If you are the compulsive or obsessive "must do it perfectly and in order with detailed directions" type of knitter... you will be frustrated with this book. If you already knit lace and LOVE your charted books and patterns, you might want to pass on this one... it probably won't meet your standards. If you are looking for predesigned lace patterns and expect to be told stitch by stitch how to recreate something the author has designed... you'll be disappointed because that is not the purpose of this book.
HOWEVER... if you have wanted to learn to knit lace and found yourself completely overwhelmed and paralyzed by the charts in books and patterns, I strongly encourage you to consider this book. If you'd rather have FUN knitting lace than sweating over every stitch... and frogging more than you knit, I strongly encourage you to consider this book. If you are a rebel at heart and really don't like being told what to do and how to do it, I strongly encourage you to consider this book. If you'd like to understand how lace WORKS... why it does what it does when it does it, I strongly encourage you to consider this book. If you'd like to sit down with nothing other than your needles and yarn and knit lace "without a net," I strongly encourage you to consider this book. If you'd like to learn "Lace Logic" so you can chart and graph your OWN lace patterns, you yourself personally, I strongly encourage you to consider this book.
Most other lace books teach you to read lace by sight... literally. You have to learn what all the symbols mean to even begin to knit lace with most of them. You have to memorize the "words" by rote memory without really understanding why that group of "letters" make those "sounds."
"Crazy Lace" teaches you to read lace by "phonics." You learn what "sounds" each letter (stitch) makes and what "sounds" (textures) they create when you combine them in specific ways, (combination of stitches in a given sequence). Better than that, "Crazy Lace" teaches you to "read" your knitting, and this translates into every aspect of your knitting skills. You learn to visually recognize why something looks the way it does... and how to make it look differently if that wasn't what you wanted it to do.
This book is a WORKbook. This book is a foundational COURSE in knitting lace. Do not let its size fool you. It is not designed to "pick out a pattern," get a prescribed set of tools and materials, and follow a pattern. There is not a lot of text, but every sentence is precious and full of purpose. Let them marinate and savor them. Begin reading it, slowly and deliberately, on page one... with some fingering weight yarn and size 6 (4 mm) or 7 (4.5 mm) needles of your choice close at hand to test out things as you go along... and really DIGEST this information. Make the Sampler Scarf. Try your hand with some freeform Crazy Lace. Cast on some stitches and play with the various shapes in the latter part of the book. Play with the edge embellishments. Study the few charts included to get you started with charted lace knitting.
This book's primary purpose is to teach you to trust yourself to create your own lace; but you'll want to follow other's people's paths sometimes, so you are introduced to charting "language" along the way too.
When you get to the end of the book you will know how to knit lace "without a net" with freeform abandon. You will know how to read a basic beginning charted lace pattern... if you choose to. You will understand the logic of lace such that you can design your own lace patterns and chart them for others to follow. You can do some of each, all in the same project.
In other words, this book will set you free to create lacework in any way you please, and please no one but yourself. At the same time, it provides you with a solid foundation to branch out into more traditional lace knitting and patterns with confidence. You can be as free or as obsessive as you choose to be. You'll feel a whole lot less intimidated by those charts and graphs. You'll be able to look at a lace project and "read it"... and be able to figure out how you might recreate something similar, without a pattern, if you'd like to do that.
Will you learn everything you need to know about lace knitting from this book? No. Will you have a firm, broad, foundation upon which to add new lace knitting skills. Oh yeah, baby! You will.
If all you do is glance through this book and look at the drop-dead gorgeous photos, you may not be particularly impressed. You may even be initially disappointed. If that is your initial response, you've not given it a fair chance and you are short-changing yourself on a marvelous experience in knitting that will benefit all your future knitting projects.
I hope you won't do that. Approached from the direction the book is designed to be used, it is worth far more than the price you will pay for it. Unless you USE the book and the information therein, you cannot possibly appreciate the gift Myra Wood has given the knitting world.
NOTE: I didn't buy this book from Amazon. I got an autographed copy from the author. I took a class from her at the TKGA Conference May 2009 in Portland, OR. I paid a lot more for the class than the cost of this book. Her book wasn't released until Nov 2009. I cannot tell you much more valuable this book is, for me, because there simply was not time for her to cover ALL the material that is in the book in class. I can work through every thing she taught me in the class, at my own pace... and still have SO much left to learn from the book! Personally, this book is a HUGE bargain and I simply cannot recommend it to you highly enough if you are really motivated to learn to knit lace... or if you'd like to expand your lace knitting skills by learning to generate your own lace creations led only by the "logic of lace" and the flow of the fiber.