Thursday, October 08, 2009
WHAT DID SHE CALL ME?
As my regular readers will attest, I am incredibly fond of buying things. I reserve a greater fondness still for buying books. One of the few things I like more than buying books is knitting lace. And one of the things I like doing most of all is buying books on knitting lace. This, however, is a rare sort of treat, as good books on lace are few and far between. I have only a couple books devoted solely to lace. (I am still looking for an affordable copy of Gladys Amedro's Shetland Lace. Myfanwe refuses to let me spend that kind of money on a used knitting book. But please don't judge her. She's a muggle. She just doesn't understand. )
I recently -- ok, today on my lunch hour -- purchased a copy of Marrianne Kinzel's 1953 book, First Book of Modern Knitting, which has a few interesting patterns. I've already read all of the substantive text and the line by line of a couple of the patterns.
What did I think? Well, it's mostly stuff I would never make -- doilies and tea cloths, each knit out of crochet cotton, starched, then blocked withing an inch of its life. But her technique is good, and her method of blocking is interesting. And I'm thinking that the same pattern for a 64" square tablecloth, knit in a drapey alpaca or silk blend, would be a wicked shawl! And who knows. I might find it in me to knit a doily or two some day. They look to be quick and would make lovely gifts for the 80 year old women on my gift list. (Wait. I'm the only 80 year old woman on my gift list. Hmm.)
The book is a little anachronistic. It was written for housewives. Housewives in the 1950's. Kinzel's stated aim was "...to inspire the needlewoman of to-day [sic] to take up, in a new fashion, the old and fascinating art of lace knitting which enjoyed a tremendous popularity in the 18th & 19th century." (I'm not imagining it, am I? She did just call me a needlewoman, didn't she?)
The dedication of the book reads thusly: "A Dedication to ENGLAND, refuge through centuries of the persecuted, the proscribed, the people without a country, where my husband and I sought haven in exile and found most happily a welcome, a country, and a home."
I don't know where she was from originally, but I'm willing to bet it wasn't Ireland.