Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A commemoration

A significant increase in the value of the Australian dollar against the US dollar coincided with the publication of the commemorative edition of Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitter's Almanac. What else could I do? Of course I purchased a copy.

EZ books

I've had a paperback copy of this book for several years, but I'm a bit of a sucker for well-produced hardback editions of books. This one commemorates 100 years since Elizabeth Zimmermann's birth. It's a fine book with a very pleasingly textured red binding with gold embossed Elizabeth Zimmermann signature and signs of the zodiac beneath the wrapper; good quality pages and end-papers; a new preface by EZ's daughter and collaborator Meg Swansen and an introduction by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee; coloured photos of the garments in modern colours and yarns (my favourite is the 'nether garments' in riotous colour-work), and the welcome addition of Pamela Wynne's pattern for the February Lady Sweater.

I'm also a bit of a sucker for plans and programs and promises of schemes that will miraculously bring order to my life. An almanac with knitting projects for the year enables fantasies of order, productivity, and quiet industry. I can remember when I bought the paperback version I was very tempted by the idea of knitting my way through the months according to Elizabeth Zimmermann's plan. Purchasing the hardback version revived these fantasies...for a moment.

Because the truth is that, much as I admire Elizabeth Zimmermann's approach to knitting, her creativity, and her love of garter stitch, many of her garments are unsuited to the Sydney climate and they are just not things I can imagine wearing. And a whole year of knitting according to her almanac would mean I'd have time for nothing else in my life. Nevertheless, her friendly, engaging writing style, and her ability to make knitting sound like a matter of common sense rather than skill and experience is tempting.

Hmm - maybe just one or two projects...

9 comments:

Sel and Poivre said...

My first time reading the almanac was a couple of years after I'd started following knit blogs and it struck me what a fine blogger she was so far in advance of such things as the internet!

I too have a paperback copy but you make a compelling argument for keeping an eye out for the hardcover version!

drkknits said...

its such a fantastic book, and what a great chance to buy another copy of it! i love it to bits, but mostly as reference, certainly not as something to follow chronologically. like you say, the patterns arent all practical for us, and the pithy directions drive me insane! which is totally my fault, not EZs. long may she reign!

bells said...

Oh I must get one too! thanks for the idea!

I too have toyed with the year of knitting but I've come unstuck at the idea of the leggings/stockings. Sure, Canberra is cold, but that cold? I could cheat and knit a baby pair I guess?

bells said...

ps me again. I ordered it right away!

Rose Red said...

I thought about getting it, but decided against it, figuring I've got it already, and would it be that much better. But you have made a compelling case, I think!!

(also, I can totally see you rocking the nethergarments...)

missfee said...

i didn't know there was a new version -I love this book especially for December where she says something along the lines of 'starting a project his late smacks of madness' I love the way EZ writes.

my vote is for a variegated pi shawl - as I would love to see the colours you pick.

Charisse said...

I love this book too, and I recently stumbled upon it again while I was packing all my knitting books for upcoming move. I agree with missfee, would love to see a variegated Pi shawl :)

Brenda said...

My favourite Elizabeth saying from the Almanac is in December when she comments about putting away the Christmas decorations for another year. It is so poignant. Have fun with your books.

Yoga Knitdra said...

Thank you so much for satisfying my curiosity about the new edition. Since I bought the little green one a few years ago I take it everywhere (and covered it in contact so it wouldn't fall apart). I always thought for such a significant book, the understated paperback didn't do it justice, but I was happy it was so small for portability all the same. May very well buy 'big red' now.