It’s June already. Lovely summer weather in the UK makes thinking of a knitted sweater a little challenging. But you know it won’t last.
Who is in?
As Karen wrote “Bringing the world together through knitting”. What a nice thought as we gather to knit the same thing, in completely different styles, colours and sizes. I am pretty sure we have people in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and UK – probably other places. So far the following knitters (four joined me last year) have said they are keen:
- Michelle R
- Michelle S
- Sue S
- Susan W
Maybe some will drop out, and maybe some will join in, but a dozen or so is a good number. (with Geo and Helene now added!)
If you have already completed one or more Elizabeth Zimmermann seamless colourful yoke sweaters this project is very easy as it follows on in a logical way. If not, don’t worry. It is a straight forward project suitable for a beginner.
If you want to do the yoke instead here are the instructions.
Now I am going to assume that most of us are going for stripes! That is because this jumper just looks lovely in stripes and it is nice and eco-friendly to use up small pieces of yarn. I always feel sad when I waste yarn or silk, feeling the animal has worked hard to create the product and we just throw it away. Silly sentimental feeling for silk worms (who of course usually perish) and sheep who are probably glad to lose all that hot fleece. But I hope there are a couple of knitters who go with plain as it is always interesting to see the variations.
So, from past experience, you need 500 grams of yarn. I find 300 grams more than enough for me, but I am saying 500 as you don’t want to run out and you may want a really big, baggy one, or you may like a large size. I suggest for quick results double-knit yarn and something like 4.5 to 6mm circular needles. You can also do this in 4 ply and smaller needles, or just about any variation. In this Knit-along we all take responsibility for our own gauge (I will hold your hand if this is a new area for you). Buy or borrow the book if you don’t have it, Knitting without tears, by Elizabeth Zimmermann. But if you can’t get hold of one, don’t worry. You can knit this sweater just through following the blog posts. I will be suggesting a more comfortable and modern neckline you might like to try, and I (or a more experienced knitter) will answer questions as we go along.
The yarns I am looking at are the last knockings of some soft DK merino yarn sets I got from Colourmart yarns. I also have some green cashmere in odd bits from the same source. You may already have a colour scheme in mind, but next week we will talk about colours for a striped jumper. I am thinking green this time as it is such a good colour to go with my wardrobe. Now might be a good time to see if you have yarns you can use up. The received wisdom appears to be to stick to one fibre content eg merino, alpaca, cotton, silk, acrylic, or of course a mixture.
If you are itching to get started, work out your gauge. I will reproduce my instructions from the last KAL.
- You can check the gauge by using say 5mm needles and DK yarn; or say 3.5mm needles and 4 ply yarn. This is just a suggestion – you do have to make your own mind up, or use what you have! Cast on say 20 stitches and knit in stocking stitch for say 20 rows. Then measure one inch or 2.5cms across and count how many stitches are included in this length. It is likely to be a whole number and a part of a number eg 4.25. This is the figure you multiply by your chest/bust circumference measurement to find out how many stitches you need to cast on. The width is the most important measurement – depth is not as important as will be measuring the length of the jersey with your tape measure, or against your body, as you go along, rather than counting rows.
- Now you know how many stitches you need to cast on for the body. For me (s8 UK), with my personal knitting tension, I have used 160 stitches for DK and 200 stitches for the four ply. This is just a point of reference – you may be smaller or bigger, and knit tighter or looser. The other casting on you do is for the sleeves and the number of stitches is a percentage of your first cast on number for the body ie 160 or 200 in my case. I will explain this as we go.
I will be back next Saturday to discuss colour and stripes before we begin to knit. Do ask any gauge, sizing or fitting questions at this point – or anything else you would like to know.