A day filled with contrasts, or variations. Or not just a day but a weekend so far. Yesterday, straight after work, the bobbin lace guild’s board members put together the laces for today’s lace exhibition opening. It wad exhausting and took a long time but the end result was lovely. This morning I went for two workout classes and then to the opening of the exhibition. From sweat to lace, so to speak. Then Julle helped a stranger with his printer (yes, I married a very kind man) and I left for dinner with friends who are also gamers which was one if the topics for discussion. Sweat, lace, game. I hope tomorrow will be calmer because this is just crazy, even though it’s in a very good way.
The flowers from the other day has gotten me all into greens. It’s time to start knit green. This is unfortunate since I have purple, beige and red in pipeline and an MKAL starting April 1st in white and blue. Instead I want light pink and green. I’m even wearing my green dress today, that’s how desperate I am. I think I will use this weekend to finish the purple and the thumbs (I should really stop putting that off and just be done with it) and start making something small in green before I move on to beige and red. That would be the responsible thing to do.
In the meantime we can admire my lace. It’s green. It’s making slow progress but at least it’s making progress. Over the past few months me and the lace have become better acquainted and we’re moving forward (even though yesterday I spotted a pair where there should be none so I’m not really sure what’s going on). It’s green for sure and I find it pretty if still somewhat difficult. Since it’s called Simple Gingerbread I think that the big things in the middle are supposed to resemble gingerbread but they could just as easily be flowers which are more suitable right now. I’m quite sure I’ve learned a lot making this and I think I will continue working on it this semester too and then next semester I’ll move on to something else.
I have decided to try to make this Decemer the most Christmas-y ever. Yesterday was a meeting with the bobbin lace guild and we had a very Christmas-y coffee break. I had my first mulled wine for the season…
and we had saffron buns. All very delicious.
I also made good progress on my lace. I have had trouble with this lace before but I am carefully optimistic and it is actually quite fun, finally. I’m looking forward to lace class on Wednesday.
I did struggle in the beginning though, really struggle. That little piece of lace is not pretty but I think it is improving and as I said, it’s becoming fun.
I haven’t gotten as into lace as some of the other members of the guild though. There is a whole little manufactury going on, elves, elves, elves.
Elves with porridge bowls and elves with smaller elves. Very pretty lace elves.
They make up wonderful Christmas cards, don’t they?
I realize it’s been a while since I showed you some lace, some bobbin lace that is. If my last lace was long, this is instead wide. I have way too many bobbins for my pillow and it has all been a big mess.
The pattern is called Enkla pepparkakan (Single Gingerbread) but in Swedish the Word “enkla” has two meanings, it can mean both single (which is probably what the designer had in mind, single gingerbread as opposed to double gingerbread (I don’t know if there is a lace called Double Gingerbread though)) and simple which in this case feels a bit like mocking since this lace is everything but simple (which is probably why there isn’t a double gingerbread).
I really do think that the pattern is pretty, it has just been impossible to make and there is no good work description either. I must have undone every single step at least once and it has taken me many hours to get this far. I have been very tempted to just cut it off and throw everything away but I am not a quiter. That has been proven in this lace as well as the other day at pilates class when the substitute instructor made so mad I almost left the class (we do not shame bodies! But that’s a different discussion) but I didn’t walk out, I finished the class and am thinking of writing the instructor a very eloquent e-mail instead. That’s a different story, the point is that I am not a quiter (unless it comes to books, I am a firm believer that life’s too short for bad books, but again I digress).
I have continued working the lace and slowly, slowly I’ve made progress. I have made almost one pattern repeat and not everything with it is ugly. It’s still early days so I won’t exhale just yet and it’s still not simple (and not very single either…?) but I might not throow it out just yet.
So it’s about time I show you the pictures from Saturday’s exhibition. We had a bride and wedding theme and we had a great time coming up with different ways to put lace into a wedding.
We took two of Julle’s and mine wedding invitations (thank you, mum and Agnieszka, for letting us borrow your’s for a while). The place card is also authentic, it’s from our wedding, but we put store bought lace on it. For this I added a piece of lace I made a couple of years ago, Wind Ripple. The handkerchief is obviously also a very good thing to bring to a wedding, no matter if you’re a guest or a member of the bridal party. I once made one for myself but it actually disappeared during a wedding. I left at my seat at the table and then it was gone. I should really make myself a new one.
We found three different bridal crowns. I think all of them are pretty, I can’t decide which I prefer. The one in the back is very pretty and pointy but the one to the far right is so elaborate and the golden one is so small and delicate. I can totally see an outfit for all of them. I chose a floral crown for my own wedding but a lace crown wouldn’t have been wrong, come to think of it.
To the left is a lace garter, also made out of bobbin lace. So adorable. And also something blue. My something blue was in the green lace tied around my bouquet, I added three blue beads among all the raspberry red beads.
We put together a whole dinner set with a lace place mat. It is just beautiful, that lace. I don’t think I would ever have the energy to sew the lace to the place mat. And when would you use them? At fancy dinners you tend to serve wine and it would just be awful to spill red wine on something this beautiful.
Next to your plate you obviously have your napkin, here made up with a napkin ring out of paper and one of the laces I made. It’s actually also my napkin as it happens. I thought it turned out very well.
This I find truly amazing, it’s a table decoration that is made flat and then you form this. I love that it’s in different colors and the shape of it.
For our finale we had an actual wedding dress, complete with hand made lace in the shape of hearts. It wasn’t a big exhibition but it was very pretty and very well thought. Someone mentioned that it must be really difficult to find enough lace for a wedding theme but I don’t think so at all. I am really proud of this and I think the guild did an amazing job. I think that this prooves that if you are really creative, you can put lace almost anywhere.
Look at that. 39 pairs of sweet little bobbins prepared with green thread. 39 pairs, that’s 70 bobbins that’s I’ve wound. I’ve never made a lace with that many bobbins before.
They look like something on an old typewriter or notes on a note sheet. It looks very neat and it didn’t take too long to do it. Now, let’s hope the lace I’m going to make will be just as easy and that it will be worth it.
I’ve been trying to talk myself into continue working on my lace for the past week. It’s been difficult and I have been more than un-willing. Instead I’ve been given all my attention to my second white lace, so much in fact that it’s now finished. Then I turned my attention to another unfinished shawl that only had a few rows left. I tried to finished these in time for the next MKAL clue but now that I’m in serious doubt about my contrasting color it doesn’t feel right to knit on the MKAL. So when I woke up this morning I realized I had nothing to knit and the only thing left was the lace and I really sat down and made a few repeats. It wasn’t enough repeats for one day but it was a start.
About ten years ago I was reading an interesting book. I was a week from a big, and difficult, phonetics exam that I really needed to study for but I couldn’t tear myself from the book. One evening at dance practise I started reading the book before the other dancers came and I kept reading when they arrived. When I had read for one hour into practise I realized two things. 1. The book was obviously very good if it ment I willingly missed dance practise (or at least one hour of it) and 2. that the best way of moving on to the phonetics books was to actually finish this book first. I did that, quite quickly, and then I had no distractions, and no bad conscience, from studying (although I do remember studying for the same exam at theater camp one weekend (what can I say, I had a lot going on in my life)) and I got top grades on that exam.
I used the same method a few years later when a book was so good I had to read it while walking to work. This time too I had an exam (linguistic history) coming up (I’ve had a lot of exams throughout the years) and I made sure to finish the book as quickly as possible. Then I made sure I didn’t buy the sequel until after the exam and that was the first thing I did, I walked straight from the exam hall to the book store. I guess it was the same thing now with the lace, I had to finish the knitting before I could turn my attention to the bobbin lace. Sometimes that’s what it is, some things need to be done in order for something else to be started. And sometimes you just need an excuse to procrastinate.
I’m sorry about the elusiveness. June hit me with full force and I wasn’t at all prepared. Usually by June Everything calms down but not this year. Instead, the stress rate has increased steadily these past two weeks and I’m doing my best to keep up. I did manage to have the center of my huge lace shawl done by June 1st and since then I’ve worked on the final border lace. It’s about 78 repeats and so far I’ve managed 56 so it’s good progress and I might actually be ready for blocking on June 28. This hasn’t come easy though. Although I’m much more comfortable with knitting this pattern in this yarn than when I first started this Project it’s still slow progress. Back when I did the first 85 border edge lace repeats I only managed to make one per day and yesterday I did 11 but it still takes me half an hour at the least to make one pattern repeat. One pattern repeat is 640 stitches, it’s not much at all but it’s complicated lace and quite impossible to learn it by heart. I need to look at the chart all the time and that slows me down. And since there is lace on both sides I don’t have any rows where I can relax. My goal of making four repeats per day has prooved to be very difficult, not only beacuse one repeat takes so much time but also because all the other things I have to do is piling up.
This weekend the Swedish Prince got married and I was watching the wedding on TV, knitting away. It felt like a worthy television show for a huge pile of white lace.
It was actually very nice, we had tea and chocolate and wine and grapes and it was a great afternoon. The lace grew which is really it’s job right now. It also had a funny way of dropping its stoppers a few times this weekend but luckily I was prepared. Not only had I put rubber bands on the needles together with the stoppers but I had also put a life line thorugh the live stitches at the center which came in very handy (oh, the horror if I hadn’t!).
People are constantly asking why there are so many pink lines through the lace and I agree that it looks peculiar. I didn’t add a single life line before I had finished the 250 border rows but I think that was it with tempting fate. Life lines fill a purpose, that’s all I can say.
It looks kind of smashing even before it’s blocked, I must say. I can’t wait till it’s finished and I get to see it for real without and knitting needles in the way.
I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. These past three weeks I’ve made more than 30 000 stitches per week for a total of 95 000 stitches. According to my calculations and also according to Julle’s, (his might be more accurate but he doesn’t know the lace as I do and and he has never had his arse kicked by the knitter goddess and therefore I trust my own calculations more. They might not be as based on real numbers and algoritms and such but they are based on simple math, knitterly experience and sanity) the center will be done in two weeks as long as I keep this 30 000 sts/week thing up. In twelve rows I only have two repeats of the pattern left but I still think that is about 60 000 stitches. It would be great if the center ended when May ends so I can use all of June to knit on the edge lace. If I’m not mistaken, the edge have 78 repeats and if I make a mere 3 repeats a day over the course of June, the whole shebang will be ready for blocking by June 26. That would be a great idea but it will not happen as I’m going away over Midsummer and I don’t want to bring the Great Lace. It’s not very transportable and when I say I need a vacation I really mean a vacation, from everything, even kick-ass laces. (I’ll bring other knitting though, don’t you worry.) So, considering I’m not going to knit on the lace for almost a whole week, I have two options. 1. To raise the amount of repeats made per day from three to four or 2. to have the lace ready for blocking by July 4. I’m not sure which of these options I’ll choose, maybe something in between. July is still a fairly good margin but I’d prefer it if the lace was done before the end of June.The point is that I can at least see the end of it, I know how much is left and I have a plan for making it happen. And, I also know how close I am to get to knit other things again…