Now, it’s a brave person that disses the Zimmermann, but I found the Seamless Hybrid that I recently finished for the Fireman quite the challenge. There was a combination of factors, the yarn is a tricky one (more on that below), and the instructions can be vague, and pretty much strand the knitter when it comes to the length of the saddles.
When I initially did my calculations about the length of the saddles, I didn’t trust them, and subsequently completely botched the neckline. I didn’t take photos of the disaster, but the saddles were too short, rendering the neckline too wide, and the back of the neck too shallow. The whole jumper looked unfortunate. After getting the maths right, I am happy about this sweater, and think that it will get a lot of wear.
For future reference, here all all the key proportions of the Seamless Hybrid, expressed with reference to x as the number of body stitches. Sleeves cast on 0.2x, then increase in accordance with the directions to 0.33x. Underarm stitches (left on threads) 0.05x. Raglan decreases are done until the sleeves have 0.165x stitches. The saddles are worked until they are 0.22x rows long.
You will notice that the facings have not been sewed up. I was planning a little touch of colour in a contrasting facing a la Brooklyn Tweed. When I obliged the Fireman to try on the work in Progress, he asked why I was fiddling about folding up the facings (I had been planned to sew them up as part of the finishing). When I explained how they were designed to work, he was aghast, and asked “what’s the point of them if no-one can see them?” I tried to persuade him that there would be a tiny flash of the paler green but he was resolutely unconvinced.
That brings me to the yarn. This yarn is quite the nightmare to knit with. It breaks easily, even with gentle handling. If I tugged on the ball, I would have broken yarn on my hands. I must say that I am probably against single ply yarns – they have a lack of strength and body, and create all kinds of problems when trying to sew in ends. The yarn snapped more than 20 times while making the sweater, including half way through the underarm kitchener stitching! I joined the yarn by knitting three stitches together, and gave up on trying to sew in all the ends – I just snipped them after the finishing wash of the sweater. As a sweater knitted from a single ply, fairly non-elastic yarn, I think that it won’t be long lasting jumper, but it is nice and soft now. I’ve sent the remnants to a spinning mate of mine (who helped out with the pattern for Bloom), and strongly recommended that he ply them together.
With all Colourmart cashmere, you need to swatch and wash the swatch (and I’ve recently become a convert to using a strong washing soda solution for the wash). I’ve found that even after knitting with washed yarn, that the swatch changes dimensions substantially on washing and blocking. In this case, the swatch become shorter and wider. Luckily, it did match the swatch once I remembered that I had dried the swatch in the dryer for 20 minutes. When the cashmere is put in the dryer, it becomes softer and loftier, so it is a useful exercise, but I was more than a tad anxious as I put a completed hand knit into the dryer! I set the super loud kitchen timer for 20 minutes to ensure that the drying did not go on for too long. Hopefully, the time in the dryer will also help set in place all those ends from the yarn breaking.
Pattern: Seamless Hybird (Ravelry link), by Elizabeth Zimmermann, from Knitting without Tears. Following it made me cry (at the saddles), and at other places my brain hurt. Zimmermann really is a genius – who else can design such a gorgeous, flattering, seamless hand knit?
Needles: Addi Metal 80cm fixed circulars 4.00 mm, and Addi Metal 80cm fixed circulars 3.75mm for the facings.
Yarn: 100% Cashmere 1/4NM slubby soft spun singles in Green Black (under 2 cones) with some contrast in Sage for the facings.