Jazz Pullover

Here is my latest jumper. It is the Jazz Pullover from the “Simply Shetland” pattern book. It is 36 stitch x 97 row pattern repeat done on 3.25 mm needles with 2-ply Shetland wools. I did it in the round with steeks. I especially like the 12 rather vintage colours used in this pattern. Although I can't remember exactly what there error is, as per usual for the Shetland pattern books, there is an error in this pattern.

I am very pleased with my technical work on this one. The fabric was the best ever prior to blocking and after blocking I couldn't ask for better. I am working on perfecting the seam along the length of the sleeves. I have sussed how to eliminate the sloppy loose stitches but I still have a ridge and I want to eliminate it. I know it's about tightness, carrying at times 4 strands of wool and etc. Suggestions are always appreciated.

I find it very interesting how differently designers size garments. The last jumper I knitted was supposed to be this size but was much larger on me. This one fits me perfectly. It is size is 43 which is roomy (I weigh 10.8 stone).

Sorry I've not been around at all lately. I just find it difficult to spread out my time everywhere needed. In addition, I can't access my messages here and although I've emailed Darrell several times, I've not had a reply. But, my heart is always for my knitting brothers and friends on MWK and I wanted to take the time to post this picture in case others want to do some Fairisle knitting.

Be well.


albert's picture

Jesse, Masterful knitting! The sweater is stunning. I think many of us just shake our heads in amazement when you criticise yourself for your knitting "deficiencies". I am eagerly awaiting the post when you show us the sweater you have designed for yourself. I am presently devising a technique which will permit the relatively easy knitting of a stranded sweater with fitted shoulders. I have had promising results with the first mockup, and have started a second one. If the technique holds up on this one I will knit a full sweater and post the results. Can you describe your way of holding the yarn? I have been recently trying the various methods, i.e two-handed, both-in-left, both-in-right, and find the two-handed to still be the easiest for me. As for recieving messages, the option for pm's is not present in your posts. I think it is safe to say that we all miss you and wish you would drop by more often!

kiwiknitter's picture

Thanks for the kind words. I am keen to see your design. I can easily do the armhole shaping but it's the sleeve cap that has be a bit stumped. Will your pattern include one? I suppose one could get by without one.

Here are 2 links for holding both yarns in the left hand. I hold the "bottom" yarn a bit differently but basically I follow this method. I have a bit more yarn between the work and my fingers and I find this works well for me and keeps my tension even and the stitches from getting too tight. I've tried all the methods but found this the best.


Thanks for letting me know about the message problem. I changed the setting and found I've got lots of messages to read and reply to.


Never trust a man who, when left alone in a room with a tea cozy, doesn't try it on.  ~Billy Connolly

albert's picture

In my reading about the various knitting strategies of the Shetlanders, there is mention of how some will knit the fronts and backs separately rather than steeking. To do this without turning the work and purling, they will attach the yarns at the beginning of the row, and break them off at the end, and repeat this process until done. They will later deal with the loose ends in various ways. I'm sure you know all this.

This put the idea in my head of doing something similar with the armhole. I have done a mockup armhole where I put a goodly number of stitches on a thread at the underarm to create a fitted square armhole. I then cast on my steek and proceeded as usual. After cutting the steek and binding off the shoulder, I picked up stitches around the armhole, excluding the held underarm stitches. I then broke off the yarn, went back to the starting point on the left side of the underarm, attached my two yarns of different colors leaving long tails. I then knitted around to the opposite side in a simple stranded pattern. At the end of the other side, I again broke off the yarns, leaving long tails. I am doing this with two circs, as this is actually flat knitting at this point. I should mention that I had already transferred the held underarm stitches to a third circ, and that they are hanging there minding their own business for now (in an actual sweater, these held underarm stitches should be 15% of the body stitches under each arm, for a total of 30% in order to eliminate the dropped shoulder entirely.) Now comes the fun: I slip the first underarm stitch off it's needle onto the needle holding the armhole stitches. Then, with my working needle, I knit these two together as I attach one strand of the yarn again. I then attach my second color and proceed around the armhole (the two stitches resulting from attaching the two yarns are entities unto themselves, exclusive of the pattern; resume the pattern after these two stitches). When I arrive at the last armhole stitch on the other side, I slip the first stitch from the other end of the held underarm stitches needle onto my working needle, and finish the row with a ssk. I then break off the yarns and commence again on the other side. I am never knitting across the underarm stitches, but rather, decreasing them away as I am creating the sleeve cap. In my first test I found it to be inconvenient that the first and last two stitches resulting from attaching the yarns on one side, and breaking them off on the other were loose and cumbersome to work (I had to keep tugging the tails to snug these stitches), however, it did work as expected- I created a set in sleeve in stranded knitting. In my present mockup I will be weighting the tails with weights improvised from clothespins; I will weight four pair of strands on each side, then at the fifth stitch I will remove the weight from the first stitch and attach it to the newly hanging tail. At this point, the strands from which I remove the weight will be a ways back and will have settled in and not come loose as I knit.

When the sleeve cap was completed in this manner and all the underarm stitches had been decreased away, I closed the gap at them middle of the underarm stitches by knitting up two new stitches from the bottom of the gap, and continued knitting in the round as if I were going to complete the sleeve. Rather, I knit an inch or two more and pretended it was a finished sleeve (a full sleeve was not necessary for test purposes). I then turned the "sweater" inside out and counted my pairs of tails. I took a short straight needle and cast on a number of stitches equal to the number of tail pairs. With these cast on stitches I bound off the tails as follows: first, using another straight needle, I knit up a stitch from the cast on needle and created the stitch by knitting the loose end from the cast on (I had cut the yarn after casting on these stitches) together with the first pair of tails (one stand of each color together make one tail). I then knit the second stitch using the next tail. I passed the first stitch over the second as in a normal bindoff. I proceeded in this manner until all the tails had been caught up in the bind off. I then trimmed the tails back to within two inches of the bound off stitches and called it good. This is a very fast and easy way to attend to the many tail strands without weaving them in and losing your mind in the process. I believe that these bound off tails will never go anywhere, but there is always the option of overcasting the bindoff for good measure.

I am now retesting all this on a second mockup before going on to a full sweater. If it turns out to be worth a damn I will post pictures of the result.

Bill's picture

I can only partially understand this...but the bindoff sounds perfect...I'll be interested in following the next test.

kiwiknitter's picture

You need photos! I think I can follow this but it sounds very fiddly. I assume when you made the armhole, you did the usual decreases along the sides to make a curve so now you're just working to make the sleeve cap. How do the decrease stitches look as you eat up the underarm stitches? When those stitches are gone, are you then knitting in the round? How did the stitches you bound off look on the right side?

Never trust a man who, when left alone in a room with a tea cozy, doesn't try it on.  ~Billy Connolly

albert's picture

It sounds a lot more fiddly than it actually is. In these two tests (second one almost finished) I used a square armhole, therefore I took the required number of stitches off and put them on a thread before casting on my steek. As for a curved armhole, though I haven't tested it, I have gamed it out in my head and it will work as well. The stitches being eaten up under the armhole result in a very neat looking line or "seam" directly under the arm; in actuality, in binding off the armhole stitches with the underarm stitches, you are forming a "perpendicular join" as one of the ladies writes about in her book about shoulder straps on gansies (I don't recall which book offhand). The beauty of doing this is that in one motion you are eliminating the stitches which cause excess fabric in a drop shoulder, and forming a sleeve cap- the two things are happening at the same time and sort of cause each other; its' very Tao-like. As you are decreasing one stitch on either side of the underarm with each row, you eventually arrive at the middle of the underarm where there are no more stitches to eat. At this point you simply continue on in the round until your sleeve is finished. The only issue is that at this point there is a gap which must be closed by knitting up two stitches from the bottom of the gap. This works beautifully in my method for plain knitting, but the strands create a little extra slack, so the knitting is not so tight at the very center of the armpit. I need to find a better way of closing this gap. Otherwise, this method is working out as I imagined and I am pleased with it. I think those of us who enjoy stranded knitting of sweaters would consider the elimination of the drop shoulder to be the holy grail. This is what I am aiming at. I know all of this is hard to follow in print, but if you would like, I will send you this second mockup so you can check it out "in the wool". I think then you will understand what all the ink means. PM me a mailing address if you are interested and I will get it off to you forthwith.

Bill's picture

would twisting those few slack stitches help?

albert's picture

I've considered that, Bill, and will likely try it on the sweater or on yet another dry run, though I'm not sure I need another. But that does seem like the best approach. I'm glad you are thinking along the same lines as I am- it inspires confidence.

kiwiknitter's picture

How right you are about eliminating the drop shoulder. As I thought about what you're doing, it almost sounded to me like an underarm gusset. Does it look anything like that?

Never trust a man who, when left alone in a room with a tea cozy, doesn't try it on.  ~Billy Connolly

albert's picture

Not in the least- an underarm gusset is the presence of additional fabric; this technique results in the absence of unwanted fabric. I have finished the mockup and have washed it- it is flat blocking as I write. I think this is a very workable method and not really fiddly. "Fiddly" is, after all, usually a designation for the unfamiliar; once you grasp the prinicpal, everything falls into place, and the sundry steps are just the routine movements you need to do to accomplish the desired end. I repeat my offer: I will be happy to send you this mockup if you wish- I think it will be food for thought if nothing else.

albert's picture

Follow up to this post: I think it will be adequate to use a total of four yarn weights, two on each side of the armhole. When arriving at the end of the round and breaking off the yarns, take the rightmost weight from the earlier strands and attach it to the newly broken off strands. When attaching your new strands on the left side, take the leftmost weight from the earlier pair of strands and attach it to the strands resulting from your newly attached yarns.
Also this nicety: when binding off your pairs of long strands, the sweater should be held so that the waistband is at the top, and the neckhole at the bottom, that is, upside down. By doing so the little fringe left from trimming back your strands will be poiniting down towards the waistband rather than upwards toward your armholes.

Welcome back Jesse and with another wonderful fair isle sweater. It is a beautiful and inspirational piece. As for time, well this retirement business can have you busier than your working days. Come again soon.

ronhuber's picture

A gorgeous piece of art Jesse. You are amazing.

Bill's picture

It's beautiful!
...good to hear from you.

rjcb3's picture

So, THAT's what you've been working on through the Winter.

Very beautiful, as always, Jesse!!!

I so enjoy seeing you post with a new magnificent piece of work.

...enjoy your Summer.


Joe-in Wyoming's picture

Absolutely gorgeous knitting, Jesse. -- Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

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

Crafty Andy's picture

QueerJoe's picture

Most delightful work on this...I have been a fan of Unicorn publications for a long time and you've done wonderful work with this one.

There is an errata page for this book with states the following for the Jazz Pullover:

"Jazz Pullover
Yarn amounts for Sandawood (861) should be (50, 50) [50, 75,
75] grams."

Not sure if this is the error you wrote about.

kiwiknitter's picture

Thanks, Joe. Yes, that is the error. Since I source my Shetland wools from Canada, I had to wait for a few weeks while that missing skein arrived. Thanks for reminding me.

Never trust a man who, when left alone in a room with a tea cozy, doesn't try it on.  ~Billy Connolly

Kerry's picture

Good to see you back Jesse, that jumper looks great.

I'm working on a Fair Isle and was having looseness at the arm seam join until I started to knit the seam stitch with the two colours I needed to begin the next round. This often meant weaving in a new colour for a few centimetres before the end of the row I'm working on, if that makes sense.

kiwiknitter's picture

I weave in the new colours about 8 stitches beore the seam stitch, carry them across the seam stitch and then weave out the old colours. I can then tighten up the old stitches at that point by gently pulling the tails. I think I'm pulling the new colours too tightly and I need to watch that in the future.

Never trust a man who, when left alone in a room with a tea cozy, doesn't try it on.  ~Billy Connolly

Aaronknits's picture

Jesse, as always, your work is beautiful! I love the color combos!

purlyman's picture

Wow... this is amazing. Someday I will have to try sleeves that aren't just knitting on and finished up in raglan or yoke pattern. It just seems so complicated, although I'm sure it's just following directions like everything else. Good to know there are people here who can help!

Your work is beautiful and the colors are wonderful. Congrats on a wonderful sweater!!


New York Built's picture

Frank, a great way to start is "Fair Isle Sweaters Simplified' or the instructional video 'The Original Philosopher's Two-Handed Fair Isle and Other Stories' at the Philosopher's Wool site. While technically stranded knitting, the ideas and techniques for these and Fair Isle are compacted into very doable sweaters, and great handholding all the while. Jesse's mention of no weaving in ends is one of their signature techniques.

"Think...then write...then rewrite...THEN publish."
- Mark's bathroom mirror sticky note to himself.

Every person I encounter teaches me more about myself. Without whom not.

kiwiknitter's picture

Since this is how I started, I guess I can't fault this advice! At the time I wanted to learn stranded knitting and to do steeks, there was almost nothing about it on the internet and no one on MWK had done steeks. I bought the PW instructional DVD and book. Both were very useful and got me started properly. The method taught by PW is a woven rather than stranded technique for carrying the strands along the row. Either works and it ends up being a matter of taste. I used their method for my first two jumpers but now do stranding. But, you still need to know how to do the weaving for both the beginning and end of colour changes as well as the times when you are carrying an unused colour beyond 5 stitches.

Stranded knitting is very easy. There are only two hard & fast rules in my opinion. First, learn to hold the strands so that you never pull tightly. Loose stitches can be dealt with but puckers (think smocking!) are a disaster. Second, always carry the dominant colour next to the work and the background colour over that. This keeps the design colours predominant. Never alter this or the design will "come and go" and look awful. I always carry the dominant colours on the same finger (or hand if I'm ribbing) and so I'm never confused.

Have a go at it. It looks complicated but remember there are never more than 2 colours in any row in stranded knitting.

Never trust a man who, when left alone in a room with a tea cozy, doesn't try it on.  ~Billy Connolly

scottly's picture

Wow, that's a level of knitting I can't even imagine - that's black belt knitting! Truly awsome.

crmartin's picture

Gorgeous sweater, I'll have to admire from afar as weaving in all those ends would push be over the top.



kiwiknitter's picture

There are no woven-in ends! I knit-on the new colours at the end of one row and knit-off the discontinued colours at the beginning of the next. I could never weave or darn in all those ends!

Never trust a man who, when left alone in a room with a tea cozy, doesn't try it on.  ~Billy Connolly

WillyG's picture


This is one of those moments I find myself thinking, "Maybe--just maybe--someday I will achieve something like that."