The Elizabeth Zimmermann Wishbone sweater

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Colour Photograph from Knitter’s Almanac

Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knitter’s Almanac  gives the knitter a project a month, for a year. I wouldn’t recommend most of the projects – knitted Christmas decorations, polo shirts and tights for babies? I do’t think so. However I really liked the look of the jumper that sits at the bottom (centre) – a funnel-necked, raglan-type, hemmed sweater. I liked even more that this was a quick knit. It is the December project and the chapter is called “Hurry-up Last-Minute Sweater” which is a bit twee. I can certainly knit a jumper in a month and so this didn’t seem anything special. But I had a go at it and I like the design very much. 

Here it is in delectable black and white. The thing I don’t love about the sweater is that I think the sleeves are a bit baggy. What is really nice, and not that obvious from the photo is that the shoulders are created by decreases along the shoulder line. The funnel neck is nice too.

I started knitting at the beginning of December and finished it in about ten hours. I used some heavy, thick, slightly glossy viscose yarn I got from Colourmart, and I used it double. It had tremendous definition and you can see that one of my stitches in the inverted V yoke is a bit uneven. I have learnt my lesson and would go slow on this part of the journey. 

As a change, for me, I made this one long – hip length. I thought the colour lent itself to a fisherman’s jersey look which necessitated a roomy look. In general I go for a slimmer fit, but I have enjoyed wearing this jumper alot, including over other jumpers. It works well with my Uniform suit which I wore for whole of December – so something like two and a half month (washing the trousers ever week). The ribs of hand knits go so well with the corduroy whales. 

Fabrickated in Wishbone sweater
The Wishbone Sweater

I made it up exactly as specified, but I didn’t do hems at the base or cuffs. I just left them as they were. It rolls a bit at the hem but the sleeves are pretty stable. 

Zimmermann says you cannot make this sweater in a smaller gauge, and I am not sure I would want to. But I think I might like to make a narrower sleeve. On the other hand it operates like a true raglan (compared to her seamless Raglan pattern which is just an adaptation of a yoke sweater. A Raglan is designed with a much more comfortable fit, so it can be worn (usually as a jacket) over something else. So something to bear in mind if you are thinking of making this jumper. 

I won’t give instructions on how to make this, but as you can see it is exactly the same as for the seamless sweaters we have made before – the colourful yoke sweater and the seamless raglan. When you join the sleeves and body you decrease at the body side to create the inverted V. Once the body stitches together (front and back) equal what you have on one sleeve you decrease from the middle of the sleeve (on the shoulder line). Might be a nice one for a knitalong next year.

Mum with the scarf I made her, and me in the dressing gown she gave me

Anyway I hope you had a lovely Christmas break. We spent it with my Mum and some of the family. On New Year’s Eve I imagine I will be having an early night. But Happy New Year to all my friends!

16 Responses

    • fabrickated

      I did notice the similarity Indigo Tiger and note Helene’s comments too. I think a hack would be alot of fun actually. The lines are very nice and I think the shoulder detail is particularly sweet. It is fun to copy knitting patterns (and sewing patterns too)! Best wishes for the new year.

  1. Eliza Harper

    Absolutely beautiful sweater! I just found your blog and love your makes 🙂
    As a true BEGINNER (I can crochet but very minimal knitting experience), I would love to join a KAL in the new year. I like the idea of having a group of seasoned knitters as a support network while keeping me on task and committed to finishing the project.

    • fabrickated

      Hello Eliza – so nice to hear from you and thank you for following the blog, and for commenting. It means so much that people engage with what I am doing, and I get so inspired by everyone else too. I have only been knitting garments for a very short time, but I learn from every thing I do and it is alot of fun. I hope you persevere and I will definitely do a KAL later this year. My very best wishes to you.

  2. Hélène

    It is true that it has lots of similarities with KDD’s Carbeth and when she presented her pattern, someone commented on her blog : « It seems to be built on the same principle as Elizabeth Zimmermann’s “Hurry Up Sweater” from her first version of the “Knitting Workshop”. (…) »

    And here’s what she replied : « Well, it is and it isn’t… the shaping / ratio of the EZ construction you mention is rather different and results in a totally different shoulder / neck. Both are, however, modified raglans. Feel free to improvise! » Source :

    I made both the Carbeth cardi and jumper and love them. You can check them out on my IG gallery if you fancy. My user’s name is hportemanteau.

    This said, I like your slimmer version Kate. Wishing you a wonderful year full of new challenges and creativity!

  3. Blanca

    That is a great jumper in white, esp. like the double stranding. It looks very good on you, and that is a super cozy bathrobe. Mum gave you a perfect gift and she is a lovely lady, and makes a beautiful model.

    Happy new year.

    • fabrickated

      Thanks so much for your very kind thought Blanca. My dressing gown has great big pom pom “ears” – feels a bit ludicrous to be honest, but hey it is warm and snuggly! Happy New Year to you.


    I love this style – simple but effective.
    Still struggling with the stripey jumper knit along (LOL) but nearly finished….some day I might actually knit as quick as you.
    Happy New Year Kate . Thanks for all the inspiration this year.

    • fabrickated

      Thanks Ruth. I hope you finish that stripey jumper one day – they are lots of fun. Happy New Year to you too – I am always inspired by your amazing productivity and attention to detail – keep on blogging!

  5. Catherine

    Your sweater looks great! I like how you lengthened it. I’m wondering about the gauge comment. What gauge does she recommend? Is it supposed to be knit in a bulky wool or would a worsted or sport weight be ok for this design?

    • fabrickated

      She suggests a yarn that gives 2.5 stitches to the inch, so only bulky or super bulky. She says don’t even think about using a finer yarn – it doesn’t work.

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