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134 of 135 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Surprise Jacket Revealed
Good things about "The Opinionated Knitter"

1. The "lost manuscripts" are assembled for fans of Mrs. Zimmermann's excellent writings on knitting

2. There are patterns you've probably not seen before unless you were a long-time subscriber to the Woolgathering Newsletter, such as a baby blanket, a saddle shoulder sweater knit in the round and some...
Published on February 28, 2006 by Joanna Daneman

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94 of 115 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting from an historical standpoint, and wonderful for EZ fans, BUT....
I was disappointed in this volume. It is nice to see the copies of the original newsletters as they appeared, but I was hoping for much better as far as rewriting the patterns for those who prefer more conventional directions (line by line) in general, or those who do not like to lose their place in paragraph-type instructions. The EPS system, for example could easily...
Published on August 7, 2005 by ReadNReVu


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134 of 135 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Surprise Jacket Revealed, February 28, 2006
This review is from: The Opinionated Knitter (Hardcover)
Good things about "The Opinionated Knitter"

1. The "lost manuscripts" are assembled for fans of Mrs. Zimmermann's excellent writings on knitting

2. There are patterns you've probably not seen before unless you were a long-time subscriber to the Woolgathering Newsletter, such as a baby blanket, a saddle shoulder sweater knit in the round and some hats and mittens.

3. There is the full set of baby and adult surprise jackets, kimono-style garter stitch jackets knit as an ungainly object that magically assembles itself into an attractive and utilitarian garment.

4. The equally good children's "Tomten" or hooded jacket is in here.

5. There are a few more snippets of Elizabeth's autobiographical musings, not much but a bit more to add to the successful "Knitting Around."

Bad things

1. Lots of photos, but not professional looking. (minor quib)

2. Some of the quaintly typed newsletters reproduced as is, so the text is somewhat mixed.

3. The patterns were done in the pre-charting age, so they are written out in some cases and not charted. This bothers some knitters.

4. The patterns are a bit homespun-looking. Personally, I love the rustic style. But this is not gourmet, fashion knitting. Some people find that is not their cup of tea. This is for the ski-sweater, manly utilitarian and baby knitter.

Enjoy!
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68 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just when I thought I had all her books...., April 22, 2006
By 
Janet Dwyer (Hastings, NE United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Opinionated Knitter (Hardcover)
If you are new to knitting and don't know EZ, this book is not the place to start. However, I strongly urge you to start buying all her books, read them cover-to-cover (knitting all the while) and when you know her better, then buy this book and get to know her a little more. In other books, she refers back to these "early years" of her first newsletters/wool gatherings. I had often wished that I had started knitting back then and could see the old newsletters. I even bid on some on ebay!! No need now, because they are here, in all their homespun, original typed glory. Seeing her pencilled-in corrections makes me feel like the recipient of a personal letter, like hearing from a grandmother or aunt who helps with my knitting. Thanks, Meg, for putting all this together, and yes, I'm sure she loves the title.
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53 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Lost Manuscripts, August 15, 2005
This review is from: The Opinionated Knitter (Hardcover)
The most influential knitter of the 20th century ironically is heard from at the earlier part of her career. These newsletters predate "Knitting Without Tears", "Knitter's Almanac", & etc. I enjoyed the facsimile reproductions. We get a glimpse of her groping towards eps, instead of the fully armed version in her later writings.

Of course, we have patterns in the EZ manner. Allowing the knitter to make choices & decisions. While EZ is opionated in her knitting philosophy she is empowering to the knitter.

I hope members of the "Stitch & Bitch" crowd discover EZ. Imagine what they could accomplish is they loosened their death grip on line by line, stitch by stitch, place marker, make an increase this way, type of boring patterns.

EZ had an interesting life and I enjoy the excerpts from her journals. We get to know EZ not only as a wonderful knitting teacher but a warm, friendly, funny, woman.

As always these days, I think hardcover books are overpriced. I would love to see EZ's books in digital format.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The one to own after you've collected all the others, November 11, 2007
This review is from: The Opinionated Knitter (Hardcover)
I waited a long time to buy this book. Knitting without tears revolutionized my approach to the craft (after trying to copy a sweater from a magazine using acrylic yarn--yes, I cried), and I've been knitting on and off now for five years, tackling increasingly complex projects. I am a person who tends to be impatient with conventional knitting directions. I can never quite trust them; staring endlessly at the many trees of abbreviated instructions, I could never quite see the forest.

EZ frees you from pattern instruction slavery: for the bold, ambitious knitter who wants to learn some techniques and then strike out on her own, EZ's books are perfect. I recommend starting with Knitting Without Tears and ending with The Opinionated Knitter. What you put in the middle is up to you.

Opinionated Knitter is, as I see it, Meg's tribute to her mother. Published after EZ's death, it includes lots of notes about how she got started, how she built up her business and garnered such wide exposure that her death was remarked upon in the major media (as well as some touching remembrances from fans and those who knew her).

This is not a design book; although the letters contain some designs and instructions, and the book includes photos, only hard-core EZ knitting geeks will really break out the needles. The book's appeal is in the feeling of getting that much closer to knowing EZ as a friend and a guide, as well as a knitting guru. The perfect topper for your collection--and a fun read on a cold winter's day when you need a break from actual knitting and just want to get re-inspired.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is a must-have for the serious knitter! Love it!!, June 30, 2006
By 
Juliette Hannan "i love books" (Jamaica Plain, MA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Opinionated Knitter (Hardcover)
I absolutely love this book. I collect knitting books, and have always admired Elizabeth Zimmerman. She is such an icon in the knitting world. She was (obviously) an incredibly gifted knitter and knitwear designer, but from her writing you can tell that she was also witty, funny, and a person of many interests. This book has all of her knitting newsletters from the 60s in it, but it also has ramblings from her journals (I love the entries from her camping journals) and her biography, and photos of her and her family. This book goes a long way towards making me feel like I know more of what she was like as a person. I would have loved to have known her! I will treasure this book.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the knittting goddess, March 11, 2007
This review is from: The Opinionated Knitter (Hardcover)
I love, love, love this book. It is true that most, if not all, of the patterns are probably available elsewhere but it is os convenient to have them in one place. For EZ fans, a large part of her appeal is her chattiness & anecdotes. You feel like you have a friend sitting at your elbow instructing you. As for the reviewer who was hoping for more definite instructions (perhaps with specific needle size, yarn & more explicit instructions?) - EZ was largely about helping knitters to understand the structure & anatomy of knitting & people so one can devise (or "unvent" as she might have said) one's own designs. This is definitely not a book for rank beginners (altho I would encourage any who think it interesting to buy it & read through it - you'll probably learn a lot & may be ready for the projects even before you know it) or blind followers but clearly for the thinking knitter. Lord knows there are plenty of the other kind - I wish there were more of this kind!
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94 of 115 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting from an historical standpoint, and wonderful for EZ fans, BUT...., August 7, 2005
This review is from: The Opinionated Knitter (Hardcover)
I was disappointed in this volume. It is nice to see the copies of the original newsletters as they appeared, but I was hoping for much better as far as rewriting the patterns for those who prefer more conventional directions (line by line) in general, or those who do not like to lose their place in paragraph-type instructions. The EPS system, for example could easily have been re-written in a "formula", fill-in-the-blank fashion. In fact, for a more easily understood version of the EPS system, get The Sweater Workshop by Jacqueline Fee.

Most of the patterns here have some "updating" notes, but even there the directions are on the sparse side. Some more current techniques, like circular Brioche (called Prime Rib in this book), are not even mentioned, and they could have easily been added as updates.

The pictures are okay, not great. Several seem to be in shadow, at least one is blurry, and some are not marked as to exactly which item or item with which variation is being pictured. The color pictures, unfortunately are not near the actual directions, so you have to spend time flipping back and forth. Many of the people in the pictures are in moving poses, which make it extra difficult to see construction details.

Bottom line: if you are an EZ fan and simply have to have all the books, get it, there are some journal entries and other commentary that may be of interest to you as well as the patterns. If you have other EZ books and have had trouble following her style of directions in the past, this one isn't any better--have your library buy it, or get a glimpse of it at your local yarn store or independent bookstore before buying. If you have to spend time rewriting the patterns to make them more readable and useful to you, the almost $30 price tag is pretty steep, considering that most of this is old material, much of it in her other books.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lazy Knitter, March 8, 2007
By 
Carol S. "Lazy Knitter" (Aurora, Ohio United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Opinionated Knitter (Hardcover)
I had purchased Elizabeth Zimmermann's newsletters many years ago and had lost the issues with my favorite patterns. Most of the newsletters are included in this book as well as anecdotes of Elizabeth's life. Elizabeth Zimmermann's daugher has lovingly had this collection of her mother's knitting newsletters published. Her patterns are written for adventurous knitters who do not need detailed instructions. Photos clearly show what these garments will look like on a person's body. I especially enjoyed seeing Elizabeth's handwriting and could almost hear her talking.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A treasure!, February 20, 2008
By 
Amazon Customer (Topeka, KS United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Opinionated Knitter (Hardcover)
More than 30 years ago, I found Elizabeth Zimmerman's first book, "Knitting Without Tears" which changed my relationship with knitting forever. (Every knitter should have this book--which not only tells you how the stitches work, but why.) So I was thrilled to be getting this "new" book, and I was not disappointed!
"The Opinionated Knitter" is really a collection of her "Newsletters," which were originally published individually over a 10-year span. They are like chatty letters from a friend, combined with wonderfully designed knitted treasures to make. You may use her designs with any yarn, for any size person, as she shows how to use percentages to achieve your pattern. This is so liberating! One no longer needs to consult a pattern constantly and knitting becomes so relaxing.
This book was worth every penny of its cost and will become as well-used as her original book, which is currently quite worn-out on my bookshelf. The only thing I would change is the binding--I wish it were a spiral-bound hardcover, instead of the traditional binding.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Know and knit, February 9, 2008
This review is from: The Opinionated Knitter (Hardcover)
Loved this book. The old fashioned way the patterns are written brought me straight back to my mother knitting and that must have been the 50's. I loved all the diary type entries too. Would not recommend this book if you are just looking for patterns. It has plenty of great ones but so much more!
I have just taken up knitting again after many years and having read this book it would encourage me to begin designing my own woolies. I would never have had the confidence before tho'. It reminded me of the pencilled graph paper my mother scribbled measurements on when knitting for us as children.
I thoroughly enjoyed it and will use it often.
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The Opinionated Knitter
The Opinionated Knitter by Elizabeth Zimmermann (Hardcover - January 30, 2005)
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