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.