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Lace in Legend

May 15, 2012

Editors' Note: We invited Anne Merrow, editor of Yarn and Specialty Fiber eMags, to tell us what's new in the world of eMags.

This photograph captivated a group of knitters to re-create the pattern—which they named the Queen Susan Shawl—without ever seeing the original shawl or even meeting each other. Photograph courtesty of Shetland Museum and Archives.

When it comes to traditions of knitted lace, there are few more storied than Shetland lace shawls. The intricate patterns, the motifs passed down through generations of knitters, the pieces fine enough to draw through a wedding-ring—it sounds as though Shetland shawls come from a knitting wonderland off the coast of Scotland.


In LaceKnits, Interweave’s brand-new eMag, Franklin Habit explores two very different legends about the origins of an icon, one as fanciful as the lace shawls themselves and one decidedly practical. Whatever the source, Habit traces the knitterly spirit of innovation up to contemporary applications: a group of knitters, besotted by a photo in the collection of the Shetland Museum & Archives, came together through the Internet to replicate the shawl’s pattern, without ever meeting each other or seeing the original shawl. The pattern for the Queen Susan Shawl can be found on Ravelry's Heirloom Knitting forum.


Rebecca Blair's Madder Stockings, inspired by an antique Shetland bridal veil. Photo by Harper Point Photography.

Where Shetland shawls might have been adapted from patterns on stockings, Rebecca Blair’s Madder Stockings are inspired by an antique shawl. Created to showcase the beauty of Shetland lace at London’s 1851 Great Exhibition, the Ivory and Madder Bridal Veil featured strips of dyed and natural lace fabric. Blair says, “The veil featured a wide scalloped edging with a zigzagging insertion, which was charted by Sharon Miller for her beautiful book Heirloom Knitting. I split the veil's edging in half for these socks: the scalloped edge became the cuff treatment and the zigzagging insertion travels down the front of the leg and the instep. The mesh pattern on the back of the leg is another Shetland pattern that Miller calls Shetland Bead. The unusual yarn is fine and tightly twisted, yielding a lace fabric that stretches and clings comfortably, and like some of the yarn used to knit the original veil, it was dyed with madder.”



A sampling of unique edgings and inserts from Weldon's Practical Needlework.


Knitted lace—and knitting in general—is a story of innovation and imitation, of finding gems in the work of other knitters and incorporating them into an entirely new design. LaceKnits ends with a sampling of previously unavailable lace-knitting patterns—sweet edgings, dramatic borders, and geometric inserts—presented for the first time in easy-to-follow charts. These designs from the needlework archives are ready to make a splash in your next lace-knitting design.


Happy knitting,


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suzipsews wrote
on Jun 7, 2012 12:42 PM

I am another customer who will never own an iPad and am very disappointed that this eMag is not offered for the PC.  Come on!  I receive eMags with interactive content from other companies, so what is the problem with getting this one?   At the very least, please make the patterns available for PC users.

Your link to Jaime Guthals' response did not work.

on May 24, 2012 11:50 AM

Add me to the list of disappointed readers. I read this article with such excitement - finally, an ebook that I can't live without. But yet, I'm forced to because I don't drink the i-koolaid. I think this was a terrible decision - if you did not want to invest in developing this for the PC audience at the least, you should not have released it. You have too many readers using PC or Android-based devices, that you should develop for them as well.

cbrownlie wrote
on May 20, 2012 3:32 PM

I do use an iPad but before I download a book I need have a question.  How can Ifind the book on the iPad?  I downloaded the book on cables and never found it.  Thanks!

annejlee23 wrote
on May 20, 2012 1:58 PM

Add me to the long - and rapidly growing - list of disappointed "Interweavers" over the misguided decision to make this interesting-sounding emag available on ipad only.

Winja wrote
on May 20, 2012 9:20 AM

Here's the article she intended to link.

I certainly agree that if they are going to alienate most of their customers by limiting it to the iPad, the article should at least mention it.

k4tog wrote
on May 20, 2012 8:14 AM

I tried to go to the link for the PR directors response, but it doesn't work.

amora76 wrote
on May 20, 2012 1:30 AM

I am also very disappointed that it is iPad only. Seems that if only one platform was going to be developed, it should be the one that the most people have - the computer. Yes, I have an android tablet too and it would be nice to have it for that, but the computer is the main thing. :(

What is really sad is nothing is said about iPad *only* until we are all excited about the product and start looking for the link to buy. Maybe you should make a mailing list for iPad owners only and just promote their products there so the rest of us don't have to be so frustrated.

Also, the link to the comments by PR director is not complete and therefore won't work.

LisaD wrote
on May 19, 2012 1:16 PM

pretty darn sad about the IPAD only format of LaceKnits - lost another customer here

maak wrote
on May 19, 2012 10:30 AM

I also think it wasn't a good decision to put this only on ipad. You're really missing a lot of potential customers here. Why are you dissing people who can't afford an ipad? Please at least make the patterns available as PDFs.

maak wrote
on May 19, 2012 10:28 AM

I also think it wasn't a good decision to put this only on ipad. You're really missing a lot of potential customers here. Why are you dissing people who can't afford an ipad? Please at least make the patterns available as PDFs.

Anne Merrow wrote
on May 17, 2012 12:06 PM

The PDF question is a great one. PDFs are terrific for static text, photos, and some links, but the eMags are designed to be interactive and take advantage of all the multimedia possibilities: showing videos right where a technique is explained, popping up detail photos and illustrations, and providing information that just isn't available in a static two-dimensional environment.

PDFs are great, and we make more available in PDF format every day. They just can't do everything that an eMag does, so we make those too.

debbydecker wrote
on May 17, 2012 7:03 AM

IT is not a big deal to publish as a PDF. I will never buy an iPad. Please rethink this publishing decision.

Anne Merrow wrote
on May 16, 2012 2:12 PM

As the editor, I wish this were available for every platform everywhere—I'd love to personally deliver a copy to everyone in the world who wants one!—but it's iPad-only at this time.

Our PR Director, Jaime Guthals, has written a thorough response here:

The landscape for interactive content changes every single day, and we hope it evolves in a way that lets us offer these for more platforms. In the meantime, though, we just couldn't keep building the Flash-based desktop versions. They were a great way to launch the eMag program but they were technically problematic in the extreme, and so are Android-based apps at this time.

MaryR@105 wrote
on May 15, 2012 1:59 PM

i'm quite unhappy to find that LaceKnits is only available for iPads. I'm primarily a lace knitter and that is why I suscribe to Piecework  I don;t own an iPad and never will.  If you can't publish these emags so they are available on a variety of devices (PC, Mac, Nook, Kindle and other e-readers) you will lose customers.  Limiting yourself to one proprietary device is a very poor business decision.

ThereseS@7 wrote
on May 15, 2012 9:06 AM

Will LaceKnits be available for PC eventually? This is quite frustrating for those of us who love lace but don't own iPads.