Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Why Did The Kids Put Lace In Their Ears?

Sure, my lace is pretty, but what do you do with it? So far, I’ve mostly made bookmarks. I use my bookmarks in special books, such as scriptures and my Jane Austen collection. But…for books I’ve borrowed from the libraries, I either A) use a highly advanced method of looking at the page number before closing the book and remembering it later on, or B) leave the book open, face down (I’d better dodge heavy objects being thrown by librarians angered by my flagrant destruction of spines). Plus, of all the books I’ve read this year (86 & 3/2 at current count), at least half were ebooks I read on my Palm TX. All I have to do to bookmark those is press a button! I know that many of my friends and coworkers listen to audiobooks instead of reading printed books…but when tried taking an informal poll of my friends to prove my point, I kind of dramatically failed (one (1) listens to books, one (1)—me—reads ebooks, and twelve (12) read traditional books). Probably I should have asked a wider range of people…
Anyway, the point is that if even I don’t have much use for the bookmarks I make, why should I expect anyone else to? I wanted a way to make my lace a little more accessible for everyday use, so I decided to try making some earrings. I started with an earring based on a white and yellow bookmark with a fancy type of spiders. I drew up the pattern by tracing sections from the bookmark pricking. This design uses 12 pairs of bobbins, including 4 pairs wound with yellow thread to outline the edges and the fancy detail of the spiders. I made a prototype, but the yellow diamonds around the small spider looked…off.
I made a second pricking (a pricking is the pattern used for creating bobbin lace. It consists of holes where pins are inserted to hold the lace in place, and lines drawn as guides for the movement of the threads. I sometimes use paper directly on my lace pillow and don’t pre-prick the holes. When I want a more durable pricking, I draw or trace a pattern on paper, which I then tape to a piece cut from a file folder, and then poke through at all the dots marking pinholes). This time, after tracing, I placed the new card directly under the bookmark pricking and poked through the existing holes. This was particularly important for the two pinholes that place the fancy detailing, and resulted in spiders that were much more like the ones in the bookmark. The placement of those two holes make a huge difference in the appearance of the spider!

When I finished creating the body of the earring, I tied square knots at each of the terminating pins, being careful to place the tiny knots where they won’t easily be noticed, and tied the middle threads into a tassel. After removing the piece from my lace pillow, I applied Fray Check to all the edges, particularly focusing on the edges with the knots. I rolled the knots to the back to make them unobservable, then pinned the lace to a pillow covered with a towel, and sprayed a nice puddle of starch over the lace.
I made another pair in black and red, with a longer tassel and standard spiders, and also created an earring pricking using 16 pairs and a honeycomb ground. I worked that one in blue embroidery floss and white thread. Fitted out with sterling silver jump rings and ear hooks, I’ve turned bookmarks into pretty jewelry!