28 October 2010

More Lace in Spokane

The other shop we visited in Spokane was A Grand Yarn. This one is also a little tricky to find, as the shopping center sits perpendicular rather than parallel to the main road. You need to look for the dark brown buildings with the very slanted roofs. A Grand Yarn is just a few doors in from the road. The shop had lots of lovely samples and a fine selection of books as well as yarns. This is just the sort of good friendly local yarn shop every knitter ought to have close to her home. We chatted with both Mary, the outgoing owner, and Libby and Nancy, the incoming owners. All these ladies are clearly devoted to their knitting customers.

I purchased a few spare stitch holders and a copy of Myra Wood's Crazy Lace. The beautiful color and cleverly-styled photographs will lure you into adding this book to your shelf. This is definitely a book for the free-spirited knitter. If you are somebody who doesn't like lace because it involves too much following of rules, then you will like Myra's approach. In the first part of the book, she talks about the basics of lace such as how the increases and decreases compensate for each other and how the choice of yarn or needle can affect the work. I like page 39 where she shows the sizes of a plain stockinette swatch, a knitted lace swatch (patterning on right-side rows only), and a lace knitting swatch (patterning on both right-side and wrong-side rows). She also includes a good explanation of how to do a crochet cast-on and a crochet bind-off. The second part of the book gives a nice series of basic recipes for knitting geometric shapes. The third part covers a variety of ways to work edges, including how to add ruffles or ruching.

The book doesn't really have any patterns for making lace shawls, although there are plenty of photographs to inspire. Myra does show the advantages to using charts, including how to tweak a chart to make a lace pattern a slightly different stitch multiple. And her charts are in a large easy-on-the-eyes size. She does include several charts of lace patterns of various widths at the end of the book, but doesn't show them knitted up. You'd need to work a sampler yourself. Then again, perhaps getting you to get out your own needles and try things yourself is the point. If you were a novice trying to learn lace, I think I'd start with a different book or a simple follow-the-directions pattern just to get used to the concept. And if you got seriously into this approach, I think you'd want a lace stitch dictionary to supplement what Myra gives you at the back. Her approach is very freeing and I think will help those who are afraid of lace to see that it isn't all that difficult. It should provide a good starting point for someone who wants to design her own lace project. Also, I suspect that this book is probably a very helpful companion to her workshops.

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