Monday, September 8, 2014

Everyday Lace: A Review and Scavenger Hunt

Right, where was I? The steady diet of woecakes is becoming pretty monotonous, let me tell you. But enough whinging, it's my turn for the Everyday Lace Scavenger Hunt!Everyday Lace Scavenger Hunt button

Like several other participating bloggers, I responded to blogger and first-time author Heather Zoppetti's call for book reviewers and in due course was supplied with a pre-publication eBook review copy of Everyday Lace, published by Interweave/F+W, which I must delete after my review is complete. I received no payment or other consideration in exchange for my review. (That does rather provide perverse incentives to procrastinators, nu?) And although both the author and the Interweave Digital Marketer offered some guidelines, my words and opinions are my own.

As its title implies, Everyday Lace is an excellent introduction to making lace knitting part of, well, every day. The look of the book is appropriately quotidien yet still wonderful, more Rhinebeck than Downtown Abbey (not to knock DA, I love both). Heather's experience as a sought-after knitting instructor shines from each page,Everyday Lace cover and the first chapter on Lace-Knitting Essentials and Glossary and Sources of Yarn at the end are particularly informative and valuable.

The heart of the book are three chapters of patterns, sensibly organized by ambient temperature – Warm, Transitional, and Cold. The esthetic is appealingly fresh, modern, and original – there are no vintage doily or tablecloth patterns re-purposed as garments here. There are written and charted instructions and just the right amount of guidance to help a less experienced knitter yet not annoy a more experienced one. I took a closer look at two patterns, Christiana Headband and Swatara Socks.

Christiana Headband is lace knitting at its most basic: a lace rectangle. Some designers might stop there and call it a bookmark, but our author cleverly folds the flat piece – great spatial reasoning! – into a stylish headband that looks great and fits great. It's not only an excellent first lace project, it's also a good use of the small quantities of handspun yarn that novice spinners tend to produce. What better use of a spinner's oh-so-precious first yards or meters than to wear them proudly on one's head? I made Christiana out of some Blue Suede Shoes yarn leftover from my handspun Simple Skyp Socks, wore it, and liked it so much that I started another out of linen Quince Sparrow. But life intervened and that project has the slows (sigh). I'm still dithering about going to Rhinebeck (where Heather will be signing books!); if I do go, I'll make yet another for the occasion.

Christiana Headbands

Swatara Socks are more advanced, not only because they are socks but also because the graceful mirror-image center lace panel and the lace clocks repeat over different numbers of rounds, so some concentration is needed. I'm knitting mine as part of September Sockdown. As I prefer a taller sock than specified in the pattern, I added a full repeat of the center panel. Here's the sock before the heel flap, which is as far as I've knit.

Swatara Sock wip

Overall, I'd cheerfully recommend Everyday Lace. There's much to appeal to knitters of all skill levels and ages, although many designs are particularly aimed at younger and less experienced lace knitters. A knitter who works through the patterns will discover unobtrusive expertise, careful pattern-writing, and thoroughly modern style. Do have a look at the book on the publisher's website and all the patterns on Ravelry.

Everyday Lace Scavenger Hunt button

Gentle readers who have been following the blog tour know what comes next: the Scavenger Hunt questions!

Heather's question: Where does Heather live and work?

My question: How'd I do at the Garden State Sheep & Fiber Festival?

Good luck to happy scavengers and congratulations and thanks to our author!

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