Friday, May 18, 2012

Bobbin Lace Take One

No, that is not a piece of bacon on my 100% silk duvet!  This is my first attempt at bobbin lace making.  After several false starts, and a couple of mistakes that still ended up in the finished product, I was pleased to finally unpin my first sampler...even though the author of the book suggested leaving the finished piece pinned on its pillow for 24 hours.  But she understands how a beginner thinks and gave permission not to wait.

I know, I know, it's not much to look at but all the same, I am quite pleased with it.  After all, it is my very first piece and I'm sure the makers of those gorgeous pieces that have managed to survive for several hundred years worked tirelessly for years before their masterpieces were made.

Did I enjoy the process?  Oh, yeah!  Tedious as it seems, and it is, there's something about watching a thing take shape before ones eyes, shaped by ones hands, that gives a very satisfying experience.  I've already learned a lot by simply working with WS (whole stitch, sometimes called "cloth stitch") and some twists.  For one thing, a suitable table is needed.  Working at the dining room table was not back-friendly.  I think the dining table is too high.  But the ottoman was too low.  I'm wondering if rigging the pillow to one of those floor embroidery stands might do the trick?

Here's a close up of the first variation of practice ... the vertical twist.  You can see I missed a twist on my yellow thread path!

Working the Sampler, I understood why the author suggested the beginner to use a different color of thread for each bobbin pair.  It's much easier to keep track of threads and they can get mixed up when pushing them out of the way of the next pair to work.  The bobbins included in the starter kit are not "spangled" and have no holes for spangling.  Spangles are  beaded rings at the bottom of bobbins and each pair has identical spangles, but no two pairs have the same spangling.  When making lace using the same color thread for all paths, you need something to know which threads are paired.  I'm thinking of different ways to "spangle" my bobbins without drilling holes at the bottom.  I wonder if the ink of Sharpies is permanent on wood?

Here's what a horizontal twist looks like.  The Sampler called for incremental increase, then decrease, in the number of twists.  All twists were to be worked right over left and it can get a bit confusing, especially when the working pair was in my left hand.  Needless to say, I had to unwind and unweave on more than one occasion.

Keeping the right amount of tension is important, just like any fiber art, and it's definitely something that is going to take a lot more practice to master.  At least my years of crochet and macrame have driven home the concept, I just need to find my groove for tension when making lace.

Bobbin Lace Sampler #2 ... here I come!  That is, if I'm keep myself from being distracted by the pretty yarns I've just purchased and are screaming my name.

Have a lovely weekend, folks!  I'll be on the back of a horse tomorrow afternoon for my first official "lesson" in horseback riding.  It'll be far from my first time on a horse, but I decided that, at my age, I really should get some proper lessons in how to handle those amazing creatures.

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