Monday, April 12, 2010

Pattern language

Elizabeth Zimmerman's motto was "Knit on with confidence and hope, through all crises," and that certainly is what I've been doing in these post-diluvian days.  Last week I began her classic February baby sweater from the Knitter's Almanac, for a friend whose second child, a girl, arrives in July. (How convenient for both mother and knitter to know what to expect.  I chose a shetland DK in girly pale pink mixed with lavender.) In typical EZ fashion, the instructions are weirdly casual, something on the order of (I paraphrase here) "cast on 50 stitches of DK using any needle between 2 and 5 and do eight rows of garter stitch interspersed with two rows of pattern A, then repeat from beginning, then start pattern B, then start making buttonholes, then when you have 4.5 inches add on sleeves..." etc.

This put me in mind of those pre-modern cookbooks with recipes like:

To make ye a pye, take ye first a goodly amount of floure and mix it with some new-churned butter and roll into a good sized pastie for the nonce.  Then fill with some amounts of large berries mixt with several drammes of lumpen sugare, and bake it all inside the hearth but to the side until it is well-nigh done but not overly.

It was pattern B that got me, as it refused to conform to the laws of lace organization, and after ripping out three times I decided this item needed to be put on hold because right now, with a flood-ravaged basement, I want no more tsurris in my life. I worked some more on my sock, which is soothingly straightforward. Then, feeling somewhat restored, I decided to return to the February baby sweater today, with renewed dedication to working out the kinks-- only to find that my copy of the Knitter's Almanac has disappeared.

This is a message from the universe, obviously.


  1. Regarding the February sweater, when the time is right, it will all come together.

    Good luck with the water in the basement. Daughters live in R.I. and have the same prolem.

  2. Ah, thank you kindly for your reassurance.
    No more water in basement, just loads of destroyed stuff and rotting food from overturned freezers. Hope your daughters don't have to deal with the same.

  3. It was amazingly brave of you to start a new project, given the state of your home and all the disruption! Try again when things settle down-- make a PIE-- and the EZ SWEATER! :-)