5-Metre Lace Concept.
So, the question is - What caused the train to derail and make me decide to attempt another 5-metre lace entry for the Canadian Lace Gazette? Wasn't one enough? No! The first entry was a nice, quiet 2-1/2" wide Torchon design. Yes, quick and dirty. For those who know me, do I strike you as a nice, quiet Torchon type of guy? Okay, I'll give you the quick and dirty, but not nice and quiet?
The first piece was done for fun. I never finished any lace I made so the challenge was to make 5-metre's of it. But once it was done, I no longer had that toy to play with. And I did not want to replace it with another piece of repetition. Then I had the idea of creating a series of panels to commemorate the 2 year stay in Europe that Deborah and I enjoyed. I liked the idea from the start because it would allow me to experiment with new techniques and different laces as the project moved forward. Didn't matter that I might not know how to make some of those laces, let alone try to design techniques I didn't know existed. This could be a learning piece that resulted into a lace. It really does not need to be good lace and all of my errors, mistakes, and poor planning will be seen. And with luck, an improvement can be noted when comparing the beginning and the end of the piece.
But like all great ideas, I then had to look at the problems embedded in it and see if they were solvable and the idea workable.
First problem was the 5-metre's themselves. As this represents 16' 4-3/4" to us non-metric speaking people, I surmised that it would break down into 32 panels, each one 6" in length, plus a beginning and end panel. That meant I would need to have at least 4" of width for a workable design area. This now gave me the individual canvases I needed to create the designs on. I also settled on a 2mm grid as a base for the static portions of the design, knowing that the grid size would probably change as I worked with fillings and design elements.
Normally one would then make up the panels individually and sew them together at the end. But in order to stay within the parameters of the club, the lace must be continuos. I decided to add a 2" border to the bottom that remains continuos throughout the length, as well as the footside edge at the top of the panels.
As the basic palette formed, the next question was what to make it on. Six inches wide is pretty big for a roller pillow but workable for the continuos lace. However, the panels are displayed sideways then and some of the techniques I will probably want to use need to be addressed from all angles. I settled on a 16-1/2" square 9 block pillow of Ethafoamę for some mercenary reasons as well as design reasons. Since I manufacture the Ethafoamę pillows and this will appear at all the lace days that I vendor at, I can draw attention to the pillow. I also elected not to cover the foam so that I could show how well the Ethafoam would stand up to repeated pinning. I did cover the bottom portion with a cloth to keep some of the dirt off and allow me to move the pieces when necessary.
As I started to work out the pattern, it made sense to surround each panel with a red, white, and blue gimp because they are the colors used in both countries flags. These would also maintain a continuity throughout. I then carried that color idea into the bottom 2" area using a dark blue weaver for the fan edge and red gimp around the spider detail. I also included a thin blue thread along with the red gimp that was easily hidden along the edge but worked through the middle of the spider detail.
As the work has progressed, I found you could not really see the internal thread and will probably experiment with additional thickness' or different threads as time goes by. The lighter blue gimp along the trails in the pattern also do not show up well and need to be rethought.
Panel Start was intended to be a simple roseground and give me a feel for the basic pattern. But I discovered I was soon lost in the maze of pins created by the 2mm grid. I did attempt to back myself out of the corner but did not go back far enough. This has resulted in an occasional roseground spot in areas that I missed initially.
Panel 01 is fairly straight forward. After fighting through the aborted Roseground, I elected to do a plain whole stitch with a gimp for the flower. I did attempt to work the letters as I encountered them on the pattern instead of doing the letters first and then sewing in the background. Proving once again than while I dislike sewings, it is the way to do it.
Panel 02 brought forth new questions and solutions. As the pattern is a large Tulip, I wanted to achieve a feeling of depth by using different weighted threads. The concept is sound, the execution leaves something to be desired. The difference of thickness in my choices of thread were to great and the texture of each stands out more then the attempt at depth. Having learned that I need to do the motif first and sew in, I also discovered that as I worked around the pattern, I had to deal with pins and bobbins from the previous panel. Choosing a filling to go with the motif became a new experience, and as I completed the sewings into the motif I realized that all of my sewings would be visible as well.
This is not a readily solvable problem. Basically I need the reverse all of the patterns and then rework what I have already done. The other alternative is to design the entire piece before working it so that I can start at the end panel. With what is already invested into this, and the knowledge that this is intended as a learning piece rather then a finished piece, I am electing to live with it.