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I first discovered the knitting patterns and philosophies of Elizabeth Zimmerman when I was pregnant with my first child. I had purchased The Knitter’s Almanac and was won over by her entertaining writing style and the cosy world of knitting in an old schoolhouse in the woods, as well as a demystifying approach to the knitting process. The baby sweater on two needles, or February Baby Sweater, became my standard baby knit. I later discovered the Baby Surprise Jacket, but by this time Rex was too old for one. When I was expecting the twins, one of my first thoughts was that now I could knit the BSJ! Two of them …
This pattern is such an iconic one amongst knitters, and it is universally marvelled at how EZ came up with it. Kind of like knitting origami, a single piece folds into a sweet little cardigan. Due to the changing direction of the knitting due to the placement of decreases and increases, this pattern works particularly well with stripes, or irregularly dyed or variegated yarns.
I liked the idea of knitting a special garment for the girls, I had made a special soft hooded jacket for Rex of the softest angora/wool blend that I purchased in New Zealand when I was pregnant. Similarly I bought four skeins of hand-spun, hand-dyed wool from the local Handweavers and Spinners Guild with BSJs in mind.
Despite pregnancy-induced reduced brain capacity, and with the aid of row by row notes on a scrappy piece of paper, I fairly easily achieved the desired piece of fabric. I enjoyed the adventure of following directions and trusting in EZ, as I had no idea what I was doing, so untraditional was the construction of this garment. If I had known better (or done my homework) I wouldn’t have used my most variegated skein first, as this part of the knitting turned out to be the back, and the stripes would have looked particularly effective on the mitred fronts.
The above unfinished piece sat around for over a year, amusing me it its cleverness, as I knew it would not fit the girls during their first winter. More recent cold spells provided the impetus to sew those two seams and get it finished. My only modification was to pick up and knit 1 1/2 inch garter stitch cuffs to lengthen the sleeves.
The finished garment is so sweet and cosy. Next time I’ll be sure to cast off much more loosely, but I think it will do the job of warming one of my little ones this winter.
Late Autumn, and this is what some of the vegetable patch at the Children’s Garden looks like at the moment. A common theme in the bloggy world that I enjoy is acknowledging and celebrating seasons, cycles, special times and anniversaries.
Not as auspicious as some anniversaries, but I just realised that it is one year to the day since I starting blogging.
I started on a whim, without many expectations. I had enjoyed reading about the creative/domestic lives of others, and wanted in some way to have a journal, a scrapbook, a chance for some dialog with people who like similar things or have similar experiences. Best of all I now feel like I have made some good bloggy friends, whose blogs I regularly visit and am inspired by, and who leave me cheerful, informative and supportive comments. And that contact, virtual or actual, makes life more enjoyable.
Thanks so much for visiting me.
Things that are inspiring and delighting me at the moment …
- Cooking with my boy. Anzac biscuits and “Gingerbread men” again, this time using Nigella’s biscuit recipe from How to Eat. A winner.
- Actually LEAVING THE HOUSE without children to see some beautiful films in the Jacques Demy program at the Melbourne Cinemateque. Sigh! Followed by very fine tapas and drinks at Movida.
- Attending a real life Stitch’n Bitch meetup, in person, and spending some quality knitting time with some lovely ladies.
- A lovely box in the mail. I bid on a couple of items in the Uniform Project‘s accessory auction, not expecting success, and actually won both. The 365 days of reinventing the little black dress have ended, and apart from raising money for educating underprivileged kids, Sheena has made so many rethink their consumption of clothing. Limitation inspires creativity.
- Soba noodles – everybody here likes them!
- Following Amy‘s example, I have graduated to washing my hair with bicarb soda and cider vinegar – shampoo free via Beauty and the Bees hair washing soap. I feel a small sense of triumph at this.
- Being able to wear my woollies again.
- Dragons and knights and dinosaurs and Peter Pan!