Tuesday, 27 April 2010


Dear Kathy Zimmerman, despite never actually having criticized your pattern and never blaming you for my inability to knit the Bazic’s sleeves, I feel the need to apologize. Would a little self-flagellation be enough to atone for my last post? I would offer to knit a few things for charity, but that wouldn’t be painful enough because as the saying goes, stupidity should hurt. It really should and not just to punish people for being stupid, but to warn them that, yes, you are about to enter the stupid zone, so please, turn back now before it’s too late. After all, pain does tell us that it’s really not very healthy to touch a hot stove, so why shouldn’t it be there to warn us that we’re about to do something we will probably regret and/or cause us public humiliation? (Ehem, as in blogging about said stupidity before realizing just how dense you really are.)

But I digress. I thought I had put enough effort into deciphering your instructions. I spent hours thinking about just how to work the sleeve increases into the pattern. I mapped them out in Excel, I knit and re-knit and still I wasn’t happy with the result. Then I decided to read the pattern again. I did that and still I was confused. I went back to thinking, improvising, knitting and again was baffled. I couldn’t imagine that you wouldn’t have mentioned it if it were going to be this difficult. Then, suddenly, in a flash of “OMG I am so stupid I should be jailed” illumination, I realized that I am my own worst enemy. In my bid to be a smarty-pants and avoid sewing up the sleeves, I knit them in the round, even though your pattern says, knit flat. Looking at the work in my hands, I was looking at a piece of round work and trying to make those increases somehow fit perfectly between the first and last pattern repeat in every row. Needless to say, this doesn’t work. They aren’t going to fit perfectly. Ever. Never ever even. I needed to be working these increases into the pattern as if the sleeve were flat. As soon as I figured that little gem out, I realized that I had been thinking too far with all of my concentric pattern diddling (at one point I’d even thought about changing the pattern completely!). So Kathy, in that instant, I realized that your pattern was so simple any child could have done it without blinking and that I should be hauled up in front of the knitting inquisition where I should possibly have my all of my needles revoked. Like I said, I would apologize for having blamed you, but I never really did. From the beginning I figured I was missing something, and I was. Oh boy was I! (possibly a few million brain cells). Still, I’m sorry anyway.

I am now working the increases into the pattern like you told me to Kathy and the results are lovely. They no longer look like a train wreck of the worst kind, but like a pattern that was meant to be.

In the immortal words of Homer Simpson, “D’oh!”

Thursday, 22 April 2010


Seeing as how my elbow hasn’t heeled yet, and indeed shows no signs of getting any better at all, I know I shouldn’t knit. However, seeing as how I haven’t been knitting and it’s made no difference one way or t’other, I figured I’d start up slowly again and see how I, or rather it, faired. Thus, I took up my Byzantine Bazic sleeve last night. It was never going to be easy getting this sleeve going again, not after having let it sit for a month in the middle of increases I was unsure of in the first place. So, I knew I’d have to take my time about it. I sat down, looked at it, realized I was on a stitch adding row and stopped to think. The pattern instructions read: inc. one stitch at end of each needle every other row 8 times and then every 4 rows 21 times, working new stitches into pattern.

Deceptively simple. Dear Kathy Zimmerman, I love your pattern. It’s a beautiful sweater, lovely to knit, it will be wonderful to wear and I just can’t say enough good things about it. Honestly though, not all of us have your brain and you’ve sent mine into overdrive with your deceivingly simple, working new stitches into pattern. If this were simple ribbing, it wouldn’t be a problem. If the pattern were totally regular and concentric, it wouldn’t be a problem. Unfortunately, you, in your knitting wisdom, have chosen a pattern which is neither regular, nor concentric – or at least not with this stitch count. This means you really have to sit down and think about when to add which stitch and how to work them into the pattern without winding up with a lop-sided sleeve. It would have all been relatively simple if I could have just bunged in another 16 stitches in the middle of a repeat, but since the repeat starts and ends differently, this isn’t possible. Trust me on this one, I tried. If I had turned my brain off and continued knitting the way I had set up these new stitches a month or more ago, I would have wound up with one very uneven sleeve. One side would have dropped to the floor with the weight of the cables while the other tried to fly off the arm due to lack of balance. It did not look good.

On the other hand Kathy, I have to thank you for sparing my elbow by keeping me from knitting for at least another evening. As I sat down to knit, I looked at the train wreck of a sleeve I had in my hands and knew I must frog or face knitting a sweater I would have been too embarrassed to wear, unless I sold it as an M.C. Escher work. That might be just a tad difficult though, since I don’t think M.C. Escher ever wrote any knitting patterns. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong because they would most likely be brilliant and I would probably wind up knitting them ASAP, but I really don’t think it’s likely. So, returning to the subject at hand, I looked at the train wreck and frogged, re-wound the yarn and started to knit again. I got exactly one stitch on the needles before I realized that I still didn’t really know how to work the incs into the pattern.

It was time for the computer and a little bout with Excel. Two hours later, I had my increases mapped out and ready to be knit. I’m still not going to swear that these are going to work, but I think I have a better shot at it now and at least they look balanced, or they do on paper anyway. How they actually knit up, remains to be seen.

I do have to admit to another bonus in this lost evening for knitting. As I was winging my way through the incs on sleeve one, I couldn’t rid myself of the small, nagging feeling that I would never be able to recreate these stitches on the second sleeve. I could just see it coming that I would think I could wing that one too, and then finding out that, no, that just wasn’t going to work. Now that I’ve got them mapped out, that worry is gone and I can go on knitting without losing sleep over how I was ever going to manage to wing two identical sleeves. What a relief!

Monday, 19 April 2010

Life Without Knitting

Well, it's been a while. There's little to report in the way of knitting since my elbow is still not a happy camper. I had been really good about not knitting, alas, it's still inflamed and I finally gave up, or in, as the case may be. I just finished my Nordic Shorts, which, as the name says, were a little short. Not only in stature, but in yarn as well. I ran out of yarn just after starting the toe.

A normal knitter would have ripped back the toe of the first one and used a contrasting yarn to finish them so they would look the same. Or, they would have frogged both the socks and reknit even shorter. However, since I've never claimed to be normal and I'm fairly lazy, sooooo, I went and grabbed a similar yarn and finished the toe. Yes, it's different, no it doesn't have the nice blue bits in it, but in the light of the living room at night, which is when I'll be wearing the socks, it's not noticeable. Even if it is noticeable, it's not noticeable. I refuse to notice it. Refuse, point blank.

Actually, I think that it may actually endear them to me in the end. They're special and no one else will have a pair like it, ever. Of course, it might just be that I am thrilled that I was actually able to pick up the needles and knit without having to think about it. I was beginning to worry that I might have forgotten. It seems like it's the same as with a bike though, you don't forget. So, here they are, my lovely, non-matching, yarn disparate socks.

And should you be interested, I there's a a meme about blogging on my book blog. I'd like to hear everyone else's opinions too.