An Homage to Lace

I first met Margaret Stove in 2007 at Spin-Off’s Autumn Retreat (SOAR) where she was teaching workshops on Spinning for Lace. As a leading expert on handknitted superfine lace, I’d admired her for a long time, but more so after I met her that day and had an opportunity to watch her teach. Margaret approaches her teaching as she does her crafts and her writing, with both practicality and reverence.

Rosebud Faroese-style shawl, detailing the side panels and center gusset.

So I was thrilled when her most recent book, Wrapped In Lace: Knitted Heirloom Designs from Around the World, was published last year. It is, in many ways, a perfect book. And it’s a perfect PieceWork book because it sets out to do the same things we do in each issue of the magazine—blend personal history with cultural tradition and techniques and use that context for providing stunning projects to make.

Granny Cheyne's Shawl is based on one Margaret Stove restored for a family. It's knitted with a variety of Shetland patterns.

Margaret is the perfect guide for the journey: She begins looking back at her own childhood, describing how she worked out the lace design from her own christening blanket from a photograph, and then with the same loving detail, explains the process for making a shawl for her first child’s christening. While Margaret creates designs based on her own life and is inspired by her beloved New Zealand (the Filmy Fern Shawl is magnificent and one of my favorites in the book), she moves beyond her own personal traditions and chronicles her travels and study of lace techniques and motifs from the Shetland and Faroe Islands to the lace of Orenburg, Russia, and Haapsalu, Estonia. She not only draws inspiration from these traditions, but her resulting lace shawl designs pay homage to them.

Each of the 12 projects is accompanied by clear instructions and charts. Even though the charts and the complexity of some of the designs might be daunting, the very helpful glossary and section of definitions and special lace techniques make me feel like I, too, could tackle these projects.

Filmy Fern Shawl designed after the New Zealand emblem and a tribute to Stove's home country.

The photography is fabulous, enhancing the journey of Wrapped in Lace further. Each of the shawls and scarves are shown from a few different angles in clear, crisp pictures accompanied by detailed close-ups of stitches and motifs.

How do you make a perfect book more perfect? You transform it into an eBook. Wrapped in Lace is now available as an easily downloadable eBook with all the benefits of an electronic version. Margaret takes one more step in her lace journey as her homage to lace moves gracefully into the digital age.