Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this collection from F+W. All opinions are my own.
Andrea Jurgrau brings a unique approach to this new lace exploration book--a journey through lace from the perspective of mountain climbing!
I was doubtful at first--I've done a few modest hikes in my day, but nothing that required any more equipment than a sturdy pair of shoes. As a theme for the book though, it works well, no mountain climbing knowledge required. The patterns become progressively more complex as you work your way through, adding new skills with each project.
Andrea wants to make sure you're prepared for this adventure, so she starts off with several preparation chapters, explaining all the materials you'll need to make stunning shawls of your own--from yarn to beads to blocking wires--and reviewing the techniques you'll be using to complete your journey.
Then, it's on to the meat of this volume: the climbs. We start with "Hikes, Treks and Moderate Climbs," which includes some simpler lacy accessories: cowls, scarves and hats to get you started on your journey--a nice introduction to lace if you're a novice lace knitter.
The Machu Picchu Beanie, worked from the crown down, mixes some simple lace with stripes and would make a great project for mini skeins--the pattern calls for Madelinetosh Unicorn Tails, and you could really make this project your own by playing with color.
However, a minor oversight in this collection is the lack of different sizes for these accessories--while there's generally no need for shawls to come in multiple sizes, it's disappointing that these hat, sock and fingerless mitt patterns include only one size.
The next set of patterns represents the Seven Summits, the tallest peaks on each continent. Seven beautiful, detailed lacy and beaded shawls in different shapes and sizes to exercise your knitting skills.
These are true lace shawls, all using laceweight yarn, creating airy pieces dotted with subtle beads. Of course, if you're not a bead person, you could leave them out--but I personally found them to be very tastefully used in these projects, not overdone and showy. I might be a beading convert!
The Persian Sunrise Shawl is a traditional triangle shape with subtle beads adding a hint of shimmer.
The African Violet Shawl makes beautiful use of an ombre yarn for a stunning accessory with a unique shape.
The Indiecita Shawl includes directions for commercial yarn as well as handspun, and looks beautiful in both!
The final chapter of her book is dedicated to an in-depth study of the geometry (eek!) behind triangular-shaped shawls. Exploring the different triangle shapes and ways to achieve them, as well as providing 2 additional shawl patterns, this chapter might be of particular interest to knitters interested in shaping and designing their own shawls.
If you are a shawl knitter, or an aspiring shawl knitter, I would definitely take a peek (peak? Haha, so punny!) at this book. The shawl designs are unique, and it's obvious that a great deal of care and attention to detail went into creating the shawls as well as the patterns themselves.
Even if you have only a couple simple lace projects under your belt, Andrea has taken the time to fully explain the techniques you'll need to tackle these projects, so don't be scared off!
And I think knitting all of the Seven Summits shawls would be a fun challenge!
This book retails for $24.99 and is available from the Interweave store (where it's on sale!).
All photos courtesy of Interweave/F+W
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