Thursday, January 27, 2011

Bavarian Lace in Needlepoint (hopefully)

Embarking on a new quest for knowledge, and I'm afraid gone a bit too far, as usual.

When I first decided to do the "ethnic" dolls in their national costumes, I noticed the beautiful lace insets on the aprons and sleeves of the German dirndl.

To back up a bit, I began replicating lace many years ago in needlepoint, but my facination was the Irish crocheted lace, as I had crocheted many pieces of it myself, so understood the construction. I especially enjoyed doing "filet lace," as you can see here in the top two pieces, in which a netting is worked with fillers in the "bump" stitches to create a pattern.

Bavarian lace is a bobbin lace, constructed down flat on a pillow, which produces a netting that is flled in with various patterns, but lies flat rather than having the "bobbles." I was amazed at the variation of the netting in the different regional laces, and that of different countries, and wanted to be careful not to make it look like the crocheted lace in my needlepoint things.

One of them has the same netting as filet lace, and others range from six to eight sided openings. So - my first chore has been to figure out how to replicate this fine netting on needlepoint canvas, which is an even weave scrim, and then to fill in a simple pattern - without making it look like crocheted lace.

I'm sure there are a lot of people out there who know a lot more about this lace thing than I do, as the construction of real lace has not been one of my studies over the years.

Anyway, what I finally devised as a netting has four pointers to show a fast and easy way to draw it onto canvas without having to count - or even to think, in this situation. That was a total struggle in the beginning, and I made some pretty awful mistakes with it. The canvas that looks like ladders is to show the quickest way to do this without having to count anything.

Next was the task of filling in a pattern of some sort to see if I could stitch it.

This is drawn with the light blue Sharpie drawing pen, as I intended to stitch it in white with a dark green "fabric" showing through. I like the second one best, as it shows "netting," which is the most difficult part of developing this thing. I have to keep reminding myself that's it's only to be a little band of lace on a small apron, but I enjoy the designing process and figuring it out. Oh well.

There are several mistakes here, as I was trying out different things - and the pointer shows where I decided I could make a scalloped edging by leaving out the two little stitches in that space.

Now I need to design an actual pattern to use, and although I never design on graph paper, I decided it would be easiest on this to have something on paper for doodling.

I enlarged the drawing on canvas, (150%) printed out several paper copies, and that will be my practice page. Canvas is on the left, paper copy is on the right.

ADDENDUM: I used DMC cotton floss # 3865, which I like very much, as it isn't so bright white as the Blanc, and it lies nice and flat. The background is Vineyard Silk - "Holly" as I remember. (lost the tag) I tried perle cotton for the lace, but it was pretty awful looking for this due to the twist.


Rachel said...

This is rather intriguing. I'm looking forward to see how this develops. It looks like fun!

LIZ said...

This is awesome, Judy! How cool that you figured all that out.
I remember years ago I did some similar projects from a book by Joan Gantt called Lexington Lace. It was such fun. But more fun to design your own now that you have shown us how!

Possibilities, Etc. said...

Yes - I had the Joan Gantt book in the early 70's. She was in Dallas, I think, and self published it. It was wonderful, but I got frustrated with not having anything more than wool to stitch the things with. That book is what motivated me to start doing some "crocheted" lace on my own. She did a second book on other kinds of lace in needlepoint.

Jan said...

This is going to be fun to watch! I'm glad you've got it figured out and can't wait to see more of it.

needlenicely said...

This entry did remind me of Joan Gantt's designs in the 70's (?), but also your discussion of lace making on pillows brought to mind a wonderful current book, "The Lacemakers of Glenmarra" by Barbieri. A wonderful contemporary novel of traditional lacemaking in Ireland.

I can't wait to see where you're going with this--the possibilities are indeed endless.

Anonymous said...

Have you poked around Antique Pattern Library for other suitable inspiration? Your 'lace' borders are beautiful and I will be checking often to see what you come up with.

Possibilities, Etc. said...

Thanks, "Anonymous" - I have looked there. I wrote my NN article about three years ago on replicating lace in needlepoint, and did some great research on the subject - I found some amazing history!

Susan said...

These are just beautiful, Judy!
Can't wait to see the rest of them and what you do with them. Thanks so much for sharing and I'll be watching!
Susan in CO