Yarn Along with Edith

Hello again! This is Edith and I'm so excited to be here with you, joining my friend Ginny for this week's Yarn Along. I thoroughly enjoyed our time together for needle and thREAD and am just plain giddy about turning our conversation to knitting. I do so love knitting!

Allow me to begin with a single name:

Elizabeth Zimmerman

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A legend, that one. Don't you just love her?

I do. Not only because she is, like me, a quirky continental knitter. (You've read the story of her governess "correcting" the English-style knitting she learned from her mother? Apparently continental knitting had been all but abandoned in England during World War II due to its association with Germany. Ah, the politics of knitting!) No, it's not simply common technique behind my fondness. There's a true genius about Elizabeth Zimmerman and what I adore most is her brilliant humor. 

Really, you must pick up a copy of one of her books. Knitter's Almanac? Knitting Without Tears? Or how about a volume of her columns, The Opinionated Knitter? Whether or not you venture to recreate the patterns she "unvented," you'll love her wit. 

Allow me to tempt you with her instructions for knitting a ribbed turtleneck:

Pick up a multiple of 4 stitches around the neck and work in knit-two, purl-two ribbing until you are sick of it.

She's charming. And truly, she revolutionized knitting. Before the days of Ravelry's dizzying database of detailed patterns, knitters simply knew how to use a system of proportions to create garments. Elizabeth Zimmerman was the first to break down that mysterious knowledge. She unlocked the secret for people like me, those of us who are rather fond of following recipes. 

So I'm slowly branching out these days, trying to learn the logic of knitting. But not wanting to venture too far, too soon into uncharted percentage systems, I casted on a project based on Elizabeth Zimmerman's legendary February Baby Sweater, just to get a feel for her designs. Most likely you've heard of it, the February Lady Sweater? It's an adult-sized version of the baby cardigan adapted by Pamela Wynne, conveniently written in the style of a modern pattern. 

So far I'm loving it.

Yarn along 1

I'm knitting my February Lady in an autumnal palette, hues that remind me of October. I suppose I'm a bit off the almanac on that one, so let's just say I'm knitting an October Lady Sweater, shall we? (You can find my progress and notes here on my new Ravelry page.)

I chose a hand-dyed merino wool by the Chilean artisans of Araucania. This aran weight yarn is one of their Toconao Multy variations. It captures autumn, my favorite season. 

(And I just noticed upon uploading the photo above that my sweater coordinates perfectly with my tote. Funny. Didn't plan that one.)

I've only just finished the yoke and separated for the sleeves, but I can already tell you how much I love Elizabeth Zimmerman's gull lace pattern. Easy to memorize, easy to correct when your scooting infant pulls up on your chair and rips your work right out of your hands and hundreds of stitches fall off the ends of your needles. No use crying over dropped stitches with this pattern.

But I didn't have to work through the lace section to fall in love. My 14 year old daugther, Marianne, has her own February Lady Sweater in the works and is a bit further along than me. She's knitting hers in Spud and Chloe Sweater Yarn. She says it's a dream to work with.

Feb lady 2
(Isn't her tote adorable? Last week's sewing lesson. And I just noticed upon uploading the photo how perfectly her project coordinates with her tote. Strange.)

Upon writing that last sentence, I promptly left my keyboard to inspect my eldest daughter's tote. And yes, it too matches her project.

Oh my!

Yarn along 3

Eleanor is knitting Hannah Fettig's Contended Cardi in Blue Sky Alpaca Worsted Hand Dyes. She asked for the yarn for her 17th birthday. That cardigan calls for about a hundred thousand yards of alpaca. I told her that her father and I could A) send her to college or B) buy her that yarn. 

She chose the yarn, smart girl.

Of course, I'm only joking. We'll still send her to college. She just better wear that sweater every single day of it!

Enough about yarn, let's talk reading. My matchy-matchy girls and I are devouring the Bronte sisters and have been thoroughly entertained...in a dark, depressive sort of way. Today we're listening to the last 30 minutes of Wuthering Heights on Audible. Of course, we could just read aloud together, as we have done for years, but we've recently transitioned to audiobooks and called it a daily knit-a-long.

Knitting and British ghost stories. It doesn't get much better than that, now does it?

Wuthering heights
One evening after our listening, we put the littles to bed and watched the movie version, the newer production with Ralph Feinnes as Heathcliff. (Go ahead, watch the trailer.)

Mr. Feinnes is wonderful, as usual, but oddly cast, I must say. Ralph Fiennes as a strapping, dark-toned gypsy? He's too refined, too slight of build, the girls and I said. However, we were pleasantly surprised to find the part of Nelly Dean played by Janet McTeer, the talented woman who read the parts narrated by Nelly on the audio version we've been enjoying. She's absolutely wonderful. 

Really, you should download the story and listen. I promise, it'll go great with your knitting. 

Knit on with confidence and hope, through all crises.

-Elizabeth Zimmerman

Join Ginny for more knitting and reading.