Winter before last, I designed and knitted an afghan based on one of spinner/knitter/adventurer Dorothy Reade's original lace patterns. Now the afghan has come home, accompanied by the book for which it was knitted, Successful Lace Knitting: Celebrating the Work of Dorothy Reade, by Donna Druchunas (published a few weeks ago by Martingale).
Of course, as soon as it was finished the afghan went off to the publisher's offices, where it has been present through editing, photography, and layout. Two winters have passed without my being able to use it (in other words, to put it through its final test: does it work as an afghan? although it felt great and I was confident it would). Now, as summer appears, it returns. I thought I'd need to wait until next winter to give it a real test.
Not so! We are having a cold, wet week, with snow predicted (but, fortunately, not seen). So last night I put the afghan on my bed, snuggled under it, and went to sleep. It works perfectly.
Dorothy Reade, who was involved with the founding of the Oomingmak Co-operative and is briefly discussed in Donna's Arctic Lace, was an inventive knitter and researcher who, among other things, contributed stitch patterns to Barbara Walker's well-known treasuries. The first part of Donna's book discusses Dorothy Reade's life and legacy. The second part includes a collection of designs based on Reade's original lace patterns.
This was originally going to be a Nomad Press book, and I wish Nomad had been able to publish it. When I saw the wonderful finished projects arriving from the designers, however, I knew the book needed to have extensive color printing to do the work justice and Donna and I worked together to find it another publisher who could provide that.
So it has been interesting to watch its progress from afar, and I'm delighted to see that information on Reade's life is now available.
Here are the twenty-five lace patterns:
The stitch pattern marked with the red arrow is Filigree Diamonds, the one I worked with for the afghan.
Here's the afghan, home again, with part of its presentation in the
book, including the photograph with the model.
The afghan arrived with souvenirs of its travels, including a tracking sheet for photography:
And another marker to be sure it wasn't photographed from the back (although the afghan doesn't care which way it's used, the pattern shows up as intended when it's seen from the front):
Before I shipped it off, I made and sewed a label onto the back (written with indelible marker on a piece of old sheet):
I wanted to be sure the afghan returned home. The label also carried a couple of pieces of information to assist the people who were working with it. It indicated the wrong side (as did the paper tag they safety-pinned to it) and, for the tech editor, showed which were the cast-on and bind-off edges, which are easy enough to determine (especially on laces), but it speeds the work to have the information supplied.
Anyway, the afghan's back. I love it. I would not otherwise have used this bulky a yarn—I tend to knit at finer gauges—nor would I have made myself a blanket-type object. (The closest I've gotten before was designing three baby blankets for Debbie Macomber's collection for Leisure Arts called The Shop on Blossom Street. The yarn, by the way, is Brown Sheep Burly Spun.)
Thanks to Dorothy Reade and Donna Druchunas, I was able to leave my routine and discover new territory. If you find and read the book (maybe knit one or more of its projects), I think the experience will do the same for you.