Are you interested in learning how to knit lace? Or perhaps you’re already familiar with lace knitting, and you’d enjoy finding some lacy new lovelies to work on. Would you be interested in finding a book that is both a stitch dictionary AND a pattern book – one that is is focused exclusively on lace knitting stitches and patterns? And would you be interested in finding truly spectacular lace knitting patterns suitable for adults, babies and children – including patterns for knitting blankets, dresses, sweaters, tops, wraps, scarves and more?
If lace knitting is of interest to you right now, there’s a brand new pattern book you’ll definitely want to consider adding to your library. It’s called Lace Knitting: 40 Openwork Patterns, 30 Lovely Projects, Countless Ideas and Inspiration.
One of my favorite knitting pattern designers, Denise Samson, is the author of this book. If you’re familiar with Denise’s work already, you’ll be delighted to know that this collection lives up to her usual high standards. And if you haven’t yet discovered her work, I can’t wait to introduce you to it. I’m positive you’ll love it as much as I do!
What You Need to Know About This Knitting Book:
Author: Denise Samson
Publisher: Trafalgar Square Books
Copyright Date: I am reviewing the English language translation of this book, which has a copyright date of 2019. This book was originally published in the Norwegian language with a title of Hekta Pa Hullstrikk.
ISBN 13: 978-1570769511
ISBN 10: 1570769516
Book Format: This book is available in two different formats: hardcover format, without dust jacket, and paperback format. I have reviewed the hardcover format, which is sturdy, lovely and highly recommended. That said, the paperback format is a bit more affordable, so if you want to save a bit of money, the softcover is a great choice for that.
Number of Pages: 176
The Best Things About This Book
This book is truly delightful. It’s my new go-to reference on the topic of knitting lace.
One of the main highlights of this book is a collection of charts for knitting gorgeous lace stitches. Each chart is accompanied by its key right on the same page, which is quite helpful; to save space, some competing books place one key for all the charts on a single page, which means you have to do a lot of page flipping (or photocopy the key) to use the book. That’s not an issue here.
If you’re interested in designing your own knitting projects, you can use these stitches however you please. And, if you want to design your own projects, but you don’t know how to do it, this book is likely to be absolutely priceless to you – because it gives you the opportunity to study multiple wonderful examples of how a talented knit designer has taken lace stitches and transformed them into knitting projects. This is my favorite aspect of the book.
Each textile designer brings his or her own experiences, insights and biases to knitting projects. It is completely fascinating to me to observe how another knitting pattern designer incorporates a particular stitch pattern, or group of stitch patterns, into a project.
I have a degree in textile design. When I was in design school, one of my instructors handed out photocopies of a magnolia flower and told us that our assignment was to create a design that incorporated the magnolia.
”Won’t our designs all look the same?” we asked the instructor.
Her response: “You’ll be amazed at how different they all turn out.”
And we were amazed. None of our designs looked alike, despite the fact that we all used the same magnolia flower as a reference.
And you’ll no doubt be amazed, if you start incorporating any of these lace patterns into your design work, at how different your creations will turn out, even from other projects that use the same exact lace stitch pattern.
Having a library of stitch patterns like this is an incredible shortcut that can help you stimulate your imagination as a designer. No doubt, when you look at these stitches, you will see them in a certain way that will be unique to you. Perhaps you’ll look at one of the allover patterns, and envision that it is just begging to be made into the yoke of a sweater, or the crown of a hat.
But if you can’t think of a single thing to do with a particular stitch, you can check out the things Denise has done with it — and seeing the transformation from stitch pattern to finished garment will no doubt spark some “light bulb moments” in your designer’s brain.
The price of this book is considerably more affordable than the $16,000+ I paid for my textile design degree – but this book holds an abundance of lessons that are just as valuable as the ones I learned in my design school classes, assuming you’re inclined to use the book and learn from it.
Personally, as an experienced knit designer, one of the things I really appreciate about this particular book is the careful presentation of the knitted lace swatches. In this book, you see a photo showing the entire swatch – complete with all its edges. This is important because you’ll want to know ahead of time if one or more of the edges create a scallop, or if they finish up neatly in a straight line. With some other competing stitch dictionaries, swatch photos are cropped to appear square, so you can’t see what the edges of an actual knit swatch would look like without taking the time to actually knit up a swatch for yourself. I far, far prefer the helpful format presented in this lovely book.
I think the lace stitches alone are a compelling reason to want this book – but, even better, this book includes some of the most spectacular lace knitting patterns I have ever seen. Seriously!
Sacred Tree Double Bed Coverlet
Let me give you a few examples. One of the projects pictured on the front cover of the book is a lace knitted coverlet. The photo on the front cover doesn’t really do it justice, because it is sharing space with 3 other completely fabulous projects, and therefore the pictures of each were reduced to ensure they’d all fit into the book cover design. But, when you see the bigger photo of the coverlet, known as the “Sacred Tree Double Bed Coverlet”, your jaw might just drop open, and you might just squeal with delight.
I think my heart skipped a few beats when I caught my first glimpse of it.
If you want to knit this coverlet, you will be spending a lot of time with lace weight yarn and 2 mm knitting needles; it isn’t a project that you could expect to complete quickly. But if you do take the time to knit this, the blanket you make would no doubt become a cherished family heirloom.
Rugged Sweater With Medallions
At the opposite extreme, one of my other top favorite projects from this book is a super bulky cowl-neck lace sweater known as the “Rugged Sweater With Medallions”.
I find this to be a truly innovative pattern. There is a reason that the finest, thinnest yarn available is the yarn we call “lace weight”. But forget all that for a moment – because this sweater takes everything you think you know about lace knitting, and challenges all that knowledge. Perhaps you thought fine yarns and fussy little needles were the only acceptable materials to use for lace knitting? Or maybe you thought the only practical use for super bulky yarns is those chunky throws everyone has been going bonkers for lately? Wrong, and wrong, as I was forced to admit when I stopped to carefully study this sweater and its construction.
I admit — normally, it wouldn’t occur to me to knit a sweater with super bulky yarn, unless maybe I were trying to make a coat.
But this sweater made me stop in my tracks and re-think all my own previous assumptions about knitwear.
If you’re in need of warm clothing – perhaps for a winter trip to a cold country like Canada or Norway, or perhaps just to ride out a cold winter at home — this sweater is definitely one you’ll want to consider adding to your project queue. It’s warm, stylish and beautiful.
This pattern was originally designed for use by Norwegian knitters. Thanks to the team at Trafalgar Square Books, the book is now available to a much wider audience. But if you consider the original context in which this pattern was designed – Norway is a cold country. Wintertime temperatures there average somewhere around -44.2 degrees Fahrenheit, although Oslo residents do enjoy much warmer temperatures (with “much warmer” still not being even a little bit warm, at an average of just below 32 degrees). This is definitely a country where warm clothing is needed.
The Norwegians have mastered the art of looking stunning while keeping warm – and this sweater epitomizes the innovative Norwegian style in all its warm, cozy, sophisticated glory.
I really, really want to knit this sweater. And when you see this design, I wouldn’t be surprised if you don’t want to knit it, too (if you’re an adult female knitter with a need for warm clothing).
Having said all that, this super bulky sweater is something of an anomaly, because many of the other patterns in the book are intended for making finer weight projects suitable for springtime, summertime and autumn wear.
Lace Bonanza Tunic
My third favorite project in the book is a top / sweater / dress known as the “Lace Bonanza Tunic”. The suggested yarn for this lovely, feminine garment is a summery, light weight blend of linen, viscose and cotton. This design incorporates multiple lace patterns. The drape is just beautiful, and the garment itself is stunning.
Yoked Lace Knit Dress — Adult-Sized Pattern
If you’d like to knit a spring or summer friendly sleeveless dress, definitely consider this pattern as a possibility. It’s quite beautiful, and it also looks as if it would be an interesting design to knit.
Parisian Pastries Gloves
There’s a delicate, lacy motif adorning the backs of the hands, wrists and arms on these gloves; it resembles the swirling frosting on some small cakes available at Parisian bakeries. These gloves offer you a pretty, feminine way to keep your hands warm on slightly chilly days (These don’t look as if they’d be suitable for protecting your hands from frostbite in a typical Norwegian winter, but they’d be perfect for preventing the bridesmaids from getting chilled fingers at outdoor spring wedding.)
Long One-Piece Lace Baby Bodysuit
Another one of the truly spectacular patterns in this book: A one-piece baby garment that has long sleeves and long legs. If you’re taking your baby to a ski resort or other cold location for a vacation, or if you live in a cold region, this pattern is one you’re likely to find useful. It’s a truly beautiful design featuring an allover repeating lace pattern. It buttons down the front. The tiny recipient of your labors is sure to stay warm, cozy and cute in this pretty, practical garment.
More Knitting Projects Included in This Book:
The projects I mentioned above are my favorites from the book, but they aren’t the only worthwhile ones. I think these projects all have broad appeal. If you’re interested in knitting lace projects for women, children or babies, I think you’re likely to find multiple projects in this book that you’d like to work on. Other patterns included are as follows:
- Lace Knit Washcloth and Hand Towel Patterns
- Bluebell Lace Knit Child’s Hat Pattern
- Dress with Lace Knit Cables
- Sweater with Leafy Lace Knit Vines
- Girl’s Sweater with Lupine Pattern
- Zigzag Pattern Shawl
- Child’s Knit Sweater with Hearts
- Dress for Small Girls
- Socks with Harlequin Pattern
- Pink Baby Blanket with Angel Wings
- Green Baby Blanket with Lily Leaf Pattern
- Knitted Skirt with Lace Edging
- Knitted Pillow Cover with Diamond Syrup Cookie Pattern
- Lace Knit Bookmark
- Lace Top with Scallop Motifs
- Socks with Shell Pattern
- Bolero with Gatsby Waves
- Christening Gown and Hat
- Long Lace Scarf
- Poncho Edged with Faux Cables
- Hat, Scarf, and Mittens
About the 40 Lace Patterns Included in This Book:
I counted 40 different lace patterns that are charted out for you in this book. Some of them are popular historic lace patterns that you might have knitted before, or at least seen before. Others are brand new, original patterns that Denise Samson designed; you’re unlikely to find them anywhere else.
So, if you’re in search of new knitting stitches to try in your own design work, this book is an excellent candidate for consideration. It will give you some brand new, fresh material to work with, plus it will also give you charts for knitting some of the best-beloved lace stitches of all time.
The following types of lace stitch patterns are included in this book:
- Edgings and Panels
- Leaf Patterns
- Diagonal Lace
- Overall Patterns
- Reversible lace patterns
- Twisted Stitch Patterns
Other Topics Covered in This Book
- A brief history of lace knitting
- Knitting Gauge
- Varying Pattern Appearance
- How to Read Lace Knitting Charts
- Correcting Mistakes
Things to Be Aware of Before You Buy This Book
If you don’t enjoy working from charts, but rather prefer written-out text instructions, this book probably isn’t the best choice for you — because you’ll need to refer to the charts to work these projects.
Some of these projects include minor crocheted details. If you don’t know how to crochet already, I invite you to check out our page on how to crochet, for beginners to learn the basic crochet stitches and techniques. If you prefer to learn from books, I offer suggestions on the best crochet books for beginners HERE.
Overall, this book offers you a superior value as compared against many of the other knitting books and crochet books that are currently available. A typical knitting or crochet pattern book from my library features 20 -25 projects and a minimum of technical information. In contrast, this book offers you 30 lace knitting patterns PLUS all the lace knitting charts. The cover price is the same as the cover prices on the other pattern books that have fewer pages and less technical information. That makes this book an exceptional value for anyone who is interested in improving their lace knitting skills; you really get your money’s worth out of this book.
I’m delighted to recommend this book to other lace knitting enthusiasts. I also think this book would be ideal for use by aspiring lace knitters who haven’t yet learned the technique, but want to. Whether you’re interested in knitting existing lace patterns to make finished projects, or designing your own lace knitting projects, either way, you’ll find helpful, relevant and usable information in this book.
Where to Buy This Book:
Find More Excellent Knitting Patterns by Denise Samson
If Lace Knitting looks like a book you’d enjoy, I’m betting you’d also like Denise Samson’s other work. Denise is also the author of my go-to pattern book on the topic of cable knitting. It’s called The Cable Knitter’s Guide, and the format of the book is quite similar to that of Lace Knitting. One of the biggest differentiators between the two books, other than the subject matter, is that The Cable Knitter’s Guide includes some projects that are suitable for guys – which Lace Knitting does not. Both books have the potential to really help you advance your knitting skills, and I think both books are excellent.
Find More Books About Knitting and Crocheting Lace
- 250 Japanese Knitting Stitches is a knitting stitch dictionary that includes some of the most sophisticated cable and lace knitting designs of all time. Many of the stitches in this book incorporate both cables and lace into the same pattern, resulting in intricate, complex and impressive fabrics. Legendary knitting pattern designer, Hitomi Shida, is the author of this book.
- Pineapple Passion is a book about crocheting wearable, lacy pineapple patterns including wraps, sweaters and a delightful skirt. Karen Whooley is the author of this wonderful book.
- Carefree Crochet isn’t exclusively about crocheting lace, but a significant number of the patterns in the book are crochet lace patterns. This book features unique, gorgeous crochet projects that lace enthusiasts are sure to appreciate.
- Delicate Crochet by Sharon Silverman is another book that isn’t specifically intended to be about lace crochet, but many of the patterns in the book do incorporate lace techniques. I contributed 2 patterns to the book, one of which is a pair of lace-trimmed fingerless gloves that I am sooooooo proud of. If crochet lace appeals to you, I invite you to take a look at this book; it includes several of my all-time favorite crochet projects.
- Find more of my picks for the best crochet lace pattern books HERE.
- Click here to find our picks for the best new knitting books in 2023 and beyond.
- Click here to check out our beginner’s guide to knitting needles.
- Find the Most Important Knitting Abbreviations You Need to Know
- Discover the Best Yarn for Knitting and Crocheting
More Craft Pages to Explore:
- Find More of Our Picks for This Year’s Best Craft Books
- Crochet Lace
- Crochet Hooks
- Crochet Patterns
- Lace Knitting
Posted By: Amy Solovay
This page was last updated on 8-4-2023.