I Thought I'd Feel the Love Too!

I used to follow Jared Flood's knitting raptures on his once personal knit blog "Brooklyn Tweed". In 2007 just before he published garter yoked "Cobblestone" he was working his way through some books I had never heard of by a woman named Elizabeth Zimmerman.  His references were (to me) oblique with regards to her influence. Only later when I too undertook to read her books for myself and knit some of her patterns last summer did I realize the enormity of the presence of her ideas in his queue and eventually his published patterns.
Garter stitch was one EZ notion he seemed to spend a lot of time on. He knit miles and miles of it, always gushing how he never tired of it, how it showcased his favoured tweedy yarns. It seemed to contain some magical ingredient for him, prompting a zen like eurphoria as he knit.
"Wow!", I thought, it seems pretty tedious and it looks less than interesting. My first hand experience with garter left me less than impressed with the texture of garter fabric. Like so much of what I was reading in knit blogs those days, I imagined I was just insufficiently experienced to be able to appreciate garter's innate "magic".  "Someday" I thought, I hope to "get it" too!
Well here we are in 2010 and I've got the Simple Swingy (all garter) Cardigan on the needles and I'm not feelin' it! At. All. Don't get me wrong, I think garter is great for this slightly nubby, tweed yarn. I am amused by the top down construction that is shaping and finishing itself as I go. "Good" but not magical or hypnotic or worthy of anything approaching knitting reverence. Just "good".
I made lots of garter progress over the weekend, toting it around on errands with My Beloved, in line at the driving centre to renew my license, visiting friends, waiting for a table in a restaurant, sitting in the dark watching "Blind Side", sitting up half asleep until it was time to retrieve our socializing teenager from a friend's house (Friday and Saturday nights!).
A couple of times I found myself forgetting I was even knitting as I chugged along the rows. Maybe that's what Jared loved - the fact it didn't engage the mind - leaving it free to wander over other thoughts and ideas or even activities and outings. As he put it, signing off a post regarding his adult Tom Ten jacket...
"Until next time we'll be floating away, down garter river dreaming of that pointy hood at the top of the mountain."
I am, myself, toying with the idea of undertaking an Adult Tom Ten but more just to have done it and to have one to wear. A dreamy float down "garter river"? No, more like a bumpy toddle along a cobbled road.

Its another demonstration to me that knitting really does offer different things to different people. Having said that, I could also assert that adage "great minds think alike" by linking to Brenda's post this morning entitled "Hate is Such a Strong Word"? Can you guess what aspect of EZ she's referring to at this point in her blog year with Elizabeth?

I hope you had a good weekend. Thanks for dropping by!


LaurieM said...

There's a time and a place for garter. I've learned to enjoy it more, but like you, I still don't love it. I once did an EZ blanket all in garter and really enjoyed that because the fabric was so smooshy and thick.

Anonymous said...

Knitting lots of garter stitch for me is like having an itch that won't go away: very irritating. I'd love to make an adult tom ten for myself as well, but I think I would need to be "pharmeceutically enhanced" in a serious way to accomplish it.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Laurie -- a time and a place for garter stitch. Just not too often. :)

Anna said...

I'm not a fan of garter stitch at all, I like doing one row in one stitch and the next in another, it breaks it up for my mind and my hands and I often purl faster than I knit so garter stitch feels like it takes forever.

I love the swingy cardigan style but if I were ever to knit it I think I'd do it in stocking stitch instead of garter as I'm also not a fan of the garter stitch 'look', to me it looks a bit too 'home made' rather than 'hand made' and it never seems to wear well but gets stretchy and out of shape quite quickly.

However, that's just my humble little opinion and I'm sure when I see your terrific finished cardigan I'll be eating those words!

Anonymous said...

I have a garter st cardigan and it makes me look like a multi-coloured snow lady; could it be the 'generous' sleeves or just the all over bulk? Cosy but not fashionable for me.

I do love seeing it for kids' knits, not form fitting so layering works like a charm.

I don['t mind knitting garter stitich, at all.


LynS said...

I love garter stitch. it's hard to explain why - I just do. I like the nubbly fabric it produces and I'm particularly smitten by the geometry of knitting with garter stitch. There's some kind of magic in knowing that stitches by ridges produces a square. Of course it lends itself better to some kinds of patterns than others, but fortunately, I often seem to like those patterns.

Lorraine said...

Each to his own- there are other things I enjoy more than garter stitch, apart from the fact that it eats up double the amount of yarn.

I am interested in the Tomten, to see what it looks like in the adult size- so maybe you should do one???

Stephanie said...

I never thought I would like ANYTHING that's just stockinette or garter stitch, but then I knit mara - oh that was such lovely garter stitch! I think it really went well with the pattern. I don't think I'd want a lot of garter stitch in most anything else, but it did work for that.

So I guess I don't hate garter stitch, but I don't see myself making a garment with it...