Sunday, 30 January 2011

Hooked on Lace

I've been experimenting with filet lace crochet this weekend as a break from knitting bags. I needed to make birthday presents for 2 friends and hit on the idea of bookmarks. I've wanted to try out filet lace and crochet lace making for sometime and thought now would be a good opportunity to try. I originally got inspired by some of the gorgeous books written in the late 18, early 1900's which can be found in the Antique Pattern Library. This is a wonderful catalogue of knitting, crochet and cross stitch patterns and booklets that are collected from around the world, scanned in, uploaded and shared with all us crafters for free. When you think of the time and effort involved, its a wonderful gift from those involved in all the hard work behind the scences. The patterns are so delicate and its amazing to think that ladies crocheted beautiful underwear and outerwear all in fine lace, often without electric lights. Its always worth reading them carefully and checking the abbreviations first as things have changed over time and the instructions may be different to what we are used to today.

Having created one with a name, I was then inspired to launch a personalised range of bookmarks in my shop - you can choose a name or short message and the embellishments in a shade the recipient will want. Am off hunting fine red ribbon so I can do a few for Valentine's day!

Click on the pic to go to the item in my Folksy shop:

Bits and Bobs Crafts

I also produced another book mark, this time with more eleborate lace trimmings and a Christian Cross. Although this isn't going to be available in my shop until Easter, I will be taking pre-orders, so contact me via Folksy:

I was surprised at how simple designing the filet lace was, once I'd got the knack of making the mesh - you simply work a treble stitch (UK) and 1 chain, missing the next stitch and then working the treble into the following stitch along the row. To make the letters / shape you simply work an additional treble into each space. And all you need to design the pattern is squared paper - or a cross stitch design programme. Then you simply block in the squares you want to make the picture with or spell a word with. Just remember that each blank square is effectively 2ch on your foundation chain. I found it easier to do a foundation row in the basic net so I could follow where I was as I started to fill in the pattern.

I think crochet lace has become less popular with time and it would be lovely to see more of it used. I know I was put off initially by the fine threads and small hooks needed but once you get going it grows surprisingly quickly and the delicate finish is well worth the effort.

I also had a bit of a look around Folksy to see if other's make or use lace items in their shops and thought you might appreciate a look at the wonderful things you can create:
Click on the picture to visit the store!




Its really worth having a go at lace crochet as it doesn't take long to create something that is really beautiful and makes a gorgeous gift for a friend or adds something special to an outfit.