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Review: Knitter’s Almanac

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First, the facts:

Title: Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knitter’s Almanac: The Commemorative Edition of the Bestselling Classic

Author: Elizabeth Zimmermann

Published by: Dover Publications, 2010

Pages: 154

Type: Patterns and inspiration.

Chapters:

1. January: An Aran Sweater
2. February: Some Babies’ Things
3. March: Difficult Sweater (Not Really)
4. April: Mystery Blanket: Weaving
5. May: Mittens for Next Winter
6. June: Borders. Small Stuff for Summer Knitting; Three Hats
7. July: A Shawl: Good Travel-Knitting. One-Row Buttonhole
8. August: Christmas Fiddle-Faddle in the Wilds
9. September: Nether Garments
10. October: Open-Collared Pullover
11. November: Moccasin Socks
12. December: Hurry-Up Last-Minute Sweater

Knitter's Almanac

The In-Depth Look:

I hesitated a long time before buying this book. After all, I DID have a copy of the 1981 edition that I bought when I was a new knitter. I’d read it many times, too, and already knew that it was a gem. Chatty. Friendly. Personable. Encouraging.

Was it really worth buying a new copy just because it was bigger, with color pictures, and a new forward from Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, and the February Lady sweater pattern?

Oddly enough, I still don’t have an answer to that question. I’ve been too busy rereading this book and grinning. It’s like visiting with an old, dear friend who is sporting a new haircut and a stylish outfit but is exactly the same person you played with in grade school. So far as I can tell this is exactly the same book, even to the typeface, it’s just dressed up with a little color and a little more substance than the small paperback I used to stick in my knitting bag.

The point is that this is an homage to a knitter who helped all of us open our eyes to possibilities. Even knitters today who find her hopelessly “quaint” or unreadable owe her a debt. (Yes, there are such knitters.) Elizabeth Zimmermann made such an impact on the way so many knitters think about the act of knitting … if anyone deserved a fancy new outfit for her 100th birthday, it’s she.

That said–since I DO have a dearly-loved paperback version of this, and since it IS almost exactly the same–I don’t regret having waited for KnitPicks to have their 40%-off book sale before I bought this. If I hadn’t had an old edition, though? Yes, I would absolutely have paid full price to have this in my library. And yes, I’m delighted to have two copies–my old paperback for every day, and my fancy new hardcover for special occasions. Happy belated birthday, Elizabeth.

(And yes, you can buy your copy here, if you don’t have one already!)

Want to see bigger pictures? Click here.

My Gush: What can you say about a masterpiece that’s helpful, inspiring,and entertaining all at once?

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