Mentors I’ve never met…Meg Swansen and Elizabeth Zimmerman

I am sure almost every serious knitter who read the title said to themselves ‘how original…they are everyone’s mentors’.  I love what this mother and daughter team has done for the knitting community.  I appreciate the intellectualism that they, together and individually, have fostered in the world of knitting.  My husband Alan bought me Meg Swansen’s book ‘A Gathering of Lace‘ for Christmas because I usually knit a couple of lace shawls a year, mostly from 1860’s patterns to put in the fall fair at work.  The reference pages and construction notes throughout this book are total gems.  Want to know how to knit backwards (entrelac anyone?)…its in 164.  Want to know how many stitches you need to increase to keep your knitting flat?…its in there too..Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Pi Shawl 38.  I used this math formula to keep the brim of my witch’s hat flat.  Worked like a charm…

lace hat from A Gathering of Lace.

lace hat from A Gathering of Lace.

This book contains the pattern for the only hat I have made from someone else’s pattern in several years. Here it is being blocked.  In case you are wondering, that is a 3″ high, 7″ diameter styrofoam cake form blocking the main part of the hat.  These would normally be used for fake wedding cakes and are available anywhere cake decorating supplies are sold. I taught cake decorating for many years and this was kicking around the house.  I thought it would work well for this purpose. This gives you a 22″ hat diameter, which is good for most women.  You could always cinch it in a bit with a decorative ribbon or a hatband if you want.

The hat in the picture and the witch’s hat both have real problems with floppy brims which I need to solve at some point.  But they both look great on a table….Maybe some old fashioned starch will do the trick.  I put some in this hat when I wet it for blocking, but maybe not enough,  The brim sagged almost immediately.

I thought I remembered, back in the 80’s, a show called ‘Knitting with Meg’ on PBS, but I can find no reference to it.  I used to organize my Saturday mornings around it.  I remember being totally psyched that there was actually a show about knitting on TV.  I hope it was her.

3 thoughts on “Mentors I’ve never met…Meg Swansen and Elizabeth Zimmerman

  1. sapeters85

    I watched Elizabeth and Meg on TV Ontario in the 80’s ; they were knitting from the book Knitting Around. I bought the book and the 3 tapes that went with the series.

  2. sapeters85

    You are welcome to borrow them if you have a VCR. I should get the tape converted to DVD format. I’ll look into getting that done. Even that they are old and I’ve watched them a hundred times, I still love to watch Elizabeth knit.


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