Wednesday, December 15, 2010

EZ: WT*?!

and sometimes the quartet of tiny gnomes
say the heck with it, and
just take off in the red truck

I am a constructivist knitter: I like to explore new ways to create 3D forms with yarn. I am intrigued by patterns that open up new ways of thinking for me about the possibilities that exist for a certain form: sweaters knit from the top down, socks knit from the toe up, a new type of neckband, a particular shape for a hat.

That being said, let me tell you a little about Elizabeth Zimmermann (EZ as we call her in the knitting world). She is one of the godmothers of modern knitting who empowered knitters to make patterns their own, to use percentages and ratios to create garments to fit individuals everywhere, to do what is right regardless of what the pattern says. EZ hated knitting on two needles and was a big advocate for circular knitting because she loathed sewing seams. Her knitting books are fun to read because she was witty and clever, and she also did not believe that people could legitimately be allergic to wool. I love her commitment!

So her style is to give you a rough overview of a pattern and then follow this with alternatives and modifications and then a set of "pithy instructions."

Now I am deep into knitting her Seamless Hybrid sweater for Mr. Crafty for Christmas, of course, though I started it way back in the summer (ripped it out, started again, etc.). So the sweater feels a little epic right now. And I have one finger that is suffering a knitting-related injury, which is why it's great to knit both continental and European-style (though I am slower with European). This sweater is no surprise gift, he knows it's coming.

And I'll tell you right now that I am heading into unknown territory: knitting a saddle shoulder. This is the part of the sweater that comes up your upper arm and then gracefully flattens out as it heads towards your neck. EZ is leaving me completely in the cold on this one. Her pithy instructions are not nearly as pithy as I need them to be and I am at a loss about the overall concept. (I have ordered yet another EZ book through Interlibrary Loan which might help me, but it's not here yet.) Hello, EZ Help Hotline?! I am in a knitting emergency!!!! Yeah, ok so I have been knitting seriously for almost 20 years, I know my way around the lingo and yet whammo, I am humbled by the challenge of this learning experience.

Enter the Internet, Ravelry, and finally, my own Mr. Crafty. Yes, I trolled blogs, forums, posts, etc. Turned up nothing, which is embarrassing for a librarian.
Finally, my own Mr. Crafty came to my rescue. And I will admit that I was reluctant to involve him at first, though he is both a knitter and spatially excellent. We looked in detail at this post, particularly at the photos at the end. Somewhat annoyingly, though totally helpfully, Mr. C. "got it" just by looking at the pictures. *I still don't get it!* But I feel better knowing that he does and also that I don't need to face this tricky part for probably another week or so.
This is why it's good to marry your best friend, who also coincidentally happens to be good at things you're not. Like he was about to start knitting a hat and showed me this hideous yellow with a multicolored bluegreen, and I wrinkled my nose and said: "And who would you be knitting THAT for?" " I guess not." "And do you ever see me wear yellow?" "" So I helped him find the most gorgeous yarn for a hat he is knitting me (pictures will come).
little dolly for my niece
Ultimately, what really helped with the EZ conundrum was not my husband, but a complete stranger on Ravelry, TomofHolland, who kept popping up on the EZ forums as a guy who seemed in the know. He wrote me a lovely, in depth explanation of the process and I will post it soon for the betterment of knitters everywhere, who like me, may be new to saddle shoulders and need some kind hand-holding.

1 comment:

  1. I love your baby doll! We had similar ones when we were children which we called 'sleepy dolls'. One evening early every Christmas season my mother would clean out her barristers bookcase and create little Christmas vignettes on each shelf. There was an angel suspended from above and who was surrounded with spun fiberglass (try finding that now!) and just seemed to be floating in a cloud. The next was a creche scene with her Hummel figurines plus the little drummer boy. The last was a 'sleepy doll', a little wooden dog or cat and a small wrapped present for each child. Each shelf had it's own strand of different colors of light. She then nailed the mullioned glass doors shut to keep out our little prying fingers and to protect us from the spun fiberglass too. It was torture knowing those little presents contained something which we could see but not get to it. The nail on the bottom shelf came out Christmas morning so we could get the present and we just carried those sleepy dolls around the whole day.

    I have that bookcase now though the mullioned glass door on the bottom is not just broken, it is completely gone!