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Knitting Around

4.49  ·  Rating details ·  1,010 ratings  ·  73 reviews
In this book, Elizabeth teaches you to be the boss of your knitting. Her liberating teachings have inspired generations of knitters and the classic patterns will keep you knitting for years. 25 projects — 192 pages | Hardcover
Hardcover, 191 pages
Published June 1st 1989 by Schoolhouse Pr
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Average rating 4.49  · 
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 ·  1,010 ratings  ·  73 reviews

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Mar 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: yarn
You either love Elizabeth Zimmerman or you hate her, particularly when it comes to her style of pattern writing. She very deliberately does not use 'standard' pattern writing style, in part because of some very bad early experiences when magazine editors seriously changed her pattern designs to fit in with the style, and partly because she is more interested in teaching people to think in terms of design than she is in teaching particular techniques or patterns.

Personally, I love her. She is so
Tam G
Dec 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
The part memoir/part instructional booklet is always a hard thing to pull off. The two things don't always feel like they belong together and generally it seems like a fit of arrogance in the author or the desperate need for book filler. However, Zimmermann pulls it off, because her past contains many insights as to what made her such a creative and innovative designer. The book also contains some of her more historic patterns (seamless sweater, bog jacket, moebius scarf, artistic socks, etc.). ...more
Nov 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I found samples of Elizabeth Zimmerman's writing on Amazon and enjoyed her wit and humor. I ordered this book because several reviewers named it as their favorite of the five or so available. It arrived yesterday and I was in for such a treat! The book is loaded with knitting patterns and inspiration, as expected. What I didn't expect was the story of Elizabeth's life up until retirement. It is beautifully told, complete with photographs. I enjoyed it thoroughly.
Feb 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
when i first got this book from the library, i idly flipped through it admiring the genius patterns. i noticed that there were some 'digressions' along with a healthy dose of family photographs scattered throughout the book but i didn't really study them as much as the patterns. then, a few days later, i picked the book up again and started at the beginning. non-knitters, you CAN read this like an autobiography and it is fascinating! elizabeth zimmermann describes her wild life from growing up ...more
Jane Lebak
Jan 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Finished EZ's "Knitting Around" yesterday because it was the Ravelry Goodreads pick for January. I enjoyed the memoir part because it's just such an alien childhood to my own,a nd I loved hearing about NYC in the 30's when she finally got there. I skimmed the knitting patterns but made sure to read the note parts where she discussed options. I liked her Phoney Seams and will have to remember that. :-)
Priscilla King
May 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: knitters
In the 1970s knitting was not a fashionable hobby. In North America the craft was rescued by one charismatic immigrant from England. Elizabeth Zimmermann seemed to fit the hippie ideal of the perfect grandmother: quiet, modest, independent, earning a living by having fun. She demonstrated knitting on television, sold yarns and patterns out of a converted school building (hence Schoolhouse Press), taught people how to design whatever they wanted to knit through her books and newsletters, hosted a ...more
Feb 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: knitting
This was not your average knitting book, it was more like a mini-memoir with lovely inclusions of Elizabeth's art & photos helping to illustrate her journey literally & figuratively. And for this reason, I enjoyed it immensely! The knitting projects, other than the Aran coat are a bit on the 'old fashioned' side having been designed in the mid to late 20th century and would need to be updated for the 21st century. Definitely more advanced knitting than my novice self is capable of; ...more
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I've had this book for years but always considered it more of a reference than a "sit down and read" type of book. But yesterday (New Year's Eve) I did just that: skimming the pattern passages - which are interesting and chatty in themselves - but really reading the Digressions, which are a soft of an autobiography overview.
Nearly done now, only the final Digression to read and will do that tonight, and feeling like I know EZ so much better now! Glad to have finally read this!
Sep 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: knitting
Did not read from cover to cover, but did admire the beautiful Edwardian photographs of the author and her family. I’m totally intrigued by the moccasin sock construction. I’m sorely tempted to try it for myself.
Mar 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I wish I discovered her and her books earlier - the years of knitting evolution I had to learn on my own, when all along she was here with all these beautiful secrets, ideas, and advice. And that's without talking about her patterns, and sweater calculations...
Dec 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art-books
I have read this book several times and knitted garments using E. Zimmermann's percentage system. This is a wonderful book for beginning and advanced knitters but it's Elizabeth's story that is so compelling.
Shari Blakey
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Outstanding, as all of her books are! I particularly enjoyed the segments outlining the history of her life, but since I am a knitting nerd, I enjoyed everything about knitting also.
Aug 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved hearing about EZ's life - almost more interesting than the knitting patterns!
Apr 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
Variety of projects.
Colleen Mole-Garcia
Aug 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: craft
Another great Zimmermann book which is extra special because of her "digressions" into her own personal history
Kristen Stieffel
Sep 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: knitting
I hadn't intended to read this book in a week, but it is so engaging I wound up reading two chapters a day instead of one. Elizabeth's writing style is so chatty and fun, I could scarcely stop reading.

This book is less a book about knitting than it is a memoir, but since it's the memoir of a knitwear designer, you get some knitting instruction as a bonus. Some reviewers looking for a knitting book have expressed disappointment about this. I find it part of the book's charm. Elizabeth Zimmerman
Jul 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A sort-of biography with knitting. Elizabeth wants to teach everybody how to analyze their knitting and do their own thing, instead of blindly following someone else's pattern (even hers).
English Elizabeth, aka Betty, Lloyd-Jones went to Germany to study art. There she met German brewer-apprentice Arnold Zimmerman. How she grew up in England, her life in Germany, their eventual marriage, and how they came to the United States. Their lives in various locations there.
After all, she wasn't always
Feb 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, craft-books
My favorite parts of the book came at the end of each chapter when Elizabeth gave her digressions. Don't get me wrong, I love reading about knitting, and I really love reading about Elizabeth's approach to knitting. In her own words, she is an opinionated knitter...and I love it. Nonetheless, my joy in reading this book comes from Elizabeth's memories of her life growing up in England, going to art school in Germany where she met her husband, and finally their life together in the states. The ...more
Sep 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Another of Zimmermann's primers on her EPS system of knitting. (See my reviews of her other books for greater detail.)

Much like KNITTING WITHOUT TEARS, this book features patterns for pullovers (aka jumpers) knit in the round on a circular needle, each with several variations, either in design or dimension (e.g., a different neck opening or a Child's version). Here the patterns include the "Seamless Yoke Sweater", a round-yoke pullover design first published in 1958, and "a Norwegian Sweater",
Mar 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: knitting-books
This book was meant to accompany the $50 DVD set. If you don't have the DVD set you are at a distinct disadvantage.

If the book was going to be released written in a conversational style with the purpose of TEACHING others it should be much more detailed.

I just couldn't/can not visualize where most of the stuff is going. So, the first run of EVERY pattern is an experience in figuring out what the author actually means.

An exercise in frustration and just not worth it with all of the other knitting
Oct 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I started reading this for the pattern I was knitting, then read the rest of it including the patterns and disgressions. The patterns are great, I love how her patterns work with whatever gauge you get. Her life was also rather fascinating, and there's an especially poignant paragraph towards the end about patriotism that I particularly identified with.

Now I want to knit that amazing Aran coat with different cables.
Aug 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: knitting
I need to own this book. Any EZ book will do, really, but she's got specific pattern breakdowns in this one, and not just general tips with a few patterns thrown in (which is great too, mind you). Specifically her sweater constructions that are all circular and amazing and gaugeless so I can make it with my chosen density and my chosen fiber so HAH. There are also snippets from her journals and family photographs and stories from her life, which are pretty cool too.
Nov 12, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: EZ fans
Shelves: craft-howto
I'm excited to try some of the patterns, especially for the Norwegian mittens--I've never done mittens, and I'm inexperienced in color work, but I'm up for a challenge.

Pattern/instruction chapters are interspersed with EZ's autobiography, and I was surprised to find myself bored with those sections. I'll probably get around to reading them, but I was impatient to flip past them to get to the patterns.
Nov 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book which is largely autobiographical. This may be the one book that people who don't really knit would enjoy because EZ talks so much about growing up in England, meeting her husband, raising her family, etc. She was certainly outspoken and opinionated and I love to read her books just to read them. Some of her patterns are a bit outdated, but the stories she tells about herself and her family make this worth reading.
Apr 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Knitters, crafters, artists
Just perfect. Sure, EZ is the modern "guru" of knitting, but what a lovely read. It's an autobiography not just for the reader, but primarily for her family. EZ's humor, patterns and drawings make this one of the most stress free knitting books I've come across.
What a delight! I've read this with my (infant) son and EZs lyrical tone and wit seem to relax him and usually send him off to dream land. I needed a book that would speak to my creative soul, and this was it.
Jan 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: knitting
I'd owned this book for about five years before I actually sat down and read the biography interspersed throughout the book. It was a fascinating read.

Elizabeth Zimmermann's conversational style in pattern writing takes a bit of getting used to but she truly walks you through each step of the pattern. She gives the knitter a lot of credit and doesn't tell you how to knit but allows you to be a thinking knitter (something that can be very scary to a lot of new knitters).
Nov 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
You can go your whole life without writing it down, but make sure you do, and try to tell it through knitting, with plenty of patterns and pictures of happy-looking, strapping young men of the forties and eighties with their pullovers shining and warm.
What I learned: You, too, are special, in any and every way, whenever you want.
Mar 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: knitting
Elizabeth Zimmerman is may hero! I have most all of her books as she is the knitting goddess of the knitting community. If you don't have her books on your shelf, you must start collecting them now. She passed away in 1999 which was quite a loss, but her daughter Meg Swanson has carried on the tradition of teaching and writing about knitting. She was such a treasure to the knitting world.
Aug 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I loved the autobiographical information interspersed between the knitting sections. What an interesting life and unique mindset. I've made a few of these patterns, and agree that the dvds would be a nice thing to have. I'd probably consider it to be more important for the story of a person who revolutionized knitting.
Nov 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: knitting
A delightful book, mixing knitting patterns and tips with Zimmermann's biography: her childhood in England, early adulthood in Germany in the 1930s and her path to Wisconsin and her beloved yarn shop. Typically, these are basic patterns with suggestions for changing and embellishing, complete with photos of Elizabeth's many variations on her basic themes.
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Ravelry Knitters: January Book Read - Knitting Around 1 39 Jan 25, 2016 03:54PM  

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An influential knitting pattern designer, teacher, and writer, Elizabeth Zimmermann advocated knitting techniques to speed progress and simplify pattern creation. She enthusiastically championed Continental knitting, where the working yarn is carried in the left hand, as opposed to the English or American style where the working yarn is carried in the right hand. She also advocated knitting in the ...more