Can we have a group on the IOLI Convention? I am planning to attend next year and have a ton of questions that need to be answered!

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Dear Simon,

It is up to the Beehive Lacers to decide this. But if last year is any indication, Jean Leader taught two twelve hour Bucks Point classes, with identical descriptions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. I think that you could take one or both of these. Thus you could have a 12 hour or a 24 hour class as you desire. If you took only one, you could try out a different lace in the other time slot. If you took both, you could really immerse yourself in the lace and make some progress in the piece. Personally, I usually opt for the 24 hour experience whenever it is available, because I find it to be more satisfying. I find that in a bobbin heavy lace like Bucks you can spend the entire first 3 hour segment just hanging on the bobbins. Sometimes the teacher does not move around the room as quickly as you might like, or come to you exactly when you need help, but these inefficiencies tend to even out the longer the class. Another advantage of taking the class both in the morning and the afternoon is that you don't have to pack up and move all your stuff at lunch. In fact, sometimes you don't even have to pack and move it at night. The packing up, and unpacking, often represents a fair amount of time when you could be learning, dining or shopping. I travel with a table that has to be folded up, as well as a light with extension cord, and to be on the safe side, a multi socket surge protector "octopus" which can be a great advantage if there are an insufficient number of sockets for everyone's light. It can take a fair amount of time to secure bobbins and collapse all this equipment, often packing it into a wheeled suitcase.

If Bucks point is your lace, I would advise you to check in to Holly Van Sciver's site, occasionally to check her teaching schedule, as Bucks is one of the laces that she specializes in. If she is teaching somewhere near you or where you have friends or relatives with guest rooms, you might want to arrange to be there. Sometimes it is the case that a Bucks teacher who is not actually teaching a Bucks class might be persuaded via a contact in advance of the class, to take a Bucks student into the class, anyway.

Another event you might like to keep your eye on is Lace at Sweet Briar in Virginia. Bobbi Donnelly frequently teaches there, and her specialty is Tonder which is also a point ground lace not lacking in charm. Sweet Briar is a week long event that actually probably offers more hours of pure lacemaking than any other event, since it does not have trips or lectures and the setting of the college allows you to work in the class room until very late at night. Sometimes the teacher comes to the room at night, although she is not obligated to do so. Even without the teacher, you can get some instructions at the end of the class day, and then work into the night to get to the next difficult part of the lace, so you are readly to take full advantage of the instruction the next day.

Dear Simon, I agree you can learn a lot from books, but taking a class from a good teacher really improves your lace and provides a lot of inspiration. Conventions and workshops are expensive- I've only been to convention once, but it was spectacular. I took a class on Tonder with Guvnor Jorgensen in Montreal in 2006-I learned enough in that one week to keep me busy for more than a year. Unfortunately Gunvor passed away, and the only Tonder teacher I know of in the states currently is Bobbi Donnelly. I have taken several of her Tonder classes and they are excellent. She is working on a book on cross cloths. North Carolina Regional Lacers are hosting a workshop with Bobbi next spring. (I am the president of NCRL see our website at As Devon mentioned, the best way to learn of the workshops is to join the local guild and read their newsletter- also space in classes usually goes to members first and the good classes fill fast. I've also been to Sweet Briar several times- it's excellent. If you want to learn Tonder, get a copy of Skovgaard's Technique of Tonder from the IOLI library and work through it, and then take a class. I wouldn't start with the Big Heart of Denmark, it has something like 80 pairs plus 8 or 10 pairs of gimp! Kipling 3 by Karen Trend Nissen has some nice patterns as well-make sure you get the English translation as well. I've not seen the pattern for the big heart anywhere except Karelly Knipleservice. Happy lacing, Michelle Chase
Well I have decided to make it happen. Seeing the registration form really did it for me. I will just take a 24 hour class and bring my own food to save money. I could try to find a roommate, but I highly value my privacy and decompression time. I'm more passionate about lace than anything else I do, and it's important to me to do it well and to progress.

And I have a question. Are there not convention tables in the classrooms for our pillows? I saw that I can rent a TV tray, but an actual table would feel much more secure and give me more room for my light.
I believe that how the room is set up will be up to either the teacher or an event coordinator. It may also have to do with the size of the room. However, speaking from experience of working other (non IOLI) conventions, asking for a table is not a big deal. I suggest you show up early for your classes, check out the room, and then ask for a table if there isn't one already.

I'll be honest you aren't the only one who likes tables over trays. I use a table at guild meeting every month. The TV trays I've used are about 4 inches too high for me.
We have a class list, but do not know which classes are when and how many hours. Do we know when this Info will become available?  

If you are interested in Honiton, I can attest that Sheila Wells is a very good teacher.

Most years the Bucks Point class is offered either 12 or 24 hours ie .. it is offered both morning and afternoon and you can sign up for one or both parts.

I took Bucks in the morning in Minnesota and Milanese for the afternoon.  I stayed with relatives in the city to lower my cost.  I had stayed with relatives in Denver for that convention.  Sharing rides and rooms is another cost lowering strategy.  Good luck, see you in Utah, I hope.

Tables are provided as a rule at IOLI conventions. I guess you should "never say never" but I have not been to any convention class where there were not tables provided. They are the kind of tables that a hotel typically has. For the most part, they are big enough for two or three people to sit on one side, facing the teacher. Some people may find that a normal table suitable for hotel conferences and for eating is not at exactly the correct height for them to make lace comfortably. This leads to people arriving with their own tables,  or requesting tray tables that are adjustible in height. (Another innovation I have seen is that some people will stack a chair over another chair to make the chair higher for a more comfortable position vis a vis the hotel provided table.)

Personally, my preference, if I am at a "driving to" convention is to bring my lace making table that adjusts in height and in angle. Thus I can change the height periodically in order to stress different vertebrae over the many hours of lace making. I like to set up the adjustable table next to the provided table and strew all my equipment, patterns and books on the provided table, to which I may clamp the light that I have brought. (Don't forget an extension cord!)  Thus it is possible for one person to use the equivalent of three person's worth of table space. But usually, there is enough room for this, as people are not sitting chock a block next to each other.

Sometimes it is possible, if desperate, to buy a new lace making table at the convention, use it there, and then ship it home. I find shipping things home to be a lot easier than shipping things to a convention since there is a tendency for the hotel to mess up on deliveries, as the collection of mournful vendors standing around the reception desk can testify. My husband has usually identified the nearest Pack and Ship to the hotel as a defense against having to carry an extraordinary amount of stuff on the plane. In the event that you find you have as many tables as you can reasonably use, something I have never found, you could always ship the newly purchased, desperation table to a lacemaking  friend who couldn't go to the convention as a thoughtful gift.


Simon Purple said:

Well I have decided to make it happen. Seeing the registration form really did it for me. I will just take a 24 hour class and bring my own food to save money. I could try to find a roommate, but I highly value my privacy and decompression time. I'm more passionate about lace than anything else I do, and it's important to me to do it well and to progress.

And I have a question. Are there not convention tables in the classrooms for our pillows? I saw that I can rent a TV tray, but an actual table would feel much more secure and give me more room for my light.

I wonder if a couple of local lace makers would be willing to be delivery sites?  When I ran the art room for a couple of conventions I had them sip the art to my home so that someone was always there to get it and put it inside.  Just a thought.

Certainly worth considering and offering.

Hi Simon,

I happen to be in charge of teachers for IOLI for next year so am able to answer some things you might like to know.  The information will be available in the IOLI Bulletin in January and also on the Beehive Lacers website then. I can tell you that there will be a 24 hour class of Bucks Point taught by Jean Leader from Scotland and also two 12 hour classes in Tonder taught by Bobbi Donnelly.  These classes will be offered but unless we have the minimum number of students they will get cut, so sign up as soon as you can after they are publicized.

Devon gave you a good idea of what has happened at past events and an idea of costs.  In 2014 the convention will be in Sacramento, CA but I know IOLI is still looking for co-hosts in 2015.  Maybe you can persuade a local Texas group to co-host then and you won't have the travel costs to worry about.  With this new co-hosting system, the financial worry has been taken from the shoulders of the local group and they will get $2,000 even if the convention makes  loss, and a lot more if it is profitable.  As an organizer of the 2008 convention, it was hard for me to sign the hotel contract and face a possible $20,000 in penalties if we had not made our target numbers for the hotel.  Now all that is handled by the IOLI Convention Committee and the local group gets to make the fun decisions such a teacher choices, logo, theme, entertainment, etc.

Janice Blair 


I just  had a look at the convention classes as linked to above. I am glad to see that the Shuttle Brothers, Gary and Randy Houtz will be at the convention. They are always a lot of fun. Also, I notice that a man named Bart Elwell is teaching Venetian needle lace. Since I notice that he is an avid crocheter who is able to duplicate other laces in crochet, and his other class seems to be Irish crochet which is a crochet duplication of Venetian Gros Point, I just wanted to check with you about whether he is actually teaching needle lace in this case. If so, is the Venetian needle lace in question Gros Point or some other variation? It has been a long time since we had Gros Point at a convention. Needle lace classes are so few and far between.


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