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.


Lynne said...

Wow! looks like a lovely book.

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