Needles, Threaded and Ready

Well, this has certainly been an adventure, exploring the different lace styles–and I don’t think I’ve even scratched the surface.

The final type of lace that I just had to try before moving on to the next art was Needlelace. Of course, there’s not just one kind of needle lace, a lot of the lace appliques you see on dresses or in stores are forms of needlelace. Needlelace is also what makes lace dresses so expensive: the time that goes into one motif or pattern repeat can be astronomical!

That being said, my little practice piece took me less than an evening’s work to complete (actually, about the time it takes to watch Much Ado About Nothing). I kept it small (since I’d read it could take forever to fill in larger patterns) and cobbled together my instructions from three very helpful sites:

I started by drawing out my design, covering it in contact paper so it would be somewhat sturdy but still flexible, and attaching it, via couching threads to several layers of cloth underneath. Some suggest using a matching couching thread while others seem to prefer a contrasting one. I went with contrast and as long as you’re careful not to sew through the couching threads, there’s no problem removing them when you’re done with the lace.

Half-finished needlelace flower with a finger for scale

It took me about a third of the first petal to get the hang of the corded Brussels stitch which was the primary filler for this little lace excursion. After that I started to change it up with double Brussels and Pea Stitch (at least I think it was those stitches) and then did some wrapped bars on the final petal. The buttonhole stitch (what I grew up doing with wide spaces between each as a blanket stitch) then finishes off the outlines to make them stand out a bit more. I loved that the way you held the lace in relation to the stitch made the line of stitches stand out more and create a layered effect. Pretty cool!

completed needlelace flower in the palm of my hand

The important thing, or at least so I’ve read, in needlelace is to alternate very heavily-covered areas with sparser, open areas. The open areas, as you can imagine, go much quicker and can really speed up a project if you’ve strategically planned your piece.

All in all I really enjoyed getting a chance to try this new-to-me lace technique and could definitely see myself doing more of this in the future.

No further update on the crochet lace bag–I’ve been busier than a one-armed paper hanger lately between my own book and some pre-launch festivities going on with a friend’s book. It’s a good kind of busy but man am I tired!

Have you tried anything new lately?

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