Saturday, January 27, 2007

"Be aware...that your freshly blocked piece of lace may change considerably after has sat around, or been worn or hung for a while. The degree of change depends on the elasticity and resiliency of the yarn as well as the type of pattern worked." - Susanna E. Lewis, Knitting Lace: A Workshop with Patterns and Projects

A question on the Knitters Review forum sent me in search of this book. As it is out of print, and selling on the Internet at prices ranging from $100 to $500, I turned to the library. And as so often happens, the library came through for me. I'm going to have a hard time returning it.
In the first half of the book Lewis charts out all 90 patterns from a 15 ft long (!) lace sampler in the Brooklyn museum. But this isn't why I want it. Some of the patterns are familiar from other sources. Some are not all that visually interesting. I'll make photo copies of a few, including one I've modified to incorporate at the center of the Gypsy Girl shawl (which is slowly growing).
At the end of the book she gives some garment patterns of her own design, and these aren't why I want the book, either. To be honest, I'm not all that crazy about any of them.
What I want is the center section, which is Lewis's step by step analysis of how knitted lace is structured, how motifs can be built and arranged and how technique chosen affect the final appearance and behavior of the patterns produced. It's not that I didn't already know some of what she has to say. It's not that I couldn't learn much of the rest from other writers or by trial and error.
But it's a really good reference, well presented and I would like to have it where I could put my hands on it anytime, pick it up for bedtime reading. And even more I would just like to know that I have this work of solid scholarship on my bookshelf.
There is a rumor that Schoolhouse Press is trying to reissue this book. That would be lovely, but I'm not holding my breath. I've never paid $100 for a book in my life, and I'm not going to do it for this one. But I'll keep my fingers crossed, and if I get a second chance at acquiring it for a reasonable price (I foolishly passed it by when it was first published), I'll grab it.


junior_goddess said...

Well, I'll keep my eyes open then. Sometimes I need to read things six times before I GET it.

Calamintha said...

It sounds like the Lewis book has some useful information in it for designers. I'll have to keep my fingers crossed that Meg Swansen will be able to get it reprinted.

Love your butterfly!