Monday, May 25, 2015

Another One Done

I only did anything creative on Friday. The rest of the weekend was devoted to family and birthday celebrating, but let's start with Friday first. I was really quite determined to finish this piece of lace on Friday since I had started it the day before. As I moved down the lace I finally got a glimpse of what I was creating. I probably should have opted for pins with smaller heads so I could see, but they are so much better for gripping than the smaller ones that came with the kit. You can see that I used those as well. This is also the first time that I bothered to take a picture that includes the bobbins themselves. They came with the kit I got so they're not particularly photogenic, but they work.

I did finish the piece and I have to admit that even though I really disliked handling the gimp thread, the thick one, throughout, I like the way it looks. It was particularly a pain anytime the two gimps crossed, just trying to figure out which bobbin threads needed to grab which one. I'm still not happy with the way the finished pieces are twisting though. I think some of the problem lies in the polyester sewing thread, so when we were out over the weekend I picked up some size 80 cotton thread since it was on clearance. The next piece I try will be using that to see if the results are any better. I'm almost done with the section on Buck's Point lace and then it's onto different shapes of lace. I don't mind telling you that after skimming that section not only do I wish that I had an actual bobbin lace pillow instead of this chunk of foam, I'm also rather frightened of the idea of turning the work. Also I'm rather thankful that this book only uses up to 12 pairs of bobbins. I'm not certain that my brain is ready to handle more of them yet.

I probably won't get anything done today though. The oldest child gets her birthday party today since the holiday gave us an extra weekend day. There will be decorating, a bit of pre-cleaning, chaos and family, followed by after-cleaning and collapsing. Since the weekend already held movie watching, zoo going and a little shopping, I'm starting today at an energy deficient so here's to the energy to get though and maybe a little sitting time for some lace.

Friday, May 22, 2015

More Bobbins

Yet another day full of bobbin lace. Yes, I did do a few other things including schooling the kids, watching some show and even some cleaning, but most of my spare time was with bobbins, thread and so many pins. This is the piece I spent most of the day on. The book has moved onto Buck's Point lace. I admit that it's a bit fiddlier than the Torchon, but I like the look of the ground here. There are still mistakes aplenty, but I did much better with my bobbin handling here.

After this one I went onto the second pattern which includes a new technique called gimps. I can't say as I'm a fan really, but it's not impossibly difficult. It is however so full of pins that I couldn't get a picture of the lace in progress to save my life. I guess you'll have to wait until I get it off the board to see how badly that one turns out.

I have been asked a couple of time what book I'm using to learn. Well I stumbled upon this site while trying to interpret the instructions that came with my Lacis bobbin kit, Jo Edkins' Lace Website. It was so helpful that when I saw she had a couple of kindle books, I downloaded them both. Since I have Kindle Unlimited they are free for me to essentially 'borrow' as long as I need them. The only one I've used so far is How To Make Bobbin Lace. I won't say that it's the perfect text, there are still points where I felt like there was too little instruction, particularly what to do between some elements, but it's gotten me this far and I'm quite grateful for that. Her book also links back to her website where the patterns you need to print are hosted. I know there are plenty of books out there, but it was suggested that it's easier to learn from one source at first to avoid conflicting terminology and I'm a sucker for instantly available information, so I'll stick with Jo until I'm comfortable enough to interpret patterns myself. I think it might be awhile before I stray.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Hiding In The Lace

There was no tatting to speak of yesterday I'm afraid. No orders and no great ideas either, so I just stayed with the bobbins all day. This new piece was filled with new techniques including what was referred to as a bud and something called trails. Like the last piece, it was fairly easy to see where each thread needed to go. It was however, not always easy to get them there. I spent quite a lot of time undoing and redoing sections as I came to the next element and realized that there was no way forward unless I fixed some issue rows up.

It was slow going, but with no other tasks on hand, I'm avoiding cleaning too early so I don't have to repeat myself, I could spend much of the day on the piece. I finished right before heading up for the night. It's still far from perfect, but I feel like I'm moving steadily forward with it.

I will have to stop and clean a few things soon. The weekend is going to be a long one with the child's birthday outings and her party. We're also nearing the end of their school year which means work samples, tests and year end events, so I'm beginning to feel a bit overwhelmed. I think that I might actually be hiding in the bobbins right now, afraid that if I look up, I'll have to get all this other stuff taken care of. At least I'm learning something new whilst I hide from responsibilities.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Success After Failure

I was so lucky to get an order in my shop while I was schooling the kids in the morning. So right after that I had a bracelet to remake for the shop. It's on of my favorites as well. The base is constructed with a lock stitch chain to avoid having to do split rings. Of course it really is a toss up as to which takes more time and effort to construct, but I like the look of lock stitch chain, so it wins simply on aesthetics. This is just that base section. After that it's a woven chain with beads giving the finished piece a nice weight.

Of course it was right back to the bobbins after this and I fought my first losing battle against a pattern with hearts. I didn't want to really do it in the first place as I just didn't like the look of the pattern, but I was going to for the sake of completing the lessons. It turns out when you already don't want to do something, it's harder to do and I gave up quickly and moved on to the next section of the book. This one started with learning the technique of braiding in the lace. I absolutely loved this little bit. It twists awfully, but I loved making it and went straight on to the next piece.

I want to say the book referred to this as English Midland lace and it too was so much easier for me to follow. It was very clear to me where each thread was suppose to go and where each joined. I even managed to mostly understand the making of picots. This one twists a bit as well, but not too much. In fact, I think this is the first one off the board that really looks like a finished piece of lace.

I'm definitely hoping for another day like yesterday. I felt productive and busy. I even had that nice feeling of accomplishment you get when you really start to understand what you're learning. So more bobbin lace today and hopefully some tatting as well.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


First off, I really want to thank everyone for their comments and words of support yesterday. It really means a lot that you took the time to share them. I know many of you have been through the loss of a pet as well and it helps to not feel alone with it. On to less depressing things now.

I decided to redo the spider section once before moving on and I'm really glad I did so. One of the issues I was having with this one was all the diagonals and making sure I left off the bobbin in the right spot. Again it was really an issue of understanding why I needed a bobbin in a certain place. On this second go, having already mucked it up once, I had that firmly in mind and I think that I got it. Sure there are still plenty of issues to work on here. My tension is sloppy, my spiders legs are too long and clearly using sewing thread results in an inferior lace, but I've going through so much thread right now that it seems the most economical way to work. I figure once I'm ready to produce a 'real' piece of lace I'll spring for better thread.

I did finish this one piece over the course of the day and it certainly kept my mind occupied. While there are still the afore mentioned issues with the piece, my previous mistakes were not repeated, so I'm calling it a win. I'm a little bummed that I didn't get any orders to force me to get to tatting as well, but I did get the bobbins wound for the next lesson.

So today I've got more bobbin lessons and I need to start thinking about cleaning the house for next weekend. The oldest daughter's birthday is fast approaching and that means a house full of family. I probably won't actually clean, but it'll be on my mind. I'm going to go ahead and cross my fingers for a tatting task again as well. It has to work someday right? Either way I'm going to force myself busy.