Saturday, May 26, 2007

A Long Day's Journey into Garter Stitch

The more I knit Garter Stitch (which is really often), the more I like it. I like to think that Elizabeth Zimmermann is nodding knowingly as she sees me, and hundreds of like-minded knitters, realize the immense beauty and satisfaction of just knitting, row after row.

I know many knitters who credit EZ as the inspiration for becoming "thinking knitters" and learning to look at their knitting instead of looking at directions. I'm not one of those! I found Meg Swansen before I'd ever even read one of EZ's books, so I guess I'm part of the next generation of thinkers. I was taking a Community Ed knitting class in Rochester, MN from Ann Swanson and Katie Nagorney (Two Old Bags, which seems a silly name because they are two, but will never seem old, and nobody who met them would ever refer to them as "bags"). Anyway, they were a great teaching team, but apparently, I asked a great many (perhaps too many?) technical questions, and they said "you really need to go to Meg Swansen's Knitting Camp" - foisting me off on an unsuspecting Meg. Obedient student that I am, I applied that summer and went. I've been going ever since, but because I get to be there for 4 sessions every summer, I'm on my 55th camp now (just a guess).

One of the suggested pre-reqs to attending camp was to have "read and digested" at least one of EZ's books. I guess I'm not that obedient, because I didn't do the homework! Once I got to camp and fell in love with Meg, I decided to read one quickly (didn't want her to be disappointed in me), but who can stop at one? Within a week of coming home from camp, I'd read the 4 that were in print. It took me a few years to ball up the courage to try to get to know Meg, because I was so in awe of her, but I did, and the rest is history. I dare her to try and have a camp without me now!

Back to Garter Stitch - here's the line-up:

1. Baby Surprise Jacket - certainly not my first, but I teach it as a class pretty often, and always want to have one on the needles. In my most recent class, one of my lovely students has a suspicious bump on her front-side, and I liked her quite a lot. So, I'm going to finish up this BS and give it to Rachel, assuming the bump will someday need clothing!

I'm using Classic Elite Waterlily in Lake with stripes of Lily Pad. This yarn is delicious to knit with and to look at. I used some left-over yarn for the Provisional Cast-On just to show my students that the cast-on edge does not remain in a straight line for very long.

2. Adult Surprise Jacket - This is the most fun I've had on my couch in quite some time. It's just sitting there like a lump, waiting for me to knit, and knit, and knit. No thinking required (as long as you remember to do your 2 double-decreases on each front-side row). Well, now I'm to the double-increase part, but "remembering" is not so taxing as "thinking". Of course, the end result is that I'll get done too quickly. Such is life!

For this, I'm using Jaeger Matchmaker Merino Aran from my stash! What a virtuous knitter I am. I bought the yarn in England probably 6 or 7 years ago, and I bought lots. It's just as spongy and wonderful as the Waterlily, which is why I decided to sneak some in. The stripes are Lake, Leaf, and Azalea. I was going to add some Goldfish for zing, but didn't get back to the yarn shop to pick it up before time to knit the 4th stripe, so ... no fishes for me!

Again, I used the Provisional Cast-On, this time in relatively garish teal. It makes me want to knit faster to get that edge off the sweater! Any inspiration in a storm, I say.

3. Pi Are Square Shawl - Kathy D from our retreat a few weeks ago was starting one, just as Amy A gave me a skein of Malibrigo Laceweight in Violetas. A sign from above that I was supposed to cast on immeditaely. It would be tacky to say "oh, that's beautiful, thank you!" and not cast right on! That's my excuse, and I'm sticking with it!

First things first, I had to call The Sow's Ear (one of my local shops) and tell them to send 1 more skein of Malibrigo home with Randy, who was going to pick up coffee beans that day. When Randy got there, he and Liz decided that 1 more skein wouldn't be enough so he bought 3. What a well-trained man (and a well-trained Yarn Shop Employee)! So, I have something like 1800 yards of this super-fine yummy stuff, it's going to be one hell of a shawl!

Now that the post is written, I need to (clean off the dining room table and) photograph the projects! Knit on.

P.S. Randy loves that I have a blog... the dining room table gets uncluttered almost weekly because of this!


Nancy said...

The bottom of your post says 6:55 a.m. and updated a few minutes ago, but it just came thru Bloglines for the first time!! Love your wheelbarrow garden! And your projects are luverly, indeed. I'm foregoing the ASJ for the Adult ribwarmer at the moment. And it's almost finished! Alas, too soon! Hope your weekend is knitterlicious!

Molly Bee said...

OOO! You can make the baby surprise as an adult surprise! I wanna!!!! I've been enjoying garter stitch lately too with a plethora of multidirectional scarves! I usually like the smooth look of straight stitch better but there is something about that pattern that is addicting! Knit On!

lv2knit said...

I totally agree about garter stitch -- it is an under-rated wonder. Just look at Hanne Falkenberg, etc. Anyway, thanks for the updates on your many knit happenings.

stash haus said...

Love seeing your projects, Amy! Didn't have time at the Knit In to tell you about my secret project - go on over and take a look. Gearing up for camp yet?

Amy Detjen said...

Yes, I'm very excited about Camp. Stash Haus, I don't know who you are, but if I saw you at Knit In, you must be a local knitter!

I start thinking about camp about May 1, and start packing Memorial Day weekend. As I think of things I can't live without, I put them on my ever-growing list. Then I can't imagine why I have so much crap with me! Knit on!

Anonymous said...

Firstly, the wheel barrow garden is great. (And I'm so glad to see you're still enamored with purple.)

I'd always wondered how you'd gotten hooked up with Meg. It's a been a good relationship.

Sandra D. said...

Ah, another knitter who cleans the fibery stuff from necessary areas only when necessary! Knitters have so much in common! LOVE your colors on the projects (my monitor says purple or sort of). I'm into a garter stitch phase, too. I love it more and more with each passing garment.

stash haus said...

Sorry, Amy - forgot to say it's Kate F - and I'm sorely going to be missing camp this year. Yes, it's fun to be with family, but you can't beat a long weekend with Meg, Joyce, you, and a great bunch of knitters.

Anonymous said...

Malabrigo is my new favorite yarn. First saw it in Ann Arbor at Busy Hands while waiting for Stephanie(Yan Harlot) to arrive. Bought some chunky and lace. Then at Threadbear in Lansing bought worsted which has made several baby kimonos as shower gifts(All my friends seem to have pregnant grown children) and can't seem to get enough. This yarn is soft, in beautiful colors and not particularly expensive. The baby surprise jacket is next!!!

Anonymous said...

I was at the Yarnery in St. Paul this past spring the day before the Yarnover, with my mom. I am happy to have finally found your blog! I am knitting a Pi Are Square shawl as well! I am working on mine in a Baby Wool - I think size 7 needles? What size needles are you using?