There are always a lot of new people at the gym at this time of year. Most of them do not stay. The gym I attend is used mostly by body builders and college students, but yesterday there was actually an overweight middle-aged woman there. I kind of wanted to say something encouraging to her… I didn’t come up with anything, though. It’s probably just as well. Though I live in a region where total strangers will share details of their hysterectomies in the average ladies’ locker room, this particular gym has a non-chatting culture.

Overall, the New Year’s Resolution phase of gym life just means that for a couple of weeks we regulars will have to wait for machines. 

But there was one guy yesterday who mystified me. I was heading for the leg press, the last stop on my circuit, and he was sort of hovering over it, so I figured I’d wait for him to finish.

He put 100 pounds on one side and went and had a drink of water.

He put 100 pounds on the other side and had another drink. He came back and stood over the machine for a bit.

Then, leaving the weights on the machine, he wandered off into the aerobics room. I gave up and left. I guess he was having to work himself up to actually using the machine.

Just so, I’m still sort of working my way into my new year of knitting.

I subscribe to the epic/zombie approach to knitting. That is, I like to have an epic project — something complicated and requiring lots of attention — and also a zombie project which I can do while reading or otherwise not paying much attention. Often, I do the front of a sweater in some fancy stitch or pattern but do the back plain, so I can trade off when I want a break.

At the moment I am knitting this Alice Starmore design, Erin. I do not expect mine to look exactly like this, any more than I expect to look like the model while wearing it, but as you can see from the photo of mine on the right, it is still distinctly epic knitting. It slows down my reading considerably.

So I need a zombie project as well.

When I started Erin, I was finishing up a prayer shawl, but now that is completed. I also had a little scarf from Debbie Bliss’s Home, which I was knitting from some fuzzy yarn I bought for a quarter a ball at Target. Within just a few inches, it was clear that the stuff was going to knit up like a cheap stuffed toy — nasty. I had to give that up.

I am in need of a zombie project.

Now, the first thing to do in such a case is consider one’s WIPs (Works in Progress, for the non-knitters out there). I have a lovely lace possum-fur shawl underway. Clearly, this is epic, not zombie.

I have a nice quilt already sandwiched together and ready to be quilted. Unfortunately, quilting is never zombie work, and cannot be done while reading.

So I must give up the thought of simply picking up a WIP.

Next we should consider our UFOs — UnFinished Objects. The difference between a WIP and a UFO is that we have given up on the UFO, or not touched it for a very long time.

My UFOs include this Celtic Cross quilt, which got the better of me last spring. I hope to return to the struggle this year, but it is not a zombie task.


My other UFO is this crocheted bedspread, a splendid lace project in tiny cotton thread on a miniscule hook. I haven’t worked on it in years, and I hope that I haven’t lost the pattern.

Clearly, both my UFOs are in the epic rather than the zombie category.

No, what I need is something with swaths of stockinette. The kind of thing that can be done by feel, without actual visual input.

The next step is to check out one’s stash.

A knitter with a self-respecting stash can always pull out enough yarn for some simple project. However, I don’t have a stash. I have a bit of leftover wool from my Christmas projects, and will have more after I finish Erin, but even then it will be the kind of stash you use for Fair Isle, not the kind that accomodates swaths of anything.

I may have to read less, and watch TV instead so I can get on with Erin.