Zweig sweater

Zweig sweater

I know a fair few of you who love to sew have also taken up knitting over the winter, so here's one for you! I've really enjoyed being able to pick up some knitting for a little bit each evening and in December I decided to move on from socks to a sweater. Being me, I steered away from traditional first try choices, such as chunky wool or a simple pattern - they just aren't my style. I was entranced with the beautiful fingering weight jumpers that I had seen on the many YouTube channels and knitting magazines that I've been looking at. Many of them would involve learning lots of new techniques, but it goes back to my basic attitude of, if you have to learn it sometime, you can learn it all on one project and end up with something that you really wanted. Hence, my Zweig...
The Zweig sweater by Caitlin Hunter (aka Boyland Knitworks) appears to have been a popular pattern in the knitting community for some time. There are many of them out there! I gravitated towards this because of the features it has that suit my body shape: positive ease but not too roomy and a clear neckline that isn't too high or too low. It has a beautiful contrast lace yoke and below this the rest is knit with a cross pattern made with cabling. I even like the long ribbed cuffs which you can wear full length or doubled over (like in my photos), depending on how chilly it is. The sleeves don't decrease along the arm so they aren't too snug, which I also prefer.

Zweig sweater

*When you go to buy the pattern, you'll be redirected to the Ravelry store, where you can buy it for $8.40. If you sign up to the newsletter in the link above though you get a 25% discount code. You'll get a pdf document with instructions and charts. I found it best to print mine to keep track of the lace work.*
As a newbie, the techniques that I had to tackle along the way were:
  • short row shaping at the back neckline (so the back is higher than the front)
  • knitting with two colours and carrying yarn
  • lacework
  • picking up stitches for sleeves
  • cable knitting 
  • alternating yarn
The short row shaping didn't go well the first time. Some of the technique was similar to what I had learned in the Jujuy shawl, but I wasn't happy with how it looked so I had to rip it back and try again. I'm glad I did because it was much better the second time. I turned to trusty old YouTube again for anything else I wasn't sure on 
- Voolenvine's tutorial videos sorted out how to manage the colourwork for me [and the one about how to Norwegian purl was a blessing when it came to the ribbing!]. 
- Babbles Travelling Yarn's jogless join video taught me how to alternate skeins with the helical method [which I had heard was good for avoiding a line down the back where yarns were swapped - more on that below]. When I was knitting the cross pattern I couldn't use this method because you don't get the right effect, so at these points I just switched skeins as normal. 
- Avoiding holes in underarm seams for when I picked up the sleeves [plus creative weaving in of ends to close anything that looked a bit gapey].

There is a link in the pattern instructions to a video to master the cable stitch without needing a cable needle, so this has been taken care of. I did practice for my swatch, which was just as well as it took a few goes to get right and I did have to size up needles. The lace work wasn't tricky either - I found I preferred to use the diagram and kept my place with a line of washi tape.

After the initial short row do-over, pretty much everything progressed nicely. Slowly, but nicely. The only other ripping back I did was cuff number 2 because I missed a crucial decrease row. I knitted the full 5 inches of cuff with double the number of stitches that I needed before I realised. I think I was just excited about getting to the last section....I won't be making that mistake again! Overall, this took a good 2 months to knit (and I did spend some large chunks of time on it over Christmas).

Zweig sweater

I found it difficult to find yarns to match what I had in mind. I'm not the most imaginative of souls and was aiming for something similar to the pattern picture, but not so dark. Charcoal grey and blush was my intention. Not as easy as it sounds, apparently. I sourced the yoke colour of pinks, peaches and caramels, aptly named 'Toasted Marshmallows', from Sherry Iris Designs (£17.50). I had about 65g left over, so this part could well be made with a remnant from another make. I deliberately chose a sock weight yarn for this sweater because I wanted to avoid pilling and maximise potential uses of left overs. What I have left from this yoke will either end up as a pair of socks or a fade in a larger project (like a shawl).

Finding the grey was much more difficult. I was considering some Madeline Tosh yarn, but couldn't make out the colours properly on screen. The only one I could find that might work was out of stock - Smoke by Cosmic Strings Yarn (£18.50). On the off chance, I contacted them to ask when it might be in stock and they very kindly dyed me up a custom batch of three skeins. Result! As it's a hand dyed yarn I decided to follow advice and alternate the skeins to avoid colour pooling or variance - I've seen how this can go wrong. I have also seen that simply switching at the BOR marker can leave a spine down the back, which I wouldn't have minded per se, but if it can be avoided, why not? Using the helical method actually wasn't hard and it isn't noticeable where I've been switching skeins. I've got about 60g left of this too (just as well I've signed up for The Handmade Sock Society 2 with these remnants). The yarn has a lovely lustre to it now it's been blocked which makes it look a bit more special. 

The final result? Well, it turned out like it's meant to, which was a win. It's also very soft and comfortable to wear. I've been told this looks the best out of everything I've made, so I'm assuming that's a good outcome.
Would I recommend it to beginners? Yes - I'm a beginner and I managed it!
Would I make it again? Potentially, but not for a while. I have other things I want to try and it takes a very long time. I don't feel like it needs tweaking either so I'm not desperate to have another turned out pretty well the first time which is nice (a lot of my sewing doesn't).

Zweig sweater


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Welcome to Sewing and Other Stories; my journeys with sewing and knitting; pattern reviews, tips and guides for beginners. I'm also the designer behind West Beach Knits knitting patterns and I host a Knitting and Sewing channel on YouTube where you can see all of this in person. Come have a look!

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