L is for Lace

L is also for LATE, which is what I am with this post! Ah well, at least I’m still on this ABC-Along train….

Since knitting my first lace project, I’m really excited about knitting more lace. Just before I went to the US a few weeks ago I placed an order on Amazon and had the books shipped to the company office. Getting to the office and picking up my boxes was just like Christmas. Presents!

Since I ordered them from Amazon they were bought sight-unseen. Some of the content was a surprise, and not always a nice surprise. I won’t take the time to book review them all (who has that kind of time?) and I’m sure you can find book reviews online and even at Amazon. I just want to show you what I bought and write first impressions about them.

First, “Second Book of Modern Lace Knitting” by Marianne Kinzel.
This book was first published in 1961 and the photos and descriptions show it. I was really expecting more examples and patterns but the only one that is really interesting is English Rose. I had seen this worked up by Ravelers and it’s really pretty. I just wish there were more nice examples in the book.

Next “Victorian Lace Today” by Jane Sowerby.
There are LOADS of beautiful examples of knitted lace in this book. Even if you don’t make any of the specific patterns in the book, it would be very easy to take the stitch patterns and combine them in unique shapes or combinations. One of my favorites is simply called “A curved shawl” and is mostly made of a “spider pattern”. The original inspiration came from an 1860’s Shetland pattern.

Then there’s “Shawls and Scarves” which is a “Best of Knitter’s Magazine” book edited by Nancy J. Thomas.
I was a little disappointed in this book. It’s nice and all, but just doesn’t make me go “ooo ahhhh”. The designs are too basic maybe, or just not interesting enough. They don’t excite me. But there are nice techniques and projects for beginning knitters to tackle easily.

And, “A Gathering of Lace” by Meg Swansen, a superstar in the knitting world.
It’s just the best, BUT I’ve also heard that there are/were a lot of errors in the patterns and that you need to knit with care. I will check out errata online before I do. It’s so great that there are these online communities now to share such information! I must have picked out 5 projects to do out of this book. Then I come to my senses and realize that I’ll never do all that, but I can’t seem to pick just one! My favorite at this moment in time is “Frost Flowers and Leaves” which is a huge square shawl. There are a lot of people on Ravelry who have made it so it’s very popular. This shawl is the reason I went back to the yarn shop in Cambridge and bought more of the scarlet lace weight!

Not strictly lace, but I also bought “The Best of Interweave Knits” edited by Ann Budd.
I only started buying Interweave Knits in the last couple of years so I had some catching up to do. I won’t buy any “Best of” from Vogue Knitting since I have all the magazines since 1984. 🙂 There are some lovely classic designs in here that I can certainly see myself making. I really like the hemp t-shirt made in the round. And the lace in the book? A STUNNING rectangular shawl that is part entrelac, part lace, full on gorgeous and complicated enough that I’d be entertained for quite some time. I do recommend this book if you are looking for a general all around knitting pattern book with something for everyone.

That ends the Amazon portion of our show, but it is NOT the end of our L is for Lace portion.

In the last couple of weeks I also bought some lace patterns from Lacis Publications from Berkeley, CA. I bought the famous “Lyra” pattern
and also a booklet of patterns called “Kunst Stricken, Grosse und kleine Decken”, which, as you can guess, is a German booklet. They come with complete charts so if you can knit lace just from a chart, you don’t have to know German. “Lyra” is a Herbert Niebling design. These are designs from the 20’s and 30’s and were originally meant to be used for doilies and table cloths. However, if you knit them in lace weight yarn or even sport weight, you get lovely shawls. I’m going to make Lyra, one day, you can count on it. There’s a fanatic lace knitter who has gorgeous photos of her work that you should really check out to see what’s gotten me so excited. 🙂

Now the question is, what will be my next project? Your guess is as good as mine. I have so many projects lined up that I’ll be busy for the next year without stopping even without buying another single skein of yarn. This is getting out of hand!!

L can also be for love and I love my stash and books.

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