“Really, all you need to become a good knitter are wool, needles, hands, and slightly below-average intelligence.” — Elizabeth Zimmermann, Knitting Without Tears.
Today marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Elizabeth Zimmermann, (fondly referred to as EZ by many knitters), the original Opinionated Knitter.
Back in the 1950s, when everything was New! and Modern! and The Future! and the tradition of hand knitting being passed down through families had waned, EZ started publishing a newsletter called Wool Gathering. Typed out by hand, with her own little sketches and hand-written notes, it brought EZ’s personal brand of humor and no-nonsense approach to knitting to a new generation of crafters.
EZ debunked the idea that knitting had to be hard and involve complicated patterns using flat pieces and lots of seams. She popularized the concepts of seamless knitting in the round on circular needles and creating one’s own perfectly fitting garments without patterns based on a few simple calculations. Most importantly, she encouraged knitters to think for themselves, to experiment and “unvent” new techniques, and to knit fearlessly.
EZ herself was so fearless that when knitting publishing companies wanted to change her patterns from knit in the round to the same old knit-flat-with-seams, she simply started her own publishing company, Schoolhouse Press. Now over 50 years later, Schoolhouse Press, now run by EZ’s daughter Meg Swansen, still provides instruction and quality knitting materials to knitters all over the world. EZ’s books, including The Opinionated Knitter, Knitter’s Almanac, and Knitting Without Tears, have become classics that are the staples of many a knitter’s library.
Join us in celebrating EZ’s centennial birthday at Stitch in Space on Thursday, August 12 – we’ll be kicking off our EZ 100th Anniversary Lace Knitalong with pie and plenty of lace yarn! Lace not your thing? Knit up a Baby Surprise Jacket or one of EZ’s other patterns.
And as EZ always said, “Knit on, with confidence and hope, through all crises.”