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Saturday, 28 September 2013

More from the Doune lacemakers

So, where did I get to last time?  Ah yes, I was introducing you to the girls and showing off their lace!  Janet, Sheila and Joan are working on some of the Continental laces, Flanders Lace,and Binche ( try saying Bahn-sh.  It’s about the nearest to the French pronunciation).  janet's 2They all look too complicated for me, but the patterns are very ornate and beautiful.  janet's working diagramGenerally workers of these kind of laces tend to keep a watchful eye on an enlarged working diagram showing the directions  threads are moving.  These laces are not so straightforward as others!  The glass headed pins show where the lacemaker has reached in her work. 

Here are closer up photos of Joan’s and Janet’s lacejoan's binche.  In the photo janet's flandersabove right you can see the pattern on the blue backgroundand the start of Janet’s piece, an edging for a hankie – not for everyday use this one!  The fine threads are wound onto special bobbins and worked by weaving the threads.  The pattern already has the pinholes that support the lace pricked through the background.  As you weave threads, pins support those threads so you can see the work nearer the bobbins has a collection of pins holding the pattern in place.  As you work down you can begin to remove the top pins, but to take out any more than Janet is doing here might result in an unholy tangle, as the threads are pulled out of place. joan and sheila Janet


L – R.  Joan, Sheila and Janet







Morag, above right, isn’t a lacemaker.  Her talents lie in patchwork and quilting, mainly.  Another non-lacemaker is Marge, on the right.  She’s good at watercolours, while Margaret, makes the same kind of lace that I like to make, Buckinghamshire Point Lace.  I seem to have slipped up as I don’t seem to have a picture of the lovely edging she is working on. lisbet paints Joan

And this is Lisbet who met us all one week a good few years ago when she came to Doune on a painting holiday. She obviously liked us, as she often comes back during Lace Week to join us.  We like her too! lisbet paints Joan2 She’s a super artist, doing pen and ink drawings of us, the scenery, the food, and anything else that ‘she feels worthy of a picture, but then she doesn’t finish there always.  We all have little pictures she has coloured, using her miniature water colour kit.  In this photo she is filling in some colour to a drawing of Joan. 

my lace earringsI didn’t show you what I did.  My prototype for lace earrings – I think they need starched and a bead on each of the tassels!   Well, they need something anyway!

tatted earrings1I also tried out some needle tatting and made a few bum efforts….. then created these – not very happy with them really!  Still, as first attempts go…..

 petal earringThen I started this earring, and I like it a lot! A British 5 pence piece is about half an inch across so it’s not too big an earring!.

Making these tiny little petals is far easier than making larger ones  in the likes of the Bedfordshire lace example below. beds

This piece of lace was designed by Christine Springett and worked by Lisa McClure.  My sister has also worked this piece.

Well, I think I am going to leave you here for today.  Next time you can see some scenery around Doune.  It’s a lovely place, even in bad weather!  No it wasn’t bad all the time! 

Talk again soon.  Night night!

Monday, 23 September 2013

To the lonely seas and the sky

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely seas and the sky!                                      I left my boots and socks there.  I wonder if they’re dry!      

A kid’s take on the classic poem Sea Fever by John Masefield!  You can see the correct version by clicking here.  Well, there was a touch of Sea Fever about the group who assembled at Mallaig  last  Saturday for the annual trip to Knoydart for Lace making week.  The regulars were there, along with three new lacemakers for the group and three husbands who were to occupy themselves doing their own thing. Both the Doune boats were there to meet us, it being a larger group than ever before.  Mary Doune, the faster of the two, set off with the first group, and their luggage, lace pillows, boots and walking poles, while the rest of us took the slower boat, Gripper II, with all our goods and chattels for the week. leaving Mallaig  P1050669






The sun was shining, the sky and the sea were blue as we left Mallaig behind, and crossed the entrance to Loch Nevis, to continue up the Sound of Sleat (Slate) towards our destination.the lodges

Then we rounded Dun Head to enter the bay for our first view this year of the lodges – stone lodges on the left and the wooden lodge on the right.  The stone lodges were built in the ruins of a row of old blackhouses, deserted in the 1840s when the landlord cleared the estate of his poor tenants to introduce  better paying inhabitants – sheep.  There is a good deal of evidence of those earlier residents of the area, from ruined cottages to a corn kiln;  to turf and heather covered field boundaries and the marks of the lazybeds which were worked by the old crofters.  It must have been a hard life. 

The tide was in so Gripper moored at the pier to allow us to disembark and greet Liz and Jane who had come down to meet us. the lodges from the path How many times have I P1050768photographed these views on the walk up to the lodges from the pier?  Dozens, I expect, but they are so alluring, i just have to take them again! windmill  The white house was built after the Knoydart Clearances of the 1850s, for the shepherd and his family who looked after the new inhabitants, while the lodges were the brainchild of Alan and Mary, and built in the 1990s to house guests to Doune.

There was one new innovation this time, in the form of a windmill, on the hill near Jamie’s house.  It’s one of his experiments which they hope will help their Green Policy, and reduce their carbon footprint.  Jamie is one of the two sons of the couple who began the Doune project about 30 years ago, and while his parents have their own wee house on the shore, he and his wife Penny live on the hill between the two sets of lodges.

 Settled into our rooms in the wooden lodge, we had time to relax before dinner at the stone lodge dining room.  The food at Doune is out of this world – everything fresh, locally sourced and cooked from scratch in the kitchen at one end of the first stone lodge.  You can read about it here on the website.

I can’t remember if the rain started before we headed back along the path or after we got back, but that night the wind howled and the rain lashed against the windows,  and battered on the roof.  image (2)I was tempted to take my duvet downstairs and sleep on a sofa, but i stayed put, and slept fitfully all night.  first morningIt was going to be a working day we reckoned, so after breakfast we got started “down the lace mine” – one of Margaret’s expressions. which we love! getting going  

Here we have Norma in the foreground; Janet on the left and Kate and Sharon, all sitting round the main table.  Joan and Sheila have their heads down at the small table under the windows, and Margaret, Morag and I are hidden behind Norma.  Lyn is out of the photo to the left but you’ll see her -  and the others -  in due course.image (6)

There’s Margaret now, in blue, and Morag, talking to Norma.  My place was between the two of them!  I think everyone stayed in that day.  Walking would be fairly difficult trailing through mud and long wet grass.  Even the path up the hill to the only bit of road in Knoydart would be slippery, so we just didn’t bother.

image (7)Sharon and her husband Steve were at Doune in April last year during an early lace week.  They came as independent guests for a walking holiday but both got interested in the lace making and when they got home Sharon sought out a lace maker who would teach her.  So this year they were back and while Steve went out on the walks some days, Sharon joined us with her lace pillow and bobbins.  P1050821This is the bookmark she worked during the week.  She’s a good lacemaker. Her tension is so good and she managed to grasp the pattern very quickly.Kate

Kate had some lovely pieces of Buckingham Point lace to finish off before starting a third piece, a flower edging – so pretty.  Click the picture below to see her work emerging from a forest of pins, that hold the worked threads in place.  It is very delicate.P1050875



Lyn, actually another Evelyn, came over from Ontario, Canada, on a trip with her husband, arranged to take in the lace week.  She read my blog of last year’s lace week and was sure this was something she would really enjoy.    I hoped it would live up to her expectations – well, it had to have done, or I didn’t do my job very well – but she said it surpassed her expectations, so I was very pleased.  Previously, at home in Canada she worked on patterns of Withof lace, which is similar to our Honiton lace – very small  fine motifs that would be sewn onto a net background.P1050748

These are little Withof birds, and a little flowery motif!P1050746  So cute!




She was going to learn how to do some Honiton filling patterns, as in Liz’s gorgeous flower which she almost finished this week.

P1050690LizLiz and her husband Andy run the lodge where we were staying and the lace week is run in a week when there are no walkers, divers, artists, island hoppers and photographers staying in the comfortable little rooms.  She has been making lace herself for many years, and sometimes manages to have an hour or three to join us.  The rest of the time she bakes bread and the lightest of puddings and cakes; cooks our meals;image looks after the vegetable garden and the boxes of herbs…….. and dozens of other jobs contributing to our excellent stay.

I’ll carry on with another episode next time – more lacemakers, more lace, some outings….that will probably do for next time!

Talk again soon.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Lost and found

Remember when I got back from Cornwall I lost the photos from my laptop?  I was in the process of taking my pictures off my old laptop onto memory sticks, but thought I’d left the Cornish photos where they were, so I could come back to finish editing them.  Well!  I looked everywhere for them and couldn’t find them anywhere. 

However, I was looking for a file of photos, and today I was looking at some of the pictures on one of the memory sticks, when I found all the Cornish pictures – not in a file but as individual photos!  I think you could say I almost jumped for joy, only I couldn’t, what with the laptop on my lap at the time!  So happy!  diane, stephanie, dot and ken kinmontI have the rellies’ photos too, which I was mad at losing, but not lost after all!  Hurray!  No idea how they all came out of their file when they transferred to the memory stick!  

So all’s well that ends well!

Talk again soon.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Pinterest again

I told Colin about Pinterest – this link will take you to my boards – and when I have been spending loads of time posting websites to my boards, he tells me to start doing some of the craft things I have pinned.  He’s dead right, but  I want to crochet, knit, make jewellery, even sew – yes, ME.  I even want to sew.392835_154730231358048_1232881322_n Oh and I want to tat these gorgeous earrings.  I’ve found patterns galore.  1357633f4f38cc8d130ad25f34325d8bLove this jacket.  It’s crocheted, and so are these pieces I also want to do.9a8df79f4dce45af47f7fcd03f444bc7



I don’t think I’ll attempt these but I love the picture so they got pinned on my Crochet board! I love those fishbones!



I’ve also found some super knitting tutorials, with new skills to learn as my knitting skills are basic and when I say basic, I mean it!   Above is a pretty cast on stitch, and on the left is a basket to keep your knitting pins and crochet hooks organised.  Your balls of wool will fill the inside of the basket and store your knitting project in between knitting sessions!6596c3cfc13019837b0b4031a337a081  I can learn how to unravel several rows of knitting so I won’t drop any stitches, when I have to go  back and fix a mistake... and when the garment or whatever, is complete there are tutorials for invisible cast offs and how to stitch the pieces together!8db1b0657c1032c41cffffaf9f07a3fd 

This is fun!  I’ve seen children playing with finger knitting before, but never arm knitting.  Obviously you need thick yarn, and there are even tutorials about that!  Make t-shirt yarn by cutting up an old t-shirt or two.  It all depends on following the photos or instructions.  Do yards and yards of French knitting like you made “rats tails” when you were a kid!  Amazing!!!  You could make a scarf this way.  I think it would be way too hot for me! 95e2b1f40fe2b5daa4475c6127660f5c

I’d prefer something like this… Actually I’m not sure if this is knitted or crocheted.  I think it looks crocheted! 

box of beadsRecently I’ve been buying up old bead necklaces from the charity shops to make them into dangly earrings!  I’m right into earrings just now!

 P1050649I also thought I’d make some silver wire earrings in lacemaking techniques or some feathery ones from an old dream catcher, chain ones, beaded ones……P1050652 

chain earrings





e55aa191354e8a818cf7dadfb5296cb9Then there’s making things from pallets, you know the kind they transport goods around on; 5ba644ed5e60b0c2de4e0104caa6a7f1

transferring photographs onto canvas; caaf1d3aabfca8777083cfd04d56366c

making mosaic tiles with a car mat as a mould; cb275661f821e4da16981a4bff9d43f1

sewing these cute little mice;


lacemaking these two funny giraffes,

799518  and this, as earrings; 

cc4c5831cfb5451d000d7d9fe7b89c35there’s a tutorial for making loose covers for arm chairs……

I have loads of things I want to do. 

But like Colin says, “Get on with them!”     I’ll keep you posted! 

Head over to my boards and have a look at all I have pinned!

Talk again soon.