Norma's Needleworkz

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Gift Basket, etc.

Back in the Spring on my Crazy Quilting Sisters group we began a "Baskets" theme round robin. Somewhere along the line two of us didn't receive our blocks back as life happened hard to one of our group. Another of our group, Wendy, took it upon herself to make complete blocks for the two of us and I wanted to share the beautiful block she sent me. In the center is a white crocheted basket with a blue ribbon woven near the top. Silk flowers of all kinds are overflowing from that basket! In the upper left hand corner is a white lace basket filled with bead flowers and leaves. There is also a gold basket charm tied with a pink ribbon in the lower left hand portion. Near that basket is a pink tatted "doily" with a blue center. One seam is worked with peach silk flower blossoms centered with white pearls. Wendy embroidered the word Baskets, added butterflies and some white tatted lace in the upper right corner. The remainder of the block is filled with butterflies, a silk ribbon rose with a silver filagree leaf, beautiful embroidery, buttons, gold filagree and additional lace trims. She also sent some gorgeous stash builders. Thank you Wendy, your generousity is overwhelming.

Another pair of warm woolen socks ready for cold weather. Nothing special about these. Just your basic ribbed socks in a brown flecked yarn that only took less than a week to knit. Fancier socks take a bit longer. The current pair I'm knitting are of cotton and have a lace pattern ..... 3/4's of one sock to go and another pair completed. Contemplating my next pair as I want to try a "toes up" pattern. On one of the sock groups I belong to many are saying the "toes up" socks are easier .... no weaving the toes together as when knit from the top down. We'll see!

Okay, I haven't officially begun my bobbin lace class yet so this is the last piece of "un-tutored" attempt you'll see. When describing this stitch - Half Stitch - to my online lacer friends I was told this was a hard stitch for a beginner. Well, I can understand why ... but this stitch came out so much nicer than my very first attempt at the Cloth Stitch. I've since learned that I don't have proper tension and I can see some major errors in this piece but I'm saving it (along with the other piece) so that I can compare my un-tutored attempt with what I'll learn with proper instruction.

Some skills such as knitting, embroidery, crochet and basic needlepoint can be learned on your own with good instructions and the proper supplies. Fortunately I haven't acquired any "bad" habits as far as bobbin lace goes .... just a couple of days trying to figure things out on my own. I realized quickly that I needed good personal and visual instruction. The next time I share bobbin lace here will be with a proper piece of lace.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Brief Additions

My completed lace socks. I can't believe I completed them so quickly. Working with two circular needles makes short work of knitting socks. The first sock was worked on the traditional double pointed needles while "watching" the gymnastic and swimming events of the Olympics (off and on for about ten days). The second sock took about half the time or less than five days .... of course I was familiar with the pattern before starting the second half of the pair LOL They fit perfectly and are very comfortable. Can't wait for cooler weather so I can wear them.

Working through the TREASURY OF CRAZY QUILT STITCHES by Carole Samples here is my segment of Chevron Stitches. The fabric is 18ct Aida and I used three different colors of Sassa Lynne hand-dyed threads. There were other choices I could have stitched but my little piece of fabric doesn't hold many choices and I did so want to try some of the more different ones presented, although the first one (upper left) is a typical Chevron Stitch as well as the third one (upper right).

My very first attempt at bobbin lace .... well almost ..... I kept taking it out and starting over. The more solid area is worked in Cloth Stitch and is in reality a piece of plain weaving aka as Weaving Ground. Just below is an attempt at Half-Stitch Ground. Part of it looks ok (at least to me) but there is too much space on the left side. I need to practice this pattern a whole lot and I'll try again so I can use up the thread on my bobbins as I need to give them some weight.

Today after my quilting session at the senior center I went by the craft and hobby shop to purchase some 30 gauge wire and 5mm screw eyes to add some weight to my bobbins, a technique known as spangling. I have an old broken necklace that I will use with the wire and screw eyes. Weighted bobbins helps give better tension to the lace making. Comments from bobbin lacers would be most welcome! Trying to get the second part correct kept me up way past my bedtime several evenings and I think I finally went to bed about 1:30am one morning and 4am another. The next morning, before I even had my first cup of tea I went and undid everything so I could start over. Have I become addicted to learning this technique or what! Of course this sample worked in a thicker, non-traditional lace thread doesn't have the delicaate, fragile look of true lace but I need to know what I'm doing before "advaancing" to the proper lace thread.

We'll see how long it takes before I have a proper piece of Bobbin Lace to "show"!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Bobbin Lace and New Sock(s)

Okay, Folks .... my first attempt at Bobbin Lace in progress! Well, this really isn't lace yet as I have to "master" the technique LOL It really isn't as hard as it looks once you start to understand the process. The first lesson in my textbook BOBBIN LACEMAKING by Doris Southard was a bit daunting until I followed the advice of some of my HBT (Here-Be-Tatters) group. Sue, our retiring list mom, calmed my nerves and Barb sent me a magazine article that also helped. The first lesson has four samples and what I'm doing here is sample #1 and is known as CLOTH STITCH which is a background bit. I will continue with this part until I run out of thread. Although the first lesson has all four samples worked together I know I don't have enough thread on my bobbins as I only used two yards per pair.

I tried to get a close-up but I'm still fumbling my way around editing my photos so didn't do so hot a job. In a way I'm glad you can't see a close, close-up as there are some mistakes .... but then that is a big part of the learning process .... making mistakes. In some hints I read it was suggested to keep the bobbins from rolling around to use a towel under them .... so I put a towel under my bobbins and found that hint to be very successful! I can hardly wait to use up this thread so that I can start the next sample in lesson one.

Aha! The first of my next pair of socks. Although you can't see it here there is a lace pattern so when the pair is finished I'll have my son take a photo of them on my feet.

There are several sock knitting techniques that I'm trying out but the completed sock, worked on while "watching" the Olympics was done in the traditional 4 dbl pointed needle style and I used a different heel technique .... short rows for the heel shaping. I was a bit uncomfortable with that technique for the heel but managed to struggle through. You can see the yellow needles I used for that sock. So for the mate I decided to see how the two circular needles would work for speed as well as tension wise. I did discover that the two needles over the four were quite a bit faster and when measuring for size there wasn't a big difference there. Also played with the "magic loop" technique on some scrap yarn. I think I'll like that technique as well. The "magic loop" uses a 40" circular needle in the same manner as the two circular or 4/5 dbl pointed ..... article completed "in the round". The next thing to try with my socks is to knit from the toe up instead of top down. Of course that means using a totally different type of cast on but then this is my year of trying new things LOL So we'll see what happens there.

The last of my Season To Season swap blocks from my CQ4Newbies group. Half of the embellishing had to be done by me and then it was mailed to a swap partner to be completed. Janet, in Colorado, was my partner here and did such gorgeous work. As soon as I get a bulletin board hung up in my "studio/work/play" room I'll pin the four up until I decide how to finish them off as a wall hanging. At one time I thought about fabric framing them individually and changing them with the season but have decided against that as I want to enjoy all four all the time. We'll just have to wait and see what happens here.