Elizabeth Zimmerman seamless yoke sweater

Kate from fabrickated recently threw out a challenge to participate in a knitalong for the Seamless Yoke Sweater from Elizabeth Zimmerman’s book “Knitting without tears”. As I had the book I decided to join in and had a fossick in my wool stash for something to knit with. What I came up with was a very gaudy yarn bought in Philadelphia many years ago. It’s Cascade Yarns Casablanca which is a wool/silk/mohair blend (60/20/20). Sadly I see that it’s made in China so I wouldn’t be buying this now, but back then I wasn’t as fussy.

Due to the stripes and multiple colours I knew that I couldn’t do a multi-coloured (fair-isle?) pattern on the yoke, which was an intention of the pattern, so I decided to do a knitted design on the yoke instead. I had a hunt through some books and found a design called “Reed Pipe” in a 1940s book belonging to my Mother. It had a 17 stitch repeat which was exactly right for the number of stitches on my needles. I didn’t factor in the K1, K2tog method of decreasing which I had to do twice in the yoke. I did lots of maths for the first lot of decreasing and felt that I could work them in fairly well, but by the second set of decreases I threw caution to the wind and didn’t worry about the pattern. It all worked out surprisingly well, but if you are OCD about patterns lining up, look away now!

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Elizabeth suggests doing an inch of stocking stitch after joining the sleeves and before embarking on the pattern, but I decided to launch straight in as I wanted to pattern to wrap under my arms. I’m not sure that this was a wise decision as the pattern sits lower on my chest than I would like.

The pattern also calls for the hems to be added later but I couldn’t really see the point of this – and let’s face it, picking up stitches is so tedious – so started with ribbing with needles two sizes smaller than my main needles. I am still pleased that I did this for the bottom hem and sleeve hems, particularly with this yarn, which tends to stretch.

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Please note my perfectly matched sleeves, and yes, that’s a smug look right there! This did not happen by accident; I had to unravel my yarn ball until I could start the second sleeve in the same place as the first. They also match fairly well with the body of the jumper.

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The Zimmerman method is really interesting and I’m surprised I haven’t tried it before. One thing that I did do when I got a twist in my circular knitting was to zig zag it, cut and resewed. Normally I would frog the rows and reknit. I have to say that the cut method works pretty well and although I have a tiny seam, it’s not actually that noticeable.

When I tried the jumper on when finished I was thrilled with the fit. It was exactly the right length and width and the neckline was just high enough. The pattern had a fair bit of texture too.

 

I blocked it and was really dismayed at how much it grew. It went from upper-thigh length to mid-thigh, it was much baggier, the sleeves were too long and the neck too low. The pattern went completely flat, losing its textured look. I can only assume that the silk in the yarn stretched out and didn’t spring back. All I could do was to toss it in the dryer and hope for the best. What you are seeing here is the result, which is quite wearable and really comfortable. I also note that the stitches don’t appear to hang straight and I’m not sure why, although it may have happened in the dryer?  I did knit most of this using Continental knitting rather than English, but can’t think that made a difference. It did make a difference to my hands though, the relief was instant.

One of the things I shall do is to add a couple of rows of sew in elastic to that neckline as suggested by EZ. I think this will bring the neckline up a bit more. I forgot to take a photo of my underarms, but they are grafted to the body with kitchener stitch and this works really well. I really enjoy doing kitchener stitch for some reason, especially on fairly short rows where I have no fear of being interrupted.

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The jumper goes so well with my new  Jalie Éléonore Pull-On Jeans. I am also looking forward to wearing it with blue and black denim jeans.

 

 

Fadanista

34 thoughts on “Elizabeth Zimmerman seamless yoke sweater

  1. I think it worked out great Sue. We all need a bit of brightness in the wardrobe. I find when I go for a walk I don’t want to wear commoflagenbut something cheery. Just in case I get lost! I especially love the sleeves. Your adaptions are very clever. I am also glad you made the twisted join, cut and sewed up. I would now – nifty tip, eh? Super well done and thanks so much for the lovely interesting write up and for looking so beautiful in your New Jersey.

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    1. I try to buy Australian made wool whenever possible these days – in fact I try to buy totally locally produced wool, so Western Australian, handspun is my wool of choice.

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  2. clever idea to texture the yoke area with the multi-coloured yarn. It looks like a great sweater to work in with your wardrobe.

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  3. Good work on this sweater, but I did smile when I read you comment about kitchener stitch. I love it too especially for scarves I have been making recently, but I have to shut myself away with a how to you tube video and something playing in the background, or else I end up having to unpick the thing. Whoever discovered this stitch is a genius

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  4. Great jumper, Sue! Not the classic yoke jumper à la Elizabeth Zimmermann, but a nice and original interpretation of her clever method. As for the neckline, did you use her short rows technique to raise the back a little bit? Oh, and I wish I could tame continental knitting as you did! This is one of my knitting goal. xx

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  5. Great jumper – and I love the bright colours 😃. I am planning to try following Kate’s instructions to make one of these jumpers. Her instructions look pretty clear but is the book worth making space for? I really ought to check out continental knitting as my hands are starting to moan a bit when I knit. It would seem to have suited you but was it difficult to change the knitting habits you had?

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  6. Yay, such a happy sweater, those colors are great! I think silk and mohair both tend to stretch out and I’m glad you were able to rescue the sweater. The book sounds interesting, maybe I’ll have a look at it 🙂

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  7. You deserve to be smug about that stripe matching, that sort of thing makes knitting a headache for me and I don’t knit like that. So sorry it grew so much as it is a fun jumper that would work with a lot in your wardrobe.

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  8. I got to go to EZ’s knitting camp, circa 1986. She would definitely approve–she loved it when people took her ideas and ran with them! Is the yarn plied or a single? Sometimes singles want to bias a bit. It happened with a Cascade single in a sweater I just finished but haven’t blogged about yet.

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  9. I love this sweater! The colors look fantastic on you and the entire design is strikingly beautiful. And you have every right to be proud of that stripe matching! Perfection!! 🙂

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