Or "How I learned a lot"

I had made the sampler, I had made the bookmark, and I felt it was finally time to branch out on my own and try to do a design that was entirely different and unsafe.  After all, how do you learn a thing unless you give it a try?   I found this image and felt that it had enough separate sections to allow me to create my own kind of 'sampler' and struck out to make my mistakes. 

The beginning went easy enough.  Couching is perhaps the easiest part for me as I've done it in embroidery before.  It was fun trying to figure out where to lay the threads so that I created one cohesive piece of... well, whatever this was going to be.  I had aspirations for it of course, but I was under no delusion that it was going to turn out.  Or that I would even finish it for that matter. 

Finishing it took nearly two years. I am not going to pretend that I worked on it much during that time, but it sat there, taunting me in its unfinished status.  I had other distractions however.  I learned how to spin wool, got my own spinning wheel, joined a weavers guild, and got into a LOT of other hobbies in that two year time span to sufficiently distract me. 

Here I am though, with a finished piece.  Well, as finished as I could get.  I joined the Society for Creative Anachronism and it renewed my interest in lace.  It is, after all, an obscure talent and I have always been intrigued by these old techniques.  So a few weeks ago I decided to dust off the old needle and give this another go.  Trouble is, I'd forgotten how to do any of it.  It took me four stitches to remember how to do the basic stitch, and I am sure they can be seen somewhere in the picture.  That's perhaps not true, there are a LOAD of terrible stitches on there so it could be easily confused.  I forgot how to finish the lace, so I did the best that I could with my memory.  Silly me didn't have the patience to find instruction again, and I just wanted it off my pillow.

So I present to you "Student Piece #1, a lesson in patience"

It's not perfect, and there are some sections I wish I would have cut out and redone.  I'm rubbish at hiding ends with the final button stitch, and I'm pretty sure I should have added some padding to those stitches, but forgot till the last minute.  Perhaps for the best, as some of the details in the face would have been lost with thicker outlining. 

Constructive criticism is welcome!  I want to learn and I want to improve.  I am also ready to start looking for my next project.  Something in the late medieval/early Renaissance style.  Suggestions for that, and books would be most welcome!

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Comment by Lorelei Halley Administrator on May 30, 2017 at 5:42pm

It actually looks very good. The only really wobbly part is the large section on the right which has those small webs laid on a gridwork. If you had made the webs larger, or laid the background grid closer together, I think that section would look better.  I'm posting below some links to the needlelace tutorials that I posted on needlelacetalk. These are just links to the end part, the finishing, to suggest how to solve the problem of ends and padding the outline as you buttonhole it.


Click on the colored words to get the diagrams and photos.



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