Thursday, 17 November 2011

With a pile of books beside me

For as much of my life as I could get away with I have gone to sleep with books.  I used to read voraciously and bedtime reading was a way to finish up, slow down, cap off the day with an imaginary and fantastic world. Eye problems and age (I fall asleep when I read) make me less readerly, but not less interested in stories.  These days it is audio books and traditional books with a lot of pictures that capture me.

Thankfully knitting books have a lot of pictures!

Last night I pulled out yet more lace books.  I have three of the 4 Interweave lace series, Tradtional Lace Shawls, The Lacy Knitting of Mary Schiffmann, and Gossamer Webs.  I would love to get my hands on a copy of the now out of print Lace from a Victorian Attic, but am a little bit reluctant to pay the premium price that it demands.  

Traditional Lace Shawls is what I was going through last night (while watching Amadeus, a smashing combination) and I just have to say what an excellent little book it is.  It isn't the biggest, it isn't the most comprehensive, but it is a sound little collection of traditional Shetland style shawl elements.  With it, you could happily create and knit shawls for a lifetime.

Taking this time before my planned year of big lace and reading through the books rather than picking elements and knitting is like taking a lace workshop from a whole lot of master knitters, and masterful thinkers.  Its the little things, things like some of Margaret Stove's comments on the gauge of lace and her continuous swatches to get a needles size that shows off the lace elements to their best.  There isn't any one thing that I can point to in last night's meandering read that strikes me as a revelation, but I feel so deeply inspired by the simple things I read last night,  so in tune to the lace knitters who captured air and space and created lace.   

There is't a lot of stuff to talk about while knitting the body of a large mans sweater in stockinette. There isn't any illumination in it, just comfort and ease and rest.  But knitting these things now, when I have a short timeline and am knitting as much as I can, knitting till my hands tell me to stop, is giving me such time to dream, such time to plan and think and consider.  

Beyond dreaming of knitting them, part of it is dreaming of delving into the lace stash but much of it is also contemplating the state of modern lace.  

There are still the traditional shawls knit with frevor.
(Stil blocking edges on this one.  Or rather still waiting to find make time though knitting is long done.)  

But there is also the diversity and grand invention that is modern lace shawl knitting.  Diversity of shaping, diversity of motif placement and construction, diversity in edgings.  Take a look at this, Atelier Audrea Baron Takes the breath quite away, doesn't it?  That motif in the first shawl is simply stunning.  And then her Ravelry page.  There are no words... I mean look at those edgings!  I crave to understand the edgings.

She is just one of many many many really great people out there pushing the limits, taking lace knitting one step farther than it has ever been, keeping it fresh and fitting for our time, keeping the tradition of lace knitting alive and growing. 

Lace lives. 

And I am having a really, really great time thinking about it all. 


1 comment:

Brendaknits said...

I can see it. I can feel it. I can taste it. That would be the dust as in 'left behind in the dust. Which is where I will be when you start your wonderful year of lace. Can't wait to follow along. - at a distance.