Life With Yarn

A Gathering of Lace

Posted on: September 4, 2013

As I said last time, I bought this book and it arrived a few days ago and I have managed to find time to have a look at it and attempt a review.

A Gathering of Lace, edited by Meg Swansen, was published by XRX in 2000 – my copy is the 4th printing from 2005 – and is available on Amazon UK for £21.99.

The book contains 39 patterns from a wide variety of designers including Swansen herself, Nancy Bush & Norah Gaughan. There are a few pages explaining techniques, including a section at the back with diagrams to show how to do certain stitches. At the back of the book there are bios of all the designers as well as the story of the photoshoot for the book, which I enjoyed reading.

The 39 patterns are split into 5 sections: simplicity, traditions, points of departure, garments and little lace. There are some truly eye catching pieces – I particularly loved the Shetland lace shawl and the Faroese shawl both for the stitches and the history behind these traditions. There are also some lovely garments such as the Rose Leaves Tunic and the Sampler tabard which are definitely going in my Ravelry queue. Even the patterns I can’t see me knitting I appreciate for their technique and beauty. I love the Shetland Baby Robe and it makes me sad I don’t have any more babies to make it for but maybe there’ll be grandchildren one day.

I wouldn’t say this was a beginner’s book, you need to have some basic experience of knitting, particularly picking up stitches and provisional or invisible cast ons which are used a lot to minimise binding off stitches. I consider myself an intermediate lace knitter heading towards experienced and there are still things in here that I think would challenge me or that are techniques I’ve not tried yet.

Overall, I really like the book and I think it’s a great edition to my knitting library. There are definitely patterns I’d like to knit at some point but even with those that aren’t my sort of thing I can still appreciate the work and beauty in them. I think even if I didn’t want to knit any of the patterns I’d still want to keep this book for the photography and the traditions behind many of the pieces.



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