Monday, August 9, 2010

"Will you forgive my single-mindedness, and my tendency to see knitting in everything?"

August 9, 2010 marks what would have been the 100th birthday of British-born knitter, Elizabeth Zimmerman. EZ, as she is known amongst the knitting community, was influential in shaping the craft into what it has become today. She was one of the first knitters to publish patterns in magazines. Her Wisconsin-based Schoolhouse Press was one of the first mail-order knitting pattern businesses. It is still producing countless well-thought-out and creatively designed patterns today.

EZ, herself, wrote many books about knitting. Her writing style is direct and logical. I have several of her books and they are my favourite works of knitting theory. I enjoy the mathematics and geometry that is involved in knitting. Elizabeth has managed to take these aspects of knitting and use them to design incredible techniques and guidelines for creating sweaters that fit perfectly and mittens that have such interesting construction. Really, EZ epitomized what being an arts and scientist means to me.

Not to mention, EZ was just one clever lady. Her personal motto was "Knit on with confidence and hope, through all crisis."

I have several favourite EZ quotes, but my all time favourite is a perfect example of Elizabeth telling it like it is, "really, all you need to become a good knitter are wool, needles, hands, and slightly below-average intelligence. Of course superior intelligence, such as yours and mine, is an advantage" (from Knitting Without Tears).

Above and beyond all of this, everything EZ made or designed was absolutely, simply beautiful. I think I will pull out my copy of The Knitter's Almanac tomorrow for some mid-summers knitting inspiration.

Thank you for everything, EZ.

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