Sunday, January 31, 2010

falling in love with EZ

Isn't it wonderful to make a new friend?

The giddy early days of a new friendship are so much like a new love. The curiosity, the thrill at each new little discovery (she likes recycling, too!), the days on end spent in each other's company, missing them when they have other plans, wondering if you're becoming a bit of a stalker (but not really caring)...

Sometimes when I pine for dear old friends, I think fondly of the early days and sigh and wonder if I'll ever feel that way about someone again. But of course, you never know when love will strike.

The infatuation of new friendship seems to have struck me again, out of the blue. I was sitting at home, minding my own business, thumbing through the Knit Picks catalog and noticed that they had a huge sale on books (40% off through Feb 22). I had to order just a tiny bit of yarn for a project, and decided while I was at it to pick up a copy of The Opinionated Knitter, the collection of Elizabeth Zimmerman's newsletters from 1958-1968.

Thus, a beautiful new friendship was born. Well, okay maybe you can't call it a friendship since she passed in 1999 and all I get to do is read her books and knit her designs, but still, I really feel as if I've made a new friend. I love her voice, that sparkly, slightly prickly but loving personality that shines through on every page. I love her down-to-earth, empowering approach to knitting. I love that there are photos of her family and friends on nearly every page. I really do feel as if I'm getting to know this remarkable woman, to admire her and probably emulate her, just as I have done with a handful of very dear female friends over the years.

I can't believe I've knitted more than ten years now without her. This is a bit like when I read all those Willa Cather novels last summer, and realized that I had been thinking of myself as a reader of American literature, when without Willa I'd hardly known a thing about it. Without Elizabeth, I haven't been much of a knitter.

Despite the short stack of half-finished projects (all birthday presents!!) staring reproachfully at me from the knitting basket, I am really itching to knit some great big wooly Scandinavian Ski sweaters. And don't get me started on the Baby Surprise Jacket - it's time, it's time. I already know that reading EZ is going to change my approach to design and especially to pattern-writing, much for the better I hope.

Ah, new love! It's like a breath of spring on this chilly, clear winter morning.

Do I sound totally infatuated??


  1. Haha--yes, you do sound infatuated! But then again, there's nothing like a new source of knowledge to get you itching to cast on new projects. Nothing wrong with that!

  2. Opinated Knitter is my fave! I love all those stories and pictures! How I wish I could have sat at Elizabeth Zimmermann's knee and listened to her! The baby surprize is a great knit-- get the DVD is you need more hand holding. I did-- it is great! Also, there is a group at ravelry (as well as alot of other EZ groups)

  3. Ah. My dear.

    Welcome to the World of EZ. She's a knitter, a charmer and merely by reading her you will have already seen, she's a wise old pal. If you have enjoyed her voice in 'The Opinionated Knitter' then I urge you to read 'Knitting Around', a 50% knitting book and 50% biographical account all about her early years, her settlement in the US and how her knitting life there came about.

    It's a gem. Really. Not only is it packed with useful de-mystifying knitting tips, but the ordinary-yet-appealing-life that is described touches a chord with those of us who are as much interested in the knitter as well as the knitting. At least, I have found it so.

    Get yourself a copy of 'Knitting Around'. Really. Please.

  4. One of the first sweaters I knit was an EZ Tomten jacket (from Knitting w/o Tears) that I knit for my oldest daughter when she was 4 (she's now 26). All 4 of my daughters wore it and loved it. It never occurred to me that I couldn't do it- following the instructions in the book was like having EZ looking over my shoulder the whole way. You should go to Alaskan Purl's blog and look at her take on the February baby sweater (Knitter's Almanac). It would be perfect for Little Pea for spring.

  5. i know this relationship well. i still have the occasional imaginary conversation with EZ, and i still long to buy her PBS series just to watch her sprightly nature in person.

    thinking about it, that may well be a gift request on my list. so glad you find her as good a b.f.f. as i do.


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