Appreciation for Strong Opinions About Knitting

By Megan Goodacre

Appreciation for Strong Opinions About Knitting

So today's post isn't about anything new, but rather a little bit of appreciation for an old favorite, Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitter's Almanac. Yes, some of the patterns seem a little bit old-fashioned (like the Nether Garments), but most of them are quite timeless, like the Aran Sweater or Baby Sweater on Two Needles.

And Zimmermann's delightfully candid writing style makes her more forward-thinking than timeless. For example, when talking about gauge she writes:

GAUGE means the number of sttiches—or, if necessary, fractions of a stitch— to 1" in a given knitted article. Directions unfortunately recommend a definite needle-size for this GAUGE. Please, oh please do not rely on this.

Take some of your wool and the size needle your intelligence tells you might be right, and make a swatch. That is to say, suit the needle-size to your own personal and peculiar way of knitting. Do NOT try to get 5 stitches to 1" on a #8 needle if you have to work uncomfortably tightly to obtain this gauge ... Some of us do not like to squeeze our stitches; we like to knit loosely and placidly ... Experiment, for goodness' sake.

How absolutely practical.

Zimmermann's prose is dry, humorous but helpful. I think I'll start referring to Charles as the Old Man.

(Apologies for grainy cover image, it's too dark to take my own picture of the book. Darn November!)