Michigan Winter


The His & Hers Michigan Winter Pullovers are finished !


Interesting improvisations I’ve done, with ‘His’ v-neck.  I was pulling my hair out trying to figure out how to do it, never having done it before.  But now I think it looks very unique ~ steeked on the body, then after shirt-yoke was finished up to the steek in front, I transfered the live stitches on to waste yarn while I continued the yoke across back to be grafted together. Finally I cut the steek, and then picked up the steek stitches , back edge, and live stitches all around for a K2/P2 rib.

‘Hers’ crew style neck was a cake walk !  I really love the tweedy look for these, sparkling with flecks of buff, browns, black, ivory, and occasional bright-colored Donegal nebs.   I wonder do they do look a little long in the arms?  Yeah, I guess, partly because they are sagging a bit off of the hangers (I know, not the ideal way to display a handknit garment such as these) however, I assure you these sweaters were custom measured, and I stayed true to the wearers’ measurements, but I believe I added an inch (or two) to the sleeves to ensure they weren’t too short, and the end result is, well, much longer sleeves. But we’ll see when they are slipped on Him & Her.

Here is the back !

Just look at that spectacular design of Elizabeth Zimmermann’s,

the seamless shirt-yoke . . .

A close-up detail of how the decreases go into the yoke. . .

Another (rather fuzzy) close-up of moi’s wild improvisational work. . .

And I just love, love, love the two-stitch cord bind-off on the rib. . .

Lastly,  my mark !

I like to sew on the label just above the rib, in the back . . .

Now these his & hers pullovers get shipped to Michigan, to keep warm two very dear young homesteaders,  Rosanna & Felix , in their first year of settling & farming,  undoubtedly shivering in their yurt, in the soon-to-be snowy winter landscape.  Not without a herd of goats, flock of chickens, geese, and a manic farm dog to chase after !

Rosanna & Felix

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Yarn : Knit Picks Wool Of the Andes Tweed ( 80% Peruvian Highand wool, 20% Donegal Tweed) . Worsted weight.

Needles: size US#8 circular.

Pattern :  Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Seamless Shirt Yoke sweater,  in “Knitting Without Tears” ~  somewhat modified throughout.

 Details on Ravelry here

All posts about this project here

The Genius of Elizabeth Zimmermann


Here is Michigan Winter ‘Hers’ in the home stretch, about to be washed & blocked.

Just look at that lovely switching of direction of the grain in the knitted fabric !  All knitted in, seamlessly, and very tidy.  Isnt’ it just so exquisitely clever ? Just wonderful is the Elizabeth Zimmermann Shirt Yoke seamless sweater design ! I have done things a bit differently overall, but stayed true through the shirted yoke section at least, because that is the element of design I’ve wanted to learn. And learn I did. And I love, love, love the EZ Seamless Shirt Yoke !!!!

Am finishing off the neck with something different for me, as edge for a K2/P2 rib, I’m trying a 2-stitch i-cord bind-off ! Yes, the highly esteemed and beloved Elizabeth Zimmermann  ~ Mother of Modern Knitting ~ is responsible for this knit-trick of the “i-cord” , and brought it into the limelight with so many of her designs, as applied, cast-on, bind-off, and anything in between. I don’t know why people just don’t refer to it as the ‘ EZ cord’ , or even the E-cord (for Elizabeth). I think I shall for fun. (call it the e-cord). I’m going to just ‘toss one on’ each of these neck finishes as a bit of an afterthought,  because quite frankly… Everybody’s Doing It !

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Edit in :  Both His & Hers sweaters are all done, washed, blocked. Need to just sew on the “hand-knit by Jennifer” labels,  photograph & post final pictures of them…. then send them off to Mr & Mrs  Homesteaders in Michigan.  Yay… done & dusted !  I am off for a celebratory walk in the cold post-rainy mossy green woods, and I’ll be bringing my knitting of course.   C’mon Emma, lets go stir up them giant salamanders !

Knit Again

I am knitting, ripping, and knitting over (and over) the section of Elizabeth Zimmerman’s  Hybrid Shirt-Yoke Seamless Sweater variation.  The problem is not following the delightfully written instructions for it,  in  “Knitting Without Tears” (and which I talk about briefly in this post ) , but in my usual improvisation of the design , as one of the homesteaders asked for his to have a v-neck. The sweater design of the hybrid shirt yoke sweater of Elizabeth Zimmerman’s actually has a particular neck opening which results from the particular shirt yoke style, and it is not v-shaped in the least. So I have to figure out how to do it.  Wingin’ it again.  Never not improvising, which is exhilarating, but stressful .

Rip, rip , rip, knit again. Repeat.

I know eventually I will get it right, even though I seem to be losing confidence rather than gaining insight.  Jeff seems to be surprised to hear as he comes through the door home from work, that again I’ve ripped back.  ” No… not again ! ”

To him, my knitting must look like this … 
Two steps forward, and one step back.

But to me it feels like this

So I continue to knit & rip, and knit again…because I do know that only by doing this can I get ahead of the learning curve. Only by doing this an insane amount of times, can I truly understand how this all works…. even though at times I feel like a brainless knitting machine.

Oh hey !!!  “Knit Again”  brings something to mind I want to share. It occurred to me in my predicament to ~ finally ~ watch the foreign film that is all about this insane act of knitting and ripping, and knitting again.  “Wool 100% ”  by Mai Tominaga.  This film grasps it truly !  A very abstract film, and a bit nightmarish in imagery, but clean enough.  I highly recommend it for all foreign film loving knitters .

Tweedy & Autumny

Finally the rain clouds have come and rained and everything is moist and the forest smells wonderfully spicey with Autumny smells.  We’ve had rain this week enough to soak the forest and give the moss a good drink and I just love rain ~~ just look at those clouds ! 

I went for a knitting walk with this blue lump of a sweater,  with about a half ball of yarn at the start, thinking I’d have plenty for a long walk. I managed to get all the way back to the house, and ran out of yarn *just* as I walked in through the door, just enough to splice on to another ball ~ I call this a grand knitting coincidence !

I’m almost at the section of the Michigan Winter Sweaters (thats two) where I must fuss about with a tedious new technique ~  the seamless ‘shirt yoke’  that I have never tried ~ which will involve knitting back and forth on a lopsided saddle shoulder which is wider on the back than the front, and knits itself into the body as it goes.  This horizontally eating up the end of the vertical stitches, is making me nervous, because I’ve never done a seamless saddle-shoulder, but sounds exciting all the same !   Bless Elizabeth Zimmerman for writing the instructions out so dearly, but still I am not at all confident, because  I really just  am not a very good reader-of-knitting-instructions… don’t be surprised if I come back here and calling for help in another post soon.

Knitting In The Wild

I have been knit-walking rather obsessively lately.  Some days I go out twice, and I am elated to say that as a result I am both knitting and walking an incredible amount more than before.  In fact, I just can’t ever see myself ever again idly walking the mornings away without my fingers making silly loops, one after another.  I know, actually rather weird when you think of it. So here are some photos from this morning…Nearby,  where Emma’s absolute favorite trail takes us, we greet the nearby mountain tops on the other side of a steep and narrow canyon …

We like to hop over to the canyon precipice to take a peek down into the abyss…

((  and to sniff at what the wild coyotes have been up to ! ))

Right at the precipice.  Lichen covered volcanic rock, and grass as dry as papyrus, until it rains, which it hasn’t yet.  We’re having our Northern Californian Indian Summer, where typically in October just after you feel the cool of Autumn, we get visited by the hot clear days for another week or two.

My temporary knit-walking bag,  an old rather small hip pack I dug up this morning from the ‘gear closet’.  I have been experimenting with all kinds of methods to hold the ball of yarn while I knit and walk ~  from stuffing it into various pockets, or inside the front of my shirt, or under my arm, or in one of Emma’s treat  pouches, to wearing one of my felted knitting bags slung over my shoulder.  I have yet to design a ‘ hiking knitting bag ‘ but this seems to do fine for this morning.


A  shot from one of the high vineyards, overlooking the SanFranciscoBay to the south,  however in the bright morning light, and camera’s focus, you can’t see any details in distance.

Is that a tweed sleeve hanging on a Cabernet trellis ?

Two sleeves done & dusted, two more to go, for Two Michigan Winter sweaters.  Then I can join them to the bodies and begin the Elizabeth Zimmerman seamless hybrid ‘shirt style’ yoke I’ve been so looking forward to settling into.

Mountain Knitting


Making really good progress with the ‘his & hers’ tweed pullovers.

 I am calling them  ” Michigan Winter “.

How could I already be nearly finished with the main body of two full-sized sweaters in one week?  I’ll tell you how, because Emma and I have been doing a lot of  walking this week, being sure to get in at least one walk a day, short or long, and well, I’ve taken my knitting along each time, and I tell you folks,  it adds up !

 Just as I’m plowing through these young homesteaders’ pullovers,  I myself am getting fit as a farmer, and Emma is delighted about all these hikes too, as we go slower, further, longer, and linger at delicious smells in the forest duff.

Autumn in Northern California brings the leaves falling late,

but the Madrones are always first to drop theirs, beginning in July !

I love the terra cotta tones of the leaves as they turn on the ground, before the first rain comes.

As we meander up the ridge, my favorite once bloomed in purple wild sweet peas look so pretty,

even as dried as parchment paper.


I sometimes have to fix a dropped stitch or untangle the yarn,

and Emma waits patiently in the golden grasses.


Here  we are up into the steep section of the climb, and if it were a clear day without foggy haze in the distance,  you’d see SanFranciscoBay, and the GoldenGateBridge beyond the hills…

Emma always finds a stick to befriend…

Approaching the top of the ridge, SonomaCountyLeft and NapaCountyRight….

Finally at the precipice of the peak, overlooking the valley below.

If you could see Emma’s right ear,  it is about touching where we came from. . .

. . . and now it’s time to go back home Emma.  We’ll come again soon… probably tomorrow.

Seemly & Seamless

Looking ahead a little bit.


I am looking ahead to some fast knitting-by-the-fire during the first rains of October this Autumn,  ‘whipping out’ so to speak ,  a couple of these seamless Elizabeth Zimmerman designs in time for the big holiday,  for two homesteaders dear to my heart,  just starting out and in their first winter in Michigan.  As I am exploring All Things E.Zimmerman these days,   I’m  considering a new style I haven’t yet tried.

I’m looking at this design . . .

I find seamless to be the most ‘ seemly ‘ in appearance, and well, I can’t afford to fuss about with anything else when I need speed and volume to be in my favor.  My itinerary is to finish up nieces sweaters this month,  then start right in on two of these in  ‘ Hers & His ‘ style.

Elizabth Z.  ~  I’m counting on you .