Hi, welcome to String Revolution. I'm Léan, I live in Dublin with my husband and two little boys, and I am a dangerous stringy subversive.
My job is to radiate my creative truth, and to help you radiate yours. I create, without exception, every day. I write here when I have something to say.

(learn more about me).

Elizabeth Zimmermann: Open-Collared Pullover (top down)

My very first Elizabeth Zimmermann project!

Knitting! Brilliant, isn’t it?

I’ve noticed that of all the crafts I do, knitting tends to take a back seat in the summer months. I really haven’t touched any of my WIPs since May or so. This past while, I’ve mostly been sewing, of course, but I’ve been feeling the yarny yearning, big time.

I suspect I’m not alone in this. In fact, if you’re in the northern hemisphere, and you listen carefully, you can quite possibly hear the fuzzy, squishy rumble that is our collective knitting mojo gearing up to erupt.

And thus, when She of She Knit Up That Ball tweeted about Knitting Elizabeth, a new blog devoted to working the projects of the legendary, beyond-fabulous Elizabeth Zimmermann, I knew I wanted in. (This post is partially crossposted there.)

That up there is my beginning: I’m making the Open-Collared Pullover from Knitter’s Almanac: Projects for Each Month of the Year– one of just two books I own by the great woman (I’m on the lookout for more, as soon as I can justify a book-spree).

All kinds of firsts here, for me

  • I’m making myself a plain jumper, in plain black wool. (Seriously, look at it. It’s like, “how much more black could this be?” and the answer is none. None more black.)
  • I’m working the top-down version – my first top-down raglan, in fact.
  • I’ve learned a new cast-on method (woohoo!). It’s EZ’s “invisible casting on”, and it’s really, really fast once you get the hang of it.
  • I’ll allegedly be steeking later on. (Steeking! The Fear!)
  • Despite how much I luff her, this is also my very first EZ project. I’ve read Knitter’s Almanacand Knitting without Tearscover to cover, because they’re so fabulous and gorgeous (particularly suitable for those three-hour middle-of-the-night newborn feeds, I found), but that’s as far as I’ve gone until now.

Not a first: I’ll be adding some torso shaping, and I may do something exciting with the sleeves, depending on how the yarn stocks hold out.


One reason I love Elizabeth Zimmermann so much is because I’m an utter construction geek (I’m talking trembling glee), and Elizabeth does construction.

Detail of open-collared pullover start: collar

This little bit you see here is the start of a double-thickness collar, worked in the round on an invisble cast-on that will later be Kitchenered shut. How cool is that? My knitting currently resembles nothing even vaguely familiar, but I can tell that as soon as I do the steeking, it will all resolve itself into a coherent and beautiful jumper.

I’m making it, incidentally, in Jaeger Matchmaker merino aran 100% wool, from stash, which I picked up at the Knitting and Stitching Show a few years ago.

It’s not much as yet, and it’s less than it oughta be, too, because I went and Möbiused my first attempt.

Which brings us to today’s lesson

Or at least, it was a lesson for me. I offer it here in case it saves you some frustration.

See, I was so sure I hadn’t arsed up. I did the cast-on, all 152 stitches, and I was super-careful not to twist as I joined it up. So far so good.

Then I knit my first two rounds as instructed, and set off on the collar decreases.

It was only after five or six rows that I began to suspect all was not right. Sure enough, Herr Möbius had paid me a visit, and I was knitting merrily away at a topographical oddity.

But how?

With just the hint of a grim set to my jaw, I frogged the lot, cast on again (I was getting pretty handy at the new method by now), joined up with obsessive care, and knit my first round.

I was dead suspicious this time. Nothing was going to get past me – because having to do it all a third time would’ve got me really riled.

Lucky thing, too.

Because when I got to the end of the first round, I checked again, and I found that even assuming I’d joined correctly, that joining stitch – the one that tends to get pulled way long for the first couple of rounds – had managed to twist around the needle, causing (a) a phantom 153rd stitch, and (b) an impending Möbius situation.

Tricksy, tricksy knitting.

But I got the better of it.

This is how we’re looking this morning

Open-collared pullover in progress: 12cm knit

12-ish centimetres knit, raglan increases well under way. My hands are readjusting to the muscular demands of somewhat feverish oh-just-one-more-round-then-it’s-not-even-midnight knitting.

Happy autumn!

2 comments to Elizabeth Zimmermann: Open-Collared Pullover (top down)

  • I’ve read that book (though have yet to knit from it), and I don’t remember that sweater with a double thickness collar. I’m intrigued; I’ll have to check that out! Or I’ll simply wait and have my mind refreshed by seeing yours. 🙂

  • Aisling

    Hi Lean,

    Delighted to have discovered your website – wonderful stuff ! I came across my Nana’s old sewing basket while tidying out the house a while ago. It’s a wee treasure trove and I’m itching to get stitching ! Was wondering whether you have any recommendations about where to get some nice wool in Dublin or anywhere else around Ireland.

    Cheerio !


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