Introduction to my new project
I mentioned in my previous post that I was done with Elizabeth Zimmermann seamless sweaters for a while. I want to learn something new. And I came across this.
I have started to have a go at this lovely, loose, sweat-shirt type jumper. It appealed to me as an Autumn project, and had two interesting features – it is knitted from the top down, and although it is in one piece it has seams at the side and along the sleeves, making it quite a different proposition to the sweaters I have been knitting influenced by dear Elizabeth Zimmermann.
These top down jumpers are a slightly more modern proposition than the traditional way of knitting a sweater – knitted from the bottom up and in pieces (back, front, two sleeves). Mrs Z doesn’t like top down for some reason, but I have found it interesting and enjoyable. The key advantage of this top down method over the Zimmermann approach is that you shape the back neck and overall neckline by knitting back and forth to create a wedge shape, before progressing to knitting in the round, meaning you don’t have to do the short rows as we did with the EZ sweaters.
I bought merino yarn in “heavy DK” from Colourmart yarns. It is lovely yarn and I bought 450grms in the sale. I made a few pairs of slippers by using the yarn double. I actually only just had enough for left for the jumper, so all the way through I was thinking – I can always unravel my slippers if I need to!
This particular pattern has seaming to the sleeves and sides – one long seam on each side, with a slight detour for the underarm. The seams provide structure, and although I was tempted to go seamless which I can see is very possible, I stuck to the pattern on this occasion.
I don’t love using a pattern. It means carrying a piece of paper around, and counting stitches and rows and doing what you are told rather than feeling empowered. Nevertheless, as a learner, I gave it a go. I still can’t “read” a knitting pattern and understand it in the way that I can with sewing, so I have to do a toile. I have to actually knit something up in order to understand how it works in terms of method and shaping.
So I have done a toile. But before I did the toile I made a mistake.
The mistake was not to do a swatch. How daft! I have got over-confident with the Zimmermann method and know how many stitches I need in the yarns that I use and, reader, I winged it. I used a 4.25mm circular needle with my “heavy DK” merino from Colourmart. But this created fabric that was too firm. I only worked this out once I had completed the whole yoke and the front, including the ribbing. It was too dense, and small and blurgh. The other thing I did wrong was the little V at the neck with a travelling stitch. I didn’t know what a travelling stitch was and I didn’t follow the instructions correctly and so right at the CF I had a set of nasty stitches that didn’t work properly. So I pulled it all out and started again.
Second time around I choose 5mm needles and the size magically came good. Also I was able to more or less do the neck triangle right. Not perfect, but I don’t know yet how to correct something like this. I can pick up a dropped stitch, or a sort out a mistake in the ribbing by going down a few rows in just one column. But I couldn’t see the problem with the V until it was too late. So I will ignore it this time and put it right on my second sweater which I will start once this one is finished.
If you like the look of this sweater, designed by Alexandra Tavel, the pattern is free (with ads) or available to buy from Two of Wands.
Thank you Alexandra for your kindness in providing this pattern free of charge. I am learning so much from knitting in a new way, for me. I hope to have it finished by next weekend….