Review of Big Yarn, Beautiful Lace Knits


Big Yarn, Beautiful Lace Knits: 20 Shawls Hats, Ponchos, and More in Bulky Yarn

Barbara Benson

Rowman & Littlefield

Stackpole Books

Blurb: Lace gets a whole new look!

Lace has traditionally been knit in finer weight yarns to create airy, delicate designs. But when knit in bulky yarns, lace becomes bold, graphic, and dramatic. Working with thicker yarns also makes the projects move along more quickly and the lace repeats shorter, so it’s easy to learn new stitches and techniques. For those new to bulky yarns, Barbara Benson shows you how these yarns work best in lace designs and provides tips and tricks for reading and executing lace patterns.

Then you are ready to knit any of the 20 patterns for beautiful lacy shawls, mitts, hats, cowls, blankets, and more. Gorgeous photography by Gale Zucker shows the pieces to their full, stunning effect. Get those big needles and chunky yarn ready to roll!


I love knitting lace. For a knitter, it’s like taking your game to the next level, learning new stitches and creating a beautiful object. Not to mention that it’s fun and frequently a challenge. However, the yarn has always been thin. “Real” lace uses extremely thin yarn to make delicate, gossamer-like creations. Fingering weight and sock yarn, especially after the rise of indie-dyed sock yarn, have also been used.

The problem for me is that while I love knitting lace, I’m a slowish knitter. And, lace takes a lot of attention. It’s not the kind of thing you can easily do while reading a book or watching TV. These things are why I was excited to see a book like Barbara Benson’s Big Yarn, Beautiful Lace Knits. Big yarn in beautiful motifs makes for quick knits and makes me happy.

The patterns run the gamut from ponchos, shawls, scarves, hats and more. There is something for every knitter here…well…except for socks, for the obvious reason. The end results look very attractive and very wearable. I’m especially infatuated with the “Asymmetical Balance” scarf and several of the hats, especially the slouchy one that looks so stylish.

One frustration for me with many of the patterns is how they’re laid out. I am not a very good knitter (read: patient instead of good) from a chart and love written instructions. Typically written instructions fall under “instructions.” Here they are at the beginning of the pattern under “stitch guide” and then the “instructions” refer to them, which I found confusing as I read the pattern. So, yes, there are written instructions; they’re just not offered in a linear manner. (I think people are trying to convince me that I need to start using charts.)

Regardless, I love this book and the opportunity to knit lovely lace patterns with big yarn. That’s all win-win for this knitter!

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

rating: 4-and-a-half

4 butterflies and a ladybug out of 5 butterflies

9 thoughts on “Review of Big Yarn, Beautiful Lace Knits

  1. It has been years since I picked up a knitting or crochet needle and it makes me sad because I almost can’t do it at all any more. Any more than about 20 minutes and my wrist goes wonky and ends up hurting for days (or it did the last couple of times I tried, and now I’m afraid to try again). I used to do both all the time.

    1. There are some nice wrist supports for carpal tunnel. Have you tried them?
      I do understand. I started a shawl earlier this year (unfortunately set aside because I don’t know how to manage time very well) and I was so into it that my tendons were like: oh, you forgot we existed but here we are…is that enough pain for you? But for me it wasn’t chronic, just a reminder of things I haven’t used.
      I can’t crochet. I want to. I think with all of the youtube videos that I could probably learn.

      1. I didn’t have the supports at the time, but I do now, so maybe I’ll think about trying it again. It really doesn’t take much to get it to flare up. Even if I’m not careful about how I’m holding my tablet to read, it flares. Gotta say, there are just some aspects of getting older that really suck and I’m not quite that old yet!

        I learned crochet first, so I’m a little bit biased towards that, but there are things you can do better with knitting, those seem to be the more practical things rather than the crafty types. I never did as much with it, though. The last piece, a flared sleeve shrug, I did actually combined both.

      2. Like you, I held my table for far too long a couple of years back and had the worst pain in my thumb joint. I did get a support and it helped…but so did repositioning the table. Book blogger issues. 😀

      3. I figured! Isn’t it fun how you can look back at something and see something like that and think “How in the hell did I miss THAT?” I do it all the time.

      4. Yep. Moving too quickly. Gotta slow down. My brain also types some interesting mistakes these days…at least that was one where the letter just fell off before I it send. ha

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