Simple yoke sweater done

I’ve been knitting along with kate of and a bunch of other women for a few weeks now. We’ve been knitting up from the bottom using an Elizabeth Zimmerman non-pattern. How I love the non-pattern! No more squinting at three dense pages of instructions for what to do on each bloody row of knitting! No more confinement to size 150/175/200!

I measured my bust, and then the approximate bust line of two old sweaters and settled on a number. I multiplied the number of stitches per inch with that number and cast on accordingly. All other measurements are percentages of this number. If you can figure out 20 per cent of something, you can knit this sweater. Well you can always have recourse to youtube, as I did for videos on grafting and picking up cast-on stitches. Oh, and for using a circular needle for only a few stitches in a technique called “magic loop”.

Here’s the finished product.


We used Zimmerman’s book “Knitting without Tears”, which I took out of my local library so I could supplement Kate’s instructions and get the broader picture. The book was published in the 1970’s I believe, and the colour-worked yoke sweaters are a bit old-fashioned, I think. But I did a bit of research on Ravelry and saw people are updating it in a variety of ways — lowering the neckline and shaping the waist, for example.

My variations included shunning all ribbed knit cuffs, bottom and neckline. I have to confess that at the moment I loathe all ribbed knit “endings”. I substituted garter stitch, which I’m happy with. On the wrists I used needles a size smaller for the border, and I like that. I lowered the neck a bit, and kept it a bit wider by reducing a stitch every fifth stitch rather than every second. Zimmerman deals with the need to raise the back by knitting a few extra rows of the back neck border (back and forth) before finishing the border in the round. I chose instead to knit a few extra rows of stocking stitch at the back. Makes more sense to me.

I have no experience with colour work and wanted to knit this up quickly so didn’t bother. Also, I’m not sure I’m a fan of that Norwegian ski sweater look. I must say I have been admiring some of Kate’s sweaters. And, while knitting, I began watching a Netflix series that I’m going to tell you about because it’s pertinent. Have any of you watched “The Killing”? It’s American, but inspired by a Danish detective series. It’s filmed in Seattle, and only on rainy days, as far as I could tell, so it has an appropriately “noir” aesthetic. The lead detective is a woman who always wears her long hair tied back, and whose uniform consists of sneakers, jeans and wooly sweaters. For the first five episodes she wore the same colour-worked yoked sweater, just like the Zimmerman yoked sweaters. So I got a good, long chance to see these sweaters in action. It was great. And for anyone with a Netflix account, I highly recommend the series. It has great themes pertaining to what it is to be human. If you watch it, study the sweaters 🙂

I used about one and a half hanks of Lion Brand fisherman knit yarn, undyed. I bought 3 hanks a couple of years ago when I knit my first sweater after taking two basic knitting courses. So I guess I could make an identical second sweater? That might be a bit of over-kill. However, since the first sweater I knit was unwearable, I have been harvesting its yarn for a second Zimmerman yoked sweater.


I’m currently swatching, but I think I’m going to have to wet the swatch to get the curl out so I can get an accurate gauge. I may be knitting a bit looser than I did a few years ago.

As I told people on IG, I ran into trouble with the underarm grafting on this sweater, and took myself off to Gina Brown’s Yarns and Wool store for help. While there I bought a hank of brilliant crimson yarn to go with this new sweater. Unfortunately it turned out I brought along a remnant of the wrong yarn. Not this sweater yarn but a brighter version that I had used to make a hat, which I subsequently gave away. I don’t think the crimson is the best match to this subdued aqua, so I’m going back to the store to return it and look for something better.

Does anyone have an opinion as to whether I need the same yarn for some colourwork? If so, I’ll get just one colour because this half-alpaca, half-wool Beroco yarn only comes in 100 gram hanks, and they’re not cheap. But if I could use something else of the same gauge, something that comes in 50 gram balls, I could maybe use two other colours.

While I was at the store, the lovely saleswoman, whose name was Sarah (I think) showed me a picture of a Kate Davies yoked sweater. Here’s a picture of it: the keith-moon

I’m going to take inspiration from it. I was thinking of a stripe, and this design shows me how beautiful one or two stripes can be.

21 thoughts on “Simple yoke sweater done”

    1. Thanks Ruth. I think what’s really impressive is the Zimmerman non-pattern. Any idiot could knit up a super looking sweater if they can do fractions. When are you going to start one? (oops, not intending to categorize you as one of the idiots here)


  1. Nice! And no, you don’t have to use the same yarn in the yoke. As long as it knits up in the same gauge you’re good. You could use something rather different for effect – more fluffy or smoother, for instance


  2. I am Very Impressed Indeed with this sweater. I love the way you thought through the decreasing at the end to create a very attractive neckline. The decreasing has created a nice pattern in this beautifully neutral yarn. I also love your next sweater plan. The Keith Moon would be very easy to incorporate into a Zimmermann yoked sweater I would say. However I would say that you may need the same yarn for that look. With the more traditional colourwork I would suggest that you could use a different yarn as the stranding creates a thicker section anyway. A finer yarn will tend to sink in a little whereas thicker or fluffier may stand a little proud but I think that would look nice. Of course I don’t really know – your swatching might help to answer the question.

    I loved all the Scandi-noir series but the jumper on the Killing is one of the best and probably subconsciously fuelled my interest.


    1. No kidding?? (that you watched the Killing and studied the sweaters). Yes, you can really see a pattern created by the decreases. I didn’t see that pattern on any of yours — presumably because of the colourwork. I’ve bought two colours of yarn for my second. It seems only the gauge needs to be the same. Will be looking forward to your upcoming skeeking efforts.


  3. We loved the show and the sweaters were a bonus viewing point for me. I figured with all that rain in each episode there must have been a lot of lanoli left in the wool to help keep her dry! Your sweater is lovely, and I’m just getting the courage up to trust my math and gauge in order to make my sweaters fit better. Have you tried The FRuity Knitting Podcast? I’m quite addicted to it on You Tube. They feature many designers around the world and include Kate Davis, Donna Smith, Marie Wallin and Alice Starmore sweater designs, tutorials, beautiful music and knitting talk. I especially like their interviews with fitting experts. And anything about the different yarns. It’s great to have a local yarn store.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This podcast sounds really good. I’ll check it out on you tube when I get the chance — there’s so much I don’t know about knitting. I wonder how many people watched The Killing and then decided to knit a yoke sweater with colourwork??? Not something anybody would think to research I suppose 🙂 You don’t have a yarn store in your area? I think there may be more yarn stores than fabric stores here in Vancouver.


  4. Well, I know next to nothing (okay, nothing) about knitting. But I know a good looking sweater when I see one…this is one good looking sweater! Very pretty, perfect fit, everything it should be. 😀


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