Lace, lace, lovely lace. I have to admit at this point the sample, which represents several lessons good work with my very kind and patient teacher, I did find myself wishing I had been keeping better notes as I went along!
After learning the three basic stitches, passée, demie-passée and passée tordue and experimenting with different ways of putting them together, one of my first challenges was to do some edges. Unfortunately, which structures are stable with pins in and with pins out are rather different things and one way of helping the lace stay together is to include some kind of edging. Of course, this can also be highly decorative and offer as much of a chance to play as much as the main body of the lace.
In a sense, adding an edge is not very difficult, after all, there are only three stitches, right? (Well and an extra tourner where required?) Everything went very well in class, nice edge, all well behaved but of course as soon as I got home whatever ability I had to do this just vanished. Cue passive pairs running around where they shouldn’t and the worker bobbins swapping around in a way they also very much shouldn’t!
I think lace is fine when you understand it but trying to learn the small differences in the sequences at the edge was something I wasn’t finding very natural. For example, while épingle à 4 isn’t a particularly hard concept (after all, it’s just leaving things behind pins!) just remembering all the small motions and how to piece them together while still not having a great understanding of the lace construction was proving a little frustrating.
The challenge is good though, I think this is what being a beginner is supposed to feel like, all fingers, thumbs, bad stitches and variable tension. I enjoyed working the different ground stitches too – though you quickly see why lace takes forever to make when it becomes a pattern of passée tordue, épingle, passée tordue, passée tordue, épingle, passée tordue, passée tordue, épingle, passée tordue,…. And you’ve only progress three pins along the row. It’s fun working out how to work the piece though and trying to go from side to side on different areas.
I haven’t got so far with this yet but I’m also learning how to do filled shapes and the basics of what I guess will become point d’esprit at some optimistic stage in the future. It’s interesting having to be aware and calculating on the fly which parts are the largest and which are the smallest of the shape so where I need to work the extra pairs in or out to control that. It is magic when it works. It’s magic seeing how the squiggly lines and dots that make up the generally incomprehensible lace pattern start to make something that is starting to edge towards what I would think of as real lace!
So far, it’s lots of talking to myself, talking to myself some more, forgetting, getting confused, getting good at working lace backwards to unpick, more confusing, more forgetting and then trying to find that rhythm to move forward with again. When I look at the work over on other lace blogs I think I’m still mystified how anyone can make anything with this approach, let alone do an intentional and complex design… Maybe I have a strong future in working things completely freestyle!
Time to keep twisting away!