Grids, Curves, and Bobbin Musings

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Bobbin lace has engulfed my fiber life for the past couple of weeks, much to my delight! After some encouragement, I have begun taking regular classes again a little closer to my new home and it has been such fun to dive back in. I’m working towards starting the IOLI Torchon Proficiency Manual, so my teacher and I are choosing patterns to help shore up some of the skills that I’d like to improve before diving in.

My first project was a quick bookmark out of Egyptian cotton, Gütermann silk (fan weaver), Madeira Metallic (fan passives), and DMC Pearl Cotton 8 (gimp). The haloed spider was the newest thing for me, and I was making a concerted effort to concentrate well on my tension.

Class Work 1 - Bookmark in Progress
Class Work 2 - Bookmark Finished

Next up is a Torchon mat. Its rectangular shape will be something a little different from the squares and circles that I’ve done some of already, though come to think of it, I don’t know if I’ve done things with a filled center…as far as I can tell, the tiny hexagonal motif from the Bucks Point workshop a couple of posts ago was the first and only so far. Better late than never!

Class Work 3 - Rectangular Mat in Progress

(Speaking of better late than never, I JUST tried tallies for the first time during that Bucks class, and I still have not tackled leaves, because I am scared, but I know that my secret will be out uncomfortably soon.)

For a personal project, I’ve been working on the Amanda Hanky from Stott’s The Bobbin Lace Manual. I’m about 50% finished and I’m getting a bit tired of it now, which I think is 100% due to the amount of concentration it takes for me to tension the fir tree fans around the outside. Unfortunately the mat that I’m starting is also surrounded by the same fans, so I need to finish these ASAP so that I can be free of them.

Amanda Hanky in Progress

On to something totally different! I broke free of the grid during another two-day workshop at the Lace Museum last weekend. Sylvia Fellows came to teach Chrysanthemum Lace, and she was fantastic.

Chrysanthemum Lace Workshop with Sylvia Fellows

I was new to the style along with two of the other four students, and she had us up and running on the first pattern of Belleville’s Chrysanthemum Lace book straight away. Tape-making horizons: expanded!

Chrysanthemum Lace Workshop with Sylvia Fellows - Work In Progress

Chrysanthemum Lace Workshop with Sylvia Fellows - Finished Piece, Pattern by Cathleen Belleville

All of this time spent making lace has had me thinking about my bobbins. I’m currently using some 4” hardwood square continental bobbins, the same type that I’d started with. They’re definitely the cheapest on the market, which made me feel comfortable with buying plenty.

Tools - 4" Square Bobbins

I have been lusting after a couple of new styles, though…a fancier one and a more slender one, both longer and square. I’m so torn, though, because my current bobbins aren’t terrible at all, and I’ve been able to get my hands on one style and not the other, and I don’t want to buy a ton of new bobbins all at once just now since my current ones are really okay. But I can’t help “window shopping” online over and over!

They’re definitely going to be continental, though. I love that sound of clicking wood they make as I toss and flick them all over the pillow. The whisper of spangles is pleasant, and I have experienced my fair share of spangle envy, but can see myself falling into a deep dark beading rabbit hole and I figure: why make my life even more complicated? Also I see a lot of sewings in my future and I have enough to think about without adding a ring of beads, thank you very much.

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