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VINE VOICEon November 23, 2010
So many knitting books rush to market with just a few nice patterns. But then among them are the really excellent classic and timeless books and this is one of them. Stove is well known for her lace knitting and in this book she covers many different types of lace shawls. Here you can find Estonian, Orenburg, shetland, faroese, etc. All the designs call for lace yarn and specifically her own yarn available from her in New Zealand. One pattern is free online and not in the book. In order to knit the shawls you have to read the charts. An important feature of lace knitting is the charting which has developed over the years. The chart symbols used here are only found on the reverse side of the back cover which is useful, but I find it should also have been included inside the actual book. She discusses charting but doesn't say where her symbols come from although they appear to be the ones commonly found today in Vogue knitting, and in Japanese knitting sources. The printing, photos and paper all seem very good and I am just hoping there won't be any or many mistakes. This is recommended for anyone interested in lace knitting and in shawls and is also just good to read even if you never make anything from it. I was quite impressed by the author's modesty as she says she is still on her knitting journey and I hope it will go on for a very long time.
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on November 28, 2010
You might wish to add this book to your knitting collection simply because of the beautiful designs. These fine shawls are for the fearless and dedicated knitter with much experience. They are knitted entirely from charts, often very complex charts. If you are unfamiliar with the symbols used on charts, you have to flick backwards are forwards to understand the charts - this is not very helpful when you are trying to follow a complex pattern. You could simplify one of the scarves as a beginner by just knitting the central panel. However, this is a challenging book, full of patterns to show off your skill as a knitter. The patterns are incredible and a credit to Margaret. There is even help for those wishing to design their own shawl patterns. The book is a journey and tribute to heirloom designs. This review first appeared on Karen Platt's book review website.
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on December 15, 2013
I started with excitement, my first lace shawl or lace anything for that matter. I was happily going along doing the rosebud Faroese-style shawl on page 71 UNTIL it dawned on me the pattern which is suppose to be in garter - all knit- was in knit, purl. See row 24 of lower border. Yikes I did not rip out because of using mohair and the pattern would have been difficult to pick up. Hours spent. So instead of garter per instructions page 74 under first foll WS rows in garter, is just knit but it made the shawl small. Wish she would have reviewed the pattern in depth. One of my first questions was... where are the mistake but no one person who reviewed mentioned any. Also did anyone notice the same symbol used ..see back panel 4th symbol down is the same as 6th up from bottom...yes I know what it says but for simplicity sakes in a complete knitting environment please use a different symbol. Hope the other books reviewed have no mistakes. Or are they posted somewhere. Have no one to confer with as the knit shop doesn't know much about lace knitting or knitted lace.
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on December 6, 2010
There are a few knitting books (and authors) which become indispensable references for the knitting shelf. I believe this book will become one of them. Not because of the gorgeous patterns, even though they are gorgeous, or because it adds new and unique stitch patterns to the lace knitting repertoire, even though it does, but because of the practical and detailed information about constructing and designing lace. The book is an excellent survey of lace knitting from many world traditions - Shetland, Faroese, Estonian, and Orenburg knitting are all covered, and the basics for constructing a shawl in each tradition are explained clearly. The construction of many of the garments is unique - for example, there is a round shawl made with short rows that looks like great fun to knit, and makes a really stunning shawl.

Most of the patterns are for the more experienced lace knitter, but there are a few simpler patterns that a less experienced knitter could accomplish without too much struggle, then progress on to some of the more challenging knits. The book is lavishly illustrated with photographs, diagrams and charts which clearly explain each garment.

Ms. Stove takes us on her journey from beginning lace knitter, to designer, and through an exploration of other knitting traditions. What i like best about the book are her descriptions of the New Zealand motifs that she has created for her designs, and the meaning each of those motifs has for her. It is a wonderful reminder of one of the things I love best about knitting lace - that knitters everywhere have taken ideas and symbols that have meaning to them, and to their people, and incorporated those ideas into a garment of delicate beauty.

As soon as I got this book, I went to Schoolhouse Press and ordered "Creating Original Handknitted Lace," an older book by the same author.
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on November 11, 2010
I received this book 2 days ago and couldn't put it down. While the designs, in general didn't appeal to me I was fascinated by the author's construction techniques, many of which were unknown to me. I don't don't expect to use them very often but I will be happy to have this book as a reference.
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As a lover of lace knitting, I really appreciate Margaret Stove's latest book, Wrapped in Lace. It has exceptionally beautiful lace patterns that tempt me with their beauty. She discusses this book as a journey, which she says is the basis of education, and she also includes a picture of her grandmother and mother wrapping her as a baby in a lace shawl. She talks about her own journey as a knitter and towards the creation of this book.

The first pattern in the book is based on the one her mother and grandmother knit for her as a baby. "Working from a photograph and my memory, I created a design that is almost identical to the original pattern". The shawl is knit in a lovely deep purple using laceweight yarn and knit up with size 2 needles. Margaret Stove calls it '1939 Christening Shawl'.

Chapter 2 is about knitting her first shawl, how she chose a pattern, and how her interest in knitting shawls melded with her love of spinning. This chapter also includes some family history and ways of designing a diamond shawl.

The rest of the book is structured like this - a chapter that is a pattern and then a chapter containing personal information and information about creating shawls. It is a lovely way to create this book.

This is a book for advanced knitters and will be an inspiration for other knitters who want to reach the level of expertise so that they can create these beautiful shawls.
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on July 30, 2015
I'm the proverbial little old lady you've always heard about, and I learned to knit when I was around 4 years old. I often write my own patterns a la Elizabeth Zimmermann and I'm quite experienced with knitting complex colored patterns, cables, lace, etc.

If you're looking for a coffee table book to show some pretty pictures to your friends, this is a great book to have. If, however, you actually want to knit the patterns in the book - FORGET ABOUT IT - it's simply not worth the aggrevation. Her pattern for the Rosebud shawl consists primarily of charts, printed to a small scale. That's OK, I often knit with the KnitCompanion app so I scanned the charts, created a pdf, and can expand them for viewing & place keeping with the app. However, the uncharted portion of the direction is really really badly written. For example, in describing how in general to proceed with the two charts that are involved in creating the bottom border she refers to "next row:" no less than 11 times in a row!!! So, yes, I'm slogging my way through this pattern but although after enough hours I've been able to decipher what she's talking about this is no way to write a pattern. Repeat after me: "Get your patterns from Ravelry where the author is available for contact in case of questions".
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on January 27, 2015
The most interesting part of the book is the author's explanation of how she reverse-engineered a pattern. She also explains her thinking when it comes to where to locate increases and decreases and how they affect the look of the finished object. Understanding why she made certain choices makes the entire project easier to understand.

Will I actually knit one of these beautiful lace patterns? Not likely. The charts are intimidating, and I don't know if I could ever wrap my brain around them enough to be able to follow them.
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on May 21, 2015
OMG! I love lace knitting. It gives my hands the devil, curse you Arthritis, but if you double the yarn you can use a larger needle and you project will a bit larger but it will like the pattern. If anyone has a better idea I would honored to hear from them. Remember yarn does not judge.
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on July 31, 2013
This little gem of a book is chock full of advice, great instructions for lace knitting, and the care of those lovely shawls that have graced christenings, shoulders and the backs of chairs for generations. Conservation advice is given for ensuring those antique shawls will survive for generations to come. With the appealing designs, clear charts and easy techniques, I've already lined up three projects that are on my 'must do' list.

Knitting any of the projects, including the beautiful scarves and smaller projects will mean instant heirloom. I'm not so sure about my own work fitting through a wedding ring, but if the instructions are followed to the letter, it seems the result will be close to perfection. Every stitch involved is well detailed, with charts being complete and many hints given for final construction, blocking and care. Some of the stories that are inserted into the commentary or the individual patterns are delightful. It is obvious that Margaret Stove knows her stuff. And her shawls.

Recommended yarns might not be readily available to knitters, depending upon location, but in this age of the Internet, somewhere there is a stock of the sort of lace weight yarn that will work out perfectly for any project here. The lace patterns are truly international, including Orenberg, Shetland and New Zealand origins. Inspirations for patterns come from the world over, and are assembled into designs that will delight any family with a new baby, or as a beautiful warm hug of a present for warming a chilly evening. The shawls can be worn to casual or very dressy events. A baby wrapped in a christening shawl can set a tradition that will last centuries so long as the shawl is maintained with care.

I've knitted lace in the past, but have not ever encountered such a charming book filled with such beautifully detailed patterns. While the charts might seem daunting to the inexperienced, once chart reading is done for a while, the system is easy to understand and the orderly system of various stitches makes it easy to knit any of these projects. These are special patterns too, so if you do attempt one, or several, choose the very best yarn you can find. The easiest way to achieve the right feel to the fabric will be accomplished using the recommended yarn. To pass a shawl through a wedding ring, Ms. Stove gives the right yarn to choose, but it's not fair to disclose it here. You should just get the book if that's a goal. If you're not experienced, just work patiently and carefully and speed will soon appear, along with much improved skills.

The traditional true test of a Shetland lace shawl is whether or not it will pass easily through a wedding ring. This standard never specifies if the ring in question is a large mans ring, but the gossamer feel of the true Shetland shawl seems to encourage this sort of thing. Personally, I've never tried it once, even though I've made a lot of lace. The real beauty of lace shawls is their designs, with open spaces forming images of plants, symbols, flowers, and whatever is important to the knitter. I have several books on lace knitting, but none so well written and few with patterns that even approach the elegance of Margaret Stove's designs. In fact, with all the great advice here, including some provided links, and the delightful patterns, knitters will find this fine book deserves pride of place on their shelves. The shawls made will find pride of place in the homes and hearts of those fortunate enough to received them.
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