Book review: Lovely Knitted Lace, by Brooke Nico

Yep, Brooke’s my dear friend. But I’m sure that even if I didn’t already know and love her, I’d be impressed with her brand-new book, Lovely Knitted Lace: A Geometric Approach to Gorgeous Wearables from Lark Crafts (available as of this writing via the link for $12.45). Brooke is a master of lace knitting, and her book presents a selection of beautiful lace patterns, accesssories and garments, with a variety of gauges and styles. It’s a lot of knitting bang for the buck. Let’s take a closer look.

Lovely-Knitted-Lace1 cover

Brooke’s approach to lace in this book is based on geometry: she divides her patterns into four sections based on the fundamental shape used to create the garment: circles, squares, rectangles and triangles. Each chapter starts with a  basic pattern and the patterns then build in complexity. I think a lot of less experienced knitters have the perception that lace is very mysterious and difficult to do — but like all techniques in knitting, it’s built from two basic stitches: knit and purl. And like all techniques in any craft, the more you do it, the better you get. Brooke has done a good job of making lace accessible to less-experienced knitters by including some technical information in the Introduction and first section of the book. Specifically, she discusses how to pick yarns, understanding gauge, and reading charts; walks readers through some cast-ons; explains nupps and how to make them; explains a flexible bind-off; and gives tips on spotting and fixing mistakes. She also includes smaller projects and projects shown in heavier-than-typical yarns to get the fearful knitter started.

Next comes the patterns–and they are gorgeous. The first section is triangles — from a knitter’s perspective, very easy to shape. The first pattern is the Triangle Tulip Shawl, knit from the top down, and Brooke shows how the shawl is essentially two right triangles together. It’s knit in worsted weight yarn, which makes it a nice way for knitters afraid of skinny yarns to plunge right in.

triangle violets 2


Next up is very special to me:  the Flutter Shawl is knit in my own Black Bunny Fibers laceweight yarn!  (There’s a bunch in stock right now at my Art Fire shop in a rainbow of colors, including red.)

flutter triangle

The Flutter shawl is a more narrow triangle, knit side to side.

The Poppy Shawl is knit in Icelandic laceweight yarn Einband, a great yarn for lace because it holds its shape so well. The Poppy Shawl consists of three triangles, and is the kind of shape that will stay on when you wear it.

magenta triangle

And the last design in the triangle section is the Floral Tunic, a top-down raglan constructed from four squared-off triangles.

triangle blue tunic

This is a lovely sweater that would flatter a lot of body types!

Next up is the Rectangles section. For those afraid of shaping, rectangles are the perfect canvas for lace. You can create a scarf or stole and focus on the stitch pattern, without worrying about shaping. The first project in this chapter is a rectangular scarf, knit in a Japanese leaf motif (the fabric is attractive on both sides, a nice bonus for scarves). It’s knit in sock (fingering) weight yarn — and would be a great project for a pretty colorway you have lying around, maybe a super-soft blend that would feel good next to your face.

blue scarf

This generously-sized cable & lace stole has snaps at the ends so you can wear it as a cowl:

red cowl 2

The Posies Wrap is a clever piece that would be perfect for someone who wants to start out slow; it’s mostly stockinette stitch but has an Estonian lace edging.

orange wrap full

There’s also a shawl made with a butterfly-shaped stitch

green butterfly

and a cute bolero:


The circle section contains not only this shawl, knit in Debbie Bliss’s Angel yarn, with its slight halo:

angel shawl triangle

but also includes a capelet that can also be worn as a skirt,

tr violet cir2

and a terrific lace beret:

beret 2 cir

But the showstoppers in this section have to be the Poinsettia Jacket:

poinsetta cir 1

which is created out of an octagon. I’ve seen it in real life and it’s simply gorgeous. Another stunner is the Camellia dolman,

circ white 3

knit from the center out.

Last is the chapter featuring square pieces, like the Dahlia shawl:


and also featuring garments like this flowing Aster top:


the Birch jacket:

birch best

and the Moondance shrug.

moodance 2

The last chapter includes some additional lace motifs that can be used in some of the patterns for alternative looks.

All the usual amenities are included, like charts, schematics and diagrams where necessary, and multiple photographs of each project. Yarn weights vary from worsted to lace weight and a few projects feature two yarns held together. Many of the pieces — stoles, shawls and scarves — are one size, and the garments feature a range of sizes from 34 to 36 on the smalls up through 48 to 52-ish on some of the large/xl sizes.

If you’ve got a lust for lace, then this book is for you. Even if lace isn’t typically your thing, there are some really striking projects in here, including some jackets, tops and wraps that might change your mind.

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