Master Classes with Elizabeth Zimmermann

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Elizabeth Zimmermann Workshop DVDA couple of weeks ago I was at my LYS knitting circle when I casually brought up Elizabeth Zimmermann.  Franchesca bounded to her feet and showed me the entire collection of her books, and the Workshop DVD: Master Classes with Elizabeth Zimmermann.  She said that I could BORROW it.  That’s right, watch it, and then give it back.  For FREE.

Ya right.  Once you get this DVD in your posession, you would never give it back.  You would keep it, and not only that you would be willing to pay whatever they want for it.  Luckily Franchesca only charged me the sticker price.  There are so many reasons why this DVD set is invaluable, so I’ll give you my top three.

  1. Elizabeth Zimmermann in your house.  The DVD series is quite casual, she is chatty and funny and it feels like she is talking directly to you.  Even the beginner DVDs are full of little techniques that I, as a more advanced knitter, had never considered.  Not to mention that you can rewind and rewatch anything  you miss or need to hear again.
  2. The Opinionated Knitter.  Elizabeth Zimmermann wanted to name her newsletters the Opinionated Knitter for a reason; she is.  She will tell you in no uncertain terms why she thinks that a technique should be done a certain way and because she is a rather experienced knitter, she is pretty much infaliable (I may have her on a tiny pedastle).  I feel like this is the sign of a good teacher.  She doesn’t give you a bunch of options that confuse you, she gives you the best and most efficient ways to do something, period.
  3. The third and most profound quality evident in this series is her humility as a creator.  What really brought the importance of this humily into perspective is Elizabeth Gilbert‘s TED talk on Nurturing Creativity.  Let me explain. Every knitter who knows of EZ is aware of the vast contribution to the knitting world in North America.  EZ was also clearly aware of her brilliance, or she wouldn’t have put it all in books and onto DVDs to make it even more clear and accessible for us knitters.  The Master Classes illustrate, though, that she is just a regular person with a daughter and a husband except for one thing.  She knows how to tune into the creative genius, and is an example of how to do it with out putting pressure on ourselves to come up with new and exciting things all on our own.  It is through the incredible mastery of the craft that Elizabeth Zimmermann was able to extract such a vast amount of elegant technique from the fabric of universal creativity.  Its not like she sat there day after day saying – I must come up with somehting new and brilliant so that I can make a living.  No.  I belive that EZ sat there and said, why the hell do I have to do purl stitches.  There must be a better way, in fact I will create a better way so that no one in the future will have to do purl stitches again.  See how it removes it from her ego – her genious – her success?

The bottom line is that EZ was real.  She was opinionated, funny, clever, and creative.  She wasn’t full of ego, willfullness and fame.  Thus, more than just a how to knit DVD, I feel like the workshop DVD inspires us as creatives, to be creative, and leave the bullshit behind.

Bless you Elizabeth Zimmermann and thank you for being an example of how to tune into the creative force.

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