The Art of Knitted Lace
What is it about lace that captivates and intrigues us? It's light and delicate, charming and ladylike. In short, it's beautiful.
Detail of the Old Shale border on Evelyn A. Clark's elegant square shawlMáire Treanor's Clones lace crocheted christening bonnet For me, lace knitting is the height of accomplishment. In theory, knitting lace is simply combining increases and decreases to create a pattern with yarn, but really, it's much more than that.
Knitting lace creates a connection with all of the lace knitters from the past. According to the Lace Guild, what we now think of as lace started appearing in the early 1500s. Just think of the hours that women have spent creating lace; from the famed Venetian lacemakers to the knitters, crocheters, tatters, and bobbin lace makers of today, there have been people creating this beautiful artform for centuries.
The new issue of PieceWork magazine is devoted to the love of lace. Here's Editor Jeane Hutchins to tell you all about it.Magnificent Lace
Since the September/October 1993 issue, some 200 articles and projects on lace have appeared in PieceWork, and two issues devoted solely to lace—January/February 2001 and July/August 2005—predated the launching of our annual special lace issues. Welcome to the seventh of these annual tributes to the gossamer delight!
The following excerpt from Jules Kliot's "The Enigma of Lace" (January/February 2001) captures the spell that lace has cast over so many throughout the ages:
Lace was not an isolated creation, it was the expression of artists; it was the challenge for the botanist, who developed the finest of all linen plants; it was the challenge for the technicians who learned to spin the finest of threads; it was the challenge for the pattern maker to make the intricate pierced patterns, carefully planning the course of every thread and deciding the placement of every stitch (numbering into the hundreds for every square inch); and it was the challenge for the lacemaker who put it all together into the glorious pieces destined for the courts of kings and the messengers of God.
In this issue, you'll discover lace traditions from England, Ireland, Italy, Russia, India, America, and Japan. Articles and projects cover knitted, tatted (both needle and shuttle), crocheted, and bobbin lace.
Isabella Campagnol's "Invisible Lacemakers" takes you to Venetian monasteries in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, where nuns (and even some repenting prostitutes) produced exquisite lace. Isabella notes, "Monastic authorities encouraged the practice of needlework for the acclaim that it bestowed on the monastery, because it offered purpose to the nuns' otherwise dull existence, and, not least, for the profits derived from the sale of its lace, which were essential in maintaining the monasteries." Just one more illustration of the powers of lace.
Queen Victoria's Lace Stockings by Debbie O'Neill Lace as a means of survival is the focus of Christopher Phillips's "Victoria's Passion," as he relates how the queen's commissions for lace from localities that had fallen on hard times "often provided income that was much welcomed." These royal commissions extended throughout the United Kingdom even as far as Malta, an island nation in the Mediterranean that was part of the British Empire from 1800 to 1964. Whatever the form of lace—bobbin, needle, knitted, or crocheted—Victoria championed them all.
Enjoy this special issue. I hope it will make you want to wrap yourself up in lace! And be sure to subscribe to PieceWork so you don't miss any upcoming special issues like this one.
P.S. What's your favorite type of lace pattern to knit? Leave a comment and tell us!
Cast On for Summer
I've been writing a lot about summer lately, but it's my favorite season, so please bear with me. Today's post is a visual treat—patterns that I hope will inspire you to knit something to wear this summer!Here we go! Valois Knit Shawl by Alexandra Beck is a women's tri-corner shawl with an allover lace pattern. Perfect for wearing to an outdoor wedding or party. Strafford Tee by Amy Christoffers is a simple tee knit from summer-friendly yarn with lace inserts at the front and back necks. So feminine and flirty! I knit the Slanting Gretel by Petra Manis and I wear it all year round. My favorite time to wear it, though, is in the summer, because it's light and swingy and super flattering. I get tons of compliments on it. I used a cotton-acrylic blend yarn, which is great for warm-weather wear. This versatile tee is easy to knit, too. It's a bottom up raglan with seed stitch and cables. It was a quick, fun knit. Rene Dickey's Summer Pelisse is a sweet little girl's summer jacket with delicate lace motifs. The pelisse's form—halfway between a coat and a dress—inspired Rene to create this fanciful cardigan for her daughter to wear over a summer dress. Generous in length and width, the body of the pelisse is knitted in a beautiful, yet easy to learn, lace stitch pattern. So darling!
Get the pattern for the Ebony Wing Jewel Bag, along with 6 more color knitting patterns in our free eBook!(photo © Mary Scott Huff) I hope you'll download one of these patterns and cast on for summer. All of our patterns in the Knitting Daily Store are on sale, so have fun browsing!
P.S. Which warm-weather knits do you have on your needles? Leave a comment and share with us!
Win $40 in WEBS Bucks!
WEBS—America's Yarn Store is located in the picturesque Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts. A second-generation, family owned business, WEBS has been the destination for knitters, crocheters, weavers, and spinners for forty years. It was founded in 1974 and began with a focus on teaching weaving and renting looms. Soon, weaving yarns were added, and knitting yarns followed. This year, WEBS is celebrating its 40th Anniversary with its customers in a big way!
We're giving away prizes for the next four weeks, followed by a big grand prize drawing on May 9!
Week one's winner will be announced on Friday April 18, 2014.
Enter to win a $40 WEBS Gift Card!
WEBS is celebrating our 40th Anniversary and we want to share the celebration with you! Looking for a special skein of yarn? Maybe there's a project you've wanted to do for a while, but haven't made the purchase yet. Choose whatever you would like from our huge selection of yarns, tools, and accessories. Have fun browsing and picking just the yarn for you.
The grand prize winner will celebrate WEBS's 40th Anniversary with this special, gorgeous shawl kit. It includes Valley Yarns 40th Anniversary 04 Mixed Tide Shawl pattern, 1 cone of Valley Yarns 2/10 Merino Tencel in majestic blue, stitch markers, Knitter's Pride Karbonz 24" Circular Needle US 6, and a limited edition 40th Anniversary Della Q Eden Drawstring Bag.Good luck!
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