I’ve come a long way in lace design over the last few years, but I feel I still have a long way to go. There are three major things I’ve learned from:
- Knitting lots of lace swatches out of stitch dictionaries. Stitch dictionaries will be a separate post, I think.
- Being persistent with my own lace designing, and being willing to swatch multiple times to get a single stitch pattern to look good. (I don’t always, and I have to do this less and less often as time goes by, but still.) Also, using a mistake in one design as a design feature in another.
- Reading what I can find about how lace works. And that’s what this post is about.
Here are the two books I’ve used the most to learn about designing lace stitch patterns so far:
Knitting Lace, by Susanna E. Lewis. Schoolhouse Press. ISBN-13: 9780942018318
Susanna Lewis examined a Nineteenth-Century lace sampler – essentially a set of swatches knit in a long strip. This would have served as a record of the stitches the knitter had encountered, to be used as a reference. Lewis analyzed all the stitches and charted them to make a stitch dictionary. That’s one part of the book. Another part of the book is a long section on the theory of lace, full of explanations of how different parts work together. It’s well worth knitting the examples that are shown as a way of seeing the principles in action. The last part is some finished patterns of her own design using some of the lace designs from the sampler.
Mary Thomas’s Book of Knitting Patterns, by Mary Thomas. Dover Press. ISBN-13: 9780486228181
I don’t own this, but it’s on my list. I borrowed it through Interlibrary Loan and fell in love. It’s got a lot of interesting information about a variety of stitch patterns, including the theory of lace. There’s a lot of overlap with Knitting Lace, but not completely. I’d recommend having both.
Things I want to read:
I’ve heard good things about Annie Maloney’s work, but haven’t yet had the chance to see any of her books.
Successful Lace Knitting, by Donna Druchunas, based on the work of Dorothy Reade.
25 Original Knitting Designs, by Dorothy Reade.
Creating Original Handknitted Lace, Margaret Stove
Barbara Abbey’s Knitting Lace, by Barbara Abbey.
Have you got a favorite book about lace design?