Thursday, April 28, 2011

Book Review: Loop-d-Loop Lace

...aka "Holy Cow, this book is amazing."

I ventured to Borders this afternoon after I got done with class with every intention of picking up Knitwear Design Workshop by Shirley Paden. I've been doodling garment designs lately and figured I would like to take the plunge sometime this year, so I thought some "light" reading on knitwear design would be a step in the right direction. I'm also interested in obtaining Sweater Design in Pure English by Maggie Righetti, which I hear is also pretty amazing, but, for now, that is beside the point.

I became distracted along the way.

I knew that Teva Durham was coming out with a lace knits book, but I didn't see any of the designs until yesterday afternoon, when they appeared on Ravelry. I quickly queued some things (almost everything) and forgot about it. I mean, come on! I have enough on my plate as it is. I figured I would get the book when it came out, someday, in the distant future.

Except there is was, sitting on the top shelf at Borders. It was almost out of reach (curse you, short height, curse you!), but as I pulled it off the shelf, I knew I should have just let it be. But I didn't, it is amazing, and I want to make everything from it. I can't even stand how beautiful some of these designs are. (All images are from Ravelry).

The book is split into five chapters: Mesh, Eyelets, Samplers, Leaves and Doilies. Each chapter begins with a preface about the designs and introduces some basic techniques needed to be successful when knitting them. Chapter one, "Mesh," introduces knitters into some of the more basic lace techniques, including "faggoting." Though the term may sound a bit, uh, off, it is an actual term that stems from classic lace designs. Trellis is the other popular lace stitch covered in "Mesh."

Butterfly Lace Tunic Dress from "Mesh"

Chapter Two covers one of my favorite design elements: eyelets. I used eyelets in both my Kiss, Kiss Mitt and Pucker Up hat designs and I'm incorporating them into a few other designs I'm working on. Teva explains how eyelets can be functional and fun, and they can also create added drama to a simpler piece.

Rose Trellis Blouse from "Eyelets"
Which brings us to "Samplers," chapter three, and my favorite collection of patterns from the book. "Samplers" is all about different lace arrangements and pairings. The importance of swatches is really emphasized in this chapter and, until recently, I will fess up to being a "non-swatcher." I didn't really swatch much until I started designing and now I think it's a lot of fun and allows you to come up with some creative pairings. It's also impossible for me to only share one design from this chapter.

Milanese Shower Bolero from "Samplers"

Chevron and Diamond Jacket from "Samplers"

Shetland Shawl Dress from "Samplers"
(I thought Rock Island by Jared Flood was an impressive lace design? Whoa man, this dress. How unbelievably beautiful is this? It's knit from Euroflax, which I don't necessarily like the feel of, but look at the way it hangs. This dress is one of the most beautiful knit dresses I have ever seen.)

Chapters Four and Five focus on motifs that are most commonly used in lacework: leaves and doily patterns. You can't shake a stick on Ravelry without coming across some kind of leafy lace pattern. The leaf print is common all throughout history, from architecture to artwork, so why shouldn't it be prevalent in knitting. In chapter four, Teva shares some of her own leafy designs, including a particularly badass ottoman cover.

Split Leaves Ottoman Cover from "Leaves"
And where would we be without doilies? I remember when I first dabbled in knitting, I was met with much teasing and many snarky comments from classmates. "You knit? What, do you make doilies? I think my grandma knits. Where's your rocking chair?" Oh, no, no, no. Chapter Five, "Doilies," shows how doily knitting, or Kunststricken, has evolved. My first EVER lace project, the Hemlock Ring Blanket, was originally a doily pattern that faced some evolution (thanks again, Mr. Flood!). These doilies, well, they ain't your grannie's doilies.

Sunflower Satchel from "Doilies"
Thistle Bodice from "Doilies
My overall opinion on this book? Buy it. Buy it, love it and start knitting some lace. Or follow the plan that Christie and I have set up: enroll in Madelinetosh's Magnolia Society Yarn Club, obtain Loop-d-Loop Lace and spend every Thursday (drunkenly) knitting through it.

Summer is going to be grand.

No, but seriously, buy this book. And check out Teva's impressive knitting design catalog on her Ravelry designer page.

1 comment:

  1. great patterns! This books looks awesome- thanks for the review, i'll definately have to escape from the kids one afternoon and hit up barnes&nobles :)