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!
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.
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.
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.
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.