Elizabeth Zimmermann (EZ for short), knitter and knitting teacher extraordinaire claims garter stitch to be one of the most versatile, useful and fun stitches in knitting. Most other people think it’s the most basic and therefore boring thing ever. I’ve got to admit I’ve always been a bit of a garter stitch snob. It does have it’s uses but it never struck me as particularly inspiring.
But then you go and check out Jared Flood’s aka Brooklyntweed’s blog with its beautiful photography, pretty projects and his love for all things EZ. And suddendly you feel the magic. I mean just look at his Tweed Baby Blanket or the beautiful Bridgewater Shawl. Most of their charm is derived from a very basic garter stitch square that’s topped with a bit of fancy lace. Further search on Flickr and Ravelry quickly uncovers EZ’s Stonington Shawl as one of those very easy pretty much all garter stitch patterns that seem to produce stunning results. And the construction on this one seemed really intriguing. Well, what else is a girl to do but jump over her shadow, pick up some delightful Shetland lace yarn and dive in head first into hours and hours of garter stitch?!
I cast on for this shawl back in 2010 before going on a weekend trip with the company that involved airports and bus transfers. The diamond shaped center worked up quickly enough but after that things slowed down considerably. And let’s be honest here. Miles and miles of garter stitch IS a fairly mindless endeavour.
In the end it took 8 months to complete and I had to reorder two times with Jamieson and Smith in Lerwick, Shetland to finally be able to finish this shawl. After the plain garter stitch got done I decided to go for a slightly deeper and a more elaborate edging than the original pattern asked for to spice things up a bit. The double diamond row works nicely with the simple garter stitch body if I dare say so myself.
The whole shawl only took 8.5 skeins of Jamieson and Smith 2ply Lace yarn. That’s a mere 212 grams of yarn. On 4 mm needles the fabric is open and airy but not too flimsy. As always I really enjoyed working with Shetland yarn. There is nothing artificial to it. Just a natural beauty that makes even the most simple patterns stand out.
Has this been a lot of work and long time in the making? Sure. Was it fun to knit? Totally. The construction with the diamond center and seperately worked border sections and knitted on edging make for a literally seemless construction. That’s fun all in itself. Would I work another one of these? I’m pretty sure I would. The combination of simple yet beautiful and classy is timeless and alluring.
Pattern: Stonington Shawl by Elizabeth Zimmermann from Shawls and Scarves: The Best of Knitter’s Magazine
Yarn: Shetland 2ply Lace by Jamieson and Smith, Color L63 heathered jeans blue, 212 grams (1440 meter)
Needle: 4 mm
Finished size: 135 x 135 cm