Friday, 13 March 2009

What Happens When I'm Not Knitting...

When last we met I was projectless.

My friends - the projectless state has continued!

Now obviously I haven't stopped knitting altogether. In fact I've made lots of sock progress and I finished up these beauties today.

(All plain stockinette. The first pair Noro Sock Yarn, the second and third are Opal Sock Yarn, and the final pair is Regia 6ply.)

But in the absence of a major project and no inspiration for one to cast on, I found myself at a loose end the other day and decided to declutter the cupboard under the stairs. I managed to throw out a bin bag of rubbish (Christmas decorations that haven't been used since I moved into the house!) and came across some fabric that I bought 11 (11!) years ago to make covers for my kitchen chairs.

Under the fabric I found my sewing machine. This machine is about 18 years old and has moved with me across the ocean twice. So when I say "I found my sewing machine." I mean I found most of my sewing machine. The foot pedal and power cord were conspicuously missing.

But now that I'd found the fabric I realised how grubby my chairs were looking. (11 years they've been waiting for new covers! 11 years!) and so I started a serious search for the power cord and pedal to rectify the problem.

I found the sewing machine instruction manual. I found the thread I bought 11 years ago that matches the fabric. I found the little box of sewing machine accessories (including the little teeny screwdriver). And yesterday in a box on top of the bookcase in the guestroom I found the power and pedal! Wahey!

Even better in that same box (which contained a really odd assortment of stuff) I also found 3 pieces of bobbin lace I made years ago.

I had no idea where they had got to! They were crumpled and one has a little stain but they are otherwise ok.

My sister Kim in particular will be pleased to hear about this discovery as I have long promised to make this piece of lace edging into a frame for her. She reminds me of this annually and was not impressed when my last update was that I'd lost the lace!!

The square pieces are around 5 inches x 5 inches and were made with thread size linen on around 80 bobbins. Each of the pieces represents hours and hours of work. And a bit like the knitted lace I make these days - they were rarely made with a purpose in mind.

Finding these has got me thinking about breaking out the pillow and bobbins again.

Bobbin lacemaking is very meditative - and the sound of the bobbins gently clacking together as you make the fabric is very soothing.

And of course, I just love the challenge.

These pieces are all torchon lace and maybe I'm just imagining it - but I've always seen a strong link between torchon bobbin lace and Shetland knitted lace (or vice versa).

But what happened with the sewing I hear you asking????? (And I expect you are beginning to see why after 11 years I hadn't so much as cut the fabric.)

Well, today I measured the chairs. I cut the fabric. I plugged in the machine, threaded it with my lovely matching thread and went to wind my bobbin thread.

I opened the bottom and there it was - gone!

No bobbin case.

I've found a source for a replacement but the chair covers will have to be put off to another day. With any luck - not 11 years away!


kathryn said...

Whatlovely pieces of lace!

I'm in a similar position, some pieces finished some still on the pillow...I just feel guilty if I let myself dwell on them but time passes and new hobbies come along. Funny, I'm in between projects too and not sure where to go - socks will fill in the gap very nicely.

the Lady said...

Oh, bobbin lace! Thank you for sharing! I've been really interested in it for awhile, nice to see some contemporary pieces.

Marissa said...

Years and years ago (like, 20), I went to an agricultural Fair in Maine. I walked past a tent that had a small knot of onlookers. After about 2 minutes, the crowd thinned out and I was able to see what the attraction was. I stood stock still for over 3 hours in that one spot, watching a very young girl make bobbin lace. I still think I was seeing things. It was absolutely amazing. To this day I can remember watching her hands flick those bobbins around in what looked like arbitrary motion, and create an actual visible pattern. I may have drooled. Awesome. I am still in awe, and never looked at a piece of lace the same way- even machine lace! Yours is beautiful- I hope your sister snags it before it gets squirreled away again!!

fleegle said...

Lovely lace! I used to to bobbin lace, but instead of finding it meditative, I found it annoying...all those threads just waiting totangle up...

Good luck with your kitchen chair covers. I have some fabric that I was going to make into pillows about 11 years ago too. Obviously, I don't need any more pillows :)

Opal said...

gorgeous bobbin lace! although i had the same experience with it like fleegle. it was too much for me!

and look at all those beautiful socks!

Anonymous said...

Not bad, for a projectless state. =D

Love the socks--great colours and they look fab.

80 bobbins. O.O That sounds kinda terrifying, but the end result is gorgeous.

Anonymous said...

Yes, indeed, I am thrilled to see the lace frame, my wedding present!! I actually saw a little piece of the pic and even wondered just a little, and when I saw my name, I thought "it does exist". And it looks finished, I think the last time I saw it, it was a right angle.
Perhaps, when Soo comes home in May, my present will come with her.
Soo's sister Kim

cici said...

As always your work is remarkable. This lace is sooooo beautiful♥ Your sister is a lucky girl. I have been missing knitting socks lately, it's been to long for me

clarabelle said...

That bobbin lace is stunning! I have, however, no idea how you produce bobbin lace, but I'll google it. Very impressed...

Also very impressed with your perseverance with locating the sewing machine and its various parts. Me? I hate sewing; sewing machines, bobbins, spools of sewing thread, material, sewing patterns, foot pedals, and especially power cords...

Luv the socks as well, missus!


Guzzisue said...

come on, do it, break out the bobbins again :-)

Nevisknitter said...

Your bobbin lace is stunning. I am about to get my lace bobbins out after 15 years. I'm hoping to enlarge a chart and use 4 ply to make a bobbin lace scarf.