EZ EPS - The Finale!

It took a bit of math, a bit of EZ genius, a bit of luck and a lot of knitting to get to this point.  Can't help but dance when a sweater turns out this well.

With EZ and Meg's guidance a knitter can make any style of sweater fit well. Every step of their system is well thought out, laid out and easily executed as planned.  The only change I made was to start the  Fair Isle pattern a couple of inches lower on the yoke than EZs original sweater.  Because of that change I add a couple of inches of patterning after the second decrease section.


The updated modifications outlined by Meg in the Opinionated Knitter where also adopted.  Short rows added to the neck (and after uniting the arms and body) are described in The Knitting Workshop, which also has instructions for the basic EPS sweater.  Meg and Elizabeth have many sweater patterns in their publication based on the percentage system. It's a very good way to design and knit a sweater.  Try it, you'll like it! (All pictures are clickable.)


You've got a cute way of talking
You got the better of me
Just snap your fingers and I'm walking
Like a dog hanging on your lead
I'm in a spin you know
Shaking on a string you know*
Letsdosomemoredancing Ezepsdancinginthegardenheaddown

You make me feel like dancing
I'm gonna dance the night away
You make me feel like dancing
I'm gonna dance the night away
You make feel like dancing
I feel like dancing dancing dance the night away
I feel like dancing dancing ahhh


Pattern: Fair Isle Yoked Percentage Sweater from  The Opinionated Knitter by Elizabeth Zimmermann Yarn: Silky Wool by Elsabeth Lavold
Time to Knit: 1-01-08 – 3-9-08
KAL: EZ EPS Group on Ravelry & SLC SnB (The Ewe-tah Grrls)

*When I read the words to this verse I found them very appropriate for a knitter spinning, don't you think?

EPS - The Hem

Blogfree Nancy asked this question in yesterday's comments:

I've been wondering about the hemming on your EPS.  I know it's possible to knit in the hem in the beginning, like I have done with socks (like with a picot cuff).  I don't see that being done with sweaters and I'm thinking there must be a reason.  Would it work to knit in the hem on a sweater?  Would that be bulkier than what you are doing?  I can't wait to see your finished sweater photos!

Believe me Nancy, when I first started EPS I worried and wondered about the hem, too.  I have, however, been pleasantly surprised.

Picothemonprovisionalcaston When first making plans to knit an EPS I had to consider what type of start to use.  Ribbing was never in contention, but I did think about a rolled hem for a short time and then decided a hemmed edge was the right way to go.  To add a feminine touch I added a picot.  In The Opinionated Knitter Elizabeth suggests keeping the stitches live (via a provisional cast on) and sewing them in place. 

Nbtfrom2005 The NBT I knit in May of 2005 had a hem and I took the easy way with that one.  It started with a long tail cast on and both loops picked up to attach it to the body.  Another, perhaps better way, is to use a provisional cast on , and when ready, put the live stitches on a needle and knit the stitches together with the body.  Both methods do create a bump and a thick hem.  Because of this lumpy hem I decided to do as EZ suggested…I'm all about EZ lately, as you know.

When all the knitting was complete I puzzled about the best way to approach the task of hemming.  After a couple of false starts, I settled on pulling out the cast on and slipping the stitches, one at a time, onto waste yarn.  The hem was turned up along the picot edge and pinned in place so the stitches were at the ready.


Each live stitch was sewn together with a purl bump from the sleeve. After several stitches were in place, I pulled out the waste yarn.  The hem was smooth, no bump or bulk, and the public side looked perfect.  Hemming live stitches is the best way to hem a sweater and it's not nearly as fiddly as I first thought.   

This is a little preview of the yoke, as I know you're just dying to see it (and I'm dying to show her off).


I grew to trust EZ implicitly with this sweater.  Any time a question about the next step would arise, I'd read the through the pattern.  She is consistent and clear with her ideas, which lead me to move forward, without trepidation, in the manner she suggested.  Every single time the outcome was perfect and the sweater grew.  By reading through all her books I came to the realization that they are each treasures and you can't go wrong by owning any one or all of them.  The Opinionated Knitter and the Knitting Workshop were must haves for this venture. OK has the updated notes by Meg Swansen (which were very helpful) and KW has the basic recipe for the EPS with info on short row shaping and other variations.  This will not be my last EPS.  She is now blocking and will be ready for a photo shoot this weekend.


The title of this post is written just the way EZ wrote the rallying cry in her book The Opinionated Knitter and it feels like victory when you do finally get to the point of uniting the sleeves to the body of EPS.

To make sure the second sleeve was finished in a timely manner, I packed it around with me all week.  It was the only thing I allowed myself to work on when I had a short break or while knitting in a group. Determination carried the day and it was finished Saturday afternoon.   

Everything was ready for the unification process, when I sat down to knit that evening, but then...worry set in.  What if after all my careful calculations, all the study of EZ's books and works, all the time and effort...my EPS didn't fit, wouldn't work out as planned.  I admit to a bit of trepidation and angst. The only way to know, the only way to see the results of all this work, was to try it on, and that prospect only added to the trepidation. 

Carefully I read through The Opinionated Knitter (again) and Meg Swansen's updated notes on the Fair Isle EPS pattern.  Live stitches for the underarms were slipped to holding yarn and then I started knitting, uniting, adding the three pieces together to form a sweater.  It was exciting to see everything fall into place.  After a couple of rows, half the stitches were slipped to an extra needle and I then pulled the sweater over my head.  As I worked it into place, slipping the sleeves over my arms, I held my breath...is it? would it? does it fit!? 

Oh my!  I do think SO!!  The process continues....

Lauren has finished her EPS Henley and it looks marvelous!
Karen Jo's cabled EPS is growing nicely, too.  Can't wait to see how this one turns out. 
Laura has finished 2 darling EPS sweaters for her daughters and is starting a third.  It looks like she really caught the EPS bug!

Nice work, grrls!

Setback x Two!

Yesterday we had our warmest day of the winter.  It was SO nice, so pretty and it was almost warm.  Moxie and I took a little longer walk than I've been able to do and it felt good.  However, it was still hard to keep my breath, but my recovery time has improved.

The weather did make up for the knitting disasters that struck this past week. Any knitter knows that gauge is very important and if the gauge is off, even by a bit, it's very likely your garment isn't going to fit.  As I knit a sweater, I check the gauge throughout the project to insure it will turn out as expected and fit well.  About 6" into the second sleeve on EPS, it was very apparent that the sleeve was too big around, the gauge was off and the sleeve had to be frogged.  Out, out damn sleeve....back to square one.

SecondsmallsleeveforepsSunday morning I started anew on the sleeve and it is now back on track…second sleeve looks more like the first. Yay!  It is the process (it is!) and the process continues (albeit a little behind schedule).   By March 1st I hope to UNITE the EPS pieces and start knitting the yoke!  Woo and hoo!!!  Of course, I'm ignoring the fact that I wanted the sweater finished by March 1st. 


Monday night I had a few minutes to spend on Aspen Grove.  Good progress was made, but half way through the second chart I noticed a huge mistake.  The double decrease changes from a Sl, K2tog, PSSO to a center double decrease and I had not made the change. I am a blithe, arrogant knitter who just does what's easy, thinks she knows what's going on and pays too little attention to detail.  It bites me in the ass with every bit of lace I knit, and yet, there is no change in attitude (call me a slow learner).  SO, out came 40 or so rows (big frown). I am now back on track, checking and rechecking each row to make sure the decreases are correctly executed..it IS THE PROCESS.  It is!   

Here's hoping the rest of my knitting week goes a little more smoothly and the warm weather sticks around. You'd think a grrl could catch a break somewhere, eh?

EPS Reporting In


There it is...the first sleeve for my EPS*.  It's a little crazy it has taken so long to get this far.  The body is finished, first sleeve done, next sleeve just begun, yoke (the fun part) to come.   When I first proposed the idea of knitting this sweater to the SLC SnB group I had no idea that life’s ups and downs would get in the way of knitting production and I would still be knitting my EPS come late February.  The sleeve seemed to drag on and on, but this weekend my knitting mojo just took off and the sleeve was finished rather quickly.  The vision of a finished sweater is on the horizon, a vision I wasn't sure would come to pass.

A few SnBers meet together on Sunday for a few hours of knitting and this week Eliza and Cheryl arrived wearing their version of EPS.  It was so much fun to see them together.  You can make this sweater in any yarn, at any gauge, with any sleeve, hem or neck you like...that's the beauty, a sweater all your own and much of the work is done with a little math. 


Cheryl knit a cardigan with EZ's yoke pattern (she used Meg Swansen's DVD for perfect finishing techniques) and Eliza knit the saddle shoulder version. Don't they look great?  Several other Ewe-tah grrls have been working, too.  Lauren has finished her sweater (she has yet to model it for us) and Cayenne’s is also finished.  She used handspun Romney for the body of her sweater!   A few other SnB grrls, Anne B, Lark and Heather are also working on sweaters, and like me, are still in the progress stage.  There is no race and the main goal is to enjoy the process. There are many others who have joined the EZ EPS on Ravelry and many beautiful sweaters to see...check it out!

Elizabeth (Zimmermann's) Percentage Sweater (If you don't know what that is you should google it or pick up one of EZ's many books and investigate.)

EPS - Not Forgotten

EPS* is only several inches of boring stone colored stockinette, not too attractive or interesting, but still growing, perhaps a little too slowly. There have been other knitting distractions, but even so EPS has had almost daily attention, just not been the main attraction.   Renewed interest came about when Susan helped me find a fourth color for the yoke and sleeve patterns; a gold that will add a bit of spark to the other colors.  Silky Wool colors have so much depth and this group should work nicely together. 


To test the colors, add a little more interest and get this project into full gear, I cast on for a sleeve (instead of a sock).  The body of the sweater is 236 st. and 20% of that is 47.  Rounding up to an even number gave me 48 st. to cast on, which is also perfect for a picot edging (being divisible by 4). The picot edge was knit in red and the rest of the hem with the main color. Patterning should could ensue immediately, however....a confession is in order.  The patterns for the sleeves and yoke have yet to be found, decided upon, or thought through (in more than just a passing way).  I need to get a plan in place, because the sleeve is stuck here, in limbo, until I'm ready.  Poor sleeve.


Bookofpeerypatternsthatshouldhelpwi At the moment the vision for the sleeve is about 6" of colorwork just after the cuff, with some of the same patterns mimicked in the yoke. Figuring out where to start is a bit daunting. I must keep the faith that this will all work out in the end (and get busy). Fortunately, I have Alice Starmore's rare book, Charts for Colour Knitting, which should help with ideas and pattern inspiration. Time to get busy and just do it, make a plan.

*Elizabeth's Percentage Sweater from The Opinionated Knitter

To Begin

To clarify:
Smith has had that mustache for more than half his life. We were acquaintances in college and he had it then.  When we met later and married, he still had it.  It's like a part of our life together.  It's loss came as  a shock (no warning at all) and he did it to be funny!   NOT!  I still can't look at him...I'm still in mourning.

Despite the shock to my weakened system I did rally a bit on New Years Day afternoon to start my EPS.  After reading through all of EZ's books, gleaning ideas on the subject, the Opinionated Knitter, with Meg's updated percentages and yoke decreases will be used as my template. The day before the swatch had been washed just as I would the finished sweater...cold water wash, delicate cycle, lay flat to dry. Silky Wool washes up very nicely and I was pleased with the finished product.


The first thing to do was measure the gauge swatch accurately.  I counted 4" segments in a couple of spots and, also, one inch segments, always coming up with 5.75 spi (stitches per inch). Whew!  The size of sweater I decided on, after trying on several t-shirts and tops, was a 41". This should make a loose fitting, but not too loose, comfortable top.  Waist shaping will also be added for a less baggy look and I'd like it longish without being a 'tunic'.  That's the vision, we'll see how the execution goes. 

Justpasteturningrowofhem To find the correct number of stitches to cast on the calculation of inches into gauge was made.  41 x 5.75 = 235.75 then rounded up to 236...the number of stitches I need to make 41" at 5.75 spi.  In the OK Meg suggests casting on 95% of the stitches to create a less bulky hem (EZ used 90% in the other books) and then increase the extra stitches needed just before the turning row (in my case a picot).  I cast on 224 st with a provisional cast on worked a couple of rows.  THAT took some time!  Since then I have been able to work the hem, the picot and get a nice start on the body of the sweater.  As EZ suggested, the hem will be finished by sewing down the live stitches after the sweater is done.  I should have time to stop hyperventilating about that before then (or not).

The alpaca neck warmer is awaiting buttons, the only other thing on my needles is the Sangria lace shawl and I'm disinclined to start something else...maybe I'm still feeling under the weather?

Happy Weekend everyone!


The gauge swatch in Silky Wool is growing slowly, mainly because there is no need for it to grow quickly.  Already there have been lessons learned and ideas are starting to form. Silky Wool is heavenly to knit and should make a warm, yet light weight, sweater for cool weather wearing.

In the category cloud on the right side bar you'll find a new category, EPS 2008.  Any post on this project will be housed there as reference, if need be.  If you join in you're encouraged to leave a link in the comments of a post so we can follow your progress, too.  The goal is to keep this simple for everyone, but still offer support and suggestions. The main thing is to enjoy the company of others while we knit.  A Ravelry group, EZ EPS has been set up as a way to stay in touch, too.

Epsbooksyoucanuseforsweater I've enjoyed going through all the Elizabeth Zimmerman books, of which four have the pattern:  Knitting Around, Knitting Workshop, The Opinionated Knitter, and Knitting Without Tears. BooksfrommegswansenforepsThe basic sweater is the same in each book, the only difference may be the yoke style.  Meg Swansen, Elizabeth's daughter, also has two books, Handknitting with Meg Swansen and Meg Swansen's Knitting, and both offer versions of the EPS.  Her yokes are different still, very creative, and would be fun to do now or later.  (All books are available from Schoolhouse Press.)

The one thing you must do with this sweater, like it or not, is knit a swatch....a big swatch in the round to determine the best gauge for your yarn and the resulting sweater. If we follow the EPS rules carefully we should all end up with sweaters we'll wear and wear. 

Perhaps it's a bit too early to decide, but visions of Scandinavian patterns dance in my head.  So many patterns, so little room.  A sketch pad will be close by as ideas bounce around and land. First there are miles of stockinette to get through before the yoke, but I remain a stockinette avenger and will enjoy this easy peasy knitting. Hmmm, maybe I should start some lace on New Year's Day, too.

Wanna Play?

Ezepskalbuttonmini A while ago the SnB SLC Grrls decided after the first of the year we'd like to knit Elizabeth Zimmerman's Percentage Sweater (EPS) as a group (with or without a Fair Isle Yoke). The variety of ideas and yarns are as varied as the group and it's going to be very cool to encourage, support and work together.  Now,  while this will not be a formal KAL, you're invited to knit along with us if you like and, yes, there will be a button, but not a blog or group. I'd rather knit!

Yarnforswaab Now, as in December, is the time to decide on a yarn, knit up a swatch, and get ready for January 1, 2008, the day we'll start our project. (Of course you can always swatch in January if that works best.)  In my stash is the Silky Wool that's waiting to become my EPS and I have also pulled out a couple of leftover skeins that I'll use to make up a swa-ag. A Swa-ag is a swatch that will become a bag.  I (kinda) have a plan and will see how it goes as I wing my way through, trying an  idea or two for the sweater.


I'm rather crazy for the gray (main body), black, cream and red combo, but perhaps another color is needed (maybe the blue?)  Since the yoke pattern hasn't been decided, I'm unsure. There are several other decisions that need to be made before I begin (January 1st...did I say that already?).  What type of hem should I use (picot or plain) and should said hem be knit with a contrasting color? (Which, after seeing Adrian's mitten I'm pretty sure I'll do.)  Would a design on the sleeves be cool, or distracting, and which stranded pattern should I use for the yoke?  There is still time for contemplation.

Knitting a stockinette swatch, in the round, is just the project needed while running around with knitting  friends.  Think I'll cast on today!

Tonight the SnB grrls will be at the Main Library to visit with Debbie Stoller and check out the new Stitch 'n Bitch book.  Afterward, I'll be heading the airport to fetch Norma.  Let the fun begin!