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Amy’s Thread: Anna Zilboorg Giveaway

When I taught myself to knit (from a library copy of Montse Stanley’s Knitter’s Hanbook* and Leslie Stanfield’s The New Knitting Stitch Library) there wasn’t this amazing online community of knitters and blogs. There was no Ravelry, and most of the yarn shops were very different than they are today.

I wasn’t really inspired by the knitting patterns that were available at the time, which was fine since I really didn’t understand them anyway. I muddled along for a few years, experimenting with stitch patterns and textures. Then, Anna Zilboorg wrote Knitting for Anarchists and it was a revelation. Zilboorg unraveled the mechanics of knitting, freed me from my anxiety over pattern comprehension and helped me immensely as I developed as a knitwear designer.


Zilboorg has a new book, Splendid Apparel, published by XRX Books and it is a marvel. There is innovative construction (vertical stripes!), stitch guides with swatches and beautiful step-by-step stitch guides for embroidering onto knits, as well as patterns for heirloom sweaters.



Win a kit to make Dodder from Splendid Apparel!

XRX books has shared a copy of the book to give away and we’re adding the yarn – Berroco Ultra Alpaca in shade 62168 “Candy Floss” – to knit Dodder from the book.

HOW TO ENTER: Leave a comment telling us about a knitting book, books or a teacher that changed your knitting for the better.

DETAILS: Must be 18 years or older to enter.

Comments must be posted by 11:59 PM EST on Sunday, June 28, 2015. One winner will be chosen at random and announced on the blog next Monday, June 29.

73 thoughts on “Amy’s Thread: Anna Zilboorg Giveaway

  1. I love Ann Budds “Top Down Sweaters.” The details and options are easy to follow. I also enjoy the Yarn Harlot for a chuckle!

  2. I took Eunnie Jang’s lace class at Craftsy and was amazed at how much detail she provided while making it all so simple…she’s a great instructor, even without ever having met her.

  3. I started knitting at a now closed store in Brea, Ca. The women there inspired me to learn and share my knowledge and items. Within a few years I had advanced enough to understand patterns. I try to challenge myself to some new technique every few months. This is very pretty and the pattern is quite unique.

  4. I have taken many knitting classes and read many knitting books over the years, and many have been very helpful to me. A class I took from the late Sidna Farley (she had many of her patterns published in Knitter’s Magazine) had a huge positive effect on my knitting. One of the things she covered while we were constructing a (small) sweater was grafting. After making sure everyone could do the standard Kitchener stitch, she showed us how to graft in other stitches: purl, garter, and then a pattern stitch. I learned to really “read” my knitting in ways I never had before. I rarely have difficulty grafting any two pieces of knitting together, including lace and cables.

    Sidna was a great teacher because she made the techniques she taught stick in our brains in such a way that we could not only execute them flawlessly. She also got us to think of the techniques in terms of general principles so her students could expand their skills beyond any specific thing she taught us that day.

  5. My first knitting book was a little Patons pamphlet from my mom. I taught myself from that (with my mom to ask for help if I got stuck.) But what I’m loving now is Knitting in the Old Way. I love having the formulae, so I can be saved from the math of trying to design my own sweater, without feeling constrained by a pattern.

  6. Debbie Stoller’s “Stitch ‘n Bitch: The Knitter’s Handbook” was the turning point for me! I realized, after reading her book, that I really could do it, and that I wasn’t alone. It was just such a down to earth description of knitting and it gave me the confidence to forge ahead. The book in this contest looks wonderful, and I’d love to win a copy – thanks for hosting this contest!

  7. Sally Melville’s “Knit Stitch” and “Purl Stitch” have always been my “go-to” books. I also really like Lucy Neatby’s instruction videos.

  8. I took a knitting class that at a LYS and the teacher focused on correcting mistakes. It really helped my knitting

  9. For me, it has to be Knitwear Design Workshop by Shirley Paden. It has given me a lot of insight into construction methods and overall made me a better knitter.

  10. First, your book is amazing. The stitch patterns are absolutely gorgeous! I spend much of my time at doctor’s appointments and so I knit portable hats. I love to give back, so I make chemo caps and hats for underprivileged children. The book that gas inspired me the most recently is the “Up, Down, All-Around Stitch Dictionary”, because it has allowed me to use stitch patterns in the round for the hats. As you know, stitch patterns are usually written for back and forth knitting. Thanks for the contest!

  11. I taught myself to knit from books too. I puttered along for several years. Then a new yarn shop opened up in my area. This was one of the newer breed that encourages you to stay and knit for a while. I finally found my community of knitters and as a result my skills started to improve and lightning speed. That shop closed but fortunately I’ve found another and the knit goes on!

  12. Lynne Barr’s books are full of wonderful, out of the box knitting ideas, especially her book on scarves and the one on reversible knitting. One could knit from them for a lifetime. But … I have to give credit to Jacqueline Fee for her knitting sampler book that changed my life. Knitting that weird sampler years ago really gave me a range of skills.

  13. My husband’s Aunt Sis got me on the knitting band wagon while he attended grad school in the town in which she lived. She gave me an afghan quantity of yarn and all her extra needles. The rest is history. We just lost her a week and a half ago.

  14. My grandmother always had knitting in her hands. I think she was the one who taught me, but I may have just started by playing with yarn and needles.

  15. Kirsten Kapur helped me become a better knitter. She introduced me to lace when I attempted her MKAL last year. I met her earlier this month when she taught a class at my local yarn store. It was wonderful to be able to say “thank you” in person. I’m currently working on my 2nd MKAL by Kirsten!

  16. Sivia Harding is a teacher that I have learned many a lesson from – general techniques that translate to all of my knitting projects.

  17. I really love the book, “The Knitter’s Book of Finishing Techniques,” by Nancie Wiseman. Finishing always scared me but I persevered and learned so much from that book, I’ve had it for years now and my finishng skills are vastly improved, but I just used it this weekend to refresh on setting in sleeves and seaming in reverse stockinette. An invaluable reference.

  18. Anna Zilboorg and Kaffe Fassett have greatly influenced my thoughts on knitting and color.

  19. The Elle Knitting book: 50 exclusive designs from France launched my sweater knitting. I still love many of the sweaters in this book.

  20. My mother had tried to teach me to knit and after she died I was so depressed that no one my generation had managed to learn. But my niece told me about Stich ‘n Bitch and using it I learned to knit. I’ve been knitting and crocheting for about 13 years now.

  21. A guy friend of mine saw me using the English method. He taught me Continental. I can knit much faster now/

  22. The Klutz Knitting book/ kit taught me how to knit. I really like knitting brcause of the step by step lessons.

  23. I took many classes from a wonderfully talented knitter, Jeannine Sims. She shared so much knowledge to improve my technique & enjoyment of knitting, & best of all, opened me to the resources of Elizabeth Zimmerman!

  24. There have been so many books that have helped me to grow and challenge myself as a knitter; it’s tough to choose just one! I do think that Barbara Walker’s stitch dictionaries have been some of the most long-term influential books though. I discovered them about a year or two after I started knitting, and it really helped me to see that not all knitting had to be plain stockinette. They’ve been amazing resources for learning new stitches, as well as for some designing that I’ve done.

  25. There have been so many books that have helped me to grow and challenge myself as a knitter; it’s tough to choose just one! I do think that Barbara Walker’s stitch dictionaries have been some of the most long-term influential books though. I discovered them about a year or two after I started knitting, and it really helped me to see that not all knitting had to be plain stockinette. They’ve been amazing resources for learning new stitches, as well as for some designing that I’ve done.

  26. My mom taught me to knit when I was a teenager and made such an impression I don’t think I have put it down since. She taught me all the basics and when times were tough how to make a little extra money from knitting. Now I am a knit aholic!!!!

  27. Ann Budd’s “The Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns” is what got me to experiment more with patterns — I learned to not only use stitch patterns to replace plain knitting, but was able to figure out how to better make my own-styled fingerless mitts or fingertipless gloves so they properly fitted the recipients. My nieces, sisters and mother really appreciated well-fitting items and some of the males in the family wanted some as well when they found that they fit better than store-bought.

  28. I have been knitting for many years. My mother taught me as a young girl. I still find myself referring to “The Principles of Knitting” by June Hemmons Hiatt Whenever I need a new technique or alternate way of refining my knitting. It is a very handy reference book to have around when I am trying anything new to me.

  29. As a self taught knitter, I’ve always relied on books for instruction and inspiration. I love being able to refer back to things I’ve read.

  30. My cousin taught me to knit when I was about 8. I started with baby booties and now at 73 am about to go full circle when my nieces and nephews begin their families. A dear lady when I was a teen led our Daily Vacation Bible School class where we knit for the Mitten Tree to be given to children. Passing along a skill you have a passion for makes the student eager to learn.

  31. Norwegian Handknits: Heirloom Designs from Vesterheim Museum

    It inspired me to try colorwork in a way I had never done before. Also, it was the first book I saw that showed vintage work as inspirations for modern interpretations.

  32. My first knitting teacher DEFINITELY changed my life for the better. My grandma taught me much more than just knitting, and I still think of her every time I pull out my needles.

  33. I took a class to learn how to knit! I would say that definitely changed my knitting future because I couldn’t knit before that, even though I tried!

  34. My mom taught me to knit and the first pattern book I remember and still have is the Jack Frost two needle mitten book. The price was 25 cents. I remember embroidering snowflakes on the back of the mittens during a girl scout meeting. We gave them to the local service council. I’m still doing that today. I knit for the pleasure of it and then give it all away.

  35. I own many, too many actually, knitting books. The reference I use most often is YouTube. I am a visual learner and have a difficult time following static images, so video works well for me. But since you asked about a book, the one I used most often when I was learning was The Knitter’s Handbook.

  36. I own many, too many actually, knitting books. The reference I use most often is YouTube. I am a visual learner and have a difficult time following static images, so video works well for me. But since you asked about a book, the one I used most often when I was learning was The Knitter’s Handbook.

  37. There are many books that have been useful. Early in my knitting life (the 70’s) I relied on the Vogue Knitting Book, fat, informative and well illustrated. I learned then to not be intimidated by what I did not know, to look things up, and keep knitting.

  38. My grandmother was my first knitting teacher. She seemed able to teach me to fix every problem I created! I currently have a teacher at my local yarn store, that is encouraging, challenging, creative, and just an all around lovely person. How lucky am I!

  39. Elizabeth Zimmerman for losing fears, Barbara Walker for stitches galore, Kaffe Fassett for appreciating color and lots of it!

  40. I also have a dog-eared copy of Montse Stanley’s book! My favorite technique I learned from the book was two-handed stranded colorwork. I saw these Anna Zilboorg garments at Stitches West and they are beautiful!

  41. unfortunately I dscovered Elizabeth Zimmerman after her death. Her books are amazing, both what we can learn about,life as well as knitting!

  42. Debbie New’s Unexpected Knitting and Barbara Walker Phillips A New Look at Knitting are MUST reads! Both of these books inspire and explode the brain. The authors bold, fearless, what-if attitude instills knitterly confidence like no other books available, well aside from EZ who gives the same type of confidence to garment knitter. 😉

  43. most of my knitting learning came from starting a project that i could do when i started. learned cables, socks, and so much more this way.

  44. I have been knitting for a long while, but had mostly fallen away from it, except for baby gifts and that sort of thing. Then i read Amy Herzog’s Knit to Flatter, and it completely revolutionized my abilities as far as chosing patterns that will flatter my shape or altering existing ones. Also, proper measurement and shaping. It has given me a fresh enthusiasm for knitting!

  45. My grandma was the first person to introduce me to knitting. When I was maybe 10 I asked if she could teach me how. We started with a basic scarf using what she called the “German Method.” My biggest motivation was watching her knit mittens on three needles. I made a very holey scarf and thought my knitting career was done. It wasn’t until the summer before I went to college that I picked up knitting again. What’s heat is that now when my grandma talks about different yarns and stitches I know what she’s taking about!

  46. I learn to knit from my aunt before I was in kidergarten (60+ years ago). She was the spark that ignited the passion and taught me the basics. However, I would have to say the biggest influence has to be the Internet. I am constantly resorting to it to learn or refresh my memory on the latest techniques.

  47. one book that I have used is learn to knit afghan book by B Walker. Starts with garter & ends with lace & traveling stitches. One grandmother taught me to knit, the other made me sweaters.

  48. My Grandmother taught me the basic stitches when I was a child…I went on from pattern to pattern trying to challenge myself as I continued to learn. After not knitting for 20 years (darn working life!) I have picked it up again and am amazed at how many new stitches there are to learn. I would love to give the vest above a try…it’s beautiful!!

  49. i love to knit KnitPurlHunter kals. Michelle is a great teacher and makes fantastic videos for each clue. Her patterns and videos are easy to understand to me.

  50. I learned to knit while I was stationed in Iceland, from an Icelandic woman. So, of course, I use the continental style. It was all about Icelandic sweaters, and stranded color work. Elizabeth Zimmerman’s books have been a great inspiration to me as a knitter and a person.

  51. i think reading Elizabeth Zimmerman’s book have offered many simple logical techniques

    For many years I’ve subscribed to Piecework magazine. The breadth of information on knitting and other needle projects continue to fascinate me

  52. I find Norah Gaughan to be a constant source of inspiration. Her designs showcase her creativity and unique flair. Knitting Nature is an absolute favourite book of mine – here she incorporates my two loves of knitting and mathematics in designs that explore fascinating shapes, cables, and construction.

  53. EZ’s Knitting Without Tears gave me the confidence to try anything that looked interesting to me.

  54. Mom taught me everything I know. Crochet, knitting, gardening, cooking. She could knit up sweaters in what would seem like a minute. I’m just starting my first pair of socks, so wish me luck.

  55. Boston: Retired five years, blizzard in full force this winter 2015, cold and bored, I picked up “Hats On” by Charlene Schurch that I bought at the local bookstore. No hats left in the stores so I will make one, I said, after twenty years of no crafts just work. I’m learning from the yarn companies every day and so inspired! Thanks for a new chapter in my life as Share.with family and friends my “creations”.

  56. I learned to knit and was inspired by my LYS manager and her staff. They always had a positive comment and outlook on helping me and others learn the art of knitting.

  57. I deliberately signed up to take an embroidery coursr this spring, so I would be able to use Anna’s book when I purchase it. I learned to knot from my mother an aunt when I was ten. They could do anything with their hands – needlepoint, crewel, embroidery, even wrapping gifts was an art for my aunt. In the ten years as I have attended knitting programs such as Stitches, and Vogue Knitting, knitting has become an integral part of my life, particularly when my work becomes stressful.

  58. When I lived in Seattle in the early nineties there weren’t a whole lot of knitting books in the library but there were a few by Elizabeth Zimmermann. I taught myself to knit from books, and these are the ones that gave my “recipe” patterns, and helped me figure out what all those directions meant. And, I am currently knitting her Pi Shawl!

  59. The Harmony Guides were my staple food when I undertook a master knitting program over twenty years ago. They’ve been a great source of inspiration for me over the years.

  60. I taught myself to knit using E. Zimmerman’s “Knitting without Tears” many years ago befor Ravelry and YouTube provided so many wonderful resources. I still love Zimmerman’s books, she had a wonderful voice.

  61. I was very lucky to have my Oma in Holland teach me how to knit when I was 5 years old. Now I have grandchildren of my own and some are interested in the craft.

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