Thursday, May 31, 2007

Netting, tassels and tawny owls

Yet again, it's forever since I posted it seems. I have been soo busy in the day job that I have avoided the computer whenever possible. Added to that, still trying to get my new offices completed - although I won't move my computer until the major design job I'm currently working on has gone to print (I can imagine something going horribly wrong!) so it'll be a little while until the office is up and running.

But, I've still managed to use my time wisely. I'm a weird one, relaxation for me seems to be trying to figure out hard techniques. I've been trying to decipher some 17th century netting instructions (part of a possibility for a next book with Elizabeth) . I learnt basic netting back when Soper Lane first formed; we felt it was important that one of us learnt the skill as there is a possibility that silkwomen did this, and I enjoyed it. But, I got rather caught up in braids and tablet weaving, so hadn't looked at it for a while. In that space of time I've collected quite a few Victorian needlework books (have to love eBay!) and so for a 'refresher' went through some of these. The way that I learnt to net was always complicated - the Victorian method of doing the same stitch makes so much more sense!

Of course, the 17c instructions are a little mad. As is usually the case with this sort of thing; they were written for readers who were supposed to know what every term meant. And of course, these change with time. But, I am managing to work through them, while getting my netting more even in the process. I also find it inspiring to use old tools - again, a nice find on eBay forever ago and I have some lovely bone netting gauges. I enjoy using tools that I know have been used before, for the purpose they were intended. And these gauges are now so smooth they are a real joy to work with.

So, a few pictures. I still need practice, but I'm quite pleased with the results so far!

The first is called 'Small Diamonds' I like this one. A bit hard to work, but the end result is pretty and delicate.

The next is called 'Seven Eyes' -(below) if you look closely, you can see 3 pairs of 'eyes', with an extra little loop. I was quite thrilled when I figured out what the text was talking about here!

I've also been busy supplying items to re-enactors; it's that time of year when everyone is looking at their kit. Tassels, linen laces, and lovely silk laces with sterling silver aiglets. The aiglets were made and fitted by Gary Smedley - he's my hero as far as metalwork is concerned - his work is so beautiful. Even what most would consider a simple item, such as an aiglet, is always finished with such care and attention. (The picture's at the top!)

The sample threads have arrived for my collaboration with Ruth, this will be very interesting. Only organic materials can be used, and undyed. So the designs will be based on texture and the very subtle differences in thread types. (Oh and do look at Ruth's Blog - she's designed a beautiful wedding dress - makes me want to get married all over again!)

And the tawny owls? We have had a chicks again this year, and over the last couple of weeks they have been yelling all night long. We were lucky enough to catch a glimpse this year and of course they are gorgeous. So with them, and all of the little garden birds who have fledged, and baby rabbits, my garden is looking quite Disneyesque this year! And its lovely.

1 comment:

  1. thanks! I'm pleased with the dress too.


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