Crocheted Lace Book Review
I just finished reading the book Crocheted Lace: Techniques, Patterns, and Projects by Pauline Turner. I didn’t read every line of the patterns, but I did look many of them over and read all the non-pattern information. I like this book a lot.
As is pretty obvious by now, I like making lace. I am not accomplished or even particularly competent with lace crochet, but I do crochet and have done a bit of simple crocheted filet. I have read maybe one or two books about crochet and have read about crochet in many multi-needle-craft books, so I’m not a complete novice, but my inexperience should be considered in evaluating the value of this review. I picked this book up because it looked to have a good section on motifs (it does!) and I find myself most interested in that approach lately.
OK, now that my disclosure’s done, the best part of this book is the information about the history of crochet in the beginning. She contends that it is the youngest of the textile arts, beginning sometime in the 19th century and somewhere in Europe. I do wish she had sources listed; that is one my main criticism of the book. I was interested to learn that old crochet hooks did not have a straight shaft, but rather a tapered one, so the point at which you stop the loop’s slide up the hook is what controlled its size. What a great way to increase the usefulness of a tool (although it also makes consistent tension more difficult).
Another good thing about this book is the wealth of very detailed technique information — things like the angle of the hook, how to join motifs, how to attach an edging to a tightly woven fabric. The section on Irish crochet and hairpin lace was a little small for me, but she says flatly that the topics are too extensive to be covered, so I can forgive it. I did enjoy her brief discussion of the development over time of ways to pad your stitches in Irish crochet.
Of the other reviews I read, the criticism mainly concerned what was left out. Since it is bluntly about thread crochet, and since it gives reasons for covering certain topics only briefly, I think these criticisms are without merit. This is an excellent book for thread crochet technique. It’s not really a pattern book, and only a vague but interesting history book, but it really shines in detailed tips.
This book helped me realize that crochet is still in the process of development and there are quite a few interesting changes still taking place. In all the textile arts that are still practiced development continues, but crochet may be more actively developing than some other traditions. I’m also interested in changes in tatting and (god help us) naalbinding. (I don’t know how to naalbind — have only the vaguest concept of how it’s done.) I hope I can find resources on these that are at least as good as this one.