Sunday, June 29, 2008

Getting Acquainted with EZ

I purchased a copy of Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitting Workshop almost a year ago, but what with going to pastry school and working, not only did I have no time to knit, but my hands were too tired and cramped from whisking, stirring and lifting to hold my needles for more than a few minutes at a time. Since I've left the kitchen and gone back to a desk job though, the urge to knit has kicked back in, and my hands are, after a four week rest period, up to the task again.

The first thing I did was to dive into EZ's book. I wanted to try knitting a baby sweater as a first step towards sweaters in general, but had no idea where to start. Now that I no longer have my personal knitting consultant on hand (aka astraea) for knitting emergencies, I realized that I now have to learn how to navigate a pattern and figure out a gauge all by myself. (Yes, astraea spoiled me rotten!) EZ and her daughter are known to generations of knitters for the wonderful books they wrote, not just on how to knit, but how to become one that can dream up and execute her own creations. Now, I'd read many positive things about EZ's charm and style but honestly, I was not prepared to fall out of my seat laughing when, in a discussion on the merits of circular vs. straight needles on page 12, I read this:

"I have a whole jar full of straight needles, and they gather dust....Just practice and see - and no needle will ever have a chance to slide away into the upholstery, or under the car-seat, or, worse, INTO THE DRINK."

Elizabeth boozed while she knitted! Now, that's MY kind of knitter!

Her style was so straightforward and encouraging that I ended up following along for the first Lesson on how to knit a hat, in spite of the fact that I had started off with the intention of knitting a sweater. I had two balls of very nice Green Mountain Spinnery Mountain Mohair left over from knitting my DH's hat two years ago so I put those to good use, and here is the result. I had a really good time making it, too. No stress or tears or broken bamboo needles like during my first two EZ-less hats. It has yet to be blocked and I'm thinking of sewing in a fleece lining, but I'm happy with it overall and am now an EZ fan for life!


Lana said...

It's beautiful, Moocow! Who's the lucky baby?

MooCow said...

it's actually big enough for MY head! i'm trying to decide whether to give it to Brian or Darien, Erika's son. It might be a bit big for Darien, but it won't be warm enough for Brian to wear in those crazy OH winters. He'll need something with a lining or in a fair isle pattern. i think that's what i'm doing next...a lined hat with a fair isle pattern!