Elizabeth Zimmermann Seamless Raglan Knit-along #3 – selecting the right length

This week was my Mum’s 90th birthday, so the whole family went to Lancashire to celebrate with her. She had 60 or so friends and relatives round and thankfully used a caterer so the food was fantastic with no washing up.

Margaret Barlow
Great Grandma on her 90th birthday

It’s been a busy week!

I managed to get quite a lot of knitting done on the long car journeys, although I had to do two more pairs of slippers too. I wish I had seen Viliene’s advice to knit the ribbing in the round first. That is such a cool idea. I bought the black and light pink yarn in the Shelter shop so these were my cheapest make (about 50p). (Can you tell I like pink?)

I also watched one football match over the weekend which was Portugal v Spain. I don’t really like football, but it was a fantastic match, or as our friend Gordon Taylor put it (at Mum’s birthday party) “Football at its best”. Yes.

Discussing football with an expert

So how is everyone doing with the knit-along. Do tell! I will share an old post which should help at this point. It covers colours (for the colourful yoke sweater) but it covers making the body tube. Try to finish that this week. The only major decision you have at this point is the length you want.

Where could it end?

One thing to bear in mind is the length of your upper body compared to your lower body, with the waist being evenly placed in a “balanced” body. Many people are longer in the top or bottom half. If you are longer in the legs you may want a longer top than if you are relatively long waisted. The hemline will generally create a strong horizontal across your figure so choose where you end it carefully. Also think about your stripes. Do you want a strong, deeper stripe at the base of your sweater or something more subtle.

Cropped is usually a few inches above the waist. These looks were very popular in the 1980s where wide was a fashion trend. But there is something a bit silly about a sweater that leaves a gap of tummy on show. If your abs are extraordinary why not? But probably better on that holiday or festival, and maybe in a lighter material than wool. Cropped can look good over a high waisted skirt or trousers.

Cropped jumper

Waist length sweaters can be very pretty, just ending on the waist of your skirt or trousers. I wear these a fair amount, but usually with a tucked in long sleeved T-shirt underneath.

Waist length jersey

The high hip (about 4″ down from the waist) is my preferred length. It keep the eye above the fullest part of my body (hips) and emphasises my waist, while being comfortable and practical. Also there is not too much fabric flapping around. But I like a fairly close fit and lots of people like their sweaters baggy, which I completely get!

High hip hem

The hip line (about 8″ down from the waist) is the next place many people finish their sweater. An ideal spot if your hips are on the slim side.

Hip line

Thigh length. Another 1980s throw back, or perhaps a 1930s look. I know quite a few people who choose this length to “hide” or cover their bum. I am not sure it works. It can emphasise the bottom as the hem comes in underneath, especially if the legs are relatively short. But there is always something rather romantic about the boyfriend jersey look. Too big, sloppy, cosy and enveloping, very casual and outdoorsy. There is definitely a place for this look.

Thigh length sweater (dress)

So keep on knitting, round and round, using that lovely knit all day stocking stitch. Until as Mrs Z would say you are “sick of it”. I think that is me. This time my boredom threshold was about 17″.

Maybe your eyes are hurting from all these stripes…

Try to get to the same stage by next Saturday, when we will do our sleeves. Hope the pace is good for you all.

There are a group of us on Instagram if you look at our hashtag #ezraglanKAL – most are doing stripes and there are some wonderful colour combinations out there. I am beginning to wish I had two on the go!

Do tell us how you are getting on, ask any questions, or share your learning. Many thanks Ladies!

26 Responses

  1. Mags

    Agreed, your mum looks beautiful. My progress is pathetic. Perhaps a mistake going with the bebycashmero as it’s a slow knit! I’m still on the rib.

    • fabrickated

      Sorry to hear this Mags. Once you have the ribbing done it is on to automatic pilot. Maybe you can get the bodice done in a week. If not you can catch up I am sure. You are a quick and competent knitter. I look forward to seeing the finished jersey.

  2. Celtic mum

    My pullover is coming along “tickety boo”, just had a brain wave, how sweet would it be to make a cardigan as well if I didn’t make a tube.

  3. Stephanie

    I’m a bit late in joining the party as it has taken some time to gather the assorted wool colours together – we might produce the sheep but the wool is harder to find. Anyway nearly finished the rib. At the current rate of progress not sure I will be ready for the sleeves next weekend. After a 22-year knitting hiatus I am a bit slow.

    • fabrickated

      Ha ha. Oh don’t worry. Your knitting muscles must be feeling a bit stiff! I should think you will make good progress now. It is just a matter of going round and round and changing colour when you feel like it. As Helene noted the colour changes keep it from getting boring and I am sure you will find it grows quite quickly. Don’t worry about being a week or two behind – there is lots of time to catch up at the end. Well done for getting this far Stephanie.

  4. Karen

    Making progress but it’s slow! Rib plus two inches. Even if Nick came round & fed us & did a bit of a clear up I will still be struggling to complete the body this week. I was using 5mm needles for the last KAL, 3mm this time and finer wool. I’m also a slow knitter. I didn’t think the along part of KAL, through, more like dragging along, behind. KDALB! x

    • fabrickated

      KDALB!! Oh you are funny. I am sorry I can’t send him around!! He is doing well this weekend with a huge batch of bread and the house is spotless apart from my room… I am trying to make a quick dress, but I am also thinking of starting another EZRaglan in two ply and fine needles (don’t know what size – they are Chinese ones..).

  5. Chris - makeandwear

    What a great age to celebrate, your mum looks very happy in that picture! I’m finally getting to start on my sweater, as I’m keeping my Dad, who’s in his 70’s, company and getting some knitting done (in between making cups of tea!).

    • fabrickated

      It is indeed Chris, and she is doing very well. She is not really able to walk and relies on her carers but she is happy in her own home and is mostly all there mentally, so that is a great blessing. She had lots of fun (and champagne) at her birthday and it was so nice to see all our friends and relatives in one place! Nice to be able to knit with your Dad.

      • Chris - makeandwear

        I hope we all get to 90 and still be having champagne too! My Dad doesn’t always feel up to going too far from home, so visiting means sitting around alot – which is perfect for knitting!

  6. Dagmar

    I really enjoyed your explanation of sweater length proportions – so clear and informative although I have never quite thought along those lines. Any time I have knit something (actually quite often, but then again, not frequently if you only count completed items as I seem to get stuck in the finishing stages.), I have tended to slavishly follow the instructions as a general lack of confidence in my knitting ability has not permitted me to strike out alone. I think I would like the high hip length best as it fits neatly under blazers and jackets. I can’t get your elegant yellow and grey striped jumper/sweater out of my mind and almost feel tempted to to look at my collection of yarn to see what I could come up with although I would never be able to catch up. Perhaps your next knit along will be in the cards for me. Thanks for the inspiration!

    BTW, I received my copy of your book and I have to tell you how beautiful it is. The photos and overall design elements are really inspiring for me and I can’t wait to sit down and read it.

    • fabrickated

      High hip is definitely my preferred length for the reasons you state Dagmar. But there is often a trend or a fashion we need to be aware of so we can choose to respond or not.

      You can still catch up if you like. I have started a second one this weekend in solidarity with the slow knitters and those choosing finer yarn. There is always a second chance. But I hope to run another KAL next summer because it is such fun and so engaging!

      I am grateful for your sweet feedback on the book. Perhaps when you have read it you might leave a review on the products page. K x

  7. snewth

    Slow progress only about 5 inches but am sticking at it. 200 stitches and I now have “the book” knitting without tears, so onward and upward as fast as I can !!. 🙂

  8. Michele Swanson

    Hi Everyone – although the book is Knitting Without Tears – there were almost some last Wed when I discovered I had twisted my tube when I was about five inches along! It has taken me to Sunday evening to get back to where I was, but now I am on my way. I did not do ribbing this time – I hope that will be ok. I did enjoy the examples of the different lengths. My plan for this sweater is to match one that I currently love, it’s about fourteen inches to the underarm. And, since choosing my yarn I have found so many fun combinations of colours and types of stripes that I don’t think I could ever knit a plain, one colour sweater again!

    P.S. How lovely that you still have your mum, she looks wonderful!

    • fabrickated

      Thank you so much Michelle. My first tubular sweater was also twisted. I nearly wept too! Mrs Z suggests cutting it (although 5″ is alot) and stitching the lower part together and then carrying on. Glad you are enjoying the knitting.

  9. Yvonne

    Hmmm, I’m not an Instagram user, is there a way to access without creating an account? Well I have the numbers worked out, gathered the yarn, too many possibilities are causing me grief, haven’t started, maybe this evening.

    • fabrickated

      I think you can look at Instagram without having an account You can also create a private account I think but no one would be able to see your pics although you can see theirs. Maybe you could just have an account for this project and then delete at the end? I am reluctant to reproduce other people’s photos without their permission.

  10. Martha Ann Murray

    Kate, I emailed you but it didn’t go through – I sent to Kate@fabrikated.com – I wante information about a black yoked sweater I saw you wearing – lovely yoke design! Will go back and make sure I had your address right

  11. Kim Hood

    I’m working backwards (normal for me ?) and my sleeves are completed but I’ve just started the body. The Management laughs every time he looks at the sleeves. I can’t imagine why…..

    • fabrickated

      Hi Kim – it makes perfect sense to the sleeves first. Whenever I do sleeves they look like the start of leggings or footless tights. I have a bit of a desire to make some at some point, and stripy is a nice way to go…

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