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This is plain and simple a great book. In my opinion, anyone who knits lace should have this book in their library. I almost didn’t buy it, the cover image didn’t look all that promising, but I am so glad I did! – The review continues>

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Actually, Shetland Lace Knitting from Charts, to give it the full title, by Hazel Carter. I bought this on a whim from Schoolhouse Press, not knowing at all if it would be useful. It’s a self-published book, 49 pages including references, comb bound with sturdy paper covers. Although it was first published in 1987, it was reprinted in 1997, so I don’t know how older copies might look.

The charts are hand-drawn, but then again, I somehow doubt that there was software available back then for typesetting symbols in a chart. They are clear, and for the most part use the same symbols in general use today. There’s some discussion of materials commonly used, and a paragraph about Shetland and the landscape. Most of the illustrations are what appear to be photocopies of lace, where the lace was most likely put right on the glass of the copier. There are a few photographs, but on the whole I find that the photocopies are of more use than the photographs.

The number of stitch patterns shown here is much less than in HK, but then again this is only 49 pages long in total. The ones included are various diamonds, lace hole patterns, and ferns, among others, as well as the Shetland Twins and some patterns commonly used for shawl centers. In addition, there are guidelines for how to design and work lace items: a stole, a christening robe, a square shawl, and so on. Perhaps the most useful page, though, is page 42 (in my copy), where the same square shawl is shown before and during blocking / dressing. Every knitter who looks at her unblocked work and says “Oh, it looks terrible!” should be reassured by the before-and-after difference.

I’m very glad I bought this book, it’s not necessarily the first one I reach for when I have a question or want a stitch pattern, but I like it and I plan to keep using it. My advice? buy it if you like Shetland lace!

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