an open letter to elizabeth zimmerman
June 29, 2011
while generally i operate in the realm of the visible, i admit to being a bit superstitious. i was raised catholic after all. and while i recognize that you were a mere mortal when you walked this earth, your impact on the knitting world was so great that many believe your influence still holds sway from beyond the grave.
when i was little, i would pray to the appropriate saint for help with those problems that were to small to bug god directly. he or she could be counted on to answer my prayer and help me out or, if need be, file the appropriate paperwork with the big man himself. (i cannot tell you how many times st. anthony saved my ass. i’m always losing shit) but as far as i know, there’s no patron saint of knitting, and even if there were, those cats and i aren’t exactly on speaking terms these days.
so i’m coming to you for help. i’ve been utterly uninspired lately, basically since i left the hospital. i feel like a beginner again, constantly making little mistakes and not having the fortitude to cope with them. it’s left me pretty bummed and has meant i’ve had a bunch of false starts.
recently, though, i found a project that actually made me pretty happy. once again i found myself working row after row late into the night with that obsessive determination that makes my whole upper body ache and leaves that special red line on my index finger. isn’t it lovely?
finally, i had a project that reignited my passion for knitting and gave me hope that i hadn’t lost whatever talent i may have had.
or so i thought.
apparently, the joy of feeling like a knitter again eradicated my ability to access basic knowledge of how knitting works. triangular shawls are kinda my thing. i’ve knit quite a few of them. they could be the only knitted objects besides a hat where i totally understand its construction. yes, this shawl is bottom up, and i’m more into center-out, but the same principles apply. yet there i sat, knitting thousands of stitches, only ever stopping to think,
“how odd it is that there are no center decreases.” or
“i wonder when the center decreases will start. maybe in chart two.” or
“hmm, that picture looks kinda different from my shawl. must be the yarn.”
nope. not the yarn. i just completely read the chart wrong and must now rip out about a week’s worth of knitting.
of course, i could point out the flaws in the chart and its instructions that led to this error, but really i have enough experience to know better. i should have caught this one.
the enormity of this particular gaff left me paralyzed these past few days. i didn’t know how to blog about it. i couldn’t face it. i’m not sad or anything, really. it’s almost hilarious how bad i seem to be at this.
but i wanna be good again.
now, i must admit that i haven’t read any of your books, nor have i knitted any of your patterns. i live a somewhat unwholesome lifestyle filled with lustful thoughts and the f-word falling from lips about as often as “the”. you’ve no reason to help me. i doubt we have anything in common. i’m an english knitter for christ’s sake!
but here’s the thing. i’ve got nowhere else to turn. i literally think my only option is to address the spirit of a dead woman who, if she ever met me, would probably frown. please, liz. just tell me what i should cast on. tell me what i need to do get back on track. i’ll burn incense, chant, dance naked under the full moon, whatever. tell me who to blow and i’m there!
because i don’t want to lose knitting. i love it.
and crochet just ain’t gonna cut it for me.
p.s. i’d appreciate it if you’d keep this particular failure between you and me. wouldn’t want it getting out that i’m not the perfect knitter i pretend to be.