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Knitting Without Tears: Basic Techniques and Easy-to-Follow Directions for Garments to Fit All Sizes Paperback – July 1, 1973
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Vogue Knitting Elizabeth taught us to trust our instincts, revel in our creativity and above all, find joy in the simple act of knitting.
The New York Times [Elizabeth Zimmermann] brought a penetrating intellect and a sculptor's sensitivity to revolutionizing the ancient art of knitting.
About the Author
Elizabeth Zimmermann (1910-1999) was born near London, England, and attended art school in Lausanne, Switzerland, and Munich, Germany, before immigrating to the U.S. in 1937. Frustrated by magazine editors who translated her conversational knitting instructions into abbreviated code, she started her own knitting newsletter and launched Schoolhouse Press, a mail-order business that still sells knitting supplies, books, and videos under her daughter Meg Swansen's guiding hand. In the mid-1960s she hosted The Busy Knitter, a nationally syndicated public television show, and by the early 1970s had become an icon of the knitting world. This and her three lively instructional books -- Knitting Around, Knitter's Almanac, and Knitting Workshop -- are treasured by knitters around the world.
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Top Customer Reviews
"Cut on basting, then lie down in a darkened room for fifteen minutes to recover. You will never fear to cut again." Entertaining and encouraging instructions! Enough good patterns to keep you going for awhile, but you will want more of her books before long.
The garment and accessory designs presented are for classic items, in style for every era, with common sense tips on fitting and specific techniques for knitting them. The technique descriptions and drawings are pretty clear and easy to follow, if one has yarn and needles in hand.
Weaknesses of the book are that all photos are black and white, and the standard paperback or hardback binding tends to flop shut while in use. I wish it were available spiral bound to lay flat when open.
Most of all, this book is worth its price because of the basic message: you are not a slave to published designs/patterns-- you are the "boss of your knitting." For that repeated encouragement (and its practical applications) alone, this book is well worth its price.
My curiousity got the best of me, later that night I found myself curled up in bed reading the book. My initial response of disappointment could not have been further from the truth! After immersing myself into just a few pages, I felt like I had sat down to knit with an old friend. Zimmermann's candid and frank writing style brought me a smile and more than a knowing laugh or two as she shares her knitting wisdom. Yet, there is a sophistication to her writing that leaves the reader drawn into the pages, finding each new tip or bit of advice as something to savor.
Even the rudimentary skills of knitting come into new light within her chatty, and sometimes unabashedly opinionated, pages. I loved and applauded her stern lecture on the importance of gauge. (Yes, an entire chapter all its own, and rightly so!) Gauge is the golden key to the door of knitting design. Yet it is something so often overlooked by new or impatient knitters, and often with ghastly, disappointing results.
Step by step in a narrative, familiar style, she covers the tools of the knitting trade, needles, yarns, skills, and of course, her passion for knitting. All given with tidbits of enlightment even for the experienced knitter. Then gently, she takes the reader to a new path of creativity with clear guidance and instructions to explore nearly endless options of pattern and design. She does this by laying a simply, methodical ground work for the form and shape of any sweater. You can then take that skeletal form and emboss it to your heart's content with your own stitches, designs, color work, originality, and style. I have fallen even more in love with circular after reading this book, and I find the seamless, ease of style, even more liberating.
The focus is on sweater design, but really, you can take these skills to any facet of your knitting. She even covers a sampling of other projects, hats, mittens, afghans, even skirts! I found the details of what makes a sweater into a coat interesting. The section entitled "A Few Remarks on Socks" makes the book worth its price alone! The photos and details of just different knitted heel types were fascinating and most helpful. The "few remarks" are actually a few pages of detailed, fool-proof instruction which I fould both instructional and inspiring for sock knitting.
What can I say, I LOVED the book. I found it a necessary jewel for any knitter's library. I'd suggest that very new beginners to knitting will want to learn to cast on, knit and purl comfortably before digging into this treasure of a find. Once you have those basics down, however, do dive into this book with glee!
As stated by the author herself, "Really, all you need to become a good knitter is common sense...of course superior intelligence, such as yours and mine, is an advantage." And that is Elizabeth Zimmermann for you!
But *after* that?
Get it! Get it! Getit!
If nothing else, it's a funny read. When discussing how to make steeks (she doesn't use the term, but it is a technique in which you make a sweater in the round and then *cut* your precious knitting to sew in the sleeves), she advises, "Cut on the basting, then lie down in a darkened room for fifteen minutes to recover." The book is loaded with little comments like that.
Mrs. Zimmerman saw knitting as an art and a creative process and did not feel that being creative was a trait reserved for the elite. She constantly encourages one to "cheat" to fix problems, or find solutions to make the garment work.
I share Mrs. Zimmerman's dislike of seaming sweaters, so the techniques she has taught for knitting them in the round make me very happy, indeed!