This Must Be Thursday · Uncategorized

Why Elizabeth Zimmerman should not be believed

I’m not sure if I’ve told you, or just think I’ve told you, but in 2020, my “New Years Resolution” was to knit out of Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Knitter’s Almanac. Well, this is (the end of) February 2021, and I’m talking about January of 2020. So, that really tells you all you need to know about that particular endeavor.

The left shows what I was “supposed” to have completed in January. The right shows what was done. I’m assuming she was thinking of us finishing just one sweater…but who the hell knows what goes on in her noggin. Now, to be fair to Ms. Zimmerman, I had to restart a couple times because gauge. The yarn is some yarn I spun forever ago. I’m not positive of the fiber. Because I never noted it, because clearly, how could I ever forget?? The discerning reader may notice the different color yarns in my knitted work. I had played with dying with Oregon Grape berries. I did half the yarn, and now I have to deal with THAT decision. So, the sweater is going to have some subtle striping.

I’m not sure it’s necessary to spell out the many lessons here. I’ll do it anyway, at least some of them.

  • Always label your fiber. At every step. You won’t remember.
  • Be cautious when experimenting with knitting amounts of fiber…you are going to be stuck figuring out how to use this stuff.
  • Never believe a kindly old British knitter when she tells you you can knit a sweater in a month.

The fact of the matter is that I will have to rip this out YET AGAIN. I got gauge, but my forever fight with gauge means that the sweater is still too small. I do, however, have enough done that I can feel confident measuring the *actual* gauge. Somehow, I epitomize the concept of “works on paper….but…” I mean, seriously, I got the right number of stitches per inch, I checked my maths, and still too small. Like, not even putting Poopie on a starvation diet will do it. And don’t think I didn’t consider that, Dear Reader.

Last year, I thought this year I would try working on the same months’ projects and finish up. I.e. I’d finish the January 2020 project in January 2021. I was wrong. I have several other works in progress that I’m working on instead. Plus, doing this resolution really hampered me, and made me less happy than I thought it would.

Throughout my mental health journey, professionals have opined that I may be happier if I were more focused. Keep in mind that in the real world, people who deal with me opine that I’m TOO focused. I didn’t intend for this to be an experiment in that, but it turned out to be. It turns out that I’m not happier focusing on just one thing. I get bored (as well as other more complicated feelings) if I *have* to do something. If that something is one of several projects, I don’t seem to have those issues so much. What has worked for me is to commit to working for a time period, or to a certain point every day (week/month/whatever). For example, work one repeat of this pattern and then work on something else. Or do an hour of picking up the house, and then an hour of binge (un) worthy TV.

As I had said earlier, the craziness of pandemic didn’t help this project, but January was NOT pandemic, so I can’t blame this on plague. To re iterate my defense of the esteemed Ms. Zimmerman, I was working with random hand spun, so I had to futz with gauge quite a bit. She had been so practiced, she probably had a go to yarn, and go to needles, which I did (do) not. So, a good several days to a week was spent in design and gauge. I don’t think this time was taken into consideration in her calculations. I still don’t think a working person with any semblance of a life outside of knitting should aspire to complete a cabled Aran sweater in a month. That being said, just because I couldn’t do it, doesn’t mean YOU can’t do it. Just… don’t beat yourself up for not being able to do it. Trust me, I did enough beating up for all of us.

Clearly, I’m not getting to February 2020 in February 2021, but I’ll try to get caught up.

2 thoughts on “Why Elizabeth Zimmerman should not be believed

  1. You are so funny! Yeah…a sweater in a month is baloney. No offense EZ! I could not put that kind of pressure on myself. That being said, the sweater will be lovely when completed. I give you credit for sticking with it.

    Like

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