Wednesday, September 27, 2017

A Bobbin Lace Hankie

Behold, my new lace edged handkerchief!

It's been a very long time happening. from the first day I contemplated making it, until the day it was finished, it has been nearly eight years. Mmmm..... that is a long time, but there are prickings to draw up, handkerchief linen to source & buy, decisions to be made about thread, threads to source & buy, decisions about how big to make the pricking, then sourcing and buying a lace pillow to work it. Then we get to the actual working of the lace itself, which took me about two years. I might add here that there have been plenty of other projects happening over the same time frame.

Lets start at the beginning. Quite some years ago I acquired a book called 'Bedfordshire Lace-making' by Pamela Nottingham. When I looked through the book, my toes began to curl in absolute delight. Another lace-maker I knew also had this same book , and as it was set out in lesson format, we decided to work through it together. I might add here that that challenge has long gone as life has got in the way for both of us. I have still continued on in my own time though.

For the lessons up to this point, I had only done samples, and I was tired of making samples. I wanted a finished project, so I decided to make this edging into a handkerchief .There was lots of learning involved, from using slubby linen thread, to making even tallies ( yeah right!) and working six pair crossings to make those little flowers. Then there was the joining. The little flowers were certainly a challenge, and there are no two alike. Someone told me it is just as in nature.

I was advised to use a linen thread, but in reality I may just not ever use it again. The slubs made it difficult to tension, especially in those tallies. It also snapped a lot, meaning there are joins in my edge everywhere. I was told that linen thread is the traditional thread used in Bedfordshire lace, but recently I was told that a lot of Bedfordshire lace makers now use cotton thread. Mmm...... something to think about for the next one.

There are 224 tallies in this edge. I have been told that I have to make 1000 before I can get the right. I think I have a few more to go. The next ones will be in a cotton thread I am sure.

Once the lace was finished and joined, I then had to mount it to my linen fabric. I had a few different suggestions as to how to do it, but chose something called 'Nun's Stitch' to mount it. I had to find out how to do it, then learn how to do it, but in the end it was easy, and it gave a little pinstitch along the edge which is pretty.

It may not be perfect, but the mistakes and inconsistencies in it show that it is hand made. I am extremely proud of what I have done. It is my first ever bobbin lace handkerchief edge that I have done and there will be more. Watch this space!

Friday, September 15, 2017

A Christmas Star

This is the third in my series of bobbin lace Christmas decorations, and I  think my favourite one yet. The patterns have come from an old Anna magazine. I have used the same thread as the other two, a DMC Cordonnet Special No 50. This thread is fine for cloth stitch, but it doesn't handle plaits and picots all that well. I was warned many years ago about using crochet threads, something about the direction of the twist. I may have to just remove the picots off it if I do any more.

Still, it is done, and will hang prettily on my Christmas tree in a few months.

Friday, September 08, 2017

Fingerless Gloves

Back in early July , when winter was biting well, I misplaced my one and only pair of finger-less gloves. Since then I have made a replacement pair, and now I have made a second pair.

These have been finished for a few weeks now, and while winter is having it's last little bight, they will be useful.

They have been made in 4 ply Shepherd Baby, which is 100% wool, and very very warm.

They will be a very handy second pair if the glove eaters decide to come back and visit again.

Friday, September 01, 2017

A New Scarf

This is my new scarf that I finished about a week ago. 

Born out of scraps, it is knitted in a drop stitch pattern in two different yarns. One is Morris Empire, a 100% merino 8 ply, while the second is Noro Silk Garden Lite, a 45% silk, 45% mohair and 10 % wool yarn from Japan. The Noro is a variegated yarn, and creates a lovely colour change throughout the scarf.

It's lovely and warm, so will have to be packed away until next winter now.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

A Little Christmas Stocking - Bobbin Lace Style

I've finished another little bobbin lace Christmas decoration. It's from the same series as the little bell I made back earlier in the year. This is also  made in  DMC Cordonnet Special No 50 thread. 

When I made my bell, I was happy with the thread choice, but this time around it's a different story. I like it for the cloth stitch, but not for the plaits. The plaits are a little but cumbersome. Maybe next time I will change the inside decoration to something else. Time will tell.

In the meantime, I have started number three in the series of six. So watch this space to see what it is. It may be a while, there are quite a few other projects happening that are priority.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Crazy Gloves

Meet my new pair of crazy gloves. They are finger-tip-less, ( is there such a word?) and very warm. I believe in the real world they are called finger-less gloves, but I made them so they only just expose my finger tips.

A few years back I never wanted, needed, or thought I would even like these type of gloves. I couldn't see the point. Why expose your finger tips to the cold? But then my hands started getting dry from the winter winds as I pegged washing on the line, and no amount of hand cream would help. A male member of the family suggested I use rubber gloves, but I found these cumbersome . Then I had a brilliant idea to make a pair to fit my hands, so I did, and loved them.

Then about two weeks ago they decided to play hide and seek with me. I had used them in the morning to peg out the washing, then wore a pair of full fingered ones on my walk to the shops later that morning. The next morning I went looking for my finger-less ones again  to hang washing out , and they were no where to be found. In winter, they normally live in my dressing gown pocket, jacket pocket, coat pocket, pants pocket,  on the kitchen bench, on the dressing table or sometimes on the coffee table in the lounge room, but they were in none of these places. I started to think what I had done between hanging out washing and walking to the shops. In general, I have turned the house upside down looking for them, and yes, they are still hiding.

Another male member of my family suggested I cut the tips out of another pair that I already had. Mmmmm............. yes, well......... The male members of my family have no idea of fabric construction, and besides, most of the gloves I own are my own hand knitted ones. There was no way I was doing this to my handiwork. I could, however, do it to an old stained pair of white cotton gloves, so I did. There was a little bit of warmth, they did stop the wind, and they kept me out of trouble until I could make another pair.

I had only one 50gm ball of navy 4 ply yarn and thought this would be enough. Not so. It only got me one glove, and the hand section of the second one. Now what to do? I at least needed some section of the fingers on this second one. So I pulled out a ball of sky blue 4 ply that I had and added the fingers to complete the glove. Then I added some stitching to tie them together as a pair. Mmmmm........ interesting to say the least.

At least they are warm, they will stop the wind, and I am sure that now I have another pair the original pair will come out of hiding. Lets hope they do, because then I will have two pair

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

A Bobbin Lace Edging

I've been making some very slow progress on my lace edging. It's an edging from the Pamela Nottingham book of Bedfordshire Lace making.

Started quite some time ago with the drawing up of the pricking and planning on how it was actually going to be worked. It took even more time to get started on the actual piece, and even more time to work!

I'm on side three at the moment and coming up my third corner, ready for the last leg to the finish. The join is scaring me a little, but I have had some help from an on-line group of lace makers who are very free with advice and help. As a result, the last corner and final join are not so scary any more.

So watch this space to see the final product. it may still be a while yet though.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

A New Red Hat

Behold, my new red hat! After knitting my brown one, I wanted more. One in every colour!

I had some crimson coloured yarn left over after knitting my cabled jumper last year. The yarn is 'Savanah" yarn, which is a 70% wool, 30% alpaca yarn from Bendigo Wollen Mills.

This time I wanted a more slouchy hat, more of a beret than the previous brown one I made. I had a sheet which gave me how to start a spiral shape for a shawl, and I figured I could do this, continue out for the diameter I needed, then decrease back to the circumference of my head. So that's exactly what I did. 

My new hat is warm, it fits me perfectly, and slouches just how I want it. Now I want one of these in every colour! I might even venture to putting a pattern in it somehow. That just might take a little figuring out how to do. Watch this space to see what I come up with!

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

A Winter hat

This hat was born from a discussion with my friend M---- as to what to do with left over knitting yarn. I usually make scarves, but have a box full of them, so she suggested a hat.

Tight fitting hats such as beanies never really suit me, and I have been on the lookout for beret style knitted hats for a while. There are a lot of "slouchy" hat patterns around the internet, and I figured these would be similar to a beret style, so I had a little hunt to see what I could find.

The pattern I chose was 'Springtime In Philadelphia" which I found free on Ravelry. It was supposed to be worked in a fingering yarn, which is about a 4ply in Australian yarn,  My yarn was an 8ply Morris Empire "Clove" 100% merino yarn, which was left over from my cardigan. Mmmm....... what to do. I could keep hunting for something in an 8 ply, or use smaller needles. 

In the end it came down to what needles I had. The pattern began on double pointed needles, and I had a set of  old size 9, or finer ones for working with 4 ply. I chose to use the old size 9 ( 3.75mm) and just went for it. When it came to the band, I used my circular needles in 3.25mm.

Over all it is a little big, but at the end of the day that is OK. It still covers my ears and I am sure it will stay but on a windy day.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Art Journal Pg 7

For my art journal page seven I did something different again.

I first prepared the page with mod podge, then gave it a sponge  with a wash of aqua and white paint. The page became quite wet again, so this time I sprinkled some rock salt onto the page and let it dry. A bit messy, but hey, it wasn't a blank page!

I had plans of cutting my numbers this time from a magazine page that I  had saved. So once the page was dry, I drew my numbers in the magazine page, cut them out and glued them to my journal page.

I then began to draw lines with a  black fine line felt tipped pen. At first I outlined the green blobs that had formed, then just added in wavy lines to connect them all together.

This page has been finished for some time, and I must admit I have been a bit slack with my art journaling. My knitting has taken over. I'll try to get back to it every day.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A New Cardigan

Behold, my new cardigan. This one began with inspiration on one of our trips away a few years ago. We were travelling from the Northeren Tablelands of NSW down to the coast, and stopped for a break in a little town not far from the Queensland border. The main street hugged the main highway, and it took no time at all to walk up one side and down the other. All the doors to the shops were closed, and it took no time at all to work out why. It was a main highway after all, and the sheep trucks travelling this highway were common. Enough said!

We did open the doors and walk in, and one was such a delight. It was a little haberdashery shop that sold everything from curtain fabric to knitting yarn. When we walked in, what caught my eye was a gorgeous cardigan on display. It was burgundy, and had a ruffle around the neck, down the front, curved at the hem, and at the hem of each sleeve. The ruffle was in a feather and fan pattern in a variegated burgundy yarn. Just gorgeous, and I wanted one!

We were on a time limit, and had yet to still make our way to the coast, so I didn't ask the shop attendant for the pattern. I figured it was current, and would be readily available anywhere. Mmmmm........ not so. When I came home I searched everywhere, even on line, and could not find a pattern similar. The closest I found was on another trip away, in another little country town, in another little haberdashery shop. This pattern was for a short sleeve cardigan, curved at the hem, but with a rib finish. It was a base to work from, I could lengthen the sleeves, lengthen the whole garment, and add the ruffle to finish it off.

So then the fun began in looking for yarn. I ended up with this Morris Empire "Clove" 100% merino yarn, and  a Noro "Silk Garden Lite" 45% silk, 45% mohair 10% wool yarn in a variegated for the ruffle. After playing with the variegated in a sample of feather & fan, I decided to do the ruffle in the Clove, so went back to buy more. Then, after playing and thinking some more, I decided to eliminate the ruffle across the bottom at the back, and just have it down the front and on the sleeves, but that meant that I had to finish the back some other way, I didn't want a plain rib joining with a variegated ruffle at the side seam, so opted instead for a picot hem. The pattern was stocking stitch, boring, so I decided to add some interest, and dropped an eyelet in now and again in a pattern. The back was finished and was looking great.

Then came the front, which was much trickier. I can't remember the last cardigan I made, and if I did ever make one it would have had a straight front, not a curved one like this. All was going good, and I had created the bottom curve, and managed to drop the eyelets in at the same level and in the same pattern as the back. Then came the plain sailing up the front with no increases for a while. The Problem was that I had made the back longer than the pattern, without taking note of how many extra rows I had done. The front needed to be the same length, but it had a ruffle finish where the back had a hem, and I need to allow for this. It meant that I had to sit quiet, count rows, and work it all out. So it got put in the "too hard basket" to sort out later. I might add here it that it sat in that basket for quite some time,

Back in February I had finished off another jumper, and I had enjoyed the knitting so much I decided it was time to pull this one out and finish it. It was at this point that I decided that I really liked the picots combined with the eyelets, so decided to put a band with a picot edge around the front, and to do the same hem on the sleeves.

It is now finished, not quite as I first imagined, but it is warm and very wearable. As for the rounded bottom, I think I would only do that again for something lighter, like a 100% cotton in a short sleeve.

Now I have yarn left, about five balls of the 'Clove', and four balls of the Noro. Watch this space to see what happens with them.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

A Little Christmas Bell - Bobbin Lace Style

This little Christmas bell was born from cleaning up my sewing table. In my clean-up I found some old magazines that I had picked up at one of my stitching groups.  I had picked them up for a reason, and  when I looked through one of them I found the pattern for this little bell. So I put it aside to have a good look at later.

When I picked it up again, there were actually six different decorations, and I believed I could do them all by myself, without any help. When I started reading, they were worked in a thread that I didn't know. Mmmm......... So I gathered together threads that  I had that I thought may be suitable, and tottered off to my lace group, complete with the pricking I had made, my lace pillow, pins and other lace making paraphernalia.

I asked my lace teacher which thread would be best, and we settled on  DMC Cordonnet Special No50. To me this is a crochet thread, and when I first started making bobbin lace, I was told not to use crochet thread. Mmmmmm...........

So I wound my bobbins and started off. The thread was actually a dream to use, and I would certainly use it again. The bell was actually quick to do, four hours of work including winding my bobbins.

I am actually very proud of my little effort. I have always wanted to make a bobbin lace Christmas decoration and now I have. There will be many more in the future.

Monday, February 20, 2017

A Bedfordshire Lace Bookmark

This little bookmark is a Bedfordshire lace one. It started as something to take to my lace meeting. I had ( and still do) a handkerchief edge on a pillow that I really wanted to do, but the pillow is a little cumbersome and uncomfortable  to use at lace meetings. Something about the height, it is a block pillow, and high at the front. My other pillow is a cookie pillow, and nicer to work on, so I dug out the pricking for this bookmark and thought I would make another one. The pattern came from an Australian Lace magazine, summer 2005, and is by Olwyn Scott and Robyn Hueppauff..

I had made this bookmark before, about three years ago, and thought there would not be an issue. So I quickly gathered my supplies and off I went to lace. As I started to set up my pricking and sort out bobbins, I thought I had bobbins with thread left from a previous project, and thought I would use them. The thread in the container with the bobbins was a cotton one, so I assumed all the bobbins in with the thread would have that thread wound on them. As I started to set them up and begin to work the lace, I could see that there were two different threads. One was a linen, complete with slubs, and the other was a cotton. Would it matter if the bookmark was worked in two different threads? One way to find out!

So I continued on my merry way. It got started, worked a bit, then left for some time while life got in the way. Next time I picked it up I snapped a thread. Mmm........ I could cope with that. Just add in another one and knot later. Famous last words! If I snapped one thread, I snapped a hundred! I know that linen thread has problems in dry air, and I have been told to lay a damp cloth over my work to create humidity. So that's what I did. Most of this bookmark was worked in high summer in air-conditioning, so every afternoon when I packed it away for the day, I would lay a cover cloth, a damp tea towel, then another cover cloth, so creating a layer of humidity.

Although I had made this bookmark before, I still had to remember lots of things. It's been good practice for my tallies, and I had to remember how to make picots, ( thank goodness for reference books!) . Then there were issues with colours of thread to colours on the pricking, as well as issues with pins. I have also learnt how unforgiving half stitch is. Never mind, it is finished now, and the only person I have to please is myself.

Now watch this space for my handkerchief edge that will be coming soon, sometime hopefully this year.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

A New Jumper

My latest finish! It is a new jumper for a male member of my family, knitted in an 8 ply Wool/Alpaca mix from Bendigo Woollen Mills. I am so glad this is finished. It is high summer at the moment, and as this got near completion, it became very heavy and very warm. I had to sit with the bulk of the jumper on the arm of the lounge while I knitted the neckband, and even with fans and air-conditioning, I occasionally struggled.

I had ordered the yarn way back in July last year, and thought I had ordered enough. Well, my calculations said I would have a small amount left over. Either the pattern amounts were incorrect, or I did my calculations incorrectly, but I did not have enough yarn left to do the neckband. I had to order more. As the bulk of the yarn was purchased in July, I knew that getting a ball of the same dye-lot would be extremely lucky. I was correct, and had to have a ball of another dye-lot. As it is the whole neckband, with a different texture than the top of the jumper, it's not noticeable.

The pattern is Sirdar 9248 purchased from Patternfish.

Now this one is finished, I wonder what will be next. UFO's and WIPS here I come.