Monday, August 9, 2010

A Baby Surprise Jacket from Elizabeth

Knitters all over the world today are commemorating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Elizabeth Zimmermann, truly one of the great knitters, "unventors", teachers, and writers of the knitting world.  To say she was influential is an understatement.  She was a pioneer, and a kind and witty one at that.  When I was a young knitter, she was my main source of both materials and inspiration. She continues to be an inspiration today, not only through her books and her daughter, Meg Swansen's books, but through many designers who have been influenced by her.

When I realized that today was a sequential 8-9-10 I thought that Elizabeth would have liked that date for her birthday.

Although I had learned to knit in Denmark, it is safe to say I eventually would have become bored with knitting drop shoulder sweaters in Lopi wool.  I met Elizabeth Zimmermann, first through reading her book Knitting Without Tears, and then in person at her Knitting Camp in Shell Lake, WI   During our early correspondence I became pregnant with our first son.  Elizabeth knitted a baby surprise jacket and sent it to me before the birth of the baby in January 1978. This photo is one of my all-time favorite baby photos!
I knited the bunting from my first bulky handspun.  I also knitted the bonnet in grey Shetland wool and the booties from blue lovat Shetland from Schoolhouse Press.  But who cares?  Elizabeth knit the baby surprise jacket and that is what counts!
In the next episode of my podcast, Knitting Pipeline, I'll be reading some of the letters that Elizabeth sent to me.

Happy Birthday, Elizabeth.  Thanks to you, we are knitting on.


Andrea Vlahakis said...

Paula, this brought me to tears. What a treasure for you and your son.

I can't wait for your podcasts, period, but I especially cannot wait for the next one! :)

KPiep said...

Oh my goodness, what a treasure! Wait until I tell my guild tomorrow night that you have such a spectacular treasure made from EZ's own hands!

And it is a super-cute baby picture!

Kathy... said...

What a wonderful keepsake!!!

Mette said...

Sharing your photo is the most glorious way to celebrate this centenary. I am very touched.

stringplay said...

Lovely post and pictures. I am running way behind, but I look forward to this special podcast.

angela said...

What a wonderful post!

And you are right about that picture--it is too beautiful...the child, the basket, the blanket and the BSJ.

Jean said...

What an absolute treasure! How lucky you are to have known her and to have something so special to remember her by.
I'm actually tearing up..

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