The last book that I’ve gotten in the past few weeks is Elizabeth Zimmermann’s classic Knitting Without Tears. In it, she describes different aspects of knitting in a very friendly and approachable way. The first chapter is called “The Opinionated Knitter” and boy is she ever opinionated. Her writing is punctuated by statements based on experience, but also with a sense of humor so her views are never over-bearing. This conversational style makes this a joy to read (unlike The Principles of Knitting which can sometimes read as an encyclopedia). I actually sat and read this book in one sitting.
Even if you know the basics of fitting garments and adapting patterns, I would still highly recommend this book for her memorable lines and encouragement:
“For people allergic to wool, one’s heart can only bleed… The allergic must be great full that they didn’t live in the dark ages of fifty years ago when one kept warm in winter with wool or froze to death in linen and cotton. Of course, some avoided pleurisy by swatting themselves in sables” (p.3)
“Loose knitting tends to make your stitches look somewhat uneven, but what of it?Are you trying to reproduce a boughten machine-made sweater?” (p. 6)
And this is only in the first few pages. Zimmermann is full of helpful tips, but she also includes several patterns for working sweaters the way she likes it (she is especially fond of seamless sweaters).
I would fully recommend this book to anyone who already knows the basics of knitting. Even if you are advanced and have many sweaters under your belt, it isn’t often that knitting books can be such a great read.
I’ll leave you with a parting quote from Zimmermann:
“Really, all you need to become a good knitter are wool, needles, hands, and slightly below-average intelligence. Of course, superior intelligence, such as yours and mine, is an advantage” (p.11)