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T O P I C    R E V I E W
creeko Posted - 04/14/2010 : 09:15:36 AM
So I have never knit lace before and would like to try! I don't know the history behind any lace knitting and would like to learn. Are there any great books for the history of lace knitting (and knitting in general) and then a good pattern book for lace knitting. I would consider myself a pretty experience knitter as I have done most techniques and can read most patterns. Color work is still something I've not ventured too much into but that will come too with time.
Thanks so much!!
11   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
eldergirl Posted - 04/28/2010 : 5:08:01 PM
Hi creeko,

I would go first to the online stuff--Clara's post that minh links, and also to Eunny Jang's blog tutorials:

(Eunny is now editor of Interweave Knits, but fortunately, her amazing blog is still up.)

Her tutorials are excellent, without being too much.

I think Sharon Miller's books are fabulous, but pretty advanced for a beginner.

Whatever, good luck. Lace is lovely.

minh Posted - 04/27/2010 : 6:58:04 PM
Margaret Stove has a book coming up, Wrapped in Lace that will cover knitted lace traditions around the world. It sounds interesting!
minh Posted - 04/18/2010 : 7:19:32 PM
Here's the article by Clara that Kade mentioned:

Essentials of Knitted Lace Posted - 04/17/2010 : 11:05:18 AM
I have one copy of the original Traditional Knitted and Lace Shawls by Martha Waterman that is completely dog-eared. I think it has the perfect answer to Creeko's question. The first half is a history of shawls and knitting (including ways to wear various shapes!) and the second half is divided into stitches and examples of shawls in different shapes, and the patterns to make them.

What makes this book so special to me is that Martha takes you by the hand, explaining how the shawl is constructed/designed, giving practical tips re fit, yarn fiber, estimating yardage, etc. I also like that she lets you know that stitches vary according to whether you are knitting back and forth, or in the round. Even though I have done lace for many years I find I still refer to it when designing. I've heard the book has now been republished with the same title, but some of the history and pictures have been omitted. In my lacy world, Martha Waterman rocks!
Kade1301 Posted - 04/17/2010 : 08:05:15 AM
I found the charts in Sharon Miller's Heirloom Knitting rather confusing - I much prefer the ones in Victorian Lace Today (and I DO wish the international knitting community would standardize charts and symbols). But I actually knit most of my lace patterns from the Walker Treasuries. The only difficulty is that the first two volumes contain more useful patterns but no charts whereas the third book has charts but the patterns are often pretty difficult or unusual.

By the way, some years ago Clara Parkes wrote an article on lace knitting for beginners (with a scarf project, if I remember correctly) in Knitter's Review - you could start right there, it should be in the archives...

Happy knitting! Klara
lewisdm Posted - 04/17/2010 : 06:51:29 AM
I found Susanna Lewis's Knitting Lace to be a wonderful explanation of lace stitches. The lace patterns that I have used from Nancy Bush's books and Galina Khmeleva's classes have made learning lace knitting so worthwhile as knitting becomes a work of art.
Gretchenspinnrad Posted - 04/15/2010 : 6:53:25 PM
Mariane Kinzel's First and Second Books of Lace Knitting (published inexpensively by Dover) were my first lace books and they got me hooked. Although most of the patterns are for table linens, I made a shawl and a baby blanket out of one of my favorite patterns, using different yarn and needles. Good charts, excellent instructions.

Other books that have been mentioned:
Folk Shawls by Cheryl Oberle is another great one with lots of impressive, but manageable patterns, and good variety.
Orenburg Lace is very interesting, but there is really only one pattern for a complete shawl, which would take my lifetime to knit, but I can dream!
I almost didn't buy Victorian Lace Today, because I thought, "You have enough lace books!" but it went on sale and temptation won. I'm glad I bought it. It is filled with very impressive shawls and scarves, but it has a wide variety of challenge levels, and some of the very beautiful shawls are just not that hard. Plus a real course in lace knitting is in the back. A valuable book.

One that I don't own but have used from the library is A Gathering of Lace. A wide variety of projects, not just shawls and table linens. A very beautiful lace picture hat and a lovely lace sweater are on my ever growing list.
christyk Posted - 04/15/2010 : 3:53:37 PM
A great primer on lace knitting for beginners is "I Can't Believe I'm Lace Knitting by Kay Meadors.

ChristyK Posted - 04/15/2010 : 05:43:27 AM
I like All of Sharon Miller's books, and at one time there was a lace group on Yahoo where she popped in and anyone could get help. Don't know if it is still going.
My first book of hers is "Heirloom Knitting: A Shetland Lace Knitter's Pattern and Workbook".
It is expensive, but well worth it. So much to learn inside. Large and clear charts. That is important. I also agree with the other recommendations posted and have them as well.
But if you want to start in a modest way, do what I did and get "Lace from the Attic" by Nancy Wiseman, which includes edgings and borders, so you can learn the techniques with a manageable size project; "Folk Shawls", by Cheryl Oberle, Where the lace in incorporated as suggested above, and "Traditional Knitted Lace Shawls", by Martha Waterman....All excellent titles that have been named.
You are now about to have a GOOD TIME! Lace knitting is fun and beautiful! Posted - 04/15/2010 : 04:09:28 AM
In addition to the books mentioned by Minh, another fascinating lace history book is Gossamer Webs: The History and Techniques of Orenburg Lace Shawls by Galina Khmeleva and Carol Noble.

And, Creeko, you are just the kind of knitter my book Fearless Knitting Workbook, Interweave Press, 2009) was designed to help. (I hope this shameless plug doesn't violate the Forum rules.) The book includes a section on lace knitting and provides a graduated series of squares to knit, from the simplest to the more complex. The text guides you to learn the basic principles behind lace knitting construction, how to read charts, and how to read your knitting, so you'll have the confidence to take on a larger project.

Good luck! Lace knitting is endlessly fascinating and beautiful.
minh Posted - 04/14/2010 : 8:33:28 PM
I had to look at my knitting library when I read your question!

It looks like I don't have a *single* book on the history of lace knitting but books on specific aspects of lace knitting like Nancy Bush's book on Estonian lace or Donna Druchunas' book Arctic Lace. I'm sure that someone will chime in with ideas!

My first idea would be to recommend Lace style. This book has patterns that incorporate lace in different garments (not just shawls or scarves) with a notebook at the end with helpful tips about knitting lace.

If that's too basic for you and you're interested in patterns for lace shawls, you might like A Gathering of Lace or Victorian Lace Today.

If you're interested in designing your own triangular lace shawl, I would recommend Evelyn Clark's book.

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