Oh Elizabeth, how I do love you

“We call ’em Dickeys.  They go around the human neck in parky weather and keep it snug and secure.”  Zimmermann, Elizabeth (1989).  Knitting Around.  Pittsville, Wisconsin: Schoolhouse Press.

I will confess that I am a full-fledged Elizabeth Zimmerman geek.  I love her pithy directions and the thought of a knitting book whose text is as engaging as any piece of fiction.  She helped me to fall in love with garter stitch and the wonders of plain old wool.  I will knit any of her patterns given half an excuse, and everyone in my family has opened something from her books on one Christmas or another.

If I could write poetry, my first slim little volume would be an ode Elizabeth.

So hooray!  I have another excuse to knit one of her projects!  My wonderful mamaw, who is habitually/perpetually/consistently/without-the-risk-of-hyperbole ALWAYS cold, has requested some dickeys.

The yarn:

I almost exclusively knit with wool.  I’m usually quite obnoxious about it, but since Mamaw has requested cotton dickeys (this will be her summer set) and Mamaw is, well, my grandma, I went on a search for some cotton.  Elizabeth’s original is knit in fingering weight, but I wanted use a sport weight, because, well, while I really enjoy EZ’s patterns, the thought of knitting four dickeys in fingering weight cotton was less than exciting.  I decided on Knit Picks Comfy Sport (the one pictured above is Peony) and I’m very satisfied with it.  Of course, I can speak nothing to the long-term durability at this point, but it has a very nice drape and just the slightest bit of sheen.

The pattern:

In true Elizabeth fashion, her Dickey von Beetoven pattern can be summarized in one schematic illustration.  I’m sure this would be terribly frustrating for a beginner, but for a gal who has knit to the moon and back, a thumbnail sketch that encompasses the entire scope of the project is amazingly elegant.  It’s kind of like the beauty of a charted stitch pattern, only it’s then entire piece that’s been captured.  It’s knit flat in one piece, casting on for the height of the piece and working around, using short rows for shaping.  To account for the sport weight, I’ve decreased the row counts by 20%, but am leaving the stitch counts the same to allow for a slightly wider, shoulder-warming, sort of dickey.

I’ll be sure to post finished pics and hopefully some sort of picture that looks like this:

(My mamaw is AWESOMELY appreciative of handmade gifts.  This reaction is from opening dish cloths!)

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