Welcome back! We are engaged, internationally, in the creation of unique but matching jerseys!
I hope to have only one more set of instructions and discussion post after this one, which deals with how to make the faux raglan seams on this seamless jersey. I had a few new thoughts about this last week if you want to check back before we start our decreases to bring the jersey – which now consists of a body piece and two sleeves – together. We will be knitting the yoke and shoulder area, before coming in finally to finish the neckline.
I am planning to depart a little from the classic Elizabeth Zimmermann instructions as I feel her neckline treatment is unattractive and dated. But you may well prefer her approach so please do follow her instructions if you want the neckline to come up high and completely enclose the smallest part of the neck.
I will be knitting a much more open necked sweater because I find that a more comfortable finish and I think it is nice to show a little bit of what you are wearing underneath – your collar or your T shirt perhaps.
Have you finished the bodice and sleeves now? Are you ready to go?
At this point I suggest you go back to my earlier post, or to Elizabeth herself in Knitting Without Tears, and read at least one of them.
I find the Zimmermann regulation yoke too long at 1/4 of the body circumference measurement. I suggest 1/6th instead or even 1/7th. In my case my yoke is about 5″. Check it out on your own body. Measure from the bone cup under your Adams apple to the line above the bust where your arms join your body. Or from wherever you want your neckline to end to the place where you want the sleeves to join the body of your jersey.
The reason Mrs Z and I disagree on this is because, compared to her prototype, I want my jersey to be a different shape.
Zimmermann sweaters are relatively voluminous with high tight necklines and cuffs.
I prefer a slightly shrunken, close-fitting, petite looking item.
Maybe yours are somewhere in between. Whatever. The real value of freelancing on your jumper design and construction is that you can please yourselfSo the exact arrangement of sleeve insertion position is down to comfort in wear, style, body type and fashion. You decide.
A good, flexible sleeve, allowing the full range of movement comes up high into the armpit. In certain periods of history it joined the bodice lower down (bat wing or dolman sleeve), but many sweater patterns have quite a lot of ease in the sleeves and I feel these look old fashioned today. When Zimmermann was perfecting her design the join point for the sleeve would be rather lower than mine, going in about two inches below the underarm. You can bring it right up to zero-ease if you prefer.
Personally I don’t like the sloping shoulder associated with a tailored raglan sleeve on me, but the Elizabeth Zimmermann sweater allows a raglan “seamline”, but actually gives a nice close fit over the shoulder.
After you have joined your sleeves and bodice, with the correct number of stitches (8%) left on waste yarn at the underarm (shorthand: 10 stitches is usually enough), you mark the joins at four points, ie both ends of both sleeves with a sleeve marker. Decide which is the back and have a colourful or special marker for the start of the round at the back, left seam.
Now at the first, start of round marker, slip the marker, knit one, knit two together and knit to the next marker. Just before the next marker knit the last two stitches together, slip marker, knit one, knit two together and knit to the next marker. Do the same thing for marker 3 and 4. Finally knit to the start of round marker and just before you reach it knit the last two stitches together, slip marker. Now knit a whole round with no decreases.
Then repeat the above paragraph. Essentially you are decreasing eight stitches every other round. It makes a nice pattern but I find the markers essential. Mrs Z uses a safety pin in the fabric, but I prefer the markers.
Keep up this pattern of decreases until you get to the length of yoke you want. For me that is four to five inches. Now the stitch at the CF is the last one you will do before you put on your border. However the back and sides need to be built up a bit, unless you want a wide boat neck.
The way we are going to do this is to knit until the half way point (middle stitch) on your sleeve. insert a new marker, and knit to the half way point on the other sleeve and use another marker. Between these points we want to do short rows, moving in two or three stitches (you decide) on each turn. I use German or Continental short rows. Mrs Z wraps the yarn which I don’t agree with. I find around six or eight short rows is sufficient to get the look I want.
You can also put more short rows before you get to the neckline – between the two back raglan seams – the odd couple will lengthen the back. I did this on the EZ Raglan I made for my husband. I am not an expert on this, but I used my instinct for shaping and basic understanding of anatomy (the back is longer than the front) to achieve a reasonable outcome.
I may need to add that with stripes your short rows will be more obvious. But somehow, other than indicating which is the back when you are putting it on, this doesn’t seem to matter much.
I always try my jumper on at this point. The best way to do this is to thread a piece of elastic through the live stitches and try on and look in the mirror and measure to your hearts’ delight. You can use two circular needles but you need to be quite careful the stitches don’t slip off. You will soon see where there is a space that needs filling – at the back or sides of your neck – to create the neckline you want. Do any short rows where you want to build it up.
Remember you can also use the border finish (eg ribbing) to include a few additional rows at the back if you need them.
The final stage is to finish the neckline and the sleeve and bodice hems. We will do that next week.