Which Aemilia Ars book(s) would you recommend FIRST for a beginner?

1.  Geometrical Needlelace in the Style of Aemilia Ars by Margaret Stephens

2.  The three-volume Basic Course (English version) by Bianca Rosa Bellomo, Carla D’Alessandro, and Luisa Monteventi

3.  Bordi by Bianca Rosa Bellomo, Carla D’Alessandro, and Luisa Monteventi and Fiori by "The Aristocratic Ladies' Club"

4.  Something else?

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Replies to This Discussion

I have the Stephens book, and it looks good to me. And she is a member, so you could ask questions direct.

Wow, tough choice. I have all of them. Unless you read Italian well, stick with the English books.

The Stephens book is more limited in terms of range of techniques/motifs because it is only the geometric style, but it is an excellent foundation to learn before moving on to the floral style. Especially if you are new to needle lace in general. Note that on page 17, the knot or Antwerp stitch, that her diagram of how to do the stitch is different than the photograph (and not just because it is the reverse direction). The method shown in the photograph is how I was taught by the ladies who wrote the Italian books you listed. But I've also seen the method shown in the diagram used in other laces such as Halas. Try it both ways and see which one works best for you. Another note: use the cordonnet thread recommendations instead of the perle cotton - it handles, holds up, and looks better than the perle thread. Unless you want the softer, slightly shiny look.

The Basic Course series has both geometric and floral styles. It's a great set and has a variety of patterns and projects. I studied with them in Italy and love their books and think they're wonderful teachers! My recommendation here is to get all three, to have a full range of techniques and ideas (as opposed to just getting book 1). 

There are some differences in the way motifs are taught in the books - for example, in how to make the ovals. So accept the fact that like in so many handwork techniques, there's more than one way to accomplish something. Try them all out and use the one you like best.

Carolyn's advice is very sound!  If you are English speaking - go first with Margaret's book, - and get the basics right first - then you can move on to the other books, and learn different ways of doing the lace.  If you can get a good grounding of the basics, - then the rest will follow more easily.

Thanks to you both!  Carol, which would you start with?  Since I can order the Basic Course from a supplier here in the U.S. (in English), that might be the most accessible.

Carolyn - a very full and useful answer. Thanks.

Carolyn Wetzel said:

Wow, tough choice. I have all of them. Unless you read Italian well, stick with the English books.

The Stephens book is more limited in terms of range of techniques/motifs because it is only the geometric style, but it is an excellent foundation to learn before moving on to the floral style. Especially if you are new to needle lace in general. Note that on page 17, the knot or Antwerp stitch, that her diagram of how to do the stitch is different than the photograph (and not just because it is the reverse direction). The method shown in the photograph is how I was taught by the ladies who wrote the Italian books you listed. But I've also seen the method shown in the diagram used in other laces such as Halas. Try it both ways and see which one works best for you. Another note: use the cordonnet thread recommendations instead of the perle cotton - it handles, holds up, and looks better than the perle thread. Unless you want the softer, slightly shiny look.

The Basic Course series has both geometric and floral styles. It's a great set and has a variety of patterns and projects. I studied with them in Italy and love their books and think they're wonderful teachers! My recommendation here is to get all three, to have a full range of techniques and ideas (as opposed to just getting book 1). 

There are some differences in the way motifs are taught in the books - for example, in how to make the ovals. So accept the fact that like in so many handwork techniques, there's more than one way to accomplish something. Try them all out and use the one you like best.

Basic Course Book 1 is a fine start if that is the easiest for you to get. Enjoy! And please post photos of your progress.

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