My last four sweaters have been zippered cardigans. Two of those were for friends. The third was Avast, and the fourth (as you can see off to the left there) is having its zipper installed as we speak. I’ve found that I prefer these kinds of sweaters to pullovers, mostly because of the wild temperature variations here in the Bay Area. Oakland might be roasting, but it’s cool and foggy in the city, and even on the freakish occasion that it’s actually hot in the city, it’s still freezing in my office. I prefer the advantage of the heating vent that a zipper provides to pulling a sweater over my head every fifteen minutes.
The problem? My sewing skills do not match my knitting skills. I can replace a button, sew on a patch and repair a broken seam, but my attempts at zippers have been fair to middling at best. The dirty secret of Avast is that I had to farm out the zipper to someone else. Oh, I sewed it in once myself, but the results made the sweater look like it was suffering a permanent shock wave. Surfers were flocking in from the coast to take a ride on the undulating front. I handed it off to a fearless expert, a woman who possesses the intestinal fortitude to actually run hand-knitted items through a sewing machine.
I’m having much better luck with my current zipper (which is for , so I can’t show you the whole thing yet) thanks to the summer issue of Interweave Knits, whose back pages feature a helpful little tutorial on how to sew in a zipper. Pinning, basting, stitching——each step with its own little diagram. So far, so good, but I know better than to go ahead and declare my days of sine-wave zippers over. That will only happen when the last stitch is done, the zipper is closed, and the front of the sweater lies as flat as a Kenny G saxophone solo.