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Archive for December 9th, 2010

Puncetto Valsesiano: Part 6 – Squares and Bars

Posted by Avital Pinnick on December 9, 2010

It’s taken an unconscionable length of time to write this post. I had to figure out how to do squares and bars again. I also decided that it would be useful to devise a way to diagram the stitches because it’s very hard to see stitches in a photograph.

This tutorial is about the squares and bars (both vertical and horizontal) that form the foundation of Puncetto lace. I will cover diamonds and webs (spiders) in a later tutorial! The diagram below is a fairly typical simple Puncetto design. I used it as the basis of my tiny motif a couple years ago.

Puncetto Pattern

Puncetto needle lace

Puncetto Valsesiano designs are based on a grid of squares that can vary in size from 2 knots to 4 knots (for the sake of clarity, I am going to use the word “knots” instead of “stitches”). A grid of 3 knots is the most common variation and that is the size that I am using throughout these tutorials.

My sample is based on a ladder foundation of 12 knots. Count very carefully! If you make a mistake in the number of knots, you will have to start over.

Squares and Bars

The photos of this tutorial are followed by drawings. Please excuse the messiness. My main computer is getting repaired and upgraded, so I don’t have access to fancy drawing tools on this loaner laptop.

1. Starting from the left end of your ladder foundation, work 3 knots in the first three loops. You will be working from left to right. Without turning your work, work 3 knots in the 3 spaces you have just made, working from right to left. Repeat these two rows. Work another left-to-right row, so that your thread is at the right side of the block you have just made.

Puncetto 5.1

2. To form an empty space, skip 3 knots (= 2 loops) and work a knot in the third loop, leaving enough thread for the top and side of the empty space.

Puncetto 5.2

3. To make a vertical bar, work 3 knots on the thread loop you have just made. Remember: If you are working on a 3×3 knot grid, vertical and horizontal bars will have 3 knots on them.

Puncetto 5.3

4. Skip 3 knots (= 2 loops) and work a knot in the third loop, again leaving enough thread for the top and side of the empty square. This photo also shows how to join a new thread, which is described below. Work 2 knots in the next two loops.

Puncetto 5.4

5. This part is a little tricky because it seems counter-intuitive, but this is how you make a square after an empty space. Working from right to left, make a knot in each of the 2 loops and a knot on the thread forming the left side of the square (= 3 knots, working right to left).

Puncetto 5.4a

6. Working from left to right, make 2 knots in the 2 loops. This seems odd to be working 3 knots/2 knots/3 knots/2 knots, but trust me. Squares surrounded by empty spaces are worked this way.

7. Now you’re ready to work the final right-to-left row over the entire sample. Make a knot in the 2 loops of the square, make 3 knots in the first horizontal bar, make 3 knots in the second horizontal bar, and make 3 knots in the last 3 loops. Including the starting point of your thread (= knot) and the 11 knots you just worked, you will have 12 knots total in this row.

Puncetto 5.5


The drawings below show the working of the same sample. There is one mistake: I actually drew 11 knots and didn’t realise it until I had to draw the final square. That shows you how important it is to count your knots!

1. Start with a ladder foundation of 12 knots.

Puncetto 6.1

2. The arrow indicates where you start the first square. Work 3 knots in 3 spaces. Repeat 5 times. Skip 3 knots (2 loops) and work a knot.

Puncetto 6.2

3. The vertical bar has 3 knots. Skip another 3 knots and work a knot.

Puncetto 6.3

4. Work 2 knots in the next 2 loops to form the first row of the square. Working from right to left, work 2 knots in 2 loops and the third knot on the vertical thread that forms the left side of the square. Working from left to right, work 2 knots in the 2 loops (remember — only 2 knots!).

Puncetto 6.4

5. When the square is complete, work the final right-to-left row (“2” in the drawing): 2 knots in 2 spaces, 3 knots on horizontal bar, 3 knots on horizontal bar, and 3 knots on 3 loops.

Puncetto 6.5

This diagram shows that upright bars have 3 knots on them, whether they are vertical bars or sides of squares. Horizontal bars also have 3 knots.

Puncetto 6.6

Square over Empty Space

This diagram shows how to place a square over an empty space. Your instincts will tell you to start in the loop spanning the square and space in the row below, but if you do that, the square will not be aligned properly over the space! The arrow marked “HERE” points to the correct loop for beginning a square over a space.

Puncetto 6.7

Square over Square

A square over a square is more straightforward. There should be 3 loops over the square. Work 3 knots in the 3 loops.

Puncetto 6.8

Joining a New Thread

1. When joining a new thread, work a couple knots over the new thread with the old thread.

2. Drop the old thread.

3. Work a couple knots over the old thread with the new thread. You will have some doubled thread loops. Treat these as ordinary loops, working knots in the loops.

4. Cut the thread ends close to the loop.

Posted in Crafts, needlework, Puncetto Valsesiano | Tagged: , , , | 18 Comments »

Zucchini and Tomato Tian

Posted by Avital Pinnick on December 9, 2010

Vegetable Tian

Cold stormy weather is expected to move into our area tomorrow, so this recipe may represent the last gasp of summer! I associate tians with summer because they’re so light and easy to prepare with summer vegetables. I’m still hobbling around with a surgical shoe on my foot, so I’m not spending a lot of time in the kitchen. My husband was starting to chafe under the steady diet of leftovers, rice, chickpeas, and other pulses. He doesn’t like meat all that much, so my mid-week cooking tends to be vegetarian. Yesterday I made a sweet potato and zucchini soup, a walnut and raisin quick bread, and this zucchini and tomato tian.

A tian is really more of a method than a follow-the-recipe dish. If you have other vegetables that need to be used up, toss them in. If you’re watching your weight, substitute toasted breadcrumbs for the grated cheese (there’s only 2 ounces of cheese on top, just for colour and flavour). But please don’t try to leave out the olive oil!

You may be wondering why I put egg in the rice. The rice is there to add substance, absorb the juices of the vegetables, and I happened to have a couple cups of cooked rice left over. The egg turns the rice into a lovely, delicate, creamy crust under the vegetables, so if the combo seems odd to you, try it just this once.

Zucchini and Tomato Tian au Gratin

1 large onion, sliced into half moons
3 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbs olive oil (plus a little extra for drizzling)
1 large red pepper, thinly sliced
2 large zucchini, very thinly sliced
2 large tomatoes, cored and very thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups cooked rice
2 eggs
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 oz. hard cheese, grated (whatever you have will work but Gruyere would be wonderful)

Sauté sliced onion in olive oil until starting to brown. Add red pepper slices and cook until tender. Add garlic and cook until aromatic.

Put the cooked rice in a bowl. Add the sauted vegetable mixture and mix thoroughly. Lightly beat 2 eggs and stir into the rice mixture. Season lavishly with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Oil a 1.5 liter gratin dish. If you don’t have a gratin dish, any shallow casserole will do. Smooth the rice mixture on the bottom of the dish. Add alternating layers of zucchini and tomato slices. Season with oregano, salt and pepper, and drizzle olive oil over the vegetables. Sprinkle grated cheese on top.

Bake in a preheated 400° oven for 45 minutes or until the zucchini is tender when you prod it with a knife.

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Lady with Unicorn Update

Posted by Avital Pinnick on December 9, 2010

Lady with Unicorn Update

I’ve finished the first page of the Lady with Unicorn: Sense of Hearing! I’ve worked just a little over 11,165 stitches, 8.5% of the total (130,380 stitches). I began this piece over a year ago, on Nov. 23, 2009. Pattern is by Scarlet Quince, based on the 15th century French tapestry.

Lady with Unicorn: Sense of Hearing

Progress has been very rapid since I gave up “parking” my threads. After a couple years of religiously parking, I asked a fellow cross-stitcher and much more experienced embroiderer, Karen (Where the Stitches Cross), whether I could stop parking my threads. Her sensible reply was, “Try it and see whether you like the results.” I couldn’t see any difference, probably because I’m working on 18-count Aida, so I gave up parking completely.

I’m not saying that parking is not a useful technique. If I were working on a piece with a very high thread count, I would recommend parking. But parking means that you’re constantly threading needles when working on a piece like this with 133 different colours. Karen is working the same piece on 20-count fabric. Her progress is very impressive! Here are her photos.

The Flickr set showing the progress of my piece is here.

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Last Day of Hanukkah 2010

Posted by Avital Pinnick on December 9, 2010

I managed to get a couple shots of the oil hanukkiyot (hanukkah lamps) last night. I like under-exposing them slightly, so that the oil-filled cups look golden and the background is dark and mysterious.

This hanukkiya was sitting in a glass box on the window sill outside. I opened the window but the box was closed. Since the glass wasn’t very clean, there’s some streakiness.

8th Night of Hanukkah

This hanukkiya was photographed in our living rooom on a glass-covered cupboard. (I crocheted the doily underneath it. There’s a photo of the doily here.)

8th Night of Hanukkah

Posted in Israel, Judaism, photography | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »