Friday, April 17, 2015
In A Bind (Off)
Well in my fantasy world I was hoping THIS would be the post where I announced the triumphant completion of my Elizabeth Zimmermann Adult Baby Surprise Jacket. However, just like its title, this sweater continues to prove to be a rather unwieldy project. In fact increasingly so. Hahahaha-- I just made an accidental knitting joke-- increasingly! I've mentioned before how this thing is knit all in one piece for the majority of the work, and then you lengthen the sleeves after that. Well I've reached the part where it's time to bind-off the main body, which you would think is good news. And it is. But my goodness SO TEDIOUS.
Partly this tedium is my fault. For starters, I am using size 4US needles and Brooklyn Tweed Loft. If you ever make one of these I recommend a) use bigger yarn and b) start out making the baby size just to get a feel for the bizarre architecture of the thing. Size 4!! I might as well be using dental floss and toothpicks. Don't get me wrong-- I make socks on smaller needles, but this sweater is roughly eleventy-bazillion stitches, way more than socks.
The other "problem" which admittedly is not a long run problem, is that I have decided to do an I-cord bind-off. You know the I in I-cord stands for idiot, right? (It really does.) Well I felt a little idiotic choosing to go this route because I knew it would take at least six hours to bind-off, no exaggerating. On the other hand, when I did the Zimmermann Pi Shawl years ago, I decided to try a super kooky and involved bind-off she recommended and the results were so stunningly beautiful that when I got to the suggestion in this sweater pattern to take the time for a fancier ending, I figured I would regret going with a more raw standard bind-off. As you can see in the picture below (pardon my Labrador's strands of fur), this is a pretty sharp looking edge, and once I block this thing (if, in fact, I ever do finish it) it is going to look super fab.
This is what I often remind myself-- how great it will be when it's done-- when I hit that part of a project where I'm feeling fed up. I don't like ever feeling "done" with a garment before it's done, but I think there is a knitting equivalent to that so-called wall marathoners hit toward the end of a race. They just have to push through and then get to the triumphant part of crossing the finish line. For me big projects invariably come with that exasperation point. In this case, whereas I used to worship EZ, I am-- just momentarily I know-- having one-way conversations with her in my head: WHAT THE HECK WERE YOU THINKING? Ultimately though, those thoughts get overruled by being in awe of how she came up with these crazy patterns.
Something else I appreciate is that I've been turning to YouTube for help with the project. EZ was notoriously conversational in her pattern writing-- something I adore about her. But in this instance, there are sections where I really needed better visuals to get through. I found a terrific series on YouTube to help me through each part. And I found this video to show me how the I-cord bind-off works:
But while I do love that with Google I can find knitting tutorials 24/7/365, sometimes I struggle with video instruction, too. For me there is nothing like hands on learning with a brilliant teacher by my side. Toward that end, yes, it's time for me once again to remind you about our upcoming Knitting and Yoga Adventures Monhegan Island Retreat that happens over the course of a week in September. I have learned so much on these trips from so many terrific teachers. Beyond specific tips, tricks, and techniques, the biggest thing I've learned is PATIENCE, much of which I picked up by watching how patient my teachers have been helping me work through new knitting concepts. I sure hope you'll join us this year, our tenth, and see so for yourself. REGISTER HERE.