seamless hybrid

Ever since seeing Jared’s Seamless Hybrid sweater over at brooklyntweed, I knew I had to make one myself. Luckily, the boy was on board, and so it started.

The pattern for this sweater is Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Seamless Hybrid, in “Knitting without tears”. Zimmerman is impressive enough as a knitter and patternmaker, but her books are also a really enjoyable read – being informative and funny, like she is having a conversation with a friend. The book is filled with no-nonsense and common-sense tips, like “your hobby should be enjoyable. If it isn’t, find a new one”, and “if how you prefer to do things seems to work better than what the pattern tells you, do it your way”. I like those kinds of messages!

This sweater started it’s life as another sweater. Back here I was taking it apart, and it looked like this:


… and this is how much yarn the sweater yielded. I guess it doesn’t look like all that much, but it’s since become a sweater, a pair of man-sized socks, a yard worth of scarf in progress, and seven balls of varying sizes left. The original sweater was from Eddie Bauer, in a cotton/wool blend.

The pattern, like Mr. Brooklyntweed noted, is more of a recipe or guide than anything. It pretty much tells you to figure out the gauge for the yarn and needles you want to use (say 5 stitches/inch), decide how big or wide you want the body of the sweater (say 32 inches), and calculate how many stitches you need to cast on (5 x 32  = 160 stitches). The sleeves are a certain percentage of the amount of body stitches, and you just knit these three tubes until they reach the armpit, then join them together. The yoke is certainly the hardest part, and like many knitters have noted, the instructions are a little vague here. I found Jared’s post very helpful, not only for his description of knitting the yoke, but also with the nice close-ups of his sweater.

The sleeves and body are joined together into one big tube at the armpit, and some stitches are left alone at the very underarm. I used bright orange yarn to hold the stitches while I was knitting the rest of the sweater. The boy requested that I sewed up the underarm stitches with the orange yarn – he liked the idea of a semi-hidden, unexpected flash of orange under the arm!

I thought the pattern was very easy to work with. I actually like the way it’s set up, so I can use any yarn and any sized needles to make the sweater. Often times I want to knit things without having the exact materials that the pattern calls for, and I end up changing and making up a lot of things, and I’m sure with a less successful end result. Also, being a lot of stockinette knitting in the round, it’s a pretty quick knit as far as sweaters go.

The finished sweater was a tad tighter than I had planned, but for a first attempt at an actual garment (as opposed to mittens and socks and such), I am very very pleased. Plus, I see this as the test-round of many sweaters to come!

6 responses to “seamless hybrid

  1. Wow, I’m in awe!
    And curious, just HOW big was the original sweater? Ginourmous judging from the amount of salvaged yarn….!

    • Thank you Karin! Yes, the original sweater was huge! It was a size XL, and I’d say there was maybe 15-20 extra inches in width, compared to the width of the reknitted sweater. I’ve actually been quite blown away by the amount of yarn I still have left.

  2. how long does it take for you to “unknit” a sweater? Good Idea (and much cheeper to buy at a thrift store, than buying all of that yarn)

    • Hi Brittney!
      It really depends on the size and type of yarn of the sweater; but from a handful of hours to maybe double that, spread out over several days? The first sweater I “unknit” was actually this one, and it took me several weeks of half an hour one day, an hour the next. I think that’s mostly because it was the first sweater I frogged, and I didn’t quite know what I was doing! It becomes such an addiction… it’s hard to look at store-yarn-prices again, knowing how much you could get for a couple of dollars and some time-investment!

  3. Is it creepy for me to say that your model is super cute, and that he shows your awesome sweater off to great effect?

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