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Ilga's Knitting World

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

When in Doubt

Turn to none other than the Opinionated Knitter herself, Elizabeth Zimmerman.

Not only is she the acknowledged expert and single-handed reviver of the art of knitting, she has "unvented" more excellent knitting techniques than one person should be expected to do in a lifetime.
I have her books to prove it. So when a question came up about how to approach a new design venture, it did not take me any time at all to remember that Elizabeth Zimmerman had already tackled it in her own inimitable style.

I want to design a circular shawl. This in and of itself is no great challenge. I have knit circular constructions before, but usually in small projects or as part of a garment. Now I want to try a full-size circular shawl, with the proper ratio of increases. And I knew that Elizabeth Zimmerman had not only designed a number of circular shawls, she dissected their construction so that any knitter could come to understand how they are made.
I remembered her "Pi shawl" in which the shawl grows from the centre, by consecutively doubling the number of rows between increase rounds as one works outwards. Perfect. Just the kind of construction I am looking for.

And the inspiration doesn't stop there. Zimmerman also tells you how to cast on for those awkward first stitches. By using Emily Ocker's Cast On Method.
She also goes on to acknowledge the problem of binding off loosely enough so that the circular shawl actually lies flat and isn't pulled inward by a bound off edge. No knitting problem escapes her and she offers solutions to them all.

Not only is her work a source of information and inspiration, her writing style is intimate and humorous. One feels that one is sitting down with a friend, both of us knitting away, while Elizabeth passes along her witty opinions.

Posted by Ilga Leja on 04/28 at 09:44 PM
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