Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Aren't my toys nice

I wondered if I would get to this today. It has gotten to be a busy evening.

At my bobbin lace class today I started a test of pattern 3 from Underwood’s Introducing Traditional Bedfordshire Lace in 20 Lessons. The interesting event of the last couple of days was that all of my bobbins were off the pillow. Though some did have thread on them.

I took this opportunity to photograph the various groups of bobbins.

When I first started this class in the summer of 2008 the friend who invited me (one of my sons' Godmother) had made some skewer based bobbins. I know my oldest son still has some of these and hopefully I will find them and present them here.

My first set of “real” bobbins was an anniversary gift from my wife back in 2008; six dozen Lacis 4” hardwood bobbins. I like them but they are too big to fit my Mattson Mora winder. These old hands do not like winding too many bobbins.

I made an order for supplies in September of 2009 and added a dozen of the SMP Traditional Middland bobbins and thought I was set up. But before February of 2010 I decided to go through Underwoods’s Introducing Traditional Bedfordshire Lace in 20 Lessons and knew I would need more bobbins.

In July of 2010 I ordered 200 bobbins from SMP in England. This order included 50 of the Traditional Midlands and 50 of the Fancy Midlands. The remaining 100 are Honiton, but that’s another book and another dream. These turned into another wonderful anniversary (August 21) present.

It took a bit too finally get the 100 midlands spangled, and there were times I thought I might be a bit whelmed. But before Christmas 2010 I found myself in spangling withdrawal and ordered a dozen of the polished beech East Midlands from van Sciver, my favorite supplier.

So that’s 72 Lacis, 62 Traditional Midlands, 50 Fancy Midlands, and 12 Beech East Midlands for a total of 196 bobbins, or 98 pairs.

Ok I also have two commemorative bobbins. One from Hilary Davies' class last November the other was a prize.

Last Christmas season the Lace Guild in England had this fun Advent Calendar where you got hints indicating the location of a particular style of lace, and if you were able to identify the style of lace associated with each and every hint you were entered in a drawing. Two were selected and I have a second commemorative bobbin, Two Turtle Doves.

They are beautiful aren’t they? At some point I started using primarily semiprecious stone beads. And I found that I had more fun if I made two matching spangles at a time as this requires half the thought.

At this point I guess it is time to seriously think about moving up to the next level of bobbins, we have a wonderful local maker, but that is not really a consideration at this time as I might have enough bobbins for my immediate plans.

Pattern3 only takes 18 pairs, and even if I start this Torchon piece I want to do I have more than enough. Its was March of 2009 when I finished my last Torchon piece and I want to make sure I remember the technique plus I have a beautiful Gold Velveteen Roller Pillow by Van-Dieren I received last July. Not only have I not used it I have not shown it to my lace friends. I’ll get into pattern 3 and then start looking at the Torchon.

Monday, February 21, 2011

I have to find more time to make lace

Just a short note to express my joy and my distress.

First the distress, I hope I can make more time for lace making. I spend time studying, but I have little opportunity to actually make lace outside of my class, which due to the child care situation I cannot attended during the summer or the holidays.

I have been wanting to work on several types of lace but some time ago I decided to go through Barbara M Underwood’s Introducing Traditional Bedfordshire Lace in 20 lessons. Lesson 2 has two patterns. Most lessons have one but there are a few with even more.

On top of this I do not just make an ‘L’ to practice a corner I make a square. So I was aware that with the additional number of repetitions and the lack of time I might take a bit to get through the book, but after finishing Pattern 2b I had a frightening discovery.

I finished Pattern 2a on March 3, 2010. Take away the summer and the few weeks I spent on a project from a class with Hilary Davies it still seems unbelievable that I just recently finish Pattern 2b (sewed it up February 19, 2011).

I can’t take 20 years to go through this book, even if I could live that long.

Oh, well, the real problem is that I do not seem to be able to improve my technique this way.

In nearing the end of pattern 2b last week I forced myself to take the time to work up to the last corner and then to complete the project. After a little while I found I could actually develop some speed and I really did get a sense of “throwing bobbins”. So I must find some time, hopefully at least a few times a week to work on my lace.

One thing I did not do for pattern 2b that I have done for other projects is make a few repetitions of the lace, tie it off and make a few more repetitions from above the beginning to allow me to test finishing. Big mistake, I ended up with way too many pairs in one place at the end and used a tied bundle instead of individual sewings and sewing in the ends. I did try to do double sewings and tied them off, but the knots were huge, much larger than the bundle. I was lucky to get the knots out.

I will make at least one practice ending of pattern 3, though given my dislike for how the DMC Tatting Thread (size 80) worked on all the previous patterns from this books I was thinking of using DMC Cordonnet Special Size 100. The book calls for Madeira Tanne 30 and I do have some Madeira Cotona size 30, but I was saving it for more heirloom projects, should I ever get that good.

Well with all it inconsistency and bunny eared picots here is pattern 2b.

The first couple of repetitions have leaves as I first learned them from books and a couple of web videos, followed by the majority learned after watching a Christine Springett video. And the last legs after Hilary Davies worked with me. Still very inconsistent but at least a few are getting fat, and mostly tapper in both directions.

Oh the worst is finding that with some of your picot you have caught another pin. So unlike Barbara says, I am working on the back, for now at least.

Oh, and how did I pick the size to make pattern 2b. I had made what I thought were an adequate number of repetitions to practice in pattern 1, also a square. Pattern 2b fits around pattern 1.

Pat T.