Thursday, May 26, 2011

Pretty Linens

I went to a local antique store yesterday during my lunch hour on a whim. I found a few nice things. These embroidered napkins will be fun to work with. I love embroidered napkins and tend to buy them at stores like this when they aren't too much. I think I paid $1.25 for this set which is in perfect condition. They will become gift envelopes or gift bags.

Then I found this knotted doily, an example of Armenian Lace or Mediterranean Lace. It's also in excellent condition and only $2 plus 25% off.

Here's a close up. I hoped to get even more of a close up so you could see the way the knots play out. Lovely work!

At the same booth (still 25% off)I found this wonderful drawn-work runner. I did not see the dark spot at the time. It sort of glared at me only when I took the photo! It's starched and pressed so I don't know if I will be able to get the stain out but it's certainly worth trying.

Here's a close up of this one too. The fabric is so fine and it amazes me how the embroiderer was able to work it so precisely. The work itself is perfect so I hope I can get the stain out!

I'm working on a bobbin lace bookmark, the fan one I did at L.A.C.E. last year. I think I understand it better but we'll see once I take it off the pillow. I haven't even taken it out of the bag since Tuesday night. I was so tired last night and took a small nap. Then the weather was so bad, tornado warnings non-stop and almost constant TV coverage as the front passed through. My week has been extra busy too and frankly, I would take a nap right now if I could! I really want to go through the remainder of the storage bins again and be done with them so hopefully the drive home will wake me up!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Here's the finished sample. The square is 4" and I used different threads on each edge to see how they worked up. There's DMC size 20, DMC size 40, Perle Cotton size 8, and 3 strands of white embroidery floss. I guess they are all DMC brand.

My base row of stitching got better with every edge so I don't think that part had anything to do with the thread. Surprisingly, the size 40 was the hardest to work with. It kept knotting up. I ended after 2 points and cut my thread, turned it around and threaded from the other direction. That helped but it was still less manageable than the other threads. I thought maybe the sheen from the perle cotton and the embroidery floss might look nicer but it wasn't all that noticeable.

Of course, to make the edging look its best, you have to do a little math, deciding on how many points, how many spaces between points and stitch your base line accordingly. I was just practicing the stitch so I didn't bother with that. The directions didn't give mention to that either until the end.

So, I could make my points wider by going over 4 or 5 stitches instead of 3 and I could have them closer together. I'm not sure I'd have to have even one space between points. I'm going to hem a few more squares to play with but this time I'll hem them by machine. Much faster! And they are only samples.

Aha! I just found another printout in one of my folders that shows a slightly different way of doing the points but much denser. Hmmmm...will have to try that one!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Here's what kept me up until midnight. My lace guild wants a program or two in needle lace so I'm looking for something very very simple to start off with. This is a Hedebo edging. Hedebo is actually a form of Danish Embroidery. Still, it's considered a form of lace and utilizes needle and thread.

I made up a little 4" fabric square to try it out on. I used size 20 DMC Special Cordonnet on this edge. These are just little triangle points using the same stitch throughout. I'm doing another edge in size 8 perle cotton to see how it looks in contrast and will use other threads on the remaining 2 sides also.

This is very basic. In more advanced samples, there is a lot of cutwork and drawn thread work in addition to the stitching.

Baby steps.......

BTW, hedebo is pronounced hay-tah-bo. I keep saying hee-dee-bo but that's wrong.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I laced this butterfly at the weekend, finishing up on Monday night. I first tried this pattern in 2009 at the L.A.C.E. Lace Day. I think it was the first time I actually learned something other than "cross, twist". Janice Blair taught the class and started at the very beginning - how to dress the pillow, what the tools were, how to wind the bobbins. We used their supplies which were very basic but adequate. She explained pricking and hanging the bobbins. She was actually filling in for the original instructor and she did a wonderful job of it. Sewings were part of this class so I learnt that too. I was able to come home and finish that butterfly and make another one. I actually joined that group as a result of the class. They're 3 hours away so I don't attend, but I do support them. I went to a beginner bobbin lace class sponsored by them last summer and left feeling overwhelmingly confused, but it did inspire me to get started again. The pattern was far more complex than this one and the class was one of a series, obviously a bit beyond me.

Since I've been meeting with Sally, I find myself continually improving, though very slowly since I do tat more than I bobbin lace. So when I came across this pattern in some cleaning, I decided to try it again. The instructions on the paper are sparse compared to what we learned in class but I was so pleased to know I not only remembered everything, I felt much more secure in what I was doing. I know I'm making progress. The final sewing on this came loose and I just now realized it was because I did not knot it afterwards, or not well enough. I used a bigger thread than we did in class so the lacy effect is lost but I'll do it again and it will be better. It's easy to do too. The pattern is from 100 New Bobbin Lace Patterns by Yusai Fukuyama.

So...since the butterfly was done Monday night, I decided to turn my attention to another petal when I met with Sally. Cathy, from our lace group and also the I.O.L.I. librarian stopped by so we pumped her with questions. Years ago, when I first joined this guild, the members were reluctant to teach, for fear of giving out the wrong information. As time has gone on, I think they are more comfortable with at least sharing what they've learned and a few will teach easy classes. That wasn't the purpose of her visit though, but I did ask about wire gimp. She thought what I was using would work. The main purpose is to give the motif shaping capability. I've done that in tatting too but rarely. A really crisp thread is helpful too. For this petal, I used some size 40 Venus. I don't like the way the wire shows up and wonder if I'm not twisting/pinning in the right spot. I'll experiment with the next one. I was able to tension better though it doesn't show here. I didn't smooth it out when I scanned it and it's been moved around so much it doesn't look very good but at the time I first finished it, it was a substantial improvement over the first petal.

I'm not really enjoying the petals and wonder if I shouldn't move on to something else. I think I'll make three or four more though and see how they look together. It's discouraging when it looks bad and it is so simple it should look good. I'm trying not to judge myself so soon but really, it is discouraging.

Til next time......

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

First Petal

This went quickly considering I had to study and study the instructions. It called for "thin fuse-wire gimp" and I have no clue where to find that but I did find some rayon wound wire in my stash and used that. I used Omega size 30 cotton for the thread.

My tension sucks. It took me awhile to remember to tension and it does show.

New things: gimp, adding and throwing out pairs. The flower is made up of five petals. Some are whole stitch and some are half stitch so I'll get to practice both. Glad I decided to go ahead and try this!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Here's the second sample of the fir/fan edging. It looks much better in a finer thread. It might depend on what you're putting it on too. Anyway, this went well for the most part. I understood what I was doing wrong with the first one. This author used a different wording for CTCT. She said WS, tw 1, meaning whole stitch twist 1. It confused me the first time and I settled on twisting only the very last maniupulation of a series. It wasn't until this time that it dawned on me that it was cross twist cross twist. Now I know why I lost one of my workers in the first sample.

I still had to unweave and reweave a few times. As I was very near the end, a thread broke so I moved back far enough to reattach it with a weaver's knot. I wouldn't do that on lace I was going to use on something although it looks okay. I think the knot might come apart if the lace were under the stress of use. Or it would show up. My other problem and it's on the very last fan on the side you can't see, was a long loop. I've figured out it's when the bobbin thread gets caught on a pin and I don't catch it. After the thread broke, I just wanted to finish and even considered stopping where I was but I wanted to see the whole strip finished. It seems to me also that the headside "picots" are consistently uneven. It must be where the pinholes are and if I'm off a shade when pricking, that exaggerates it even more.

I'm really done with this pattern now. I'm still not sure what I'm making next but I think it will be a flower petal.

Speaking of flower petals, here's a crocheted gerbera in progress. I still need to crochet around the petals and add a separate crocheted center. The pattern has beads too but I haven't looked that far. The pdf from CRAFT
Magazine online can be found HERE!

I learned something new in this too. The instructions say to begin with a cast on ring. I googled that term along with "crochet" but got mostly knitting hits. I'm not sure what word I changed but I did find a few links. It's also called the "magic ring". You loop the thread around your fingers and crochet over the loop. Then you pull the tail to close the ring. It did not tell me I needed 6 single crochet but I figured it out. I crocheted for decades before tatting but I've never been very good with crochet diagrams and since I tat more than crochet these days, there are new techniques I need to get up to speed with.

Lots of news about weddings since the Royal Wedding last weekend. I had my wedding dress out after cleaning out some storage recently to take to the cleaners. The bag was supposedly treated to keep it nice, but I guess after 40+ years it's going to show some age. Anyway, now that I've got my car back, I plan to take it along with a winter coat to the cleaners. I was barely 18 when I got married. I wanted to wait but Viet Nam loomed on the horizon and my hunny was due to be drafted so we, with our parents' blessings, got married. I made my dress, including the train which is pictured here and the veil. I didn't know anything about lace then. I knew how to knit and sew but nothing else. I chose this embroidered fabric for the dress jacket and train. The dress itself was a white crepe in the empire waist princess style. The jacket had buttons all the way down the back with fabric loops. I made my mother very nervous by waiting until we were on the way to the church to sew the final buttons on. I loved that lace edging I picked too. Now...knowing the difference between handmade and machine made lace...I wish I'd known how to make lace and made my own wedding lace. But that was then.

I didn't start tatting until after my daughter was married so she didn't benefit either. I was barely tatting when my oldest son got married so they didn't get any tatting but I did embroider a tablecloth and crocheted a lace edging around that. My most recent daughter-in-law got a hanky with a lovely tatted edging so she got that at least.

My oldest granddaughter won't be able to wear my wedding dress. She's taller and bigger than I was back then. I'm not sure anyone will want to since dresses costing hundreds of dollars are sought out now. You never know though.