Three Timeless Books on Lace and Wedding Gowns

The enduring allure of lace charms and captivates; we never tire of its exquisite beauty. In the May/June 2011 issue of PieceWork, our 4th-annual Lace issue, we offer reviews of three timeless books on this ethereal textile and the wedding gowns that capture its magical power.

Lace: A Quick Guide to Identification

Lace: A Quick Guide to Identification
By Lace Arts Council for Education
Puyallup, Washington: Loretta’s Custom Stitchery, 2010. Spiralbound, 40 pages, $12. ISBN 0-967-454-4-5.

This spiralbound, small-format take-along guide is just the thing to help novice collectors and lace enthusiasts distinguish thirty-seven laces, pinpointing their characteristics with bullet points and clear black-and-white overall and detail photographs. Examples of each of the four main categories treated include binche (bobbin), coralline (needle), tatted (knotted), and knitted (other). Where applicable, both hand- and machine-made versions are shown on a single page.

—Alexandra Eastman

The Structure of Threads for Lace

The Structure of Threads for Lace
By Barbara Ballantyne
Drummoyne, New South Wales, Australia: Barbara Ballantyne, 2010; distributed by Lacis, Berkeley, California. Paperback, 16 pages, $18. ISBN 978-0-98085-070-3.

This book will be indispensable for anyone using thread to create lace, especially crocheted lace. Included are diagrams that clearly illustrate the differences between S- and Z-twist threads; a table summarizing the structure and number of wraps for currently available crochet cotton thread; a discussion of changes in the twist as the thread is taken from the ball, reel, or spool; a comparison of samples worked with five different threads; and a survey of thread history.

—T. J. Blackburn

Lace: Wedded Perfection: Two Centuries of Wedding Gowns

Wedded Perfection: Two Centuries of Wedding Gowns
By Cynthia Amnéus
Wappingers Falls, New York: D. Giles, 2010. Hardcover, 271 pages, $45. ISBN 978-1-904832-84-3.

The catalog for a recent exhibition of the same name at the Cincinnati (Ohio) Art Museum, Wedded Perfection opens with a history of marriage rites and then showcases fifty-six wedding gowns, from a circa-1735 silk brocade dress with an embroidered stomacher to two gowns designed for a 2009 episode of an American soap opera. Full-length color photographs, period photographs (many showing the bride wearing the dress) and magazine illustrations, along with information on the construction and fashion characteristics for each dress provide context while information about the makers and the wearers provides character. Wedded Perfection is a delight.

—Alexandra Eastman

Read 3 more great book reviews in our blog post “Three More Classic Books on Knitting Techniques from the British Isles.”


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