Knitting Without Tears

The why of knitting

This book is a classic. It is a relatively small instructional book on knitting. It is wonderful because it teaches one how to construct good looking garments without the use of knitting patterns. Her hallmark is a seamless pullover sweater. This book not only delivers quality knitting instruction – it is a great read!

— Mary Cavanaugh

This is not so much a how-to-knit book, though it excels as that, as much as it is a glorious how-to-enjoy, and how to live while knitting book, penned by a remarkable woman who found happiness at the end of her yarns. This short but famous primer is a good place to start knitting for life. I doubt I personally will suddenly pick up needles — although my teenage kids and all their friends have — but nonetheless I did read every page of her instructions with great pleasure.

— KK



If you are a habitually tight knitter, try to kick the habit. Loose knitting tends to make your stitches look somewhat uneven, but what of it? Are you trying to reproduce a boughten machine-made sweater? Besides, it is surprising what blocking and a few washings will do to uneven knitting.

I used to think that people in the Olden Days were marvelously even knitters, because all really ancient sweaters are so smooth and regular. Now I realize that they probably knitted just as I do, rather erratically, and that it is Time, the Great Leveller, which has wrought the change - Time and many washings.


The human being is so constructed that it can be completely covered by a series of shaped tubes. Tailors and dressmakers succeed excellently and skillfully in making tubes out of flat woven material; their achievements are nothing short of marvelous. But we, the humble knitters, can fabricate natural-born tubes by the very nature of our craft of circular knitting. With the techniques of increasing and decreasing at our command, we can shape or even bend the tubes as we will, without seams, gussets, or darts. It is then only a matter of uniting the various tubes by knitting them together, or sometimes weaving them together, and we could, if he desired them, make long-johns for a octopus.


For a small baby, take 4 ounces of baby wool, work at any GAUGE you feel like, and see what happens. Babies vary so much in size, and grow so fast, that the jacket will be gratefully worn at some period during the first year.


Caps are quickly made, and invaluable for using up scraps of wool for color patterns and stripes. They are excellent bazaar material, as people will pay more for them than for mittens, and they are quicker and more fun to make. (For me the great drawback to knitting mittens is that, having created one, you have to turn around and copy it exactly, for a pair.)


Knitting can be solace, inspiration, adventure. It is manual and mental therapy. It keeps us warm, as well as those we like and love. It has existed almost as long as the soft sheep, and in giving us wool they deprive themselves of no more than an uncomfortably warm fur coat in the heat of summer.

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