Book Review: A Gathering of Lace

June 30th, 2006 | View Comments

Cover of A Gathering of Lace

Author: Meg Swansen
Publisher: XRX, Inc.
Rating: 4 Skeins
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I never fancied myself a shawl-wearer, but this book may have made a convert out of me. A Gathering of Lace includes a huge variety of gorgeous shawls. My favorites are the Feather & Fan Shawl (p. 56) and the Frost Flowers & Leaves Shawl (p. 59).

This book is a true gathering of lace; the projects are diverse, both in type and in construction. Projects range from stoles, shawls, and shrugs to socks, hats–the Picture Hat (p. 142) is truly amazing, gloves, and pillows. The construction of all the projects is highly varied, as are the required yarns. Needles sizes for projects range from 000 for the Magickal Earth Shawl (p. 74) to 10 for the large Faroese Shawl (p. 32), Spiral Shawl (p. 79), and Super-Spiral Shawl (p. 82).

I think it’s safe to say that you could knit all the projects in this book without ever feeling like you’re just doing a variation on a theme.

Although this book isn’t really meant for the true beginner knitter, beginning lace knitters will be glad to hear that there is a section devoted to specific concerns in lace knitting, including tips for chart reading, preventing and fixing mistakes, splicing yarn, and blocking, as well as explanations of different cast-on and other lace knitting techniques in the back of the book. Additional techniques are explained in the instructions for the projects that require them.

All the lace patterns are charted, although you may want to photocopy and enlarge most of the charts to avoid massive eyestrain. Clear schematics are provided for those projects with complex construction or those that require assembly.

I bought this book never thinking that I would be captivated by the shawls; I was interested in lacy tops and other garments. It’s just as well that the shawls are so gorgeous because I found the garments are generally disappointing.

The garments have a decidedly un-contemporary style—loose-fitting and lacking shaping. Smaller women may also be disappointed that the finished underarm measurements for the garments tend to be large; the smallest sizes are typically 38-39 inches around, with some Smalls as big as 42″ around.

But there are still plenty of other projects, small and large, to knit, as well as projects to be tantalized by at the end of the book. All in all, a worthwhile investment for a lace knitter.

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CogKnition posted this on June 30th, 2006 @ 1:37am in Book Reviews | Permalink to "A Gathering of Lace"


  1. Claudia says:

    Hi! I was wondering if you could help me with something. I have the same percentage bars as you but blogger screwed up my side bar and now I have only part of the code. The code was also removed for its original post, in Semi-Sweet Html Morsels. Could you help me and send me the actual bar code, you know, where we change the percentage? That is all I am missing. Thank you!!

  2. Yvonne says:

    Email is on its way!

    For anyone else who’s looking for the percentage bar code, I have a simplified version of it posted here, as the original author was kind enough to release it under one of the Creative Commons licenses that allow modification/redistribution.