Knitted Lace Designs of Herbert Niebling by Eva Maria Leszner;
Yasmin Syed and Mary Frances Wogec, trans., pub. Lacis, 2009
It's hard to know where to begin discussion of this book. With the history of lace? The astonishing biographical information about Niebling? Technical tips for casting on and blocking? Chart reading support? Fiber recommendations? Or with the large number of people involved in getting this version into print?
I'm going to start with the designs. After all, they're what caught my attention when I first opened the book.
These are what Leszner's introduction calls "ordinary works of knitting," and in many ways she's right. They are produced not with the use of magic or even bobbins, but just plain yarn and knitting needles. But the results are extraordinary. Revealed in this printing's new charts (edited and revised by Mary Frances Wogec) are the methods Niebling used to create the tablecloths pictured in this book. That's right, tablecloths. But they're gorgeous!
There's a certain kind of knitting book I like. Color pictures of modeled garments with striking backdrops. Well laid out instructions featuring interesting constructions and new techniques. Informative text sprinkled with a sense of humor. This is not that kind of book.
The photos are mostly black and white. A couple of the color images are out of focus and depict household items with not a person to be seen. Except for a few notes here and there, all the text is at the beginning of the book. The glory of this book is in the charts.
Each tablecloth is shown in a very clear full-page black and white photo with accompanying charts. The photos are not always on the page facing their charts, but they are clearly labeled with the corresponding page numbers. And the charts themselves are a wealth of information! The symbols are well defined and logically laid out in the shape of the lace. I have yet to knit any of the tablecloths, but I have used Niebling's techniques in several of my original designs.
I sat for hours poring over the pages of this book as soon as I received it. It's a slim volume--less than 100 pages--but packed with information and excellent, thoughtfully-produced charts.
I highly recommend this book for lace enthusiasts, designers, and anyone interested in how knitting works. It's also a wonderful book for anyone who appreciates the beauty of black and white images. There are some amazing pieces herein!
Disclosure: Kangath reviewed her personal copy of Knitted Lace Designs of Herbert Niebling. Kangath was not compensated for the preceding review. All opinions expressed in the review are the blog author's and are not necessarily the opinions of Lacis, Herbert Niebling, or Eva Maria Leszner.
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