Wednesday, October 25, 2006

This Is The Needlelace Thing I'm Doing Now

Firstly, draw design outline onto sturdy brown paper. Put clear contact over it to make it strong. Brown paper is better than others as it's particularly strong. I can scrunch it up while I'm working and it doesn't split like the one I used last time. Also, that's what my Grandma said they used for such types of things and I like her, so....
Next, couch the outlines with double thickness of the colour you'll be working the lace in. I have used 1 strand of pink for the couching (visible easily on the photo of the back... Note: you can see where I drew it wrongly and that's why it's the back and not the front so don't be confused by the pen marks).

The couching holds the shape in place and the shapes you put there will end up being what you get. Which needs to be considered if you go wonky.

Now, stitch across and back etc., catching the edges at each side. Easy! It truly is.

When you've put the structures in, take the couching off. This takes ages and is really boring!
I have folded over the excess border fabric to get it out of the way.

You don't need to use a fabric border for support. It can simply be a border of lace. I'd probably make it thicker. Look at some books. The library isn't a heap of help but you never know. One of the best ever books for pictures (no instructions) is 'Lace, History and Fashion' by Anne Kraatz, published by Thames and Hudson.
Ask if you want some help, but give it a go, it IS easy. I know I always say that but I'm not kidding.

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Beginning Of A Beautiful Thing

For my new to-be grandaughter. I've not long started. Last time, that is, for my darling first ever grandbaby Jaden... I started his Wagga whilst Ruby was pregnant, intending to have it made for his birth (April)... then for his first Christmas, then his first birthday. Finally I gave it to him not long before he turned 6! I'd be desperately ashamed if I didn't know there are more like me out there. Yes?
This one for my newest little blossom (to be) is different than Jadey's in as much as will be a whole cloth blanket rather than a patched one. I havn't taken photo's of Jadey's Wagga yet but will.
The drawing shown is a shonky photograph I have doctored and doctored to make it visible for you. It's from my pocket sketch book, drawn lightly in pencil and faded almost away, but you can see my intention... that is to have a spiral of flowers, bees and butterflies. The flower shown is the central one. I should have cropped it square so you could see the whole design, but then you wouldn't see the butterfly and it's pretty. I copied it (sorry Akira Isogawa whom I love and absolutely admire).
DIRECTIONS: The petals are Ceylon stitch, my favourite. Inside this is a row of parallel Bullions. Inside this are two Detached Buttonhole thingies that stand up. Then a Sticky Up thing with three Bullions on top. It's a bit hard to explain! The Bee is made up with Knots and the wings are Detached Buttonhole. I havn't stitched the Feelie Bits yet, but they'll be in Whipped Backstitch.
Updates pending. Problem is, and I repeat myself... but my Dearest and Nearest is allergic to wool so my stitching time is limited.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

I've Always Thought I'd Make Lace In My Old Age...

...but with my eyesight beginning to need assistance, I thought I'd better not leave it any longer.
I met a woman, many years ago now... Jean Goldberg. Jean made lace and taught the same. Her specialty was needlelace, which is the one that appeals to me. I watched her, or rather, saw a piece she was working on, and was able to determine how to about it. I tucked it (the plan and the knowlege) away for another day. She also gave me a magnificent book on the topic, which I pored over and read from cover to cover. Well, from cover until I was a bit over it...
Interesting history, lace. For example, techniques such as Broderie Anglaise and Irish Crochet were developed because it was ILLEGAL for commoners to wear lace! So we, the people, found a way to emulate it without risking whatever the punishment might have been. In one European country (I'd have to look up which one) it was a hangable offence to emmigrate if you were an artisan, and to take your knowlege over the border. Treason, apparently.
The figures are quite traditional. Or, using figures is. Perhaps having conjoined twin bunnies is not traditional, although now that I sit and write about it, many fanciful figures such as mermaids and monsters were common in ancient pieces, so even there I'm inadvertantly following tradition. Ha! Never thought of that.
My one true love doesn't like them at all. It's the fluro yellow thread, which clashes with the soft browns and pinks. And it does clash uncomfortably, but that's what I really wanted to do, clash. And for some reason I had to use that colour. I didn't want it to be right.
Any psychoanalysts out there? Feel free to tell me... I can take it.
He has a point, but they're not finished yet and I can see the vision splendid.
I have another one on the go, and have taken some pics, so I can show you how it's done. Perhaps tomorrow. Have to have something for tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Hello All You People Of The World! Hello!

It's not that I've stopped working on my many embroideries, but I havn't finished anything and... hate to sound egotistical and clandestine, but some of it is top secret!

APART FROM WHICH, Ruby's baby's blanket is in full swing and I've just started taking it to work, and I'm absolutely more than happy to share and I will take some photo's I will I will..

So what if it (the cashmere, the mohair) makes my uniform all fluffy? Who cares if I take up half the lunch room table? Most of the lunch room table. ALL of the lunch room table.

The biggest problem is... well, the biggest problems are: My beloved honey bunch and one true love is allergic to wool and therefore I cannot work on it at home. Not if I want him to be happy, and I do want him to be happy because then I'm happy. And I need to have all of my shortlisted colours available to me to be able to choose the correct shades for each next flower or bee or butterfly. So I must either: Choose in the dark, uninviting, lonely back room at home, safe from sniffling noses and watering eyes, and take the few neccesaries with me to work...

OR... take it all to work and stitch on the train, risking the inflicting of the aforementioned fluffiness or allergicnesses on unsuspecting and beautifully dressed (and deleberately fluff free)office type workers, then stitch some more at work.

Our lunch room is so tiny, I couldn't possibly spread the rug and all of the wools out in order to figure out colours. Besides, there's the shyness and the hating to bring attention to myself, which, being an adult I manage to ignore, uncomfortably... I don't care if my uniform is fluffy but I can't make that decision for everyone else can I? Or can I? Is the quest greater than the risk? More noble?

I could take a sheet to spread out in the changing room where I might lay everything out and choose my colours, thus avioding some of the congestion. OR, I could provide free 'brush-downs' to the staff, myself included, or I could buy my one true love some anti-thingamies...

It's the price we all have to pay for our art. It's not as simple as it seems. Sewing at work means one is the delegated button-sewing-back-on person, which is fine if they don't mind fluro yellow or gentle, pretty, pink gloss-mohair.