Sunday, December 03, 2006
This weekend I have been so festive - I am waiting for brandy Christmas cupcakes to cool and decided to take this opportunity to blog.
It's blowing a gale outside, torrential rain and grey - perfect Sunday house weather. Whilst Christmas present shopping online I thought I should treat myself to Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitter's Almanac - a snip at £4.71! I was dubious at the rather dated looking patterns on the cover, and had it been more expensive I probably would have given it a miss.
I'm so glad that didn't - I would pay £20.00 for this book without pausing!
The patterns chat with you along the way, including comments such as; "Repeat these 2 rounds ... [and the sleeves will start] to creep over the body. But not fast enough you will say, and you are right."
This is my kind of pattern! The point where I start to doubt that I'm following the pattern correctly and start reading, and re-reading, part of an abbreviated pattern in a gradually louder and more frustrated exasperated tone. Where I consider ripping out and the room clears of cat and boy in nano-seconds - Elizabeth pops in a vital lifeline. It's OK, she says, I know it looks odd - trust me.
She tells us how to knit in the dark with a ballsy, easy-peasy air that gives me the confidence to believe in myself and my knitting skills.
Patterns full of words like 'about', 'however you like', 'whatever you're comfortable with'. Patterns with no needle sizes, or yarn brands, to be knit with the brand and needle size that I want and feel comfortable with.
She isn't pattern precious, she doesn't order it done her way or the highway. Elizabeth Zimmerman encourages, nay demands, that you rip apart her patterns to suit your taste and your style. And she gives you all the information to do exactly that, and armed with this knowledge my confidence grows in myself. Her patterns become timeless, because they can be updated to whatever is the current trend.
Such that the Bella cardigan I knat earlier in the year was re-designed in my head last night with a more flattering fit. It has lain dormant in a bag since I tried in on ... I looked like a pear, with an army-green Ready-Brek kid outline.
She is a gauge square advocate - however she shows us nifty little tricks to save wasted knitting. Gauge squares that turn into hats, caps, the sleeve beginnings, depending on whether they end up bigger or smaller than the intended size.
Buy her books! I'm a convert!