Monday, 4 May 2015

Lace Knits

My friend Ann Kingstone has just published a new book, Lace Knits.   It should be appearing  in the shops in the next few days, if it isn't there already, but I got my copy direct from Ann a couple of weeks ago.  If you're on Ravelry, the individual designs are being posted there, too.

Like Ann's other books, it is very well-produced. The cover illustration is by Alex Tomlinson, who did a wonderful print to celebrate the Yorkshire Grand Depart of the Tour de France 2014.  The photography is by Woolly Wormhead, and styling by Susan Crawford - they have done a wonderful job of showing off the lace knits.

There are 16 designs in the book, all named after places in and around Huddersfield - Fenay, Gledholt, Cowlersley (a cowl!), Slaithwaite (pronounced Sla-wit, if you live there).   For people who know Huddersfield, that adds an extra dimension -  one is named after the district we live in, another after my daughter's school.

There are several lovely lace shawls, though knitting lace shawls is not really my thing, and some delightful fingerless mitts (Edgerton).   But the designs that most appeal to me are the cardigans and sweaters. They are all seamless -  one of Ann's trademarks, as in her Wetwang sweater, which I knitted from her Born & Bred book.  Seamless knitting avoids the difficulty of trying to make a neat seam in knitted lace - especially difficult in a yarn like Rowan's Kid Silk Haze.

I think my favourite is Ainley, knitted in Aran weight yarn (Rowan Kid Classic).  It uses two really pretty lace stitches, one being 'frost flowers' - very appropriate for a winter-weight knit. The body and the sleeves are knitted separately, from the bottom up, and then joined.  The sleeves are set in - all seamlessly, as I've said, and the shaping is just beautifully neat.  

Reinwood is another cardigan, in a lighter weight yarn (Rowan Pure Wool Worsted).  The lace panels are confined to the front, and the rest is in stocking stitch - again all seamless.  In this design, the body is knitted bottom up and the sleeves top down, from picked up stitches around the armhole.

And Springwood is a top-down sweater, with a border of lace around the hem and cuffs - very pretty.  It's in 4-ply, so would make a good knit for spring.  It's knitted top down, "commencing with the Ziggurat shoulder technique", which sounds intriguing.  

The patterns are given with both written instructions and charts for the lace.  There's also a well-illustrated section of the book on the techniques required, such as various cast-on methods, magic loop, applied i-cord, and so on.  

Altogether a lovely book.  I plan to knit Ainley for myself soon, and I'd like to knit Reinwood and Springwood too - though given my usual rate of knitting, that might be a bit optimistic.    

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