Archive for the ‘Elizabeth Zimmermann’ Category

Happy 100th Birthday!!!!

There is so much to say about this great lady I could write for hours but I’ll just let her ingenious patterns speak for me. 

(from the top, Aran Coat, Hand to Hand Pullover, New Zealand  Sweater and Saddle Shoulder Sweater)

(February Baby Sweater, Baby Surprise Jacket)

(Baby Surprise Snowsuit)

Thank you for your inspiration, your guidance, and your fearlessness in the face of cables, lace and life itself.

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As much as we all love the Baby Surprise Jacket, has it occurred to anyone but me that despite the delightful-ness of the  sweater it could use one little improvement…longer sleeves.  I’ve always had issue with 3/4 sleeves of any kind (child or adult garments).   So I sat down and thought  about it for a while and understood what I wanted to do but just couldn’t get my mind around how to carry it out.  Then, thanks to the brilliant mind of a Raveler (I was too lazy to trace the thread to find out who) I discovered this.

With the use of a simple provisional cast on (take your pick…I choose a crochet provisional) you can work the entire garment then go back, pick up the sleeve stitches and knit away to your desired length.   To finish it off  I would sew the sleeves together using an invisible seam for garter stitch (from the book The Knitter’s Companion), stop at the neck edge and do a sewn off bind off (as seen on the Knitting Glossary DVD by Elizabeth Zimmermann) then continue across with the invisible seaming on the other sleeve.

Here’s my crochet provisional cast on.


As you can see I’ve already started picking up the sleeve stitches…



For the observant among you, I was on the wrong side of the sweater in the picture above that’s why it looks like I’m on other sleeve in this picture.  I also took these pictures at different times of the day…sorry for the terrible lighting.


The safety pin marks the pick up row…pretty smooth transition…


At the end of the day the sweater was too small…I safety pinned it together and tried it on Kira.  It fits her but only for another five minutes.  It won’t even take her through the fall.   So I will rip but not without a sense of accomplishment.

Oh, the other thing I did was cast on the extra 18 stitches (9 on each side) usually added a few rows into the sweater to add fullness above the cuff.  Toward the end of the sleeve I was going to decrease by 9 stitches for the same effect.

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Elizabeth Zimmermann

Happy Birthday Elizabeth Zimmermann.  Today marks the 99th birthday of this great lady.  Without her, knitting would not be what it is.  Whether you have heard her name or not, if you are a knitter, you have been touched by her ideas, her patterns, her humor, her spirit.  I started knitting the year she passed away.  At the time, her name was unknown to me but I felt a spirit pushing me to knit and I have not looked back since.  I’d just finished massage school and was suddenly compelled to learn.  Just woke up one morning dying to have needles and yarn in my hands.

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been “hurting my head” (as my mum says) trying to decide what sweater to knit next and not knitting anything in the process.  Today I return to the basics, to the tried and true.  I’m casting on a simple saddle shoulder sweater using the EZ percentage system.  When in doubt pull out an EZ book and get started.   I’ve swatched, done the math and my needles are humming. 

Thank you Elizabeth.

Knit on, with confidence and hope, through all crises.

-Elizabeth Zimmermann 1910-1999 

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Today is July 17th and Meg Swansen’s Knitting Camp 2 kicked off this morning in Marshfield, WI.  I am in New York and you know what? I’ve never been happier in my life.  Last night I met my sister in the park to see the New York Philharmonic perform (the fire works right over my head at the end were amazing).  It was my first night out alone since April and I had the best, guilt free time ever.  Kira was home asleep, safe and sound with her Daddy while I lay on a blanket in the park listening to Mozart and counting the stars.   

Before sunset I had a few moments of daylight to start a new project.   I decided that since I can’t attend camp this year I would, in the spirit of camp, try a new technique and finish it before Monday (when camp ends).  For those who’ve never been to camp, you are given a number of projects  based on the techniques being covered and the challenge, for some, is to finish before camp ends.

Make the sun shine where ever you are people…

My project is a top down raglan dress for Kira.  Not to hard (no charts), not to complicated (can still converse with others), it has a gull lace pattern (a la’ February Baby Sweater, a la’ the founder of camp, EZ) and it’s in a 3 month-ish size…very do-able.  Plus my friend May is coming to visit so I’ll have lots of hands free time while she cuddles Kira.


Let the weekend begin…

Have a great one everybody!!!

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I’m back-tracking a bit with this post but I wanted to show you some pictures of Kira’s “Coming Home on Mother’s Day” outfit.  I didn’t  post any details about it after finishing it so this is overdue.  It was also an excuse to post more pictures of her under the guise of knitting content.  Please forgive the new mum enthusiasm, I just can’t  help myself.  This is way to much fun.  Freaking hard as hell but so much fun.


Pattern: ABC SJ by Elizabeth Zimmermann w/snowsuit option

Source: Schoolhouse Press, Individual Pattern

Yarn: Cotton Classic, 100% mercerized cotton by Tahki Stacy Charles (108 yards)

Color: MC 3001 (cream) 3 skeins, CC- I don’t have a label for that color.  It’s a wheat-ish, lite brown color, 1 skein.

Needles: Addi #6

Modifications:  Aside from the obvious addition of the snowsuit alteration I followed all directions to the letter.  The BSJ sizing for 5 stitches to the inch, baby size on the ABCSJ instructions and Chasing Bunny’s instructions for the summer suit modifications. (on the leg cuff).  A super fast project and a joy to knit.

The hat is my simple newborn hat pattern. CO 64 stitches, knit for about 5 to 6 inches ( or longer if you want a cuff), then begin decreasing every other round for the crown/top.

She’s wearing a onesie underneath so can’t really see but the cuff  actually reached her wrist (so there is plenty of room to grow).  The legs were long, which was great because it was a bit chilly on that Sunday (and again growing room).  My mum sewed in the snap tape which she fussed and fussed over because she couldn’t get it to lay exactly perfect.  Believe me I hardly noticed,  neither did Kira or anyone else for that matter. 


Hurray…mummy and daddy are taking me home.


The first of many EZ garments for this little one.

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I was so excited about knitting this little blanket but it’s just about the most tedious thing ever.  I’ve ripped it already to reduce the number of stitches thereby the size and time to make it but it’s still going nowhere fast.  I went from 144 stitches  on a #7  to 104 stitches on a #8.



Not to mention, how much yarn it’s eating and I haven’t even turned the first corner yet.  I’m holding two strands of Louet Gems sport weight.  That tiny ball at the top of the picture is all that’s left of the first two skeins. (225 yards)


Forgive me Elizabeth but I have to rip again.  I’m going to try the Mystery Blanket from the April chapter of the Knitter’s Almanac  instead.  It starts from the center and you work your way out….we’ll see.  I’m thinking blankets (baby or adult) leave the same taste in my mouth as scarves….

This isn’t fun yet.  I may have to stick with baby sweaters and accessories.

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How can something so simple and small make me so happy?  Maybe it’s a side effect of the pregnancy, being even more easily entertained than usual.  The cause really isn’t important.  I’ll just revel in the pleasure.  Here’s another completed baby item….The “Baby T”.  I actually got teary when I set up this picture.  Just 9 weeks to go and the little wearer will be here….


Sweet, sweet, sweet…


I haven’t blocked it yet or obviously sewn on the buttons but that’s ok.  This is about a 6 month size (so there’s time).  I measured a few different sweaters in different stores to get a finished chest size.  This sweater measures 22″ (pre-blocking).  I was aiming for 23″, which I should get after a bit of wetting and tugging.  Plus garter stitch is a known “grower” so no worries.

As I was finishing up the jacket I thought socks.  There’s more than enough yarn.  My babe has to have as many pairs as his/her mummy.  But unlike the mum’s socks, the babe’s will actually be wore.

Again, can you say cute?



Pattern: Tomten Jacket

Source: Elizabeth Zimmermann, The Opinionated Knitter

Yarn: Colinette Jitterbug, Morello Mash, 2 skeins  (both the jacket and the socks with some a bit left over)

Needles: #2 Addis

Modifications:  One or two…I followed the directions to the letter chosing the simple collar and button band options.  The only big difference is putting button holes on both bands per the Baby Surprise Jacket instructions.  Not that it matters to me much which side the buttons are on (boy or girl) but it makes button placement fool-proof.  And I’m a big fool when it comes to sewing on buttons.  It baffles my mother’s mind how I can knit so well but totally screw up a thing as simple as sewing on  a button.


Oh the other thing I did per this knitter’s modification was decrease one stitch at the beginning and end of  the 2nd  and 4th ridge (total of 8 then I bound off) on the button band so the angle of the collar would turn “downward”/”upward” (accordingly) a bit.  It’s subtle but effective.  The edges don’t look so severe, squared off.


I love this outfit.  And now that I’ve worked all the numbers I can just knit away.  We definitely need more of these, with a hood, pockets, matching pants, an icord put in somewhere, turn down collar, etc…endless choices.


9 weeks is going to feel so long and so short at the same time….

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Baby T

Here’s another addition to the ETG baby wardrobe…almost done.


Just have the second sleeve to finish, sew the seams and weave in the ends.  I’m not sure what to do about the front closure.  Traditional button band, Icord edging with invisible button hole, toggles (that may be a bit too much for a baby sweater)?


So far I’ve used one full skein and about 1/3 of a second of Colinette Jitterbug in Morello Mash.   I love this little sweater and the yarn even more.  So there was much agonizing over using  it for this project since this particular color was so hard to find.   I really wanted to use it for socks.  But two more skeins  just arrived from Kaleidoscope Yarns (kyarns.com).   I did a google search on Tuesday and it was the first time their site popped up.  I called and BINGO!!!  It arrived today.  Woohoo!!

Is there anything more classic and perfect then an Elizabeth Zimmermann pattern.  I’ll  have more details when it’s done.  Soon….

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 Surprise! Here’s another Baby Surprise Jacket finally completed..  Can anyone resist knitting one of these?  And if you haven’t yet…I just have no words for you.   Not only is it a quick knit but it is also beyond beautiful.  There will be plenty of these coming off my needles in the  next few months.



Surprise, Surprise!! The cuteness factor was just taken to another level.  A hood, yes a prefectly structured, functional, cute as hell hood.  And you all know I can’t resist a hood.  The instructions for this one were provided by Sarah.  I had the pleasure of meeting her at Camp this past July and have now had the chance to sample one of her unventions.  Love it!!!!!


Just look at that.  I know I’ve used the word cute twice already but can you blame me.  Too freakin’ cute…ok how about adorable.  Sarah’s instructions are so in keeping with the classic Elizabeth Zimmermann knitting style.  As you’re knitting it you’re not quite sure it will work.  Actually I was thinking this is going to be way too big but I kept the faith….Thank you Sarah and Elizabeth.


I can’t wait to pull that little hood up over my baby’s head…


SURPRISE, SURPRISE, SURPRISE!!! Yes I said my baby….The Earthtones Girl is going to an Earthtones Mum!  We’re due next May.  I’ll save Chris’s reaction/response for another post.  But suffice it to say the man I’ve known for 12 years has been replaced with one of the most loving, thoughtful, gentle, teary-eyed-all-time-men I’ve every met.  It’s as amazing to watch his transformation as it is my own.  Our own. 

So there you go…finally an explanation for my absence, blog neglect and lack of focus.  All my attenion has been on my little one.   I never thought it was possible to be so in love with someone you’ve never met.  It sounds cliche but who cares.  This is magic…so now that the “cat is out of the bag” I can post much more freely and there will be lots of baby gear in the works.   I already started this one and this one will be close on it’s heels. 


We don’t know what we’re having and we have no plans to find out.  So I will wait and knit and put as much love as I can in every stitch….

Oh and just a word of warning.  If anyone thought I was a big sap before, look out.  I’ve become a walking Hallmark card….mushy, sappiness everywhere…

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Just 2 days to go before the Ravelympics 2008 kicks off and I’ve been swatching away.  After two attempts, I’m still not sure what needle I’m using.  I started on a #2 but the fabric was so dense and tight.  Now I’m up to a 4.  We’ll see.  My goal is 6 sts to an inch.

I’m part of Team Knitting Camp and my project is the New Zealand Pullover by Elizabeth Zimmerman (of course).  All the members of the team are knitting EZ or Meg Swansen projects.  Can you tell we are all still a bit “homesick” for camp.  My event is the Sweater Sprint.  This is going to be so much fun.

Here’s my yarn selection.  Pretty huh?  Shetland 2 Ply Jumper Yarn, color #3.  It’s like oatmeal with some maple syrup stirred in.  I have 13 skeins which should be more than enough. 

Can you picture a better color for me?  No, it’s not brown but it’s still earthy.

Yesterday I had a major wake up call of sorts.  I was reading over the Ravelympics boards and noticed the Time Zone Converter.  That right folks, we’re suppose to cast on during the opening ceremonies which begin at 8pm Beijing time.  What time is that where you live boys and girls?  Here in Nueva York that’s going to be 8 am.  Thank God I don’t live in Hawaii, their start time is 2am…Ouch!  But I’d still be up knittin’.

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