Successful Lace Knitting Review
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When people ask me why I knit, I tell them all about how relaxing it is. The repetitive knitting and purling is just what I need to help me unwind after a stressful day of work. Sometimes, though, I need more than just the same old repetitive stitching—so, for an extra challenge, I pick up some lace.

Inspired by the work of a little-known knitting innovator, Successful Lace Knitting: Celebrating the Work of Dorothy Reade is a collection of patterns using a variety of lacy stitch patterns to create a wide range of projects.

In the book’s introductory section, author Donna Druchunas familiarizes readers with Dorothy Reade and her work. Back in the ‘60s, when knitters like Barbara Walker and Elizabeth Zimmerman were developing stitch patterns and ground-breaking techniques, Reade was a kind of knitting anthropologist, traveling the world in search of different fibers, techniques, and designs to inspire her work as a knitter. Her travels only increased her love of knitting lace, and they resulted in lace patterns that were influenced by cultural designs, artifacts, and natural elements.

Reade’s favorite lace patterns—from chevrons to her Peruvian cats—have been used by popular knitwear designers to create the lacy designs in Successful Lace Knitting. Though the book features a number of patterns for beautiful shawls and wraps, it also offers a good variety of designs—everything from airy tops and fitted cardigans to afghans and table runners (and even the ubiquitous tea cozy).

But the patterns aren’t all written out, the way that old stitch patterns once were. Instead, Druchunas uses Reade’s favorite pattern-writing technique: charts. But when you combine the intricate lace stitch patterns with charted designs and the instructions for creating each part of the garment, you end up with patterns that may seem just a little bit intimidating—especially for knitters who tend to shy away from charts. Dorothy Reade may have wanted to simplify knitting patterns using charts, but the patterns in Successful Lace Knitting are still sometimes several pages long.

Fortunately, though, Druchunas offers a tutorial in lace-knitting—complete with tips for reading the charts. And many of the designs are eye-catching enough that you won’t be able to resist giving it a shot. In fact, I can see a number of new lace shawls in my not-too-distant future.

Of course, not every pattern in Successful Lace Knitting is completely successful (or innovative). I’m guessing that most people will skip right over the Kitty Cat Raglan Pullover (or at least I hope so). But the majority of the designs are the kind that will inspire you to pick up your needles and get to work. So if you’re looking for a new knitting challenge, give the designs in Successful Lace Knitting a try.

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