Monday, December 18, 2006

cross and twist

We went to another meeting of the New England Lace Group this weekend. There was a gift exchange, where we gave a spangled bobbin decorated with one of Scott's glass beads, accented with sterling silver and iridescent seed beads. I didn't take a picture of the bobbin we made, but you can see examples of spangled bobbins here. Spangled just means it has a loop of beads on the end, to help keep the bobbins from rolling and getting mixed up. In the gift exchange, Leah received a package of DMC metallic embroidery floss. She is excited about using these pretty colors in shimmering snowflake/star lace or maybe some lace hearts or easter eggs.

The pretty snowflake below was a work in progress by one of the members of the lace group. It's a teensy little project and she said it's challenging to work in such a tight space, but we marveled at the delicate results. The sparkle of the silver and blue metallic threads is lost in this image, but believe me when I tell you it's very, very pretty.

I'm not learning lacemaking with Leah, but I do overhear the discussions and try to help her figure out problems as she's working on her lace. Most interesting to me was the realization that all the lace we've ever seen is made up of two movements, cross and twist, similar to how all knitting is made up of two stitches, knit and purl.

Here's a picture of Leah's most recent lace project. It's a piece of edging lace, which is why the right margin has more of a texture than the left. Used as intended, the straighter edge would be sewn to a piece of fabric and the bumpier edge would be the free edge of the lace.

The blue thing to the left is the pattern she used. The lace is made right on top of this pattern, with each dot in the pattern representing where a pin will need to be placed and each line giving an indication of how the threads of each stitch should travel. There are numbers to help the lacemaker figure out how to tackle the puzzle of where to move next, after each stitch has been completed. The lace needs the support of the pins as it's being made, but once you travel past an area, the crosses and twists provide enough structure to maintain the pattern and the pins can be removed.

Leah decided it would make a nice bookmark too, so it became a gift for her Grammy at yesterday's Christmas celebration on Scott's side of the family. This was her first attempt at ground work, the honeycomb-like sections in between the cloth stitch and half stitch sections. They were challenging, mostly because of their newness, but she did pretty well on them and there's a definite improvement in her cloth stitch and half stitch sections, on which she has had a bit more practice.

We borrowed some books from the lace group's library, so there are lots of fun and interesting options ahead! Posted by Picasa


Blogger JoVE said...

We have had a couple of opportunities to observe this kind of lace making, too. It is fascinating. And Leah's work looks very impressive.

11:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've read about this type of lace making but never made any progress understanding it. Bravo!

7:11 AM  

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