Lace from the Attic – A Book Review

There are so many aspects of knitting to love. Traditional knit and purl stitches create beautiful knitting projects; cable stitches bring out your expertise in afghans or sweaters; dropped stitches add to whatever you’re knitting in wavy rows, and ribbing and edgings are so versatile that you never have to knit the same one twice.

Then there is gossamer. I love that word. Back in the day I loved the music of Joni Mitchell. I still do, but don’t play it much it anymore. Somewhere in between “Morning Morgantown” and “Michael from Mountains” there is that word gossamer. Joni’s words drifted forth all flimsy and sheer; silky and light. The smallest puff and they were gone.

Purple puffs gossamer

It can be like that with your knitting, too! We call it lace knitting, or openwork knitting. It always looks beautiful and intricate and oh, so difficult! But, here’s a little knitting secret . . . it’s not hard at all! In my previous post, “5 Not-to-be-Missed Knitting Stitches”,  you’ll see what I’m talking about. Little additions to your rows such as those “yarnovers” and “k2togs” are what make the openwork appear in the pattern. Usually rows are all different, but the pattern is repeatable and if done enough times, also rememberable. (Is that a word?)

One of my favorite places to find absolutely sublime, gossamer lace patterns is in a little book entitled “Lace from the Attic” by Nancie Wiseman. Nancie has created patterns that were found in a notebook in the attic of a knitter, Blanche Beau. Blanche was born in 1875 and died in 1966. Many of her possessions where found in the attic and rather than turned into the trash bin, they were rescued and eventually made their way into the hands of Nancie Wiseman.

Captured in these 96 pages are beautiful patterns that Ms. Wiseman makes it easy to follow. She gives you all of the up-front information, such as what you need to know about tools and techniques, with many tips thrown in for good measure. Then there are the patterns! With names such as “Hearth and Home Lace”, “Fairy Lace”, “Vine Lace”, “Leaf Point Apron Lace”, “Heart Lace #2”,  “Combination Lace”, and the one I used for this beautiful scarf pattern, “Mrs. Demming’s Lace”.

Nancie makes it easy for the beginner as well as the more seasoned knitter to understand all you need to know to create your own beautiful lace patterns! I can’t share any patterns due to copyright laws, but I have given you the link to purchase this little beauty of a book! In these two pictures of my Gossamer Morning Scarf, you can see how the patterns is effusive and all-around; weaving in and out of the ripples and would-be cables; pure gossamer indeed!

White lace scarfAs you can see in my scarf pictures here, knitting lace is VERY do-able!

lacy scarf gossamerIf you can knit and purl, if you can yarnover and knit two together, then you can also create patterns just like this one! If you can follow along on a pattern, then this scarf pattern can be yours, too!  Your family and friends will rave! They will never know how easy it really is!

Lace knitting benefits from soft yarn types, such as mohair or even a very soft acrylic such as Caron’s Simply Soft yarn. A classic white or another solid color will play off the “intricacy” of the pattern perfectly!

Exquisite needlework techniques like these are often forgotten about, or laid by the wayside, where they reside in knitting obscurity. Fortunately for us, Nancie Wiseman has included them in her beautiful book, Lace from the Attic!

Be sure to check out the “carousel” below for more of Nancie Wiseman’s knitting books and DVD. If you’ve never tried lace knitting up til now, why not give it a try? I recommend you won’t be disappointed! In fact, you will be very happy!

As always, take your knitting to heart!



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