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Beaded Lace Knitting: Techniques and 25 Beaded Lace Designs for Shawls, Scarves, and More is a brand new book out by my friend, Anniken Allis. Anniken resides in the UK, so her fantastic book has only recently become available in the United States. Anniken was kind enough to “stop by” and answer some questions about her new book.
When did you start knitting?
I started knitting at a very young age. I don’t actually remember learning to knit or how old I was when I learnt. My Mum taught me but she doesn’t remember either. She says I just picked it up. She was knitting all the time and my grandmothers were both into various handiwork like knitting, crochet and embroidery, so I think I was just surrounded by knitters and at some point picked it up.
The projects in your book are stunning! Do you have a favorite?
That’s really difficult. Everytime I look through it I pick a different favourite. But I think my all time favourite is Catalina. I love the lace pattern and I love the Bijou Basin Ranch yarn I knitted it with. And the beads were perfect for the yarn. I knitted Catalina for the book proposal and it was just the perfect marriage of lace pattern, yarn and beads.
Personal note from Lindsey: I love Bijou Basin Ranch yarn too! It’s what I used for both my Smock Mill Hat and Beyond Basketweave Fingerless Glove designs.
I love all the step-by-step tutorials in the book. Do you think people are initially hesitant to try knitting with beads? Is there something you personally found harder or trickier to learn?
I think because lace knitting looks impressive many knitters think it’s harder than it actually is. And it’s the same with beads. Some knitters think they have to thread the beads on before they start knitting and when they learn the crochet hook method, they realise how easy and quick it is. Yes it’s a bit fiddly to start with but with practice it gets easier. If you haven’t tried lace knitting or knitting with beads, give it a go. It’s a lot easier than you think. I think it comes down to confidence and being willing to give it a go. If you make a mistake, you can rip out and start again. Just think of it as more knitting time for the same amount of yarn.
Several of the projects in the book are perfect for showing off single skeins of sock yarn, while others are lovely in laceweight. Do you favor one weight of yarn over the other for your personal knitting?
I think if I had to pick one weight of yarn to knit with for the rest of my life, it would be sock/fingering weight yarn. That’s because it’s thick enough to knit sweaters etc but also delicate enough to show off beautiful lace patterns. There is something about a delicate lace weight yarn though. It creates such a light weight, airy shawl. I just think it’s beautiful! I’m not keen on thicker yarns and rarely knit with anything thicker than dk/light worsted.
If you’re used to thicker yarns and find thinner yarns a bit intimidating, don’t worry! I did too. Start with a yarn thinner than what you’re used to knitting with and then gradually go thinner and thinner until you get down to the fine lace weight yarns.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you very much Lindsey for featuring my book. I loved writing the book and designing the patterns. This was my dream book and I’m so grateful that Stackpole Books gave me the opportunity to create this book. I design a lot for magazines and yarn companies, mainly in the UK but also in the US, but I also self-publish. In addition, I run two clubs this year. The Easy Lace Cub is aimed at knitters who are new to lace knitting or more experienced lace knitters who would like a quick and easy project. The club includes a skein of sock yarn, exclusive pattern and extra gift each month plus a copy of my Lace Basics booklet, which is a booklet teaching the basics of lace knitting.
For more experienced lace knitters, there’s the Beads & Lace Club which also includes a skein of yarn, exclusive pattern, beads and extra gift each month as well as a crochet hook in the first parcel. The Beads and Lace Club uses lace weight yarn.
Both clubs run every other month. Easy Lace Club is July, September and November . The Beads & Lace Club is August, October and December. Many knitters sign up for both so they get a surprise parcel each month. Details are on my website and I’m taking sign ups for both clubs now.
This year I’m also running a ‘Mastering Lace Knitting’ Retreat in October. This is my first retreat and it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. The aim of the retreat is to improve your lace knitting skills and confidence whatever your prior skill level is. It’ll be a mix of working on a project (you will be given a choice of lace projects to work on), lessons teaching various aspects of lace knitting such as reading charts, fixing mistakes, provisional cast on, blocking, circular cast ons, knitted on edgings and much more. There will also be time to relax and socialise with the other participants or explore the beautiful Cornish finishing village where the retreat is held.
Thanks to the fine folks at Stackpole, you have a chance to win a copy of Beaded Lace Knitting. Just leave a comment on this post before 11:59 pm Eastern on August 12th with what project you love most from the book. You can see all the projects on Ravelry here. Giveaway is open internationally.
Gillian … But man, that was a hard choice! Everything is gorgeous!
Eden is a cute cowl.
They are all gorgeous but I love Helena.
Helena. I’m a sucker for big lacy shawls even though they take me forever to knit.
Hard to choose just one – I think I’ll pick Leah. I love crescent shawls, tho I may be influenced by the lovely purple the sample is knit in.
I think I like Martha the best but they are all beautiful
Great Interview, nice getting to know the designer.
The Adelaide would be one of my favorites.