Learning knitting can be great fun with Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knitting Workshop book. Can you knit a little bit? Are you a little shaky on how to cast on? No matter. If you follow her lessons in this book, you may be charmed to discover yourself a master knitter by the end of the twelfth lesson. How is this possible?
First You Knit a Hat.
In knitting a hat you learn how to hand wind a center-pull ball of yarn, use the long tail cast on and do ribbing on a circular needle. Elizabeth’s drawings illustrate some points. Other times we see a photo of her hands at work along with her description.
Next you learn her favorite method of increasing a stitch–MAKE1 or M1. After you knit a couple inches, you learn about GAUGE. Gauge is the most crucial factor in knitting after you learn the knit stitch. With this mastered, you’ll be boss of your knitting from day one.
Now she hits you with a surprise. Colorwork! She says you’re ready, so grab another ball of yarn. Pretty designs will appear like magic in your hat.
Then she teaches you how to decrease stitches three different ways. Choose which one you like to finish your hat in style. After you block it with a dab of steam to make your stitches lie smooth, put it on like a crown and smile. You’re on your way to knitting mastery.
Next Up: Knit Two Sweaters!
You’ll learn Elizabeth’s Percentage System (EPS) as you create your first raglan sweater from the bottom up in whatever wool you please. Your gauge and the chest, sleeve and side measurements of your favorite sweater are all you need. You’ll master short rows, yoke shaping, more color patterns, and neck shaping plus Elizabeth’s sewn cast off, Kitchener stitch and weaving.
Sweater number two features dropped shoulders and all-over colorwork. Besides the breathtaking colorwork, you’ll do heart-stopping steeks for inserting the sleeves. If you like, you can steek the front for a cardigan. Then onto finishing techniques, various necklines and Elizabeth’s one-row buttonhole. Phew!
Final Section: Master Classes
Here we learn seven seamless shoulder shapings: yoke, raglan, saddle shoulder, hybrid, shirt-yoke, set-in sleeve and cousin nalgar.
Then we play with Elizabeth’s favorite garter stitch. She teaches us the magical properties of garter stitch as we knit her classic unique constructions: a square baby blanket, pelerine cape, jerkin, rorschach sweater, surprise jacket, tomten, and rib warmer.
Some of them we’ll decorate with I-cord edging and button loops. I-cord makes a great finish for an afterthought pocket.
We’re gaining skills like crazy. So why not dive into seven lace shawls? These include her famous Pi Shawl, Stonington, Spoke and others.
Last, but not least, come Arans, Guernseys and Fair Isles. She says these last are “NOT SIMPLE to knit, but FAR SIMPLER than they appear to be if you keep your head and make your own decisions.” She was good at that. Are you? Experiment with tams and see.
That’s it–you’re a master knitter in twelve lessons. But is that it?
Elizabeth considers you’ve only opened the door on a lifetime of possibilities from learning knitting in Knitting Workshop. She wishes you “Good Knitting” at the end. Man, I’ve got to get me some wool and the accompanying DVD so I can see and hear her while I knit. How about you?
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