My knitterly ways

I just picked up Elizabeth Zimmerman’s book Knitting Without Tears.  I’ve been knitting for 34 years but started knitting with her book Knitting Around a few years ago.  I like the way she writes her instructions.  I truly enjoy all of her “digressions” as she calls them.  Maybe that’s why my blog is not purely a knitting blog.  Okay, that reason and the fact that it takes me so long to knit things “in my spare time” as it were, that  posting would be too sporadic for anyone to want to follow this blog.

My favorite (okay new favorite) quote from Knitting Without Tears is about scarves (no, I didn’t start at the beginning and read the whole book yet.  I peeked at the back and found this gem.).

“They (scarves) may be made back and forth on two needles, with as many stitches as you wish; the length is governed only by your patience and stamina.”

Well, I’ve been working off and on toward a scarf for Ditty and I think my patience and stamina are both getting a bit thin.  Unfortunately, I have no one to blame but myself.  I decided to knit the scarf rather than a pair of mittens out of the excess yarn that I bought to make her a hat.  Why I thought that a pattern which said two hats could be made from one ball of the recommended yarn would somehow require three balls of said yarn, I do not know.  Maybe I had initially wanted to make a hat, mittens and scarf but it was last year that I made the hat, so the initial intent is no longer in my memory.

But here’s a photo of the beginnings of the scarf.

And one of the current progress on the scarf.

The pattern is inspired by the Double Cable Scarf in Leigh Radford’s book One Skein.  I decided to skip the ribbing in between the two sets of double cables and just cable the whole scarf.  I also decided that a 38 inch scarf is really too short for a girl, so I added a second skein of yarn.  I also did this so that when I reversed the cable twist, I wouldn’t have to figure out where the halfway point was going to land-just cable up the first skein and then cable down with the second.  It seemed brilliant at the time, but like I said, my patience and my stamina are wearing a bit thin with all those cables.  At least it will be a pretty scarf when it is done.  And a one-of-a-kind as well, lol.

To break up the monotony or to just give me a break, I’m also knitting Matthias’ Oversized Monk’s Robe for BooBoo.  He wants to be Matthias from Brian Jacques book Redwall for Halloween next year.  This (ahem) little project was inspired by the book Great Yarns for a Close Knit Family by Mary C. Gildersleeve.  The book gives a brief description of a story that the author and her family enjoy as a read aloud and she has designed a couple of patterns to go with each story.  Redwall is mentioned as one of the stories, so I hoped to find a monk’s habit pattern to knit for BooBoo.  I know, silly to think someone would knit a full monk’s habit, but I had hoped.  Mrs. Gildersleeve’s pattern for Matthias’ Oversized Monk’s Habit was a very large, hooded poncho.  Rats!  Since I wanted something that looked like an actual monk’s habit, I knew I would have to design it myself.

Here’s where reading (and believing in) Elizabeth Zimmerman’s no nonsense approach to knitting came in handy. 

I knit some stockinette stitch on size 8 needles to find my gauge with the (yuck!) acrylic yarn I would be using for the costume.  No one, in my opinion, should use good wool yarn for a costume.  Especially one that will drag in the mud and muck that usually comes with Halloween in these parts.  So acrylic it had to be. 

Size 8 needles seemed to be the right size to give me a knitted fabric that would be neither too tight (meaning I’d have to knit forever to get the thing to the right size) or too loose (meaning large gaping holes that make it look like moths have attacked a monk’s habit-the nerve!).

Once I found my gauge, I cast on the number of stitches that would give me a 36 inch circumference.  BooBoo is a skinny kid so a 36 inch chest will look plenty big on him both this year and next.  I then knit in the round twelve rows of garter stitch for the hem of the robe.  After all, who really wants to have to sew a hem after all that knitting.  A garter stitch bottom seemed to be the answer to my prayers.  I switched to stockinette stitch after that for the body of the garment.  Then I measured BooBoo from the floor to his armpit to determine the length I would need to knit before having to worry about, I mean plan out the sleeve and yoke shaping.  I added two inches to this measurement to give me more time length to the garment.  It is supposed to be oversized and since he’s been growing close to two inches a year lately, this seemed to be a wise thing to do if I want the thing to be truly oversized.

Here’s a photo of my progress so far.

The robe measures 22 inches in length so far.  Only 22 more to go before I have to w plan for those sleeves, etc.  Gee, if I get this done by February, BooBoo could even wear it for the Dress as your favorite Book Character Day at his school during I Love To Read month.  Pressure, pressure.  We’ll see how it goes I guess. 

I’ll update on the progress again once I’ve got some sleeves  or a finished scarf to show you.  Until then,

Happy Knitting!


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