Christmas Snowflakes and Other Ideas

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.

There 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.

One 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.

So What Is Lace Anyway?

 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? 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.

Update on Lace Sampler

Update on Lace SamplerUpdate 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 my Amazon Shop.

Steps to Making Torchon Lace

Steps to Making Torchon Lace
Image courtesy of Google

Steps to Making Torchon Lace

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.

Find More Lace Making Articles

Lace Sampler

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.

 

Needle Lace

Needle Lace

Photo courtesy of Google

Needle Lace

Needle lace is also known as needlepoint lace, or just point lace. It is formed by using a needle and thread to stitch hundreds of very small stitches. It originated in Armenia, dating back to the pre-Christian era.

The purest form uses just a needle and thread, but I am initially going to try doing some Battenberg lace. This style, which is also called Renaissance lace, uses variations of buttonhole stitch worked between outlines of narrow tape. The tape is supported in place by tacking it to a backing such as stiff paper. The backing is removed when the work is finished, leaving only the lace.

I have found instructions in my “Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Needlecraft” for a Battenberg lace sampler. It involves laying out an outline grid of narrow tape on a piece of plain material which is laid on a piece of backing paper. The tape is tacked in place through both backing layers and, when the work is finished, the backing paper is removed. This leaves a sampler of 36 different stitches attached to the plain fabric.

I am excited about trying this new project and hope to be able to start it soon. I will post progress updates and photos once I get started.

Armenian lace, a style which quite literally only uses a tapestry needle and thread to create lace, is also something I would like to try. I have watched a couple of YouTube videos recently which featured Armenian lace making, but I have not yet found any written instructions. I will have to check out my local library and see if I can find a suitable book (or books) that I can get some instructions from.

These new inspirations are very exciting, and all I have to do now is find (make!) the time to follow through with them.

The Old and the New

The Old and the New

The Old and the New

After writing my post on “Rediscovering the art of Tatting”, I went hunting and unearthed the box with my tatting equipment in it. Included amongst the bits and pieces was an old pattern book which belonged to my grandmother (see my photo). Unfortunately I have not been able to locate the shuttle she left me.

It is amazing what a variety of patterns you can make using just one basic stitch, the double stitch. This stitch is formed by working alternately under and over the ring thread (see the YouTube video I posted earlier). Complex patterns can be formed by combining and linking a variety of rings and picot loops. Two shuttles can also be used to produce multi-coloured work, or to allow you to work stitches over connecting threads between rings.

I am currently working through the lessons in my book “Learn to Tat” by Janette Baker (also in my photo). Once I am more confident I am planning to tackle some of the projects in my grandmother’s old pattern book. I still have a few pieces of her work and it would be really cool to replicate some of them. It makes me feel a stronger bond with her knowing that I can carry on the work she loved doing.

There are a couple of points to note here regarding the thread used for tatting. Firstly, it is better to use a smooth, tightly twisted thread. This will help produce even stitches and the thread is less likely to unravel and separate while you are working with it.

The second point relates to the weight of the thread. When using mercerised cotton, the higher the number the finer the thread. For fine, delicate looking work you need to use number 70 or 80 thread. The heavier number 10 and 20 threads are good to use for practice work.