Friday, September 10, 2010

Open-Collared Pullover from Knitter's Almanac

[Partially crossposted to my blog.]

My very first Elizabeth Zimmermann project!

Knitting! Brilliant, isn't it?

I've noticed that of all the crafts I do, knitting tends to take a back seat in the summer months. I really haven't touched any of my WIPs since May or so. This past while, I've mostly been sewing, but I've been feeling the yarny yearning, big time.

So as soon as I heard about this blog, I knew I wanted in.

That up there is my beginning: I'm making the Open-Collared Pullover from Knitter's Almanac – one of just two books I own by the great woman (I'm on the lookout for more, as soon as I can justify a book-spree).

All kinds of firsts here, for me

  • I'm making myself a plain jumper, in plain black wool. (Seriously, look at it. It's like, "how much more black could this be?" and the answer is none. None more black.)

  • I'm working the top-down version - my first top-down raglan, in fact.

  • I've learned EZ's "invisible casting on" (it's really, really fast once you get the hang of it).

  • I'll allegedly be steeking later on. (Steeking! The Fear!)

  • Despite how much I luff her, this is also my very first EZ project. I've read Knitter's Almanac and Knitting Without Tears cover to cover, because they're so fabulous and gorgeous (particularly suitable for those three-hour middle-of-the-night newborn feeds, I found), but that's as far as I've gone until now.

  • Not a first: I'll be adding some torso shaping, and I may do something exciting with the sleeves, depending on how the yarn stocks hold out.


    One reason I love Elizabeth Zimmermann so much is because I'm an utter construction geek (I'm talking trembling glee), and as we know, Elizabeth does construction.

    Detail of open-collared pullover start: collar

    This little bit you see here is the start of a double-thickness collar, worked in the round on an invisble cast-on that will later be Kitchenered shut. How cool is that? My knitting currently resembles nothing even vaguely familiar, but I can tell that as soon as I do the steeking, it will all resolve itself into a coherent and beautiful jumper.

    I'm making it, incidentally, in Jaeger Matchmaker merino aran 100% wool, from stash, which I picked up at the Knitting and Stitching Show a few years ago.

    It's not much as yet, and it's less than it oughta be, too, because I went and Möbiused my first attempt.

    Which brings us to today's lesson

    Or at least, it was a lesson for me. I offer it here in case it saves you some frustration.

    See, I was so sure I hadn't arsed up. I did the cast-on, all 152 stitches, and I was super-careful not to twist as I joined it up. So far so good.

    Then I knit my first two rounds as instructed, and set off on the collar decreases.

    It was only after five or six rows that I began to suspect all was not right. Sure enough, Herr Möbius had paid me a visit, and I was knitting merrily away at a topographical oddity.

    But how?

    With just the hint of a grim set to my jaw, I frogged the lot, cast on again (I was getting pretty handy at the new method by now), joined up with obsessive care, and knit my first round.

    I was dead suspicious this time. Nothing was going to get past me – because having to do it all a third time would've got me really riled.

    Lucky thing, too.

    Because when I got to the end of the first round, I checked again, and I found that even assuming I'd joined correctly, that joining stitch – the one that tends to get pulled way long for the first couple of rounds – had managed to twist around the needle, causing (a) a phantom 153rd stitch, and (b) an impending Möbius situation.

    Tricksy, tricksy knitting.

    But I got the better of it.

    This is how we're looking this morning

    Open-collared pullover in progress: 12cm knit

    12-ish centimetres knit, raglan increases well under way. My hands are readjusting to the muscular demands of somewhat feverish oh-just-one-more-round-then-it's-not-even-midnight knitting.

    Happy autumn!


    1. Beautiful! I found that knitting a couple of rows over and back before joining eliminates Herr Mobius (what a great name for him) - Tea and Cakes gave me this tip. Looking forward to the end product!

    2. ooh I'm looking forward to seeing this done, I think the open collar is lovely. Fair play for knitting it in black, too! I've been meaning to make a black sweater for my daughter for a while.
      Herr Mobius can be a crafty bugger, sneaking in when you think you've managed to evade him. :)