Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Chambered Nautilus Saga

Jim keeps me in EZ (Elizabeth Zimmerman) books.  She is my knitting heroine.  I used to be a slave to patterns but after reading a few of her articles and books I converted to believing in myself and my knitting abilities.  I would not be designing patterns today without her influence on my fibery life.
EZ essentially says that any pattern is changeable, none are set in heavy felt and therefore a knitter need not feel like the pattern has the last say.  This she calls 'unventing'.

I am now one of those knitters who finds a new pattern, exclaims over it, says wow all I have to do is follow this for a simple knit and then proceeds to change the stitch pattern, or the gauge or to short sleeves from long or none or from flat knitting to round or even to steeked.  It's fun and liberating.  Really, if you have never tried to do that give it a knit on something small and see what happens. It's not life threatening, so take a chance.

Back to the story--- For Christmas, Jim gifted me with Knit One Knit All, the latest EZ pattern book from SchoolHouse Press

from SchoolHouse Press
"One of Elizabeth Zimmermann's dreams was to publish a book of her garter stitch designs. Though she proffered the idea to her primary publisher, and though the idea floated around their office for years, ultimately the project was not undertaken. In one of the publisher's letters that seemed promising, Elizabeth had written an exclamation of joy in the margins, and it seems fitting to us to fulfill her wish for a garter stitch book.
As we looked through Elizabeth's designs, we found a wealth of material, much of it little known or unknown to knitters. Further, we were intrigued and excited by the unique construction of some of these "new" designs (equal to her classic baby surprise jacket). You will find sweaters, coats, jackets, and vests for adults and kids, baby garments, plus a wonderful array of small projects including sideways gloves and socks, several brimmed hats, an ingenius pattern for knitted clogs and more."
I love the book, although I really dislike the look of garter stitch in general.  The designs are creative and EZ' sense of spacial positioning is astounding to me.  I immediately went through the pages several times exclaiming over this or that idea.  The hat on the cover looked so inviting and Jim said he'd wear it.  He even handed me a skein of a cabled 4 ply yarn (2 plies of natural icelandic hoggett  with alpaca and 2 of natural blue face leicester with silk) which was not thick enough for this project (!!! he does spin thin, very very thin, approaching frog hair), but I went through my stash and found just the right color of Rowan Tweed to knit together with his handspun.  My stash runneth over.
As soon as possible I started on this hat, diligently following directions.  Oh did I say EZ does not require that?  Well, with her patterns, one does need to pay close attention, at least through the first pass as teh construction is often unusual. Plus her patterns are what we call 'pithy', meaning they assume that the knitter gets it or can figure out what is suggested.  Sometimes this leads to some very interesting odd looking items.  Such as this:
turning into this:

The hat has 8 parts and mostly 7 stitch rows.  Starts simply enough too. But when I read to pick up half an icord stitch, yet the icords have been 3 stitches, I stopped.  hmmmnnn maybe that was only suggestive? Did I read it wrong.  No, so plowed ahead thinking it would get easier to understand once I had done this part but it only got weirder to me.  AHA! hopped online to Ravelry where there is an extensive EZ following and many forums dedicated to her works.  Sure enough I found the thread on this book AND the first erratta listings.  Wouldn't you know that this hat is the most confusing to knitters of all the patterns so far?
There's a note in the pattern saying: Slip the first stitch of every row k'wise.
Now with icord one does not slip the first stitch on the next row, but knits it pulling the yarn tightly into the stitch.  However since this was a prominent note I did as told.  WRONG.  I was supposed to use my brain and k the first st of the next row after the icord slips.  See its pithy............ and not slavish.
I then printed out the new instructions which do say which rows to sl1 and which to k1. Then frogged the whole thing, all 44 little rows and started again. 
Start up is 44 rows, section a is 4 rows x 72 times, section b is 6 rows x 42 times, section c is 2 rows x 260 times (which I wrongly assumed was an error or might never have started this beret), section d is 6 rows x 26 times, section e is 12 rows only once thank God, section f is 6 rows x 26 times and then 2 of those rows another 15 times.  That's a lot of little 7 st rows.  Way more than I have real patience for but its for Jim so I am plugging away at it.  I am now in section c. I have not multiplied and added up the total number of little rows.  I am not that insane, yet.
 The two rows in c have been knit 200 times while listening to an audible romance for relief from boredom.  Its hard to gauge whether this will really fit Jim or not and if not...(no we won't go there).

1 comment:

bjwalsh said...

Well I can attest to Jim's handspun being "frog hair-like" since I have knit with it!
And he sure does wear a beret well...
; P