Crochet, Lace Making

Homespun Comfort Shawls

crochet shawls

This review has been a bit delayed, but that has turned out to be a good thing. I like to be able to include my own photos when I am doing a review and the delay has allowed me to use much better ones than I had originally intended.

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

This book of “Comfort Shawls”, made using Lion Brand Homespun yarn, is very relevant for me at the moment as we are in the middle of winter here in New Zealand. As with previous Leisure Arts books I have reviewed, I was again very impressed with the range of different styles included in this book. There should be something to appeal to everyone.

Homespun Comfort Shawls

The pattern I was drawn to when I first looked at the book was the “Broomstick Lace Shawl” (the third photo above). I had heard of this technique before but had never had the opportunity to try it out. Fortunately one of our local yarn suppliers had the Lion Brand Homespun yarn on sale just when I needed it, this being the reason that the delay was a good thing for me.

IHomespun Comfort Shawls had originally planned on getting a light colour for my shawl, but was really taken with the wonderful rich colours in this darker one. While I still love the colours, I have found this yarn a bit of a challenge to work with. The dark colours and the boucle effect of the yarn make it difficult to see and count the stitches, particularly the setting up chain stitches, so it required a lot of concentration at the beginning. Having said that, I really like the way the garment is turning out, and the lovely soft, warm feel of it.

The instructions in the pattern I am using are very clear. I have found a bit of discrepancy between the instructions and some of the diagrams given, but I have found that sticking to the instructions has produced a good result. The book contains clear instructions and diagrams for all the patterns as well as a number of stitches and techniques, for example fringes.

This yarn and these patterns are a lot different to my usual projects, but I have enjoyed the challenges and learning some new techniques. For more pictures of these lovely shawls please check out the Leisure Arts website.

 

Crochet, Cross Stitch, Karen's Korner, Lace Making

A Little Bit Of Everything Over Easter

A Little Bit Of Everything Over Easter

I was lucky enough to find time to dabble in a little bit of everything over Easter this year. I managed to get a few small crochet novelty items made for my grandchildren in plenty of time to accompany their Easter Sunday chocolate treats. Unfortunately the yarn I had available for the beaks of the chickens resulted in them looking more like ducks, but the grandchildren still seemed happy enough to receive them.

A Little Bit Of Everything Over Easter A Little Bit Of Everything Over EasterI have finally managed to make a bit more progress with my needle lace sampler (see “Update On Lace Sampler”). The next box is now about half-filled with “cloth stitch”. The lower third will have some variation worked in as part of the stitching and, once the background stitch is completed, the middle third will have some extra details stitched on top. It has been a lot slower than I had originally planned, but I am enjoying learning new things when I am able to spend some time on it.

A Little Bit Of Everything Over EasterThe third project I was able to get to was the fine cross stitch birth sampler that I also started last year (see “Two Extremes Of Cross Stitch”). It is a little easier to do now that I have upgraded my glasses, but I still struggle with it a bit. I can only do it during the afternoon in good lighting conditions which is quite a disadvantage when I am working. I will continue to persevere though as I think it will be well worth the effort once it is finished.

As if those three weren’t enough to keep me occupied, I also picked up a knitting project that I started early in the year. It is a sleeveless vest for me which I will post photos of once it is finished. I find it relaxing to knit in the evenings as it is something I don’t have to concentrate so hard on.

Easter is a very special and significant season for me and, although I was able to get quite a bit of craft work done, the most special times were spent attending church services and catching up with family. I hope you all had a very special Easter season too.

Lace Making

Christmas Snowflakes and Other Ideas

Christmas Snowflakes and Other Ideas

Last week I wrote about some “Christmas Crochet Ideas”. This week I want to pass on some more ideas from the same book, Patons book 304 “Traditional Christmas”, but these one fall more into the category of lace. They are still all crocheted, but are a lot finer and more delicate.

Christmas Snowflakes and Other Ideas Christmas Snowflakes and Other IdeasThere are several different versions of snowflakes in this book, a larger one and a smaller one. If you have any doily patterns at home, you will probably find that at least one of them has a centre pattern that you could use to make snowflakes Christmas decorations by using lightweight white crochet cotton and a fine hook. It could be fun to experiment and see what you come up with.

My book also has patterns for two different bauble covers, a heart decoration, and an angel. I have had a look on “Ravelry” and, predictably, they have patterns available for all these things plus many more Christmas ideas.

Christmas Snowflakes and Other Ideas Christmas Snowflakes and Other IdeasOne thing to remember if you are going to make some crocheted lace decorations, is that they will need to be starched. This is a lot easier to do these days as there are spray cans of starch available. You will need to pin out your finished item, spray it, and allow it to dry. (Follow the directions on the can.) This will make the snowflake, or other decorations, hard so that you are able to hang them up.

If you would prefer to look for kits to use for making decorations, you should check out some of my affiliate sites. Have fun with your decoration making!

Affiliate sites:

Leisure Arts, Craftsy, Annie’s, Knit Picks, LoveKnitting, Creative BugConnecting Threads

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Crochet, Knitting, Lace Making

So What Is Lace Anyway?

So What Is Lace Anyway?
What do you think of when you hear the term “Lace”? If you are anything like me you will probably think of something white, intricate and delicate, possibly even frilly. We usually associate lace with things like wedding dresses, christening gowns and ball dresses. Lace fabric and trims are often used for special occasions like these.

A fairly generic definition of lace is “a fine open fabric of cotton or silk, made by looping, twisting, or knitting thread in patterns and used especially for trimming garments.” As you can see, this includes a lot more than the traditional idea of lace. I would like to share with you some personal examples I have at home.

So What Is Lace Anyway? The more traditional items I have are crocheted and tatted. These items were all made by my grandmother, and I inherited them from her. The small round table cloth is crocheted. It was made using a small hook and fine cotton.

So What Is Lace Anyway? So What Is Lace Anyway?The tatted items are a bit older. These items used to be more common when lace was a lot more expensive and less readily available than it is today. People made collars, cuffs, and neck trims which could be transferred from one garment to another. This set is two collar points and a central trim a bit like a cravat.

So What Is Lace Anyway?I have also included a rather basic example of bobbin lace. This is one of the test book marks I made when I started to learn to make bobbin lace. It was made using coloured crochet cotton. You may also remember the needle lace sampler that I started earlier in the year. Unfortunately I have not made much more progress on it as yet, but hope to do some more in our upcoming school holidays.

So What Is Lace Anyway? So What Is Lace Anyway?The last photos are of a shawl I knitted for one of my grandchildren. This is a bit heavier than the other examples, but the border of this shawl still qualifies as lace. I have made a lighter, lacier baby shawl but, unfortunately, I don’t have any photos of it.

I plan to follow up with some more examples of different types of lace soon.

Lace Making

Update on Lace Sampler

Update on Lace Sampler
My Lace Sampler project got put on hold for a while over Christmas and the school holidays. Now that the grandchildren are back at school, and there seems to be a little less going on, I have managed to pick it up again.

Progress has still been slow as I have a number of other things “on the go” as well, but at least I am starting to see some progress. I was a little surprised that the thing which has been the most time consuming so far has actually been whip stitching all the tapes which form the grid to the backing fabric. This has finally been completed however, and I have just finished filling in my first section.

I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised when “Murphy’s Law” struck again when I went to start the actual lace stitching. I got all set up with my pattern in front of me, and a nice length of no. 60 crochet cotton threaded onto my needle. I carefully attached aforementioned thread to the side tape and then discovered that I had managed to choose the only section that I had managed to miss attaching the top tape on!

After detaching the thread from its initial anchor point I temporarily solved my immediate problem by turning my grid around and using the corresponding section at the other end. Once I had got my stitching established I retrieved my smaller needle and thread and attached the last tape.

Update on Lace SamplerIt has been a steep learning curve getting the feel of a new stitching action, and also working out how to gauge the tension required. You will see from the photo I have included that it took me a couple of rows with each new stitch before the tension became reasonably even. There are also some variations where I put down the work and had to resettle when I started again.

Overall I am finding it very enjoyable, and it has been a lot easier to pick up than I thought it would. I am very excited to move onto some increasingly more complicated stitches. I will try to keep up my momentum and will keep you up to date with my progress.

Remember, if you are feeling inspired, you can pick up a copy of the “Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Needlecraft” for yourself from Amazon.

Lace Making

Steps to Making Torchon Lace

Steps to Making Torchon Lace
Image courtesy of Google

Torchon lace, which falls loosely in the category of ‘grounded’ laces is one of the oldest types of laces around and is indigenous to Europe. It differs from other types of laces – heavily patterned stitch areas, by having lesser pattern stitch than ground stitch areas. In grounded laces, the threads travel directly from one section to another and have patterns and nets areas that were worked on at the same time.

Torchon lace making uses a combination of attractive motifs, a geometrical ground style and a simple range of stitches to produce exceptional fabric. The technique is so basic that it is the debut project for budding lace makers. Made popular by the middle class folks for its inexpensiveness, it uses small amounts of bobbins and thicker threads to make strong and significantly strong laces.

Torchon lace was originally for sturdy usage – curtains, table cloths, bed covers, cloaks, undergarment trimming, etc. This is not the case today as the torchon lace making technique is used to produce whatever type of fabric is desired. The patterns are played with to produce different results and they also use different varieties of thread – fine, heavy, thick, thin, plain, coloured, etc. Torchon lace making design can be used to produce fabric for any kind of clothing as deemed necessary. Dress laces, decorative, household or other miscellaneous items; the many practical applications, decorative ground pattern and endless design possibilities have greatly increased the sophistication and demand for torchon style laces.

Torchon lace design is becoming a popular hobby once again and the number of people enrolling in lace making classes is on the rise. You probably won’t have the patience or commitment or resources to go commercial but the advancement of threading technology opens up a lot of small scale application for it. Find out how you can be a lace maker today!

Chris has written this article and he likes to write and share articles on topics like torchon lace making and torchon lace patterns.

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Lace Making

Lace Sampler

Lace Sampler

I have gathered together all the things I need to attempt the Battenberg Lace sampler from the Needlepoint Lace section in the “Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Needlecraft”. It ended up taking a couple of shopping trips to get everything. The cotton I thought I could use from my supplies at home turned out to be cream rather than white, so I had to go back and purchase some white cotton to go with the white tape.

The pattern recommends using no.20 crochet cotton, but I have decided to try using no.60 to get a more delicate lace. Time will tell whether this is a good decision. I suppose if the finer cotton doesn’t work out I will just have to try again with a thicker one.

Lace Sampler

So far I have managed to lay out and tack down the tape grid which the lace is built onto. This proved to be a little trickier than I had bargained for. I have managed to get the grid fairly even, but I didn’t quite get the technique of tacking through all the layers sorted out until I got to the vertical lines. Unfortunately a lot of the horizontal tapes are only tacked to the backing material. Hopefully this will hold everything firmly enough, otherwise I may have to go back and put in a bit more support.

I am getting really excited about this project now, and am looking forward to getting started on it properly. I am making myself finish off my Mermaid’s Tail project first so that I don’t have too much on the go at once. I will keep you updated on my progress. This is the first time I have done this kind of work, so it will be interesting to see how time consuming it turns out to be.