This and That

Random bits of my life

Posts Tagged ‘lace’

The Cursed Shawl….

Posted by Avital Pinnick on November 7, 2012

Hole in Orenburg Shawl

I almost finished the body of this Orenburg Square Medallion Shawl, when I saw this big hole in the edging, near the lower right corner (i.e., near the start of the shawl). It isn’t a dropped stitch. It looks like something cut or tore several threads, so I must have caught it on something.

I haven’t decided what to do — sort of wavering between tearing it out now and undoing months of work or just photographing it and going to bed. And I noticed that my camera shutter button is behaving a little strangely, so I’d better dig up that warranty just in case.

Hole in Orenburg Shawl

Update (Nov. 8): Close-up of shawl showing scale:

Hole in Orenburg Shawl

Posted in Crafts | Tagged: , , , , | 13 Comments »

Video: Burano Lacemaker

Posted by Avital Pinnick on July 6, 2012

Back to the Italy vacation photos and videos…. I shot this short clip of a needle lacemaker at the Burano Lace Museum. The lacemaker is working on a fan for framing, not for mounting on fan sticks. She has already worked the design itself and is couching the cordonnet thread as an outline to emphasize the design. As I said in an earlier posting (with more photos of this piece), I was a little disappointed not to see her work that amazingly even reseau ground but I can’t blame her for choosing a fairly mindless task, since she knew that dozens of schoolchildren and tourists would be crowding around, taking photos and asking questions.

The background noise was distracting (moving furniture, shutter clicks from other tourists), so I added one of YouTube’s audio tracks. It’s a pity there’s no way to do a decent fade-out, but you get what you pay for.

You must be thinking I’ll never get out of Venice. It’s true that I did take a lot of photos of Venice and surrounding islands when I was there but actually we only spent three nights in Venice. I haven’t started the Florence photos yet! But I was more restrained in Florence. We were trying to fit so much into our brief stay in Venice (Venice, Lido, Burano, Murano, the Jewish Museum, San Marco, the Doge’s Palace), so we had to slow down in Florence.

I’m slowly recovering from whatever bug I caught on the flight back from Heathrow last week. I feel like I’ve been trampled by a herd of stampeding rhinoviruses….

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Burano Lace Museum

Posted by Avital Pinnick on June 22, 2012

Museo del Merletto, Burano

This posting is for the lace geeks out there. On our second full day in Venice we took the vaporetto (water bus) from Fondamente Nuove to Burano. Burano is known for its vividly coloured houses (that’s for another posting) and its lace. The lanes and squares of Burano are filled with shops selling over-priced lace made in China. But that’s what the tourists want.

The Museo del Merletto is located in the old lace-making school in Piazza Galuppi of Burano. The Scuola Merletti di Burano founded in 1872 and in operation until 1970. In 1981 it was converted into a museum. It re-opened to the public in 2011 after extensive renovations and it houses both Venetian and Burano needle laces, as well as providing a venue for local lace-makers to demonstrate their skill.

Museo del Merletto, Burano

Museo del Merletto, Burano

Even the lockers are decorated with lace!

Museo del Merletto, Burano

Edging on an alb, late 19th century.

Museo del Merletto, Burano

Table center, late 19th century.

Museo del Merletto, Burano

Museo del Merletto, Burano

Two lacemakers were at the school when I was there. Neither of them spoke English and my Italian wasn’t up to the task of discussing lace on my 3rd day in Italy, but I did find out that they use cotton thread.


The lacemaker at the back of the photo above was working on a fan (to be mounted in a frame, not on fan sticks, obviously). I was disappointed that I couldn’t see her working the reseau ground. She had finished the base design and was doing the fairly mindless job of couching the cordonnet. I can’t say I blame her for bringing easier work when one is being jostled by curious tourists and school tours, but I was hoping to see her work the ground!

Museo del Merletto, Burano

Museo del Merletto, Burano

Museo del Merletto, Burano

The other lacemaker was working on a large edging for a cloth.

Museo del Merletto, Burano

Museo del Merletto, Burano

Girls from a school tour sat in the empty lacemaking chairs and pretended to make lace.

Museo del Merletto, Burano

Posted in Crafts, Italy, photography | Tagged: , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Teaching Yourself Bobbin Lace

Posted by Avital Pinnick on September 9, 2009

Bobbin lace collar, “Johannan Ruusu,”, from Roses in Bobbin Lace, by Eeva-Liisa Kortelahti. I worked it in linen thread, Bockens 90/2, probably around 1998. Wish I’d kept records!

Kortelahti bobbin lace collar

Collar in progress:

Kortelahti collar in progress

You’ve been bitten by the bobbin lace bug? You want to start but aren’t sure how? My first piece of advice is to buy good materials from the start. Stay far, far away from the Bobbin Lace Kit sold by Lacis, Joanne’s, and a few other places. It’s cheap but the materials are of such low quality that they are frustrating to work with and they’ll never be used again. Get your materials from The Lacemaker, Snowgoose, or Helen van Sciver. These merchants (who are not paying me to say nice things about them) will give you personalized attention. Their supplies are excellent quality and often you can call them and ask them to put together a kit for you, based on the kind of lace you want to make (if you already know), your budget, and needs.

It does cost more than knitting or crochet or tatting (it’s also a lot more demanding, which is probably one of the reasons that it’s not a widespread hobby these days). On the other hand, if you decide that bobbin lace isn’t for you, the supplies can easily be sold on eBay. Also, most of the initial cost is up-front. Once you have a pillow, pins, bobbins, and patterns, the cost of thread is minimal.

I recommend starting with Torchon because it is straightforward, logical, and not too fiddly. No leaf tallies! It works up fairly quickly and looks quite handsome in fine or coarse threads.

Some good books for beginners:

Posted in bobbin Lace, needlework | Tagged: , | 5 Comments »

Leaf Tallies in Bobbin Lace

Posted by Avital Pinnick on September 9, 2009

I haven’t done bobbin lace in ages, but I wanted to mention Tess’s video on making leaf tallies. These things are tricky! I know Tess from the Arachne lace list, which I moderate. I don’t use this method but I’m posting it because good videos on bobbin lace technique are not very common.

It’s a little tricky to see the tally itself because the camera is so far back and the light is dim, so here’s a close-up photo from an edging:

Cluny edge (closeup)

The trick is to get fat, nicely rounded leaves with smooth edges — not “holly” leaves!

I started this Cluny lace edging in December, 1998, for a bobbin lace demonstration/lecture that I gave at the Dec. 31 meeting of the Jerusalem Fiber Craftsmen, at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem. The pattern is from Pamela Nottingham, Bobbin Lace Making, worked in Bockens 50/2 linen. It was completed in February 1999. When I started this edging, I had no idea that it would eventually have over 200 leaf tallies. I also didn’t realise how difficult it would be to keep talking during the lecture while working a leaf tally, which depends on such careful tensioning of the bobbins.

I drew threads from the edges of a piece of linen and triangle pin-stitched (not to be confused with the embroidery stitch of the same name) the edging to the fabric center.

Cluny bobbin lace handkerchief edging

UPDATE: Just found out about Jean Leader’s excellent drawings of a leaf tally. She also has a video, which is very clear.

Posted in bobbin Lace, needlework | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »