The Knitter’s Almanac – Commemorative Edition

Sometimes, we see something and know at once we must have it. There’s no thought, not stopping to consider the worth. Just a need. It’s particularly nice when the item desired isn’t going to break the bank.

Yesterday, an item meeting these criteria arrived in the mail.

The Commemorative Edition of Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knitter’s Almanac. I’d seen it last month when Lyn of Shades of Grey wrote about it. I recall I headed to the Book Depository and a mere $25 later, it was mine.

Yes it’s true I own the paperback version – that slim little volume with its black and white images, grainy with age, and I have loved it. It travels well, slipped inside a bag and my copy is dog-eared and worn, just like a beloved book should be.

The new version doesn’t have any of that wear in it yet but it’s got other virtues. For one thing, all the original photos have been replicated – not simply reproduced and digitally tizzied up, but actually recreated so that they look the same but have been knit in modern yarns, in bright colours and then arranged on the page in just the way they were arranged in the original. It’s entirely reminiscent of the moment Dorothy woke up in Oz, after the black and white world of Kansas.

And it’s thrilling. It’s a beautiful companion to the original.

The text is as comforting, sharp and alluring as always.

And the additions to the text, which I’ve devoured quickly and need to take in more slowly, really make it a completely worthwhile purchase. There’s a reproduced letter from Barbara Walker written to Elizabeth in 1975 congratulating her on the work; a preface by Elizabeth’s daughter Meg Swansen; an introduction by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (but of course!) and in what must have been a total thrill for Pamela Wynn, her pattern for the great favourite, the February Lady Sweater, is slipped in at the end of the book. It utterly deserves to be there.

I think commemorating a century since Elizabeth Zimmermann’s birth with such a wonderful volume was an inspired decision.

Comfort reading just got a burst of colour and new life.



21 thoughts on “The Knitter’s Almanac – Commemorative Edition

  1. Wow, I didn’t realise the commemorative edition had so much in it. I had ignored it as I own a copy, like you, but think this edition will go on my Christmas list now:)

  2. I saw this book a few weeks ago and I don’t blame you for getting it! I’ve bought more than a few “must have” books in my time so I know exactly what you mean. Enjoy!

  3. I have the little version and when I read about he special edition I didn’t realise it was going to be a tizzied up one!! It looks fabulous, I am glad they have moved with the times, added a new pattern but not strayed form the original too far.

  4. What a great review! I have the original version and hadn’t thought about the update until your description… now I may have to go looking. In other, related-ish news, someone yesterday at knit night walked by our group (we meet in a church) and handed me a FIRST EDITION Barbara Walker’s Treasury of Knitting Patterns. Said she was cleaning up her deceased aunt’s home and thought of us and figured she’d “dump it” on us. She walked away before I really looked at it. Anyway, clearly I’m going to have to call her – I priced them at $90 when I got home! Even not being able to keep it, though, it was such an awesome connection with another knitter, and another time; she had made small notes here and there inside, and I thumbed through wondering what she had made, and what kind of person she’d been. Pretty cool.

  5. The Shetland Lace book has some gorgeous stuff in it. It’s called Knits from the North Sea and yes, $65 was the price here. Fellow raveller and I were very happy with it in our meet-up to exchange yarns.

  6. Naughty Bells! I saw that the other day and deliberately didn’t order it. I did buy a book on Shetland lace which I saw in a Sydney shop for $65. Book Depository had it for a shade over $26. I’ve just had four orders from them and now I can blame you for anothr. Perhaps in a couple of weeks time.

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