I had a very had time deciding which category to put this particular book into. Over the years it has been used for inspiration, technical help and quite a few patterns have been knit from it’s dog eared pages. In the end I decided that it has been more inspirational than anything else. Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knitter’s Almanac is one of knitting’s iconic books. When I talk to other long time knitters it is amazing how many have been influenced by the book and it’s many familiar patterns. This last year the “Almanac” was re-released in hard cover with a preface by Meg Swanson and an introduction by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. It was the same book with colour pictures and all that I loved. It also includes the February Lady Sweater, designed by Pamela Wynne.
The Pi Shawl and the February Baby Sweater are perhaps the most famous of its patterns. I have knit both. The February Lady Sweater made famous on Ravelry) is directly created and inspired by the Baby Sweater pattern. The Hurry Up Last Minute Sweater, December’s Project is still on my list of must try! Technical tips include I-cord, Emily Ocker’s Circular Beginning, afterthought thumbs and short-rows!
But for me it is a constant source of affirmation. Especially in the days when knitting was something I did alone. Before working at Mad About Ewe, before Ravelry, when my quiet obsession was mine and shared only with family and friends. Who all thought I was a little odd, but it was acceptable, because it harmed no one!!
I felt a kinship with Elizabeth. She knit constantly, just like me. Knitting defined her life, just as it defines mine. The year in her life, with the projects and conversation, was a line to a reality and inspiration that has stayed with me since I first read it over 20 years ago. I still pick-up and read this book in the odd quiet moment when I don’t feel like knitting but still want to connect with the feeling and quiet that accompanies knitting. I know that I am not alone in this, if you get a chance read Stephanie’s intro in the new edition – she writes it much better than I can!
I hope that you will find the same for yourself after reading this book!