Monday, 27 December 2010

My pink Elizabeth Zimmermann Cardigan

An end to a long labour.

This project is finally finished. Which is a minor miracle, seeing how long it took me.

YarnMirasol Qina

Needles5 mm
PatternElizabeth Zimmermann's Green Sweater
fromSchoolhouse Press

I just looked back at previous blog posts about this cardigan and I am flabbergasted to find that it is the project I mentioned the most: in a massive five posts!

Not that you would want to look at them but just to show that I'm not exaggerating:

My first steeks!
Steek update
An inspirational pattern (all about The Green Sweater story!)
Something has to be done
My crafty state of play

I learned a lot from this project (also see my Ravelry project page).  I was aware that this incorporates quite a few things that were new to me like steeking, gauntlet cuffs, dolman sleeve shaping or the square neckline band. Oh, and phony seams!

It was huge fun to do these things, one at a time.

I learned that it's a good idea to do the phony seams before turning the hem up: ladder the rows of your "seam" stitch right back down to the bottom stitch (careful to keep the bottom stitch or it gets very fiddly!) and hook them back up with a crochet hook: pull through the two strands from the bottom two rows, then one strand from the third, and carry on like this (2, 1, 2, 1...).  It gives a very nicely defined pseudo seam up the sides!

If you do the hem first you may find that you sewed up the stitch you're meant to be laddering, which is precisly what I did. Ahem.

Steeks are not scary.  Amazing as it is: as long as you machine stitch at least a couple of lines either side of where you'll cut, you're not going to run into any problems of cut ends unravelling.  I have not tried crocheting instead of machine stitching.

What hasn't turned out so well:

The body of this cardigan is way too short.  It looks a bit ridiculous on me to be honest.  An unhappy discovery.  I suppose I could try to lengthen this but there is another problem: I disovered only now after the jacket had been hanging up for some time that the yarn is too heavy for this pattern.  What used to be quite a reticent square neckline to start with is getting bigger and bigger.  The shoulders threaten so slip off the hanger and I will definitely store this folded instead.

The applied i-cord (are you meant to do the button loops this way? I couldn't quite figure it out from the pattern) is a bit bulky although it stabilises the centre front edge very well.  Unfortunately it does not hide the gaping gaps in said centre opening because I think that I didn't get the measurement across my boobs right.

If I wear this cardigan unbottoned then that won't show up.

The sleeves turned out a little long (I thought I'd tried it on and determined the right length? But this could be down to the 'getting longer' in the shoulders problem that I mentioned above).  That's just about okay.

I may have to think of sewing in a staying band under the shoulders, that might improve things a touch.  So grafting the shoulders may not be such a good idea: seams would have made this more rigid.

In summary: I loved the techniques involved, I really enjoyed making this (even though it took so long), I may wear this every so often (I hope) but all in all I am thinking of making this again to incorporate what I learned.  Next time in a yarn that won't be too heavy to sit and drape lots better, and I would lengthen the body by about 2-3 inches.

The pattern mentions a variation of slimmer sleeves: that sounds very intriguing and I think I would go with that.

I am thinking of Jamieson's Shetland wool: there is a 2 ply which is called a jumper weight, there are some really lovely colours!  Keeping my stash in mind, I won't be buying any more wool any time soon though...



  1. It is lovely. Very Chanel!
    I made a Bountiful Bohus, and encountered the same problem with the neckline stretching. And that was my first steek experience, too. I love it, in retrospect.

  2. I read your notes on Ravelry - I could totally imagine this in Jamieson's 2ply wool. And amazing how many new things there are to try with this project. Well done!

  3. Thank to both of you for your lovely comments!
    Beth: I would love to try a Bohus, they are so beautiful! I may have to ask your advice then.
    Siga: I am really touched you checked it out on Ravelry. Jamieson's does sound good, doesn't it? I made a start with wool left over from another project: this may end up being a heavy mod, a two-colour cardie, or otherwise a sleeveless version! It's pretty thin (4 ply would be better) but might make a good summer weight.

  4. What a shame! I made this sweater in the yarn Elizabeth used i her original for my 2010 Olympic project. It is one of my favourite sweaters. Fits like a glove. Light weight, yet warm and very tailored in appearance. I'm sorry yours didn't work out.