Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Haapsalu Shawl Book Review

Last month I had my birthday, 35th actually, and as I do every year I buy myself something I really want. This year it was the book The Haapsalu shawl: a knitted lace tradition from Estonia by Siiri Reimann and Aime Edasi. I bought the book from and it cost me $67 Australian at the time of purchase. They were very quick with delivery being just two weeks. My book was very well wrapped and secured in a cardboard frame of sorts to minimise any damage during transit. I was expecting it to take about three weeks so when my delivery guy turned up with a parcel I had an odd expression on my face, until I saw the foreign writing on it and squee'd, much to my delivery mans delight :) He knew there and then it was knitting related, haha.

The Haapsalu Shawl
This book is well designed, the layout is crisp, clear and beautifully presented with stitch binding.
The book is large, measuring 25cm x 32.5cm (breaking library rules here :), it has 183 pages.
It starts with a page on Haapsalu itself before the contents pages, which are clearly sorted into pattern types which includes:
Stitch patterns, Lily of the Valley patterns, Pasqueflower patterns, Leaf patterns, Twig patterns, Peacock Tail patterns, Paw patterns, Head of Grain patterns, Butterfly patterns, Diamond patterns and Named patterns with 3 additional pages of Lace Edge patterns.

The book then goes into the History of the Haapsalu Shawl which is informative and very interesting. The pictures I found delightful. I enjoyed reading about Master knitters and how the knitting societies survived wars and where they are heading today. The local High School teaches knitting as part of the curriculum!
Teaching the traditions of the shawl is passed down through the generations, rarely were they written down, they just remembered the lace patterns or picked up a piece and studied it to replicate...heck I want this skill :) I can't remember what I did 5 mins ago let alone a whole shawl of lace.
There are pages on yarns, tools and what makes a haapsalu shawl, how to calculate for edgings how to join to center section (sewing) and of course blocking. I LOVE the way they block and plan on adopting this method, no more freaking pins!
The stitch guide is clear and easy to understand.

Not only does each pattern have its own page with a photo but on several of the accompanying pages it has the history of the shawl the lace pattern was used in (see photo below), again with pictures. It shows you the repeat of the pattern, its up to you how many repeats you want to do, therefore how many stitches you cast on.
This is not a book of shawl patterns, but rather the lace patterns used to make the traditional haapsalu shawls.

This picture shows the pattern used on the right and a shawl knit using this pattern, Queen Sofia Shawl (Queen of Spain), giving a brief history of why it was knit, by whom it was knit and history of the design itself.

I love knitting lace, so for me, this book was well worth the money and will pay for itself in no time at all and is a fabulous resource book for those who love to knit lace.

WARNING: If you do order this book be prepared for the postage, which is more than the book at 25 EUR, this book itself is 19 EUR.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Education System Gone Mad.

Not only do schools specialise in Performing Arts, Sport or Technology, they now specialise in what learning issues they will take on : Autism, Reading, Behavioral etc
It's a bloody joke! It should not be this hard to find my son a school that can handle his education. His current one "oh we don't do dyslexic kids", this after promising to get funding 3 times. What a waste of Year 7, a waste of his education, and his already crumbling confidence. Because he doesn't have any "tags" to his name it makes it even harder. We just say he is under the dyslexic umbrella to get a look in. Education Dept can't even tell you which school has what programs, no idea what they actually do then. Anyone??
The $600 I've just spent on getting an updated psychological report the school wanted....I had to ask the counselor 3 freaking times to take a photocopy of it. Seriously, I had to ask her how she would know what it was about if she didn't read it..I was told its ok dear I see these things often. WTF?!?

No way lady! The look on my face must have said it all, the third time I said it, it was not a request but a outright demand before she finally got a copy. Next week they have slotted me in for a 30 minute meeting with the welfare officer, who proclaimed he knew nothing about E then babbled like a headless chook when I said that was odd since I personally handed him a copy of his previous reports, the counselor and deputy principal (who was the one who promised 3 times he'd get onto the paperwork for funding for E to have aides). The welfare officer has also informed me that they do not get funding for children under the dyslexic umbrella...huh? Oh but they do for children with behavioral problems. Thanks asshat, but my kid doesn't have behavioral problems, which you would know if you read the reports I handed you, duh!
I've just rung two school this morning to see about their programs and IF E would be better off at their school, first one took my name and number because she didn't know *stunned*, the second was more proficient and again took name and number so she could get the appropriate person to phone me. So now I am waiting on two schools to return my calls.
If anyone out there reading this has any idea how to go about finding information on schools who can handle children with learning issues (our case being communication, reading, writing etc), please inform me. I have been jumping through school hoops for 7 years with little information being given to me. Any and all information I have found I have gained from other ppl or from countless hours searching the internet.
I'm close to pulling him out of school altogether.
Frustrated. Angry. Concerned and feeling verbally abusive of the shitty school system NSW has in place.