Mar 2, 2009

Knitter's Almanac--a review

Last year, when the February Lady Sweater went viral on Ravelry, I wasn’t surprised. It’s based on a sweet baby sweater found in Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knitter’s Almanac, one of my favorite knitting books of all time.

Two summers ago, I borrowed a copy from my friend Kim, and she has never gotten her copy back! (Don’t worry, I’ve since purchased a replacement for her!) Kelly Petkin began a year long knit-along that promised to build skills along the way. I began with the Pi Shawl in July, did a bit of the Christmas “nothings” in August, dabbled with the Hurry Up Last Minute Sweater in December and made the February Baby Sweater for Ivy. I dropped out of the knit-along well before it was done,but still, I enjoyed the romp through the patterns and the glimpse into Elizabeth's life--she became sort of a friend.

EZ keeps her directions, as she puts it, pithy. The pictures aren’t much to crow about, yet the designs are classic. Woven through the patterns in the book are stories about what was happening in her life—she was the Yarn Harlot of her day, writing about everyday events that all knitters can relate to. Zimmermann encourages knitters to think for themselves, working with gauge and design as though we are each smart enough to “unvent” designs for ourselves as she does. And you know what? We are! I agree with Pamela Wynne’s opening to the February Lady Sweater, “Go get yourself a copy of Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Knitter’s Almanac. It’s the best $7 knitting book of All Time.”