Help with E Zimmerman's Seamless Sweater

Hi Guys,

As I continue to recover from elbow surgery, I'm pleased to have started knitting again. I've been told that I can knit 20 minutes at a time, then have simple stretching exercises to do, and a little rest, before I go back to knitting. I've been working on Elizabeth Zimmerman's seamless sweater out of her book Knitting Without Tears - simply knitting in the round. I'm making the saddle shouldered variation.

I have a question about her ratio method, particularly when it comes to the sleeves. When I knit them as the directions say (casting on 20% of body stitches and increasing up to 33% of body stitches), I end up with a sleeve that is rather on the form fitting side. Big enough - but just. To make it a little more roomy, I actually to have increase about 6 or 8 (I'm not done with them yet) more stitches. My question is, will this screw up the numbers and the ratio when I go to join the sleeves with the body? Any ideas?

Thank you!
Jonathan in DC


davidUK's picture

I made a cardigan for a friend using this pattern...and came to the same conclusion. Her sleeves are snug to say the least. Helpfully, I can't remember how things progressed...except that harry loves it and wears it all the time. I think when you get to the yoke, you are working with shoulder measurements and inches as opposed to ratios so it doesn't matter. I'll read through the latter and see if it jogs my memory.

Enjoy your recovery!

David x

potterdc's picture

Thanks David - your reply gives me confidence to move ahead and see what happens! I'll post a pic of the finished sweater once I'm done.

Think less, enjoy it more.

HuskerChub's picture

You have to realize that EZ's percentages were written for a different generation. Styles have changed dramatically and people body sizes have changed considerably since the 60's. Someone, I don't recall who, revised the percentages a few years ago to make them more current. I have not looked, but I'm sure if you google it you will find them.

potterdc's picture

Thanks! Seems to be about 40% instead of 33%. I'll give that a whirl and see how it goes!

Think less, enjoy it more.

rmbm612's picture

My advice is to beg, buy, borrow or steal a copy of the "Sweater Workshop" 2nd Edition by Jacqueline Fee. She uses EZ percentage system and there is a great section on sleeves..........actually six sleeve styles from fitted to even fuller fullest. I highly recommend this book and have used it successfully to make several sweaters.

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

If memory serves me, EZ herself revised the percentage system in later books. "Knitting Workshop" and "Knitting Around" may have the amended numbers. Also, I think it was Meg Swansen who may have later revised the numbers to allow for a looser fit. I know there is a group of knitters on Ravelry [maybe more than one] devoted to EZ...perhaps you can get some help there as well.

If you adapt your numbers a bit - adding in ease by knitting for a larger body, perhaps - my guess is that you can juggle the numbers to fit. Otherwise, you just adapt the numbers and balance it all out, would be my guess. I have to admit, I've never knit the percentage sweater but have used the principles on other items.

Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

ronhuber's picture

I find that 38% just fits me nicely. You will have to meausre yourself or a favourite sweater to find your percentage.