by Pam Allen and Ann Budd
I love lace. It rocks my world so hard. I adore the intricacy and beauty of the final project. I mean all you are doing is yarn overs and decreases but you get this amazing fabric. I don't even mind how long it takes since creating a piece of art should take a while. It gives me time to appreciate the marvel of it all. Now my lace to date has been limited to shawls/stole and the occasional hat but this book has really opened my eyes to other possibilities.
The 21 patterns run a gamut in terms of project types with cardigans, socks, a dress, hats and even leg warmers. Plus some of the patterns are from some of the premier designers in the industry - Pam Allen, Shirley Paden, Nancy Bush, and Norah Gaughan - so you know they are good. As for the book itself, like other Interweave Style Books (Wrap Style & Scarf Style which are on my book shelf), it is well put together with great detailed photos. The patterns write-ups are short and too the point with schematics and charts, a necessity with lace.
Now this book is strictly patterns. It will not teach you how to knit. The best part of the book though is the 17-page design notebook in the back which gives you a more in-depth background into lace enabling you to really understand how it works. It goes over different yarn over increases, decreases and has a discussion on how the two are used to form an openwork patterns (i.e. lace!). There is also instruction on reading lace charts, how to incorporate lace into a design and
The best part however is the section on mistakes and fixes. Anyone who has ever done lace knows how easy it is to mess up and how hard it is to fix it. Fixing lace is not as intuitive as fixing stockinette or even a cable. It's the reason lifelines are so often used. Especially since picking up lace after ripping back a bit can test anyones sanity. So the in-depth instructions with pictures on what to do if you miss a yarn over or a decrease is something you want to read carefully and absorb. It will save you much tearing out of hair or keep you from putting too many quarters in the swear jar.
So this is a book that I will definitely be adding to my shelf. A few of the projects that might find their way on to my needles include the Lily of the Valley Shawl, the Katherine Hepburn Cardigan, and the Peek-A-Boo Cloche. I would recommend this book for more intermediate knitter. It's not impossible to do lace as a new knitter but it definitely helps to be comfortable in your basic skills before tackling it. And starting with project that use bits as lace as an accent to a larger project. Or you could just be fearless!!!!
Reviewed by Allison Linehan
Allison's blog, Neophyte Knitter, can be found at http://gumdrop.typepad.com