Ways of searching for books about fiber arts, and a lacemaking book review

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the value of needlework books for finding information about specific fiber arts, like knitting or crochet, or many other things that might interest you. (They can also open up rabbit holes if they show you a new craft.)

I started looking at needlework books as a source for specific crafts before I went to library school, but library school gave me some useful vocabulary about this kind of research.

If I want to find information about knitting lace, I might start with a book about knitting. If I look for books about lace knitting, that is narrowing my search. If I look for needlework books, that’s broadening my search because knitting is a subtopic of needlework.

There are other ways of broadening the search for lace knitting, however. Lace knitting is a subtopic of needlework, but it is also a subtopic of lace. So another line of research is looking at books about lace.

(I’ll write about some other ways of broadening a fiber arts search another week.)

This next book is also one I looked at in a used book store when I was looking for tatting patterns (though the principle of looking for lace knitting would apply as well):

Handmade Lace & Patterns, by Annette Feldman. Harper & Row, 1975. ISBN 006011231X. (Ravelry link)

About half the book is a history of lacemaking, with lots of kinds of lace discussed and with example photographs (in black and white). I’m not a lace history expert, but much of the history given here matches what I know from elsewhere. That said, I’m sure there’s some inaccuracies. Also, there’s a little stereotyping about people from different countries that I find cringeworthy. Still, I think it’s a decent starting point, if textile history is of interest. A bibliography is provided.

The second half of the book contains written patterns for crochet, hairpin lace, knitting, and tatting. There are patterns for women’s clothing, baby layettes, and household goods. No charts are provided, and I’m sure that not all the yarn is still available.

I have made one of the knitting doilies in brown alpaca yarn, just because I wanted to. I have yet to figure out how I want to use it, but it was fun to knit:

Medallion from Handmade Lace & Patterns, by Annette Feldman

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