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VICTORIAN LACE TODAY
on 21 January 2008
'Victorian Lace Today' is a superb lace knitting book - enticing, imaginative, and inspirational in every way.
The last two years have seen a return to the 'feminine', gentle and beautiful, especially in the areas of crochet and knitting. Gone are many of the stiff, boring and unimaginative garments that deterred many from taking up the needles again. Not so with this book.
It is, as the title says, based on patterns found in the knitting books of the Victorian era. However, these are transformed by the author Jane Sowerby, with the use of modern yarns, designer yarns, cottons, finest kid mohair, gorgeous colours and the adaptation of the patterns for the woman of the moment.
Lace is often thought of as doillies, chair back covers and old-fashioned items that grandma used on her tea tray. In 'Victorian Lace Today' you will not find anything like that, but chapters filled with wonderful shawls in many styles, simple lacy scarves, lace edged scarves, shawls with curving corners, throws, swirls, swinging items and everything that one could wish for to be a lacy up-to-date woman.
The colours used are often vibrant. Imagine a lacey rectangular shawl in fine lime green mohair or bright raspberry; or for lighter shades a soft gentle apple green, and a primrose so pale and fragile it is stunning. Also there are romantic black and mulberry coloured wraps to entice and capture the heart, plus a host of other lacy styles and colours.
The diagrams and intructions are very clear, as is the history of the women long ago who wrote these patterns for us. They are discussed in a way that brings the Victorian era to life.
The photographer must receive an accolation for his superb pictures. Alexis Xenakis has chosen the exteriors of stately homes for his locations, adding a mysterious past/present feel to the book. The models also echo this sense of timelessness in a way that is frankly beautiful.
If I had to chose only one knitting book this year, this would be the one.
It is exceptionally lovely.