An Explanation of the Knitter’s Almanac Project and Cry of Despair over the September Project

I just finished the initial reading of the September chapter of the Knitter’s Almanac – Nether Garments.

What the what?

Nether Garments are not a priority for me. Knitted tights. Well, I can see how they could be useful, and it’s good for me to stretch my mind and think of designing tights, but….

Yargh. Knitted tights. Perhaps knitted yoga pants? Maybe that would be better? Or maybe knitted tights just as a thing to wear under jeans or a skirt in the wintertime. Here I could totally use knitted tights to keep my legs warm on those frigid winter mornings when the thermometer refuses to ascend above zero, but going to Asheville, I just don’t know.

Stephanie just looked at the book and said, “just make a teddy” like that is the perfect substitute for leggings. “You could make it out of silk.” Well, yes, I could. I could totally do that. However, the project for the month is leggings. That’s not a teddy.

Apparently, I haven’t explained the project well enough.

Since everything from before is gone, gone, gone (little sob and then setting back the shoulders and going forward), let me explain about my Knitter’s Almanac project.

Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitter's AlmanacBack around this time last year, I started looking through my bookshelf and came across my unopened copy of Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knitter’s Almanac. As I thought to myself (one more time), “I should really go through and knit my way through the book,” I realized that, by making it into a project for the blog, I could do just that.

Before I get into the nuts and bolts of my plan, I’ll explain a little bit about Elizabeth Zimmermann for those of you who are unfamiliar. Elizabeth Zimmermann is a knitter, one who came onto the scene in the 50’s and helped American women embrace knitting with her friendly and accessible manner.

Elizabeth Zimmermann is to knitters as:

A. John Elway is to Broncos fans

B. Julia Child is to chefs

C. Laurence Olivier is to actors

D. All of the above

The answer is D, of course. Elizabeth Zimmermann’s influence scatters itself through book after book in the knitting world. Her books and videos are still consumed years after her death, and Meg Swansen, her daughter who picked up her knitting torch, is revered as a direct descendant of her gentle genius and business. Meg Swansen continues to write and disperse valuable knitting information and run Schoolhouse Press, the knitting and yarn company they formed together.

In 1974, Elizabeth Zimmermann wrote the Knitter’s Almanac, a book with knitting projects for each month of the year. Meant to inspire and challenge knitters, this book gives them new skills while providing them with new projects. I have only ever read one other of her books, Knitting Without Tears, and found it engaging and full of great information. When I read her words, I feel like anything she described could be accomplished easily.

Thus, I decided that my own project could be accomplished easily.

Hahahahaha!

The best way to go about the whole thing seemed to be to start with January and just work my way through the book as it comes. I continue to gather my texts as necessary for research. I continue to start each month by reading each chapter through and making notes on her projects and the techniques she teaches.

Then, I come up with a design which incorporates the techniques I learned and uses the project (or one of them) to inspire me.

Steph is back now asking for a knitted teddy.

I threw her out of the room.

She misses me today. It’s nice.

Back to the project….

At the beginning of the year, I planned to create a series of classes which focused on the different techniques that people could learn from the Knitter’s Almanac. However, the whole thing dissolved as I realized that I really couldn’t do that until next year when I had the skills completely under my belt. Plus, I need the whole year to develop each pattern and get them knitted since, along with this knitting and designing, I have actual designs and knitting projects which need to get launched as I move through this year.

So, all along the way, I’ve journaled and notated my progress sporadically on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I’ve created patterns (or at least sketched a design with absolute measures and plans in place to complete them). I also write for a local independent paper called the Valley Voice where I’ve written an essay each month describing my progress.

At this point, I’ve decided that a knitter’s year is actually at least two years. The plan now has become that, at the end of 2016, I will have a basic outline of my journey. Through 2017, I will complete the book and the patterns which go along with it. Then, at the beginning of 2018, the book will be launched – someway, somehow!

Thus, I am forced to consider leggings or tights or pants and figure out a good design based on the ideas of the leggings from the September chapter of the Knitter’s Almanac.

Wish me luck.