Monday, February 16, 2009

30 Rounds of Ribbing

It is no secret that i am a devotee of one Mrs. Elizabeth Zimmerman. (Shock! Awe! You didn't know this was coming!) I'm only short a couple of her books (Hint Hint: Opinionated Knitter and Knitting Around). The most recent one to come into my collection is the timeless classic, Knitting Workshop. 

Now, a couple months ago had you asked me "Davitron, What EZ book should I buy first?", my answer would have been, hands down, Knitting Without Tears. But that has changed! Knitting without tears is a FANTASTIC book, but it assumes you know a little more about knitting than you might actually know. Where as Knitting Workshop talks to you like you just finished your first garter-stitch scarf and are eager for more, without making you feel dumb. It speaks very plainly about techniques and reasons-why. For this matter, I'm going to have to say it is now my all-time favorite book. (Notice i didn't clarify with "EZ book" or "Knitting Book". Yeah. I went there.)

One of the things that left me the MOST skeptical about this book was Elizabeth's (we're on a first name basis these days) staunch insistance on 30 rounds of 2x2 ribbing at the bottom of each sweater, and at the bottom of each cuff. 30. 30. I'll say it again. 30. That feel liks an INSANE amount of ribbing. That is knit knit purl purl ad nauseum, et al, por vida, FOREVER

That being said, I am almost done with a sleeve on a new design (It is delicious, i tell you what) and i decided to GO FOR IT, and see how this 30-rounds-of-ribbing turns out.

How did it turn out you ask? Why... amazing. Of Course. Liz Doesn't lie (we also have nicknames for one another, of course). But I do have a couple notes on the issue. 

1) EZ does not suggest going down a needle size or two. And honestly, it's not necessary REALLY.. but it looks nice. You're already doing 30 rounds of 2x2 ribbing for the sake of a beautiful sweater, why not try it down a couple needle sizes? What could it hurt, really? It's worth it. It pulls in JUST  enough more and looks gorgeous. This way, when your ribbing inevitably settles to be a little less snug and a little more sheer with the rest of your garment, the fact that it's knit at a tighter gauge still allows it to fit closely. 

2) this is an OK place to decide to knit it flat, if you're going to steek (I will gush about steeking at another point).Cast on a multiple of 4 + 2-stitches. Knit one, Purl1, then K2P2 until the last two stitches, P1, k1. Knit each stitch as it appears on your needle back and forth and back and forth and back and forth for 30 rows, then either do a cable cast-on, knitted cast-on or backwards loop cast-on for the remaining stitches (1,3 or 5, depending on your feelings about steek selvages, i do 5-stitch selvages, so i would cast-on 3 stitches), then join to work in the round. bam! You carry the purl stitch after the first knit stitch, and before the last knit stitch on the selvages allllll the way up. It adds a nice bit of structure. But, that's just my opinion - I'm sure EZ could tell you a half dozen other ways to do it!


cathyc said...

You're making me feel bad - I should be reading her books every day, shouldn't I? They should be by the bed, not in the bookshelves....

craig-hunter said...

You should purchase one of her DVDs. I just bought "Knitting Workshop", and it's so great to watch. Or just to have on in the background.

Zimmy and I are tight.