I love the Nimbus jacket from Berroco designs. It is one of those perfect knitting designs: simple, elegant, useful, and clean. [View on Ravelry.]
Here I endeavor to make it a little bit better, by offering a no-seam version of the pattern. It's still bottom-up, with set-in sleeves. I simply added a few modifications to the process (not the product) to make it even easier to knit.
Pattern: No-Seam Nimbus
Designer: Berroco Design Team, modified by Katie Rose Pryal
Yarn Recommended: Berroco Peruvian Quick
Yarn Shown: Cascade Pastaza held double
Needles Used: Size 10 circulars
Size Shown: 40" Bust
To knit this pattern, you need to go download the original Nimbus pattern first, and read it through.
Then, once you are familiar with it, you can use these modifications alongside the original pattern to knit the jacket without seams, following the steps below.
Skills you will need to work this pattern:
1. Short-row knitting (wrap-and-turn)
2. Kitchener stitch grafting
3. Picking up stitches
1. Starting at bottom hem: CO 112/124/136/148/160/172 sts. This is just the sum of the two front panels and the back panel sts in the original pattern.
NOTE: Because there is no seaming in this pattern, you should add 1-2" to the circumference of the finished product. You gain a coupla inches because you don't lose any fabric to seaming. Take that into consideration when selecting size.
2. Work in G st [garter stitch] for 4 inches, as per the original pattern.
3. Work the 1st 12 sts of each end in G st and work the rest in St st [stockinette stitch], until work measures length required in pattern from CO edge. End on WS row. Break yarn.
4. Separate fronts from back: On RS, place the first 28/30/32/34/37/39 sts onto scrap yarn. Join working yarn, then BO 6/8/10/12/12/14 sts [this is the first sleeve], K 44/48/52/56/62/66 [back panel], BO 6/8/10/12/12/14 sts [second sleeve]. Stop knitting (but do NOT break yarn) and place the remaining 28/30/32/34/37/39 sts onto scrap yarn.
5. Work the back alone through the "shape armholes" section. You can then continue to work as written in the pattern, and seam the top of shoulders as written. That's probably easiest for newer knitters. I offer the following scrap-yarn option, which makes this pattern technically "no-seam." Shape Shoulders: Place 4(4-5-6-7-7) sts onto scrap yarn at beg of the next 2 rows, then 3(4-5-5-6-7) sts at beg of the next 2 rows. Bind off remaining 24 sts for back neck. The sts on the scrap yarn will be grafted onto the front panels using kitchener stitch before you start the sleeves.
6. Pick up stitches from scrap yarn and work each front panel as written in the pattern. Once you reach the shoulders, you can place the shoulder sts on scrap yarn as per the back instructions I supply above.
7. Seam or graft (using kitchener stitch) the shoulder pieces together.
I recommend picking up and knitting the collar from the work, rather than knitting separately and seaming on.
1. With RS facing, PU [pick up] the stitches across the back panel of the work (e.g., 24 sts in size 40). Turn.
2. With WS facing, knit these 24 sts. THEN (this is important) PU 2 more stitches. You now have 26 sts on your needles. Turn.
3. With RS facing, k these 26 sts, then PU 2 more sts at end of row. You now have 28 sts on your needles. Turn.
4. Knit WS row, then PU 2 more sts at end. 30 sts on needles.
Repeat this until you have worked your way around to the front G st panels. When you reach these panels, you should switch to picking up only 1 st at either end of the row for the next 12 rows. Bind off.
At this point, you can work the sleeves as written in the pattern. Or you can pick up and knit the sleeves in the round, using short-row shaping at the shoulders.
The Short-Row Sleeve Cap Concept
Some great instructions are available on the web. Here at Purlwise, and here at Stolen Stitches. Knit and Tonic's book Custom Knits has a great tutorial. But we pretty much all owe this idea to Barbara G. Walker and her book Knitting from the Top. Knitty has a tutorial on set-in sleeves in general, with some info on top-down methods.
Short-row No-Seam Sleeves
Starting at the center bottom, pick up stitches all around the armhole opening. Place color A marker to indicate the beginning of round. Place a second color A marker at the exact center top of the sleeve, with equal number of sts on either side of the markers.
K 3/4/5/6/6/7, place color B marker, k until 3/4/5/6/6/7 sts rem before top marker, place color C marker, k until 3/4/5/6/6/7 sts after top marker, place second color C marker, k until 3/4/5/6/6/7 sts before bottom marker, place second color B marker. The B and C markers indicate the rows that need short rows. Starting at the beginning of a row, knit past the top marker to the top right marker, wrap and turn, knit to the left top marker, wrap and turn, then knit to the stitch past the first wrap, then wrap and turn, etc etc until you reach the B markers at the bottom of the sleeve cap. Then you can just work in the round.
Work 1 inch (or as much as you want) in St st, then 4 inches in G st, then bind off.