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Without Tears: Basic Techniques and Easy-to-Follow Directions
for Garments to Fit All Sizes
5 sheep (excellent)
first discovered Elizabeth Zimmermann (or EZ as knitters
affectionately call her) on public TV in 1972. Her weekly
program on the public broadcasting channel was called The
Busy Knitter. EZ was happily sitting in a rocker surrounded
with shelves of yarn and with a large basket of yarn balls
on either side of her. Her kitty wandered on and off the
set, sometimes curling up in her lap or in one of the baskets
of yarn. She just calmly knitted on, explaining whatever
technique was the focus for that week.
Without Tears evokes that same calm atmosphere.
EZ has a common-sense approach to knitting and a wonderful
sense of humor. She encourages the knitter to be in charge
of her knitting, rather than to blindly and slavishly follow
someone's written pattern.
first chapter starts with a discussion of wool yarn (her
bias!) and proceeds to necessary supplies and tools. It
then moves on to a thorough discussion of basic knitting
techniques, including good illustrations.
second chapter is devoted to stitch gauge. That's how important
she believes it is to establish a thorough understanding
of this element of knitting. However, when it comes to row
gauge, EZ says, “I have yet to find a good use for a vertical
row gauge, since vertical measurements are much easier to
handle in inches.”
information that changed my knitting life was EZ's percentage
system for knitting sweaters in the round, which is based
on the yarn and needles of your choice and your swatch.
From the swatch the knitter is instructed how to find her
gauge and use that information to design her own sweater.
With that gauge she can figure out how many stitches to
cast on. For instance, to start the lower edge with ribbing,
cast on 10% fewer stitches, increasing that 10% on the last
row of the ribbing in order to knit the body of the sweater
with 100% of the stitches. Another percentage of stitches
gets bound off for the underarm (10%). Sleeves are begun
at the bottom with 20% of the body stitches. The neck opening
is usually in the 30% range. Complete instructions are given,
but you are encouraged at every turn to deviate from them
in order to make your sweater-to-be fit its intended wearer
and reflect the knitter's particular taste.
favorite method for knitting sweaters is “in the round”,
seamlessly. Details are given for knitting a ski sweater
with a dropped shoulder, raglan sleeve shaping, or a yoke
or saddle shoulder all on circular needles requiring a minimum
amout of seaming. This was a real eye-opener for me! Another
revelation was how to knit using two colors, carrying one
color in each hand.
EZ shows how to knit caps, socks, slippers, mittens, scarves,
shawls, and afghans. She explains three different heels
for socks including the “afterthought heel”. You'll want
to check that one out to learn how your favorite knitted
socks with holey heels can be given a whole new life.
book is filled with useful tips and hints for knitting and
caring for the finished garment. I found that I enjoyed
reading Knitting Without Tears. More than a book about knitting
techniques, it exudes EZ's special approach, attitude and
sense of humor (she used to write a column called “The Knitting
Curmudgeon”!). She changed my attitude about knitting and
was the primary influence that allowed me to actually relax
and enjoy knitting for the first time in my life. I have
referred to this book so many times that my copy is now
tattered and stained. I particularly recommend Knitting
Without Tears to beginning knitters because Elizabeth Zimmermann
has a way of teaching knitting that puts new knitters at
ease. EZ passed away in 1999 at the age of 89 but her spirit
lives on in her books and inspires knitters everywhere.
submitted, Judy Paulsmeyer
this book from Amazon.com
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