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My Shelter Cardigan

My first projects with Shelter yarn were the Habitat hat and the Wayfarer scarf. I love both, especially the scarf. But I wanted more; I wanted a sweater. After a quick survey of men’s cardigan patterns, I decided to try Elizabeth Zimmerman’s percentage system.

Shelter Cardigan

Elizabeth Zimmerman, in case you’re unfamiliar, is to knitting what Julia Child is to cooking. She made knitting approachable and brought it to the masses. Her books are valuable resources: instructive, encouraging, and inspiring. My favorites are Knitting Without Tears and The Opinionated Knitter. I referred to both books while knitting my cardigan.

Zimmerman developed a system of knitting sweaters where the chest/bust measurement and the knitted gauge are the starting points from which all other measurements and stitch counts are based. With this method you can knit a sweater with any yarn and at any gauge. She also preferred to knit in the round and to begin at the waist for the body and at the wrist for the sleeves. Never having done this, I decided to give it a try.

Shelter Cardigan, close up

Knitting the pieces from the bottom up is nice because you have relatively small pieces on your needles until you join the sleeves and body to begin the yoke. From that point, every round has fewer stitches (I chose a raglan, this wouldn’t be the case with all methods) so you really move fast. Zimmerman’s percentage system was easy to follow and worked like a charm. My cardigan fits just right.

If, like me, you haven’t tried Zimmerman’s percentage system (referred to as EPS for Elizabeth’s Percentage System), I highly recommend it. You’ll need your calculator and a little patience, but ultimately, it’s liberating to knit the sweater you want rather than hoping someone writes a pattern for what you have in mind. I find I learn something from every sweater I knit. Even if your first time with EPS isn’t your dream sweater, you’ll be one step closer to knitting it.

And if you’ve yet to knit with Shelter, I encourage you to give it a try. It feels warm and woolly, and the colors are rich and beautiful to look at. Brooklyn Tweed has many wonderful knitting patterns to choose from. For me, I know Shelter’s a yarn I’ll come back to again and again.

13 thoughts on “My Shelter Cardigan

  1. Very Chic-Mr Rogers!
    Love it…!

  2. Your sweater looks fantastic, well done!

  3. That fits you perfectly!

  4. Looks great and that’s a very good color for you!

    Did you knit in the round and steek this or did you knit it flat?

  5. Thank you all for your comments!

    Jessie, it didn’t occur to me to steek it until I finished the ribbing, so I kept going. But it would’ve made sense.

  6. Oh Craig, I love how the Shelter looks in a sweater! Great color!

  7. Looking good! I’ve been eying the Shelter yarn for a few months and planned to use EPS for my next cardigan. Thanks for convincing me to put the two together!

  8. Thanks, Nathan! Glad I could help with your decision-making!

  9. Great sweater! I’ve been wondering about the softness of Shelter – I love the look of it, but is it next-to-the-skin soft? Thank you.

  10. Thanks, Ann! I like the feel of Shelter. I wear my Wayfarer all the time and usually where my cardigan over a t-shirt. But some of our customers don’t like the way it feels and won’t knit or wear it.

    It’s hard without you feeling it yourself, but it’s not soft like Cashmerino Aran or Zara. It’s definitely woolly. You can knit a hat or a pair of hand warmers with one hank. If you try it, you’ll see if you like it, and if don’t, you’ll have a holiday gift finished.

    Hope that helps!

  11. […] 100% wool, which is durable,it has a light and airy spin (I can’t believe how light weight my cardigan is) so it won’t make an unreasonably heavy blanket, given the size I’m going […]

  12. It really looks nice on you!

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