do anything for me. In fact I only tried it because I wanted to do a striped sweater. All my seamless raglans have been striped. I have two good reasons for doing a striped sweater.
- Firstly why knit a plain sweater, say in red, when the market place can supply millions of plain red tops? Stripes of different reds, or combining two or three colours are so much more interesting. And individual. And you can use up left over yarn or buy odd balls in charity shops and make something sensational. Here are a couple of my striped raglans. I particularly like the way the stripes sort of go a bit square at the shoulders. The yellow stripe and the blue one give a very nice bit of definition I think.
2. The method of decreasing creates a false “seam” on the raglan line. While I would not generally make a raglan as it is not my best shape in a tailored garment, with this method the shoulder is very soft and flattering. The sleeve is made in the same way as with the yoke sweater and the fake seam is not nobbly or annoying. There is some jiggery pockery in shaping the neckline, and if I might suggest it I think mine looks a lot nicer with a slight boat-shaped neck rather than the tiny neck hole which looks itchy and tight to me on the original.
So, arrogant beginner that I am, I believe I have taken a very wonderful idea from Mrs Zimmermann and improved it. I feel sure she would be entirely happy with my changes as she was a hugely community minded knitter who encouraged us to do our own thing.
Finally I know knitting in summer (UK centric that I am) is a bit crazy, but that means you have a jumper ready for autumn. Also these are little jumpers, the sort of thing I would wear in summer, as I have been doing. These shots are from Me Made May as it happens. They are nice over underwear or a slip, but of course you can wear a T-shirt or shirt underneath. I like a long-sleeved T so there is another layer of colour coming out from the very slightly too short sleeves.
Anyone up for a EZ Raglan KAL? I want a green one (striped). I won’t judge if you want a plain one. Or a little neck hole!
I would propose to start in June.
I love the idea of another KAL! I also already have the yarn for this as I have been planning an ombre jumper for a while now. Only there is another project I want to do first and is very unlikely I’m going to finish it in time to join you in parallel. This might be a delayed KAL for me 😉
I know you have lots to make up already G, but you need some stripey jumpers. Reds and greens would be nice on you!
You’re such a tempress Kate! 😉
I’d love to join in. I have been a big fan of Elizabeth Zimmerman for years and despite reading her books, I have not yet attempted to knit with her (a written pattern is a security blanket for me). I am just finishing up a knitted jumper and this is quite serendipitous. Looking forward to it :-). Hila
Hello Hila! You are already a great knitter so you will eat up EZ for breakfast. I will hold your hand but I think one go and you won’t look back.
Sign me up. This is exactly what I’ve been looking for. Your boatish neckline will work well for me, in fact I think it is brilliant!
Whoop! Great news Nadine. I think this neckline will suit most people. I can suggest how to do a polo/turtle neck if anyone wants one. But this is nice and open and gives options.
I’d love to join in. I have just been thinking about a knitted cotton top for summer, having moved an old favourite to sunbathing and gardening duties. Is there a link to the book/pattern anywhere? I’m a very slow knitter, with far too many sewing etc. projects … but I will give it a go.
Great news Carole! There is a book Knitting without Tears. It is a great book and is only about £5 on amazon but you don’t need it for the KAL. I will hold your hand and can respond to any queries via the blog.
I really enjoyed your first KAL. Knitting without a written pattern proved quite liberating and I’m now hooked. I’m up for another although I may have to do a bit of a catch-up as there’s a backlog of projects piling up. Also I’m intrigued with the ‘jiggery pockery neckline’!
Oh Michelle – it would so nice to have you along again. The neckline is not difficult. Just some short rows and finishing before the neck is throttled!
I quite think I might like to join in. I’ve already been playing with left over yarn for a stripey sweater but not made any decisions, so a KAL might be just the thing for me.
It would be so nice to have you involved this time Chris. It is very satisfying to use up the left overs.
I shall attempt to join in although I’m in the middle of a really slow project atm. I would much rather knit in a community though so shall fossick in the stash for appropriate wool. Definitely stripes!
That would be awesome Sue. I will be fascinated by your choices and it will be great to have you involved again….
Oh, go on, twist my arm….
I’ve just finished a HUGE jumper for the husband which somehow has come out even bigger than I planned for (oh how annoying to waste that knitting time!)
He he… I was hoping to tempt you Kerry. And what a shame about all that work and it is not the right size. I admit I am still flummoxed by male sizing.
On short rows, do a search on ‘German short rows’. There are lots of videos and, I think, a knitty article. These are really invisible, giving a really professional finish and are much easier than some of the very faffy methods around
Yes – it is the German short row that finally did the trick for me. And I think it was you who advised me to try it Verona. Thank you!
I would love to try this – I love the neckline and I love the possibilities! Although I do not consider myself a beginner, I am a very simple knitter ready to move beyond scarves, watch caps, mittens and baby blankets!
You have the right name for a Zimmermann sweater.
I’m in but I may struggle to keep up, work etc, I love knitting together too. Kate you are bringing the world together with knitting. X
Thanks Karen, for the sweetest sentiments. I look forward to seeing another lovely sweater from you.
Count me in. I’m not making a large project that could scupper me this time so this would be good. I think EZ would approve of your neckline change – and I know it would suit me better than a close circular neck.
Whoo Hooo! I am so pleased to read this Kim. It is such a nice, easy going project. I hope EZ would like my neck line. I am not one who likes wool around the face.
I think I would love to give this a go!
Cynthia cgadkins on instagram
Hi Cynthia – great news. Very glad to have such a talented knitter on the team….
I’d love to make a striped raglan sweater, despite Knitting forvyears I have trouble with fit. Think it would be fun to do together.
Hurray! Very good news. Perhaps you can tell us about your fit issues. Last year everyone cracked them, eg accommodating larger hips, creating a large size, getting a closer “urban” fit versus a voluminous, looser fit. Just share your issues Susan and the world will offer help.