Is your Elizabeth Zimmermann sweater nearly finished?
I am pleased to say I got mine done, but was easily beaten by Fadanista Sue. What a wonderful colour scheme she has chosen! Deep, warm colours. So vibrant and fun and just what I had hoped we might achieve. Well done for coming in first and setting the bar high Sue. I hope I can get a model pic from you soon.
I have been following what everyone has been doing via Instagram (although I know not everyone is on there). We have had a lot of fun using up small bits of yarn. We have enjoyed choosing colours and seeing how they work together – being a textile artist rather than buying someone else’s colour choice (eg a RTW item, or variegated yarn). Making your own textiles is such a wonderful and freeing experience. Putting a palette together that suits your colouring and personality is really satisfying. Sue S has chosen a great palette here, although I know she frogged it more than once in a fruitful search for an interesting and lively style. Sue N from New Zealand started with a lot of warm yellows and browns but found the mix unsuitable, so added some greys and blues and it has come out beautifully. Michelle experimented with different widths of colour (mainly turquoises) until she was happy with the balance. I think her finished jumper will be wonderful too. So hopefully as well as going off piste and knitting without a pattern, the Elizabeth Zimmermann way, we have all gained a new sense of creating our own fabric, in our personal colour scheme. I can’t wait to see all those beauties, modelled by their makers.
Let’s cover what needs to be done to finish your jumper . Once you have completed enough short rows to create the kind of shaped neckline you wish for then you need to apply the border of your choice at the neck. I chose the old 1×1 ribbing favourite, but I noticed Sue used a garter stitch finish (although I have not seen her EZRaglan being modelled yet). Others have gone for moss stitch or possibly a 2×2 rib. Now if you want a little more build up at the back you can do it on the border, adding a couple of short rows where you need it – maybe from the mid-sleeve point or further towards the back. Certainly with ribbing this is very easy to do, again using that lovely German short row technique.
On my green sweater I did ribbing at the start of the bodice and sleeves so all I had to do at the end was some ribbing at the neck.
The other very nice finish is of course the hem, although I have found this less good at the neck line. But it can be done. But you can use different borders of course and I have done hems at the cuff and at the hip, and then done ribbing at the neck. I will link to how to do the hemming as it is a very nice technique.
Once you have your borders done all you have to do is to sew up your sweater at the underarm and then weave in your ends.
Sewing up the underams
The underarms are joined with Kitchener stitch. i always go back to the same tutorial from Craftsy. I seem (excuse the pun) unable to do this stitch without the instructions. Every time I do the underarms this way I get a little better, but I struggled a bit with this sweater. I had to pull one out and do it again. You do have to concentrate and keep it nice and clean. However, done well, it is lovely and discrete.
Finishing the sweater
And finally weaving in the ends. This is the down side of stripes! The payback for all the fun we had as we stripe’d away.
How do you do it? I just get a needle and put the TV on, and do the best I can to make the ends disappear on the inside of the bodice and sleeves. It is a bit of a bore. To be honest apart from the ones near the cuffs and hem you don’t have to do every single one, because no one will ever know. But then I am a bit of a naughty bodger and many of my dressmaking adventures have been worn before they are truly finished. Luckily we have Helene knitting along with us and she is old-school, and correct and makes the most beautiful things properly, by the book and to an extremely high standard. So she may have some better advice.
And finally there is the soaking and blocking and of course you know I don’t bother. I just put the jumper on and wear it as many times as I can before the careful first wash (in a washing machine I am afraid). There is lots of advice on blocking and soaking but I haven’t got round to trying it yet. Again I shall let someone more experienced than I guide you there.
Finally I will leave you with a photo of my efforts but I don’t want to be alone out here. It was cool in the Cotswolds on Friday evening and I was glad to have a jumper to put on.
As soon as you finish please send me a photograph. I will do a final post (or two) with your pictures over the next week or two.