Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Magic of Shetland Lace Knitting - Elizabeth Lovick

It's a slightly unwieldy title for a book I'm finding really useful, possibly there was a decision that 'Shetland Lace Knitting' just wasn't selling it enough. The relative frequency of knitting related posts which have started to appear here will have marked me out as a recent and enthusiastic convert, which I am, but I'm trying to contain it a bit. 

For oh so many reasons it's been a stressful year with the result that I've not been sleeping well which has a knock on effect on - well everything, including reading. Knitting (basic) patterns either in colour or lace demands enough concentration to be absorbing but not so much as to be taxing. It keeps me away from lit screens at the end of the day too which is probably helpful for the sleep thing. 

I mentioned this book briefly just after I came back from holiday - it was basically a souvenir purchase - and now I've spent a bit more time with it I'm even more impressed. For a small book it does a lot of things. At this point I'm entertaining myself knitting what are essentially swatches in the simplest patterns and turning them into scarves, neck warmers, or similar. There is a directory of different patterns and motifs categorised by levels of difficulty which makes choosing something suitable to tackle easy. For now that's enough for me, I'm acquiring the basic skills and building the confidence to attempt more ambitious designs. 

There is also a selection of specific projects (socks, scarves, shawls, lace mitts, and so on) non of which especially appeal to me (bar the last and presumably most complicated one - someday...) but which would effectively take you from beginner to extremely competent lace knitter. 

The rest of the book deals with how to; how to put together designs, how to chart them, what the basic rules are, and how to do all the things (like grafting, which sounds tricky) you need to know to progress. The rules and advice are sensible. Seeing charts along with written instructions was a revelation, it makes the whole process clearer, and much less intimidating. I've found written instructions on their own can quickly confuse me, especially with all the abbreviations, a visual guide as well makes a world of difference.

Basically for anyone interested in this style of lace knitting this is an excellent place to start. 


  1. It sounds like a solidly designed book, one that I should be interested to read. It is a very long time since I did lace knitting and I agree that the charts together with the written pattern would make things easier.

  2. I'm finding it a really good introduction, and though I'm looking at it as a complete beginner it looks like it would have something to offer all levels.

  3. I bought the book! I have not dared open it yet, what with books to be read and knitting projects to finish. But just looking at the cover image has re-started my lust. Thank for your recommendation.

    1. I hope you have as much fun with it as I am. Actually sat here knitting brand iron lace (page 90) sort of as I type.