I thought I’d take a moment to talk about my knitting guru, Elizabeth Zimmermann.
I recently found this little clip from one of Elizabeth Zimmermann’s knitting videos titled Knitting Workshop. She is the complete reason that I knit.
I found her book Knitting Without Tears in the mid 1970’s in a unique craft shop in Berkeley titled Straw Into Gold. Since that time I have become an avid but admittedlly traditional knitter.
Her outlook on knitting was unique. A genius engineer, she could make a flat piece of knitting make shapes all on it’s own, without knitting in pieces and sewing things together. She was want to guide you with one hand and push you out the door of independent thinking with the other.
She made you think for yourself, laugh at your failures, picking you up with a gentle guidance that is the most endearing attribute of her teaching skills.
Elizabeth’s books were written by herself admittedly because she found that most of the publications were just doing it all wrong. Frustrated with knitting magazines that insisted on taking her instructions and shoving them into the new wave box of knitting in pieces and sewing things up like a garment, Elizabeth decided to publish on her own. She started with a little 2 paged mimeograph newsletter. This little publication titled Wool Gathering, soon developed into a little digest which is still being published today. Schoolhouse Press, the company that evolved out of Elizabeth’s publications and love of all things knitting and wool is still alive and well today, being run by her dear daughter Meg Swansen. Meg has carried on the legacy of her mother’s wisdom and added so much more to the world of knitting in her own right. It’s a fabulous family to be a part of, and a great source for one of my favorite knitting wools Unspun Icelandic. Do check them out and see if you don’t start “thinking for yourself” when it comes to knitting.
Now, let us all take a deep breath and forge on into the future; knitting at the ready.–Elizabeth Zimmermann