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

Medallion from Handmade Lace & Patterns, by Annette Feldman

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.

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Typo: a free mosaic knitting chart

Last week’s code grid for the Typo lace turns out to work quite well as the basis for a mosaic knitting chart. The nice thing about mosaic knitting is that the charts are similar to the final appearance of the knitting, so I’m not going to provide a swatch this time. Mosaic knitting looks difficult, but it’s really easy to do! Basically, knit two-row stripes, and slip stitches from the row below to make the contrasting pattern. If you can knit stripes, you can knit mosaic patterns.

Here’s an article from Twist Collective about how it works.

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Typo: a needlework chart for any craft

Typo: a needlework chart for any craft, by Naomi Parkhurst

The random number generator picked Typo for my first encoded word post of this month, suggested by Naomi E, one of my Patreon supporters.

I usually develop a complicated knitting stitch pattern for each word, but I also like to provide a basic chart for any craft that’s worked on a grid: beads, cross stitch, whatever. I also try to provide an image of the pattern repeated all over not as a chart. It doesn’t necessarily look like a finished object for any particular craft, but I just want to give a sense of it in use.

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Typo: a free lace knitting stitch pattern

Typo: a free lace knitting stitch pattern, by Naomi Parkhurst

The word I drew from my word hoard for this stitch pattern is Typo, suggested by Naomi E. on Patreon. The word amuses me, and helps demonstrate how little the final appearance of the lace is defined by the meaning of the word I use as its basis.

Each month, my Patreon backers have the chance to suggest words for me to encode as knitting stitches. I make two of these into knitting stitches each month: the first is drawn from the collection of new words; the second is drawn from the collection of unused words. A random number generator helps me choose this, and then I get to work, first turning the letters into numbers, then charting the numbers onto grids in various ways. Finally, when I make the chart into lace, I turn the marked squares into yarnovers and work out where to place the corresponding decreases. (I usually make lace; occasionally I make cables instead.) I also make a chart for any craft that uses a square grid for designing; this goes in a separate post.

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Needlework books

Before the web existed, it was sometimes hard to find much information about handcrafts, online or not. (Usenet and Gopher were useful, but insufficient.) I combed the libraries where I lived, and haunted bookstore craft sections.

I learned to broaden the kinds of books I looked at, and if you’re fond of handcraft books, you might want to look at some of these too.

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Synergy: a free lace knitting stitch pattern

Synergy: a free lace knitting stitch pattern, by Naomi Parkhurst. (photo of swatch)

The word I drew from my word hoard for this stitch pattern is Synergy, suggested by Nim on Patreon. I like the word, and I like the result!

Each month, my Patreon backers have the chance to suggest words for me to encode as knitting stitches. I make two of these into knitting stitches each month: the first is drawn from the collection of new words; the second is drawn from the collection of unused words. A random number generator helps me choose these, and then I get to work, first turning the letters into numbers, then charting the numbers onto grids in various ways. Finally, when I make the chart into lace, I turn the marked squares into yarnovers and work out where to place the corresponding decreases. (I usually make lace; occasionally I make cables instead.) I also make a chart for any craft that uses a square grid for designing; this goes in a separate post.
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Heart: a free lace knitting stitch pattern

When I used the word sweetheart as the basis for a stitch pattern, I accidentally encoded it in such a way that it was easy to split into its two component words. I’ve already swatched and published sweet; here is heart, which I think is even better! Any resemblance to hearts is purely coincidental.

I did make some minor changes to the decreases in the first row so that it would flow nicely when repeated.

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Summery: a free lace knitting stitch pattern

Summery: a free lace knitting stitch pattern

If you look at this stitch pattern the right way, you might see that it is full of cicadas. This was not on purpose, but it is thematic, given that the word I used as a basis for designing this stitch pattern was Summery, suggested by Cathy on Patreon.

Each month, my Patreon backers have the chance to suggest words for me to encode as knitting stitches. A random number generator helps me choose a word every two weeks, and then I get to work, first turning the letters into numbers, then charting the numbers onto grids in various ways. Finally, when I make the chart into lace, I turn the marked squares into yarnovers and work out where to place the corresponding decreases. (I usually make lace; occasionally I make cables instead.) I also make a chart for any craft that uses a square grid for designing; this goes in a separate post.

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