Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Spring Things

Spring has certainly been in the air here. A chorus of frogs sings in the swamp behind our house every night, trees are budding and blooming, and crocus are popping up in the flower boxes. My thoughts are turning from sweaters and mittens to lighter things. Of course, that process has also been helped by the arrival of this book Haapsalu Shawl (Haapsalu Sall):

Shawl book!

This is a coffee table book devoted to the Estonian knitting tradition unique to the town Haapsalu. The book has a brief historical introduction, an overview of the traditional design of the shawls (with handy explanations for how to plan and attach a separately knit border), and a pattern library of more than 120 stitches. I included a few of my favorite design motifs in the mosaic, but clicking through to the flicker stream will reveal a few more if you're interested.

This isn't a book where patterns are planned out for you. The mathematical formula is demonstrated, and the knitter is expected to use it to adjust for the lace repeat. The idea of knitting a separate border and sewing it on is also rather daunting for a beginning/intermediate knitter... however the instructions make it seem doable, and the results are so fabulous looking!

Also sprinkled throughout the book are women of Haapsalu (artists, writers, leaders) showcased with a quotation about the town and a shawl around their shoulders. Often the lace looks even more stunning as a whole than just one repeat can show, so I'm glad these photos are included, even if the entire directions for these shawls are not spelled out.

If you're interested in this book, Knit Purl of Portland has preorder open for another round of them. When I check several months ago it was possible to buy this book directly from Europe much more cheaply, but I'm not set up to do a European style direct bank transfer, so I sucked it up and paid the big bucks. Just for reference, I also have Knitted Lace of Estonia, and while both books are lovely, they are different enough in technique and stitch patterns for me to justify having both.

There is another review of Haapsalu Sall / Haapsalu Shawl here if you want to see more pictures :) This blogger has the version in Estonian, mine is the one in English.

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