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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Real McCoy, 3 April 2013
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This review is from: A Legacy of Shetland Lace (Paperback)
This book is the real deal. So many books on Shetland Lace are written by enthusiasts who, whilst highly knowledgeable knitters and whilst very creative as designers, are not actually from Shetland. But you can't get more authoritative on Shetland Lace than the Shetland Guild of Spinners, Knitters, Weavers and Dyers, and this book is their initiative to "preserve and further Shetland's traditional textile heritage". The introduction states that this book "contains patterns designed by various members of the Guild, using traditional methods of constructing a design. Our ancestors mostly knitted garments using complicated patterns, but the patterns here have designs planned for all levels of skills and experience. Some of the designs are strictly traditional, some modernised to suit present day fashions, but all are knitted as in the olden days, ie each knitter fashioning her design from a known wide range of 'motifs' which were at one time passed down from mother to daughter."

A great feature of the book is the story that accompanies each pattern; how and where each individual designer learned to knit, her inspiration - such as the name of her family's croft, or the Shetland word for sea shore, or the sound of a stream running past her house - and her expertise. All the women talk about learning to knit from mothers, sisters and grandmothers, and all of them are experienced teachers, prize-winners, and members of the Guild. Reading this book feels like sitting down with them in their homes and sharing the privilege of learning from their skill and expertise. Many of the individual stories say things like, "She is keen to pass on her knowledge and skill, and she hopes this book will inspire and encourage young folk to take up Shetland lace knitting." There are little snippets of local lore too, such as "'Kemp' means to vie or strive to be first. Sometimes knitters did kemp to see who could knit most" or "Sweerie geng - the first row knitted following cast on: 'Never stop in da middle o a sweerie geng or it will hae bad luck'." These sorts of details take you right in to the homes of the Shetland women for whom knitting was a way of life and a precious source of income.

All of the patterns are stunners, but not remotely intimidating. Pattern instructions say encouraging things like, "The written instructions look complicated but everything is much clearer once you start knitting" (I love the common sense of that). There are easier pieces like small scarves, pieces that require shaping and/or grafting, or the beautifully complex 'Chapelside Stole'. But everything is well explained, the text is large format and the pages are clearly laid out. The book is large, just slightly over A4 size, so you won't have to squint your eyes at the charts (and looking at the book as a whole, I did wonder whether the knitters said "Don't make the print too small because working off small charts is horrible!") so it's a good book if your eyesight is failing a bit. That kind of thoughtfulness for the knitter at the other end of the pattern is characteristic of the book as a whole.

The patterns are mainly scarves and stoles, but there's one (beautiful) cardigan, a pretty yoked top, and a traditional 'hap' (shawl for everyday wear) using the natural variety of colours found in Shetland fleece. There is nothing in this book that I wouldn't want to knit. Every pattern is gorgeous, and do-able.

The book also features lots of other information, like Shetland words associated with knitting, grafting techniques, blocking, and there's a page on suppliers of Shetland wool.

The last word should go to one of the knitters, Susan Johnson: "She hopes this book reaches everyone interested in Shetland, Shetland lace and knitting and that they receive and appreciate the spirit of quiet enjoyment that produced it." Isn't that lovely?
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful book, 17 Jun 2013
This review is from: A Legacy of Shetland Lace (Paperback)
This is a lovely book with some beautiful patterns in. I got my copy this morning and don't know where to start.

However, I did start by reading the back cover - it's a shame that no-one else read it before going to press as I spotted four typos. However, from what I've read inside the covers so far, the rest of it looks good.

If you're going to start a project from this book, check out the Ravelry group for errata first. I've yet to see a knitting book that the publisher can get right first time!

The Ravelry group is good and they are very responsive to questions and queries.

Now to order some yarn ...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book, 28 Nov 2013
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This review is from: A Legacy of Shetland Lace (Paperback)
For those wanting to start knitting traditional Shetland lace this is an excellent book. The scarves are projects of just the right size not to put off a learner. I recommend this book and will be knitting my way through it
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely lace, 13 Feb 2014
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This review is from: A Legacy of Shetland Lace (Paperback)
This is a superb book. It is much better than others I have seen (even purchased). The background information is very useful - especially that on blocking.
I started a new scarf straight away.
With well-explained patterns, both traditional and modern, there is something to keep me busy for ages. I'm just going to have to spin some more lace-weight yarn.
Highly recommended
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5.0 out of 5 stars Knitting, 15 Mar 2014
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This review is from: A Legacy of Shetland Lace (Paperback)
I have some shetland wool and cannot wait to get started on a project. Beautiful knitting patterns and a worth while purchase.
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A Legacy of Shetland Lace
A Legacy of Shetland Lace by Shetland Guild of Spinners (Paperback - 8 Oct 2012)
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