Wrapped in Lace: Knitted Heirloom Designs from Around the World
by Margaret Stove
Remember when you were a little girl and you sat at your grandmother’s knee while she told you wonderful stories about her life, all while you sorted through her cedar chest full of beautifully crafted pieces, every one with a story?
No? I didn’t, either. But suddenly, I don’t feel quite so left out, because that’s exactly what this book feels like.
Margaret Stove is a true Expert Knitter, famous for her lace masterpieces. (One of these days I’ll get around to reviewing her “Creating Original Hand-Knitted Lace,” which is also a work to behold.) In this book, she explores not only the knitting, but how she grew.
She says, “This book was conceived as a journey, as I have become convinced over the years that learning is exactly that. For so many of us, knitted lace has captured the imagination and become a passion. Each book we use, each class, lecture or workshop we attend; every museum, collection, or exhibition we view is part of a journey that brings us closer to greater appreciation, knowledge, and practial expertise in the creative process. A shawl made up of thousands of stitches in hundreds of rows begins with casting on the first stitch.”
Well … this book is a masterpiece. She starts at the very beginning–with the christening shawl that her mother and grandmother knit together when she was born. The original had been damaged, but she was determined to recreate it, and from there she tells about knitting her first shawl, designing her first, and so on. It’s an autobiography in lace.
The book tells HER story, but in telling it, it explores the beauty of lace–how it is ever-changing yet consistent in its utility and beauty. You can see that Margaret Stove has been captivated by it since she was small, and her love for the craft is obvious. Throughout the book, through all the stories, her awe shines through.
The book isn’t ALL stories, though they provide the structure of the book. Each anecdote is punctuated by frankly amazing lace shawls and scarves. Gorgeous patterns. Stunning. Intricate. Beautiful. Some are simpler, some complex, but they are all stunning. (One of my favorites is so elaborate that it requires special, fold-out pages to fit the charts and starts with a row of 1,856 stitches.)
Ultimately, I LOVE this book. It’s amazing, just like the lace is, just like the author is.
Reviewed by Deb Boyken
Deb has been knitting since 1987 and has accumulated quite a collection of knitting books over the years. Her website, Knitting Scholar, can be found at http://knittingscholar.com.