In my QPT presentation, I was asked what type of thread I disliked working with – my answer was linen, due to the temperamental breakages. I was given a suggestion to play with the humidity levels in the room that I was working the lace in – if the thread was too try it could be more prone to breaking. I didn’t have a humidifier, so I improvised by storing my spool of thread in a Ziploc bag with a lightly damp (but not sodden) paper towel. After I cut and wound my bobbins, I stored them in a second Ziploc bag with another damp paper towel until I was ready to work with them.
I wanted to retry a picot style that I had first attempted in the cotton piece. One of my concerns on the first piece when I transitioned to the fully twisted picot with sewing over top was the added bulk of the threads on top of the picot. The top picot on the right hand side was done to mimic the double (twisted) picot, splitting the loop into two curves (much like the top left hand side picot on the cotton). To see if bulk was reduced (and to see if the picot could be formed tighter), I tried a single bobbin looped in from the right plait.
Despite my efforts in taming humidity (as the piece was worked, I occasionally misted the air around the pillow with a spray bottle), I still mangled to break three separate threads, two at twisted picots during the tension around the pin. Most breaks happened around slubby bits of the thread, perhaps weak spots in the spinning. I had to pin in rescue bobbins above the breaks, and continue to weave with the broken thread and new bobbin side by side as a single thread. When the piece was finished, I clipped off the tails of the broken threads and anchors of the new ones.
I worked on a linen copy of the same pattern, only scaled down from Saturday, July 25th to Sunday, August 2nd. This post serves as my postmortem.
There were a couple of significant hiccups.
The long thread at the top of the picture is the replacement pair anchored to the pillow. Basically I removed the broken thread from the work and knotted the two seperate bobbins back together, keeping the knot up and out of the work. When the lace was removed from the pillow, I trimmed the dead thread away.
The other big boo-boo was a failed windmill. It's hard to see in the linen finish photo but the cotton piece has a great example.
To understand what went wrong, I'll have to explain a couple of lace stitches.
Stitches in bobbin lace making are almost always in combinations of twists and crosses.
This website has great visualization of many different stitches in animated gif form: Gwyndir
The threads as the approach the pin moving in CTC-TC-TC. When the threads meet the pin each pair is treated as a single thread and subjected to the same CTC. The purple and dark blue threads are crossed over the light blue and pink theads in the first Cross move. The Twist to follow would bring light blue/pink over the red/orange theads and the green/yellow over the dark blue/purple theads. Finish with a Cross of red/orange over green/yellow.
Looks neat, right?
I didn't do that...
Here's what really happened
I performed the first Cross almost automatically by working my piece from right to left. By completing the right braid up to the pin, it leaves the threads (light blue/pink) in an ideal position position for crossing later as they'll be on the bottom (underneath the dark blue/purple threads when that braid is completed from the left). Only I forgot the Twist and brought back the threads to their original sides.
This is something I need to watch for. I must have hung the pairs against the pin with every intention to windmill them (I'll work a lot of braid up to the exchange pin and go back from right to left to continue the work).
Welcome to the SCA blog of Lady Jane Caldwell. Lady Jane plays in 1534 and is interested in early period lace. Lady Jane hails from the Barony of Skraeling Althing in Ealdormere. Lady Jane is also a clothes whore who will wear clothing from multiple periods to either feel pretty or feel comfortable.