Episode 267

ELIZABETH ZIMMERMANN AND THE EMERGENCE OF CRITICAL KNITTING

PART 1

In this, the first of an eight-part series, I talk with Dr. Lilly Marsh, who examined the influence of EZ in her doctoral thesis at Purdue University.  In this episode, Dr. Marsh explains the genesis of her project, and shares details of the sources that provided context for her research.  We spend some time talking about the state of knitting in the United States during the mid-century (1950’s) and the need for a knitter to speak for herself and thus encourage other knitters to speak for themselves.

Dr. Marsh has shared some photographs of materials from her own collection.  There is an ongoing discussion on this Ravelry thread.

We begin our conversation with a discussion of the timeless image of the knitter.   Here is an image of a pre-industrial knitter.

Here is an image in the modern style, but we can see that the posture and hand placement are much the same in both images.  Despite this, Dr. Marsh argues, “The act of knitting, and the individual knitter, is, like any activity, highly contextualized within the framework of culture and history.”

Vogue Knitting Lake Placid issue Spring 1958

Woman’s Day January 1952

Woman’s Day EZ byline Norwegian Sweater 1952

EZ’s beret image in 1957 Woman’s Day

Bernat 1957 cover Fashions and Fun for the “Almost Teens”

Suspender Sweater featured in Bernat

The Work Basket (for pleasure and profit) 1950

Number Knitting by Virginia Woods Bellamy 1952

Number Knitting pattern example

Knitting Dictionary translated from French Mon Tricot

 

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