Thursday, August 12, 2010

More with Kathy Zimmerman

On Saturday, I hiked back to Ligonier, PA for another Kathy Zimmerman class, this time on lace knitting. Our task: to knit the irritating-as-hell Ballet Lace Scarf from Fiesta Yarns.

I've tangled with lace before, always enduring crushing defeats. This time is sadly no exception. I've started the damn thing 18 times and still can't get past the first pattern repeat without screwing something up. Part of the problem is the alpaca and tencel Ballet yarn. The alpaca is okay but the tencel is slippery and the blend is just splitty as hell.

I refuse to accept defeat; I'm not going to stop until I master this damn technique. But first I'm going to change the yarn and then I'm going to work on this well before midnight when I can barely keep my eyes open. Here's a picture of what the scarf should look like; this knitter also had trouble but got through it - hopeful evidence of possible success.

However, my main reason for trekking to PA was to get Kathy's feedback about my upcoming projects. I showed her my Augusta cardigan from New England Knits and modeled the perfectly fitting sleeves she so capably taught me how to size. She was proud and I was prouder!

I'm now about halfway up the back. As I mentioned previously, I decided to cable the entire back to avoid knitting miles and miles of plain stockinette. It's still pretty boring though. Hopefully tonight I'll be able to start decreasing for the upper back and things will move more quickly.

Next, I wanted Kathy's input on another New England Knits sweater, the Melrose Peacoat, also designed by Cecily Glowik MacDonald. Using the skills I've learned from Kathy Zimmerman, I am:
  •  Reworking the sweater to my size and shape, adding additional ease so that I can wear this as a coat.
  • Modifying the pattern to make an A-line shape to accommodate my more-than-ample hips.
  • Using four sets of buttons instead of three to account for the additional length - I don't do cropped anything!
  • Skipping the snowflake pattern on the back - for me, less is usually more.
  • Knitting the left and right fronts to be the same size rather than making one of the panels narrower. I want to avoid the dreaded belly gape.
  • Adding back neck shaping because Kathy says this is key to getting a good fit.

I showed my plans to Kathy and she blessed my design. I'm looking forward to knitting this with the heavenly Plymouth Baby Alpaca Grande. Besides being beautiful, this bulky yarn knits up on size 10 needles - hopefully a very fast knit.

One more new little project to discuss this morning: my new shawl. This wrap will be for everyday use; during the cooler months, I'm always cold and need something around my shoulders when I'm working or knitting. I've been looking at shawls for months, ever since I got together with Chris, my college roommate and fellow knitter, who made the gorgeous Everyday Shawl.  I've decided to knit Nancy Bush's Tasha Tudor Shawl using some - gasp! - stash yarn. (I'm making a major dent in that stash these days. I feel so virtuous!) I'm making this warm wonder in my favorite Berroco Ultra Alpaca in Denim Mix. My shawl shares the same garter stitch and applied lace border as Chris', but it's triangular rather than square which will reduce the knitting time, especially since I need to make mine larger.

My only regret: I wish I was independently wealthy. If I were, I'd travel the world visiting yarn shops, buy all the yarn I want, knit in every one, and then blog all about it. What a wonderful life that would be.


  1. You are on fire. Look at all those projects. The scarf is lovely! And you know I'm a very very big fan of NEK! :)

  2. The scarf isn't mine... but it is the bane of my existence! Thanks for reading, ColorSlut... and for all the support, too!

  3. I am sitting here marveling at the amount of knitting you are getting accomplished. It is an encouragement.
    Lace...I think we knitters are the only ones who create and make deliberate holes in their handiwork.
    My comments today are brief, but I especially want to thank you for keeping this blog going..AND making it interesting with the clean, professional design and grafics.
    I especially appreciate the time you take to post so frequently and your bloggings are written by one who knows 'word crafting'.
    Thanks for sharing your knitting adventures with us....(as well as life with Tom and Moose!)I know I am speaking for others also..I only wish there were more ways to advertise this site so other Amples can benefit and enjoy as well.
    Please ,...when there are days when you wonder if it is worth it...think again and CONTINUE!(even if it is a vent or rant) :-)

  4. Teresa, you were the first person I didn't already know who read my blog - thanks for your on-going support. I'm contemplating advertising the blog on Ravelry. It's cheap and hopefully would let more amples know about what's going on over here. Meanwhile, tell all your friends!

  5. It would be a real service if you did!
    Look at the ample groups and most of what one sees for FO are toys , housewares and accessories.
    I am guilty of that ..not posting the sweaters I make because I am too timid to show them to the others..
    I think the main thing is fit...we need to know how to adjust nice designs and know what makes us look good and what makes us look dumpy.
    I can knit the Feb Lady very easily, but I would look like I am bigger and older than I really am in that sweater.

    We need to know things like:
    "How can I take a lovely pattern such as the Must Have Cardigan by Patons

    and transform it to an ample size ?"(it only goes up to a 48.)

    I would even help in the ad funding via paypal, julie..seriously(contact me via email if you decide to go ahead with it). This is a serious and ongoing problem for us amples and we always end up knitting for others out of frustration..because we love to knit and need to do it!

  6. Wow! you are so productive these days! Seems like the Kathy Zimmerman class was well worth it for you. You work is wonderful. For some reason I don't get your blog's updates anymore on my RSS feed, maybe because we're traveling right now, I don't know. I'm doing my best to follow your blog though :)

  7. Thanks, Michele! I'm sorry you're not getting the RSS feed. Who knows why these things work -or don't! But I appreciate your ongoing attention and support.