Dragonfly in Milanese lace

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


The best thing about summer is that I have time to make lace - lots of lace.  This is a Tonder pattern, reconstructed by Bobbi Donnelly.

A seriously stupid snowflake, knit from Franklin Habit's Craftsy class on Heirloom Edgings.
Another Tonder piece, this one from the book "Spiderwebs and Dreams".
An Icelandic lace shawl I knit, on display at the NCRL Spring Lace Day in Raleigh.
Another Tonder piece that I just started - will be a handkerchief.
I'm also trying to use the summertime to go for more walks, go kayaking and clean my house.  Hopefully, it will stop raining soon.

Sunday, April 28, 2013


This is Sweet Briar Rose, pattern by Bobbi Donnelly, done in 140/2 Egyptian Cotton.  It took a long time.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Tonder Lace

Having finally recuperated from the broken hand, I have started making lace again.  I took a Tonder lace workshop with Bobbin Donnelly in Hillsborough, NC last week and started a new piece.  Of course, I haven't yet finished any of the other pieces I'm working on, but I've gotten my motivation back.  The workshop was excellent - Bobbi is a good teacher and her designs and patterns are very nice.  I started one of her reconstructions of a Danish covercloth.

It has 60 pairs of 140/2 cotton and 4 pairs of DMC no. 25 cotton gimp.  A covercloth is part of a traditional bonnet and is about 3 inches wide.  The lace is not too hard to make, but requires a lot of bobbin management.
I'm also working on a narrow edging called Bertha that I bought from Karelly lace service in Denmark
My granddaughter is having her 1st communion next summer and this edging will go on her veil.

This is another Tonder lace I am working on.  This one is called "Josephine" and has 52 pairs of 140/2 bobbins and 6 pairs of gimp.
Tonder lace is beautiful, but it requires a lot of time and dedication.  Fortunately, Spring and Summer vacations are coming and I will be able to dedicate a lot of time to lacemaking.
The Tonder Lace Festival is next summer in Denmark- check out their website.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Beautiful Ruins

One of the best things about living in South Carolina is the diversity of natural places around us.  I love walking in the woods and there are many great parks, lakes, waterfalls and trails near here.  By far the best is also one of the closest - Landsford Canal State Park is about 10 miles upriver from my house.  Hundreds of people visit this small park on the 3rd Sunday in May to see the endangered Rocky Shoals Spider Lilies and to kayak, fish, picnic, and walk the trails.  I prefer to visit during the fall and winter - on a Sunday afternoon in January I walked the entire trail and saw nobody - just me, the river, the herons and ducks.  You can see the structure of the trees better when the leaves are gone and the river sounds louder. In the summer you can take your shoes off and wade and walk on the rocks, but watch out for snakes and frogs.
The nature trail meanders along the Catawba for 1.25 miles.  There is a viewing platform for looking at the lilies half way down.  Before the platform the trail is gravel and smooth and would be suitable for a stroller or wheelchair.  From the platform to the end it is dirt, leaves, roots and some steps.  You can return the same way or take the canal trail that follows the old canal bed through the woods. I can easily stroll down and back in around an hour and a half.
Landsford is named for a ford over the Catawba and is probably called after settler Thomas Land, who received a land grant in 1755.  During Colonial times, this area was used by Native Americans as a warrior and trading path.  Later, the Great Philadelphia Wagon Road passed through here.  Both Patriot and British soldiers used the ford in the American Revolution.  Landsford Canal was built in 1820 to provide a direct water route between upstate settlements and towns downstream.  The canal was abandoned in 1846 because of better transportation on highways and railroads.
This is the diversion dam that channeled water into the canal and prevented boats from being washed downstream during floods.
You can see the marks on the stonework in the canal bed where the rocks were chiseled or blasted.  This is the guard lock where the boats entered the canal and a mule or horse was tied up to pull the boat through the canal.  Because the canal bed was lined with waterproof clay, the patron, or river boat pilot, was not allowed to push the boat with a long pole along the river bottom.

The viewing platform is a good place to rest.  In May and June there is a spectacular display of thousands of Rocky Shoals Spider Lilies in the river - also lots of kayaks and tons of tourists.  If you can stand the crowds, the festival is a lot of fun.
The mill, owned by the family of William Richardson Davie, was completed around 1810.  It ground grain and sawed lumber using water power.

The trail is a little rough in spots, especially when the ground is wet.  The rangers keep the trail cleared, as the ruins of this beautiful tree attests.

At the end of the trail, you can see the ruins of the lifting locks, the most important feature of the canal. These locks allowed boats to drop 36 feet without having to go through the shoals in the river.  The design of these locks dates to the 16th century.  
Last September I tripped and fell while looking at the locks and broke my left hand- I am also slowly going to ruins.  The hand is better now and the experience hasn't changed my love for this place.
The park has picnic tables, shelters and grills, bathrooms and a meeting room.  There is a small museum open by appointment only.  You can launch your kayak at the north end and take it out at the south end, where there is another parking lot. Landsford Canal State Park is also part of the Carolina Thread Trails network.  
Landsford Canal Park, 2051 Park Drive, Catawba, SC, 29704

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Starts and Finishes Deux

I've a new granddaughter Abigail so I have been knitting a lot of baby stuff for her, and hats, mittens and scarves for Christmas presents.  I am taking another Tonder lace workshop in March, so I need to finish the handkerchief I have been working on forever.  Should also blog more!
Elizabeth Zimmerman's Baby Surprise Jacket
White Witch Mittens

Sorry the bonnet is sideways! From the Green Mountain Spinnery Knitting Book
Lorne's Hat by the Yarn Harlot
I made this dress for Peyton and never finished it, so here it is for Abigail.  Can't find the pattern so I'm not sure what it's called.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Starts and Finishes

This has been a really cold winter - we've already had 4 snow days and my power and gas bills are awful. 
 A visitor to my porch in South Carolina.  A friend called this winter the Weather of Northern Aggression.

Since I've been spending a lot of time indoors, I decided to finish a bunch of projects.  My New Years resolution for the start of the year  is to finish one project every month!

January is National Knit Mittens Month (see this Ravelry link for information).  I love spillyjane knits and all things owlish, so I started these mittens that she designed.  The challenge is to finish the pair by January 31st.  Camille the cat is daring me to do it.  Spillyjane has also designed the NaKnMiMo'11 mittens (called Juanita) and I have the pattern, but I have to finish a few things before I start something new.
Speaking of finishing, I finally found the right buttons for the French Press Knits slippers I finished knitting last October.  They are really warm and soft.
I finished my Rouge Roses socks.  The picture is from the publisher, I did mine in Blue Moon Fiber Arts medium weight, in Jabberwocky. I love these socks - warm and pretty. I read a lot of knitting blogs, including Spillyjane and the Yarn Harlot (who designed these socks). 

I am still working on my Tonder lace handkerchief - it needs to be finished by March 5th, when I'm taking a lace workshop with the designer, Bobbi Donnelly.
I also have some other lace projects that I need to finish to free up some pillows for Lace at Sweet Briar in June.  So many projects to finish - I'm looking forward to that warm glowing feeling of accomplishment to make the winter fly away.

My local lace guild Golden Bobbins has created a new website and the North Carolina Regional Lacers elected me president at the Fall Lace Day in October - more stuff on my to do list.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Tapestry Crochet

Not your grandmother's crochet!
I read an article in the Summer 2010 issue of Interweave Crochet magazine and it got me interested in some different types of crochet.  Although I learned to crochet before I learned to knit, I have always preferred the knitted fabric.  Crochet reminded me of 1970's hippie style bags and vests, or granny square afghans in awful colors.  I took a class on Irish Crochet lace at a lace day last year and that was fascinating, but very slow and exacting.  The article was about double-ended crochet, which is done with a double ended crochet hook and makes a fabric with two different sides.  I tried to duct tape two crochet hooks together to try the technique, but I wasn't successful. So I called my local yarn shop and ordered a double ended crochet hook and put crochet aside for awhile.
 The next weekend I was up in Asheville for the Southern Highlands Craft Guild show at the Convention Center.  The next one is in October - you should go - its always awesome - textiles, furniture, music, jewelry, demonstrations, blacksmiths, etc...  Right down the street is the Earth Guild, a shop that sells everything a fiber artist could want.  (Asheville is a great place to visit- I especially like Malaprops Books and the Chocolate Fetish).  At Earth Guild, they had some interesting caps hanging on the wall behind the counter, done in tapestry crochet.  There was a pattern explaining the technique that I bought, and I made this:   
I liked it so much, I made this:
 They were easy to make and each took two balls of Lily's Sugar and Cream cotton yarn that can be bought at Michael's for about $1.75 a ball. 
Tapestry crochet, also called mosaic crochet, is done with a single crochet stitch hooked over a core yarn.  You can do it in two colors, with the second color carried in the core.  It can be worked back and forth in rows, or round and round in a spiral.  There is an excellent introduction and pictures and free patterns on Carol Ventura's website.  She also has written books on the subject.  "More Tapestry Crochet" is still in print and available at many libraries and at amazon.com.
Because the stitches are essentially square, you can crochet any design you can graph.  I found an excellent website called  microrevolt.org.  They have a free program called KnitPro that will take a picture and turn it into a chart.  I took my Owl avatar
 and used KnitPro to turn it into a chart that you could use for cross stitch or crochet, very detailed, with each square in the appropriate color.  I would show you the results, but the software won't support showing the Pdf file on the blog.  Trust me - try out the program - its wonderful.  You can set the program for needlepoint, crochet or cross stitch (square graphs) or knit portrait or knit landscape (rectangular graphs).
Tapestry crochet fabric (especially 4 ply cotton) is thick, but not chunky looking, and would make good bags or placemats or table runners.
There is an article in the September/ October 1995 issue of Piecework magazine about Guatemalan tapestry crochet, also by Carol Ventura, with a small brightly colored circular purse to make. 
Flickr has some nice pictures of tapestry crochet.
Enjoy the rest of the summer - its going fast!