Ah, Elizabeth, how I adore your writing.
EZ's books are the ones I turn to again and again to read for pleasure - yes, even the patterns. The instructions are wonderful to read, so natural. It's like having EZ there chatting away to you over a cup of tea.
As for the knitting, well, there's something very exciting about casting on and starting a pattern with a curious construction that I can't really visualise until I've made it.
Baby Surprise Jacket, Rowan Wool Cotton
It's like going on a knitting adventure.
With most patterns, I like to have a clear picture of what's going to happen, but I find that that isn't always possible with Elizabeth's, and it's a case of knitting blind instead. The extreme sports of knitting, if you will.
Of course, it's not always like that, and some patterns are so simple and intuitive that you wonder why you need a pattern. For those, Elizabeth has her more basic instructions. Either way, everything is to be determined by you - yarn weight, colours, adding patterns or designs, and the needles that you need to use to get gauge. I especially love this. And hate it too.
February Baby Sweater, Rowan Felted Tweed, Gull pattern omitted.
There seems to be this idea that there's a magical knitter out there who always 'gets gauge' with the recommended needle size given. That's nonsense. The needle sizes and gauge given in a pattern are based on what the designer or test knitters used. They're a good guess about what size will work for the average person. But really, you need to use a needle size that gets you the gauge given in the pattern, not the needle size that the designer used. As an example, I knit most socks on a 2.5mm needle, because that's what works for me. Others use 2mm needles as standard, or 2.25mm. They are all correct. I love that EZ forces you to go and find the needle size that gives you the gauge you need, rather than telling you.
This is also why I hate it. I like having a starting point. I'm also lazy about swatching. Ravelry is great, as I can find someone who has made what I want to make, using the yarn I want to use, and I can see their needle size and go from there. I also know the needles that work for me for different yarn thicknesses, and might start there too. All of which is probably the right way to be going about it, now I think of it. So I retract my dislike, and instead thank Elizabeth for making me do the right thing.