[The shawl] was done with a little hook which she manufactured for herself out of the tooth of an old tortoiseshell comb, and she used to go on looping her home-spun wool as quick as fingers could move.
(Memoirs of a Highland Lady, first published in 1898, in Crochet Lace by Mary Konior)
Crochet Lace: an illustrated guide to making crochet lace by Mary Konior is a rare gem. Rare because it was published in 1991 and is now out of print, and it's become a sort of collector's item: it occasionally pops up in some second-hand bookstore for between $150 to $300 (believe me, I've watched the price closely over the last few months, and mentally tried every imaginable justification for this whopping expense). Crochet Lace is a precious collection of historic stitches used to make shawls in Ireland and Great Britain. I found a copy back in December in a US library (hence the poor quality of the photos: wintery indoor light in the Pacific North West is not particularly photo-friendly).
Throughout the book are quotes that illustrate how shawls were a central part of female attire, and how shawl-making was a major women's activity. I found it just after finishing my US shawl, and was immersed in period costume dramas from Netflix (Jane Eyre, Downton Abbey, etc); the combination really hooked me on making and wearing shawls.
Crochet Lace is divided in three parts: an explanation with images and charts of different stitches which the author worked out from vintage shawls or took from the turn-of-the-19th-century Weldon's Practical Needlework, a short introduction to planning your own square, circular or triangular shawl, and a few patterns for shawls and edgings. I found the explanation of doing triangular shawls too brief - I'd have welcomed more instructions on this shape, the one I'm particularly in love with right now.
My first project from the book was the Double Fan and Shell Edging for this shawl, which I was making for a friend.
Then I launched into creating my own diagram, and used the Alternating Fan and Triangle stitch to make this shawl for Melissa, which she wrote about here (a second attempt at making my own diagram was less successful, when I made my Laguna Shawl).
Crochet Lace is a great resource - why should such a precious book be out of print (especially when there are so few crochet books out there)? I hope one day to have my very own copy.