More pretties

I seem to be getting worse and worse at actually updating my diary lately. I blame work. I seem to spend more and more of my day staring at a computer screen, which doesn’t exactly inspire me to stare at a computer screen for fun when I get home (which is saying something for this confirmed geek).

Anyway, rather than make some feeble attempt to catch up, here’s some pretty pictures of my latest lace-making efforts:

First, for Yetzirah, who asked about the bobbins:

No hooks or anything – just somewhere to wind the thread around, and a lip at the top so you can tie a hitch to stop the thread slipping as you move them. The whole process basically involves moving the bobbins over each other so that the threads intertwine. The order you move the bobbins (and how you place the pins between the threads) determines the pattern of the lace.

And yes, pretty tools is a large part of the appeal – and the best bit is you normally buy the bobbins “unspangled” (i.e. without any beads on the end), so you get to play with beads as well to make the spangles (which do have a practical purpose as well as being decorative – they add weight to the bobbins, which helps tension the thread, and keep them from sliding around the pillow).

And the latest bookmarks:

First, some spiders. When I’d seen the next stitch we were learning was called a spider, I knew lytteltonwitch would have to be the recipient of that bookmark. But when I followed the pattern the tutor gave us I wasn’t that impressed with the result (that’s the one on the left). The spiders themselves looked ok, but the little exercise at the top (which is kind of a half spider, to show the first part of the technique) made the whole thing unsymmetrical, plus it really needed another row of ground at the top to stop it looking so broken. So I decided to re-design it. (Ok, so that was inevitable, given that I end up redesigning virtually every cross-stitch project I do, but I didn’t really expect I’d start trying my hand at lace designing *quite* this early!). My new improved version is on the right. Not all that radical a change, but I’m still counting it as my very first attempt at lace design 🙂

And from left to right:

1. The next exercise, called a rose ground. I was quite pleased with how this turned out, but I wanted to experiment a bit, so I tried…

2. The same pattern using a much thinner thread. Each pattern has a particular thickness of thread you’re supposed to use to make it come out right, but I wanted to see what happened if you didn’t. I think I actually like this effect better than the “correct” thickness thread.

3. Another attempt at the whole-stitch bars that didn’t work properly last time. I managed to do a better job of the edge between the bars and the ground this time, but I’m still not happy with the corner where the two bars meet. I tried it two different ways, and neither of them look quite right to me. The top one looks a bit better (apart from the huge gap it leaves), but isn’t correct according to the pattern. I might have to experiment some more.

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