I’ve got the needle lace bug

I tried needle lace a couple of years ago when a dear lady called Mary was showing another lady at an Embroiderers’ Guild meeting.  More recently, other ladies at our branch have been bringing lovely pieces they have made to the meetings, and I have caught their enthusiasm.  There were two books in the Guild library, so I have borrowed them, and got started.  Since then I have bought a more elementary book, which I have started reading.

Maybe this  was a bit ambitious for a first piece, as the areas for the different lace stitches are relatively small, and there are a lot of them.  Now that I have the basic book, I can see that some things were not done quite as they should have been, but nothing of any great consequence.

I have used a crochet cotton for the cordonnet, which I couched with a cream sewing cotton.  The lace stitches were done with No1 Mountmellick cotton.  I wanted a matt effect because this is likely to appear on the flap of my white cotton work bag.  There are actually a pair of these.  The second one still has most of the cordonette (buttonhole stitching over the cordonnet) to be done. It was a good idea to use a slightly different colour for the couching, as it made it easier to remove the last of them from the back of the piece when I had completed it, and removed it from the backing. I am quite impressed how sturdy the piece feels.  But then when I think about how many stitches, and how many threads of crochet cotton there are in the cordonette, it is hardly surprising

I am quite happily sitting doing this while I wait for my niece to give birth.  Then I can finish the Birth Sampler which I started a few months ago, and get it sent to her.

So now I am thinking about what comes after that.  I quite fancy a colourful piece of needlelace, possibly in silk.  Maybe a corsage?

July 26, 2012. Tags: , , , . Embroidery, Needle Lace. Leave a comment.

Before and after

Here is ‘Melancholy’ with all the cross-stitch and half cross stitch completed.

And here it is again with the backstitching done.


It has taken ages and I found it a real chore.  It was very difficult to find where to stitch from the chart, as I had already covered my stitched guidelines, and the colours used are similar in colour and tone.  I may have missed some on the hair, but I don’t think the backstitching on the hair and the bodice show at all.  On the other hand, on the rest of the piece, it certainly makes a difference.

Now I need to find a frame.  There is no way this piece will not be displayed.  I don’t like to think how many hours it has taken!

So what is next?

For my birthday I received Pat Trott’s book, ‘Beginner’s Guide to Mountmellick Embroidery’.  I have been meaning to give this a try.

In November 2010 I bought some Mountmellick thread.  When reading the book, I realised that I need more than one thickness of thread, and I had no idea which thickness I have.  That’s what happens when you buy things at shows, without actually needing them for a specific project!  I bought the thread from Empress Mills, so I phoned them, and they were able to identify it from the colour of the cone.

The correct fabric for Mountmellick work is not easy to come by.   A few weeks ago I sent for the Empress Mills catalogue .  I remembered the wide range of good I had seen at the show.  They are just a little too far away for me to be tempted to visit them, and the postage on my order will probably be less than the fuel would cost!

The other thing which has been tempting me is Needle Lace.  Some ladies at Embroiderers’ Guild have inspired me.  I tried this a while back, having been given basic instruction by an elderly lady. I cannot find my original piece, which is annoying me!.

From the library I have borrowed Catherine Barley’s book, ‘Needlelace Designs and Techniques Classic and Contemporary’.  I am glad I didn’t buy this without seeing it first, as it is not a beginners’ book.  I hadn’t realised  how many types of needlelace there are!  I have been investigating the history of the different types.  The book covers Gros Point de Venise and Point de Gaze, which appeal to me,  and Hollie point, which does not.

I am thinking of making some small pieces to adorn the flap of  my white cotton work bag.   Other ideas, such as drawn thread work are also floating round my mind.  The Mountmellick thread I have will be ideal for this.

So I think for a while I will be trying out new techniques, before setting out on a major project  (or finishe-ing any that are already started)


July 1, 2012. Tags: , , , , . Cross stitch, Drawn thread, Embroidery, Needle Lace. Leave a comment.