Today is Elizabeth Zimmermann's 100th birthday. Considering she was more or less the godmother of modern knitting, I feel I should do something special to commemorate this occasion. Like write a blog post... that's special, right?
Anyway, I feel like I started to follow a lot of EZ's philosophies before I even knew who she was. Ever since I started knitting, I've always preferred working with circular needles even when knitting back and forth, just because of their portability and ease of use, and Continental Knitting has always seemed more natural to me, probably because of my crochet background. I also like to think that I'm a fearless knitter... my first real project was an illusion scarf for the boyfriend with two-colour stripes, a charted image and a 3-needle bind-off (though kitchener stitch would have worked better, in hindsight).
The first book of hers I owned, I only got this year. It's The Opinionated Knitter, a collection of her Wool Gathering newsletters with a lot of her most famous patterns, including the baby surprise jacket (which I knit earlier this summer), the Tomten jacket, and her famous EPS (Elizabeth Percentage System), which allows you to knit a sweater to any gauge.
It's a really lovely book, with little stories along the way, and exact copies of the original newsletters. I read it from cover to cover, and cried a little bit at the final newsletter Meg Swansen wrote about the death of her mother. I've only made a couple of the patterns from this book (the afore-mentioned BSJ and matching Bootees), but I think that in honour of EZ's birthday, I'll cast on another project in the near future, perhaps the Nether Garments (some pretty fancy leggings).
I'll leave you with this quote, shamelessly stolen from LadyRadagast and the Celebrating 100 years of Elizabeth Zimmermann discussion on Ravelry:
“All you need to become a good knitter are wool, needles, hands, & slightly below-average intelligence. Of course superior intelligence, such as yours & mine, is an advantage.” -Elizabeth Zimmermann