Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Fun with Meg and Elizabeth

When people hear about my pattern indexes on Knitfinder, they often ask "isn't that an awful lot of work? and isn't it boring indexing all those patterns?" The short answer is, yes and no. Yes, it's an awful lot of work. Boring? Well, you see, I choose which publications and designers I want to index. And I don't choose the publications and designers whose patterns make me gag - because I don't want to spend that much time with those patterns.

Which brings me to our newest index. Just published - ta daah! The (almost) complete list of patterns by Elizabeth Zimmermann and Meg Swansen. I've been working on this for months; it isn't a huge number of designs (around 300 in all), but it presented several technical problems that had to be solved before I found a workable way to display the index on the site. Many of the patterns have appeared multiple times in different places; also, many are known by more than one name. You'll also find a resource list, including complete information on Schoolhouse Press yarns past and present.

Anyway. This index was pure pleasure to work on. It was a blast to reread every issue of Wool Gathering and every book by Elizabeth and Meg. In order to write the detailed pattern notes, I have to read every pattern carefully so I understand the design and construction details, and then summarize them for you all. Sometimes this wasn't easy, with these designers! Try explaining the Surprise Jacket or Round-the-Bend Jacket to someone else, especially if you haven't knit it (I must be the last EZ fan on earth who has not made a baby surprise jacket yet).

Much has been said about EZ's writing style. I can only add that her droll way with words cracked me up many times as I worked. Her written patterns express endless curiosity, intrepidity, and joie de vivre - qualities I admire greatly. Happily, Meg's writing style and approach to knitting are not so different and equally charming. I'm glad to have spent a few months living with their words, and pleased to make the index available to you.

In honor of its publication, try a free demo of the full subscriber version. Just log in with the username demo and password knit on for access to detailed pattern notes, Ravelry links, and the search by tag feature. The demo is good through January 4, 2010.