Bobbin Lace, Lesson 6

First finished piece of bobbin lace

I have now finished one whole piece of lace! Woohoo! This little edging was finished off during lesson 6, last weekend — I had to ask my teacher to show me how to stop or else I was just going to have to keep on until the end of time. You’ll notice a bundle of thread ends there; my teacher explained that if I was going to apply the lace to something that would be used, I would have to learn how to sew in ends and deal with them properly. That was enough incentive to just frame this, my first finished piece, for which I only have to thread those ends through my backing fabric, tie off to secure, and hide them back there that way. I won’t do anything permanent until I find the right frame, but I plan to back it with this charm square of Denyse Schmidt fabric.

I should’ve taken a close-up of just that corner, with the threads, but if you click through to the larger version on Flickr, you can actually see the improvement I made over the course of this project. The ‘heart’ directly below those loose threads was where I started, the ‘heart’ to the left is where I finished. My tension improved enormously as I worked, I’m so very proud! (By the way, the fabric in the center is a tiny piece of Liberty Tana Lawn, and the 20p coin is to show how very small this bit of lace is. The center is only 1.5″!)

First finished piece of bobbin lace
Bobbin lace bookmark WIP

Now I’ve started working on a bookmark in red and pink, with a different kind of fan along the edges. For this, I was given written instructions and told to try and follow them myself – I got a little confused at first, but kind of understood, and I’m proud to say that I managed to remind myself with the written pattern when I got home and had forgotten what to do.

Bobbin lace bookmark WIP

Again, I can already see improvement as I work here – I don’t know if you’ll be able to squint past the pins, but if you follow the red curves on the fan edges, you can see that they’ve become much less messy already. I worked the top left fan first, and those curves are all over the place; the most recent worked was the bottom right, which has much neater and, well, curvy curves.

Bobbin Lace tools

I’m also very proud to report that I have now made enough progress to have tools of my very own! My teacher was kind enough to lend me spare tools until now, to make sure I actually enjoyed doing bobbin lace before investing money into equipment, which was so sensible. I’ve done enough now to know for sure that I want to continue, so my teacher arranged some second-hand tools for me and I treated myself to the above tools from the very kind Paul at PDH Woodturning. Paul’s handmade tools are so beautiful and special, I’m so excited to work with them! Not related to lace, but maybe the handiest tool of the bunch is that little stand that my spool of thread is sitting on – I don’t know if these have a special name, but it’s basically exactly as it looks – it holds my spool handily while I hand-sew, and I’ve already been using it as I stitch the binding onto my now nearly-finished Mod Sampler quilt. More on the quilt very soon, but seriously, anyone with any hand-stitching to do should have one of these spool holder-thingamys in their sewing box!

Bobbin Lace, Lesson 4 + 5

Bobbin Lace lessons 4 +5

I haven’t updated you on my bobbin lace progress for a while, but I skipped a bit because I’ve been working on the same piece for a couple of lessons. This is a tiny, maybe 4″ per side, square piece of edging I’ve been working on. It’s an extension of the fan border I learned before this, but this time incorporating corners – I thought my teacher had lost her mind when she said I could work around the corner by myself at home.

Bobbin Lace lessons 4 +5

But I figured it out! She’d told me what to do during the lesson, but I could barely remember (why on earth don’t I ever take notes during the lessons? why?) by the time I got there at home. It took about an hour of puzzling and going back-and-forth between the pattern and every tiny thread, but I did it. I was a very proud student indeed. And when I took it back to my teacher, she was very proud of my even tension, which I’d been really concentrating on as I worked. Picture me beaming – I’m such a teacher’s pet and I don’t even care.

I’ve gotten this far since my last lesson and need to finish it off – not that I actually know how to finish, by the way – by my next lesson on Sunday, then I think I will sew it onto a tiny square of one of my precious pink Liberty scraps for framing. ‘Cause what would be cuter than tiny pink beginner’s lace than tiny pink beginner’s lace + Liberty fabric?!

Ravellenic Games 2012 & WIPs

BT Ranger Cardigan - WIP Wrestling entry, Ravellenics

In addition to the Tour de Fleece, I decided to join the Ravellenic Games for the first time this year! I decided it would be great motivation to get the Ranger cardigan that I promised Brother about 7 months ago. Thing is, Brother does all kind of lovely stuff for me, but never asks me to make anything. Of course he had to be pick a pattern that’s pretty boring to knit, but that’s not his fault. He picked the pattern out in, um, January, and I got started right away. I swore I was just going to hunker down and knit it straight through, that he wouldn’t end up waiting months and months for it while it wasted away in my knitting basket. … ahem …

BT Ranger Cardigan - WIP Wrestling entry, Ravellenics

Well, I knit away through almost the whole first sleeve, as it turns out, when I messed up the stitch pattern and had to go back a ways to fix it. At which point, I kind of convinced myself I couldn’t focus on it while chatting with people (i.e., during knit night at the pub) so I kept avoiding it.


Ready... Set...

(This was me poised to start knitting as I waited for the Olympic bell to ring in the festivities Friday night.)

I’ve entered this project in the WIP Wrestling event for the Ravellenic Games 2012 and I hope this will help me zoom through. Knitting a whole grown-man-sized sweater in just a couple of weeks is absolutely not going to be easy – part of me thinks it might not even be possible. But it can’t hurt to try. (Except for my sanity, of course.) At the worst, I’ll make a big chunk of progress by the end of the Olympics. So far I’ve finished the sleeve that was already nearly done and just finished the cuff of the second sleeve. Not too impressive really, halfway through Day 3, but I do have a loooooong night free just for sleeve-knitting tonight. Think I can do the whole sleeve in one evening?

Somewhat related, I’ve finally admitted that my WIP pile is totally out of hand. I can’t seem to finish anything, though I s’pose I shouldn’t be too shocked about that since I just keep starting new projects. I’m sure there’s some sort of cause-and-effect logic there somewhere. I am now officially banned from starting anything new until these WIPs are under control – in fact, if you’re reading this on my actual blog, you might notice a new list in the sidebar to the right: Public Shaming – my WIPs. I’m hoping that having them there in a list like that, on display for everyone to judge, might help me stay focused on them. I can only start a new embroidery project once that list is all crossed off, a new knitting project if I finish *all* of those WIPs, etc (not counting the long-term projects, of course – those could go on for years, such is the nature of them). The only exception is a near-future knit-a-long I have planned with one of my lovely Pub Knitters, though I do hope to get at least a couple of these done before we start that.

Again somewhat related, I’m also publicly announcing a Yarn Diet of sorts – not so much to save money (though that could never hurt) but definitely a little to save storage space, which is hard to come by in my house. Mostly though just because there’s so much in my stash that I’m dying to knit! So from here, I will try not to buy anything new for … I don’t know, a goodly long while, and just knit some of the lovely treats in my stash. Except for some upcoming wooly adventures – those might result in *small* yarn / wool treats. Sometimes it just can’t be helped, right?!

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