If you remember, I said I would try and read one new book about knitting a week this year. Well, I haven’t kept up that pace as yet, but I think by the end of the year it may average out (if i count the magazines it will be well over this number)! The other day I came across a book I think should be in everyone’s library – Knitting Workshop by Elizabeth Zimmermann, published by Schoolhouse Press.
What can I say about this book? Tons! First of all I read it all and am now reading it again (should I count this as 2?). That should tell you loads about the amount of information in this book. This book makes modifying patterns and/or creating your own almost painless. Even the most dedicated “from the pattern only” knitter would feel able to tackle creating their own project – even if it’s just a hat.
This book is basically her knitting camp that she used to run put into words. It is a fantastic resource for anyone wanting to know how things are put together and designing and knitting different pieces. The really good thing is that she starts with hats and goes into sweaters as well. It is very easy to read and understand, yet extremely comprehensive. As a matter of fact, the detail she goes into with the mathematics of sweater design would be daunting if you were only looking at the math itself. As I said though, Elizabeth has a great way of explaining things so you are not at all intimidated and she actually makes you want to go out and design and knit your own sweater.
Another aspect of this book that I thoroughly enjoyed was seeing the techniques that were prevalent 40 years ago compared to the preferred practices today. Case in point would be in circular knitting. All of the designs in this book were knit in the round, and as a result, we find out that Elizabeth preferred to knit using a 16″ and 24″ circular needle. As a matter of fact, she fully believed that shorter or longer were not necessary. Personally, I prefer to use a single long circular – 40″ or 47″ – and use the magic loop technique. I will sometimes use two circular needles as well if I don’t have a long enough circular needle. I find the evolution of knitting techniques fascinating and would love t be around in another 40 years to see what the future brings.
If you’re a new knitter, or an experienced one, you definitely want to take a look at this book if you haven’t done so already. It is one of my new favorites and I am into my second read of it. I haven’ gone into detail about the contents, but I have used this book as a reference several times already and have only owned it for just over a month. I definitely will be reading other books by Elizabeth Zimmermann, and would love to see what she would have come up with had she been around today. She definitely was a pioneer and a visionary, but most of all from reading this book you get the sense of how much she loved knitting and wanted to pass on her knowledge to others.It is clear to see why Elizabeth Zimmermann is known as the lady who launched a million knitters!