Monday, June 11, 2007


I'm not sure I have many people to convince that Elizabeth Zimmermann is a genius, except those who've never heard of her, because you can't deny her incredibly practical approach to knitting - which has up until recently been an incredibly practical skill. And those of you who've never heard of her? Where have you been? Get on the boat already!

I read both Knitting Workshop and Knitting Around this weekend. I devoured them like novels. Even the patterns, I swear. Knitting Around almost is a novel, combining patterns with "digressions" on Elizabeth's life. I've always loved to hear stories about the way that things used to be back when my grandparents and their parents were young, so it's only fitting that I was so involved in Elizabeth's story.

Her patterns make so much sense. She acknowledges the fact that everyone fits differently, and is fully aware and even encourages you to do what works for you. We knitters all know that we alter patterns to a greater or lesser degree even when the pattern seems set in stone. Well, no more. No more for me. I have a freakishly long torso, and I'm not going to pretend I don't anymore!

And in the spirit of taking a pattern as a guide and not a set of rules, I've started a hat for my brother. He found this yarn in a hippie store in Santa Fe and asked if I'd make him a hat. Well, how could I say no?

The yarn is 55% hemp 45% wool, and it smells distinctly of hippie, if you know what I mean. That sort of incense-y, hemp-y, tie-dye-y, kill-your-television-y kind of smell. I have no idea who manufactures this stuff. There's no company name on the ball band, just "Hemp Yarn." And it just proves how much I love my brother because, dudes, this stuff is something akin to knitting with grass. Let's just say, I wouldn't want it near my head. I hear hemp softens up with time, and you can bet your behind I'm going to steam the heck out of it in order to attempt to turn it into something someone might want to wear, but I make no promises.

And, being a boy, he had to choose the least interesting colors (chocolate and curry yellow, according to packaging), and the most boring design. Stripes! No fun colorwork, no zig-zags, no stylized X and O patterns. Stripes. Stripes! What is it with men and their inability to admit that they might like colors? I mean, blue is even stretching it for this one. And he chose straight ribbing down to his ears, so there's not even a turned under hem where I can stitch something fun. Like his name.

But I love him, so I'll try to not screw this one up. I've done most of the math and meausuring necessary, assuming I get gauge (5 st per inch) so I just need to get gauge and cast on.

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