Posted by: darkdreamer | Monday 25th November 2013

Book Reviews – Sweaters and Lace

Recently I got two new knitting books; The Rhinebeck Swearer & Victorian Lace Today and since I’ve been enjoying them so much I thought I’d share them with you.

Sweaters and Lace books

I’ll start with Victorian Lace today, this book been round quite a while now and I’ve wanted to get it for some time, which I ‘d last week. The first thing that strikes you as you flip through is all the lovely pictures of beautiful knitted lace pieces, the book’s almost worth it just for the admiration factor. I have to admit I’m not sure I’ll knit a great many of the patterns in the book but despite how stunningly complex the finished items look, the patterns are actually quite simple. Who knows, one day a yarn might come along that will be perfect for one of the smaller patterns (not sure I’ve got it in me to knit a circular shawl with a diameter bigger them I am tall).

There is more to this book however then just 40 lace knitting patterns, the author, Jane Sowerby, also delves into the history and development of knitting in the Victorian period. It was in the Victorian period that knitting patterns began to be publish and that many woman where freed up from the need to go out to work, knitting became a hobby for many (rather then a paid occupation). I also love that in the pattern help in the back there is help and instructions on things such as knitted-on borders, understanding charts and designing your own lace patterns.

On Saturday I was browsing in my LYS and saw Ysolda Teague’s latest book and well I just couldn’t resist getting it then and there. I think I have every book she’s published, I love them all, and this one’s no exception, though it should be noted that only one of the patterns is by Ysolda, with the other 11 by different designers. As always with Ysolda’s books you get a code in the back so you can also download the ebook, always good if like me you like a paper coy of a pattern you can write progress notes on. The first half of the book is a combination of photos of all the patterns in the book and stories about the production of yarns and interviews with the producers, there is even a recipe or two. I’ve really enjoyed reading the different stories, there is also a description with each pattern photo with the designers reasoning behind the design and some detail about the designer.

The second half of the book is, of course the patterns, I’ve not got that far yet, I’m not sure which of the patterns will make it into my queue but I’m pretty sure that I’ll be knitting some of them at some point. On issue I have noticed though is the yarn, as this is a pattern book about The Rhinebeck Sweater, which is a tradition for many of the knitters who attend the New York Sheep and Wool festival to knit a new jumper for the event, the majority of the patterns use yarn weights more common across the pond then here. I’m sure the savvy knitter will be able to substitute (or even find the odd imported yarn in the right weight) but it does make it harder when for say a worsted yarn pattern you need to work out whether the DK you have in mind would work or if you’d be better off finding a Aran.

Reading through The Rhinebeck Sweater has put me in a jumper knitting mood, only problem is I’m still ploughing through the jumper I’m knitting for my Dad and I’ve promised myself that I won’t start another jumper project till I’ve finished it. So at the moment I’m directing that desire to knit jumpers into that, it’s working well so far I might be able to get to the armholes of the front by the end of the week. 🙂


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