Wrapped in Lace: Knitted Heirloom Designs from Around the World by Margaret Stove, Interweave Press, 2010, 160pp.

I’m not terribly  surprised the cover of this is very similar to Nancy Bush’s Knitted Lace of Estonia: both are published by Interweave, after all.  I think if you enjoyed Nancy Bush’s book you’ll like this one — but if you didn’t, you may like this one for its differences.

Stove traces her personal experience with lace knitting, including designing.  As such, at times it’s a little like reading someone’s (very organized) journal.  She begins by discussing her christening shawl, knitted by her mother and grandmother, and used for both her & her sister’s christenings, and her self-appointed task in re-creating it.  The pattern for the shawl is the first pattern in the book.

It wasn’t, however, the first shawl Stove knit herself — that’s the topic of the second chapter, and it leads to a discussion of British shawls

Her first original design is the third chapter, and includes an overview of  her creation of lace stitches symbolizing New Zealand flora (see photo, left).

Other chapters include overviews of her experiences exploring Faroese, Shetland, Orenburg and Estonian lace design and construction.

Each chapter includes a pattern highlighting the techniques and styles illustrated by the chapter.  Sections within each chapter also include technique tips, alternate construction options, design tips, and more.

If you’re not up to tackling one of the large shawls, the last chapter includes patterns for three scarves.

The last section includes a fairly extensive discussion of casting on, binding off, grafting, lace definitions, seaming etc.

All patterns are charted;  some of the charts are so large as to require pages that fold out.  The chart key is very cleverly & handily included as a fold out of the back cover.  There are 12 patterns.

This isn’t a pattern book for an absolute beginner at lace — I wouldn’t pick even one of the scarves as a project for someone who’s never done lace, and I do try to encourage people to push themselves.  However, I think if you’ve completed a project or two, you’d be fine with one of the simpler patterns.  Per the subtitle, this is a book for heirloom shawls, and I think we all have the expectation that an heirloom project is going to be intricate.

However, as eye candy, and as something to aspire to, I think this is a lovely book.  Stove’s discussion of her experiences are also fascinating, making this a book that’s fun to browse through.

If you’re a designer, I think the design tips alone, and discussion of different construction styles, etc, makes this book priceless.