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Keeping it Simple With Garter Stitch

I wrote last Wednesday's post on Tuesday night last week.

Then I didn't knit for the next 3 days.

That's a pretty big span of time for me.  I was a little burnt out.  I love knitting, and attempting to crochet, but that's nothing new.  If you're reading here, you probably do too.  And if you're anything like me, or any other living being, you probably don't get to do the things you like as often or as long as you wish.

I knit, yes.  But I also have a job, a child who needs me to read books and refill sippy cups, a second job where I blog about knitting (that takes time away from my knitting), a husband who expects me to pay attention to his stories about his day, friends, errands, chores, and a pressing need to eat and sleep.  Something had to go, and I decided it would be knitting.

It wasn't a monumental re-examination of my priorities, but it was a relief, honestly.  I was feeling a little paralyzed by deadlines and expectations and options.  I have yarn, pattern books, and projects that I want to try in addition to projects I want to make for all of the gift events that are coming up with ever-increasing and alarming speed: birthdays, baby showers, wedding showers, and on and on.  Every project I planned became loaded with so much importance.  Could I blog about it?  Would it use stash yarn?  If I made it for one person, would another person expect me to make one for them too?  Did I even want to make that anymore?  I didn't want to make anything, so I didn't.

I didn't even miss it, but that's because I was doing things.  I took care of normal life and some extra things.  But when I picked up my needles again, I kept it simple.

Garter stitch, baby.  Garter stitch all the way.  I love garter stitch projects.  They can be simple without being boring, and I came across a few good ones at a pretty great time. They use that one stitch, over and over, but in such interesting and creative ways! It's a simple stitch, but you can do pretty complicated things with it.  Garter stitch fabric also lends a thickness to projects that makes them feel more substantial than your standard knit-and-purl fabric.  More sturdy. 

After a few false starts, I made a couple of knitted hearts from Elizabeth Zimmermann's book, Knitting Workshop.  There's also a video series with the same name.  On one hand, it's hard to learn from Elizabeth Zimmermann because she approaches knitting with this attitude that you know plenty about knitting and she's fully confident in your abilities and you don't need everything spoon fed to you.  Sadly, there are times when you need some spoon feeding.  And if you're not familiar with older patterns, you're going to be a bit confused because people write patterns differently now and it really makes a difference.

On the other hand, though, it's just plain fun to knit Zimmermann patterns.  EZ has confidence in you!  She promises that you'll get the hang of things!  You'll get through that pattern somehow, and when you do, you'll have something timeless and carefully crafted.

I'd actually forgotten about her Heart Patch until I was searching Ravelry for knitted heart patterns, and saw that I had some in my library already.  And ta da!  There was the garter stitch heart.

And here they are.  Variegated yarn might not have been my best idea, but they're just small dishcloths.  I wanted to make some small Valentine's presents for some co-workers, and these tickle me a little.  I have just a few more to make, and then I can fully devote myself to knitting this garter stitched wonder:

And then knitting another one.  I'm going to meet some twins in May!  I'm making the Little Baby Sweater by the Purl Bee.  It uses stash yarn, knits up tiny, and is modeled after Elizabeth Zimmermann's Tomten Jacket.  I've made the Tomten Jacket a couple of times before for my daughter, and I love the modular construction of the jacket.  It's precious, simple, and just seems so sturdy to me.  I was really excited to find this pattern because it's an adorable and fun version of something that I know I love to knit.  It's not the fanciest look, but babies are cute in anything.

For another project modeled after Elizabeth Zimmerman's work, be sure to check out Leisure Art's book Surprise Crochet Sweaters for Baby.  People have done some amazing things with this crocheted version of the Baby Surprise Jacket, and I plan to make one for a baby that I'll meet later in the year.  It takes me a while to crochet things, so I'm going to start that project for a baby who won't be showing up for another 5 or 6 months because I may need the whole 5 or 6 months.

For now, though, I'm sticking with my garter stitch and keeping things simple.

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