Why do we prick out patterns?
Pre-pricking a pattern ensures that your lines are clean and straight. It is easier to get accurate holes for your pins, when you pre-prick. So, if your lines aren't as smooth as you would like, think about pre-pricking.
Traditionally lace patterns or prickings were made onto parchment and I have a number of these dating from the end of the 1800s / start of the 1900s.
During the lace revival starting in the 1970s, people would take rubbings of older prickings then true them up - because you put pins in the holes, the holes can get enlarged or because they were copies of copies then the lines were not straight. Truing meant that the lines were straightened and the pattern 'restored'.
Before photocopies and home printers were the thing, most books of lacemaking suggested that you traced the pattern from the book then made the pricking. Glazed card was (and still is) sold as pricking card. The idea is that this is heavy enough to hold the pin hole and not deform with usage.
As tech has advanced, we now can use self adhesive film to cover a photocopy or laminate.
For me, a one off pattern that I'll not make again, I may well cover with film. Just as for extremely complicated patterns that are hard to draw the lines in after pricking, then I'll photocopy and cover with film.
However, my preferred way of creating a pricking is to take a photocopy and prick through the pattern onto the card, then draw in the lines with a fine line permanent marker. I have patterns that I made when I started, back in the 1980s, that I still use because they are robust.
I often use foolscap manilla folders for my pricking card as these are easy to come by and fold out to a large area.
The other advantage of pricking through the pattern, directly onto the card is that you can make multiple copies of a pattern, at the same time. Layer up the card stock, pin the pattern onto the top and prick through. Then you draw the lines on to each pricking. This is useful when making a pattern for yardage (or a repeating pattern) such as a garter, or if you are creating multiple patterns for teaching or 'have a go' pillows.
The use of coloured film is supposed to help ease the eyes however, it's worth thinking about printing onto colour card or using coloured film as different coloured threads can work better or worse depending on the backing colour.
Black thread on blue or green can disappear, which is why Spanish lacemakers often use an orange card.
You can print directly, these days, onto card. If your printer will take the heavier pricking card, this can be a godsend.
Louise West has developed a laser pricker which she uses after first laser printing the lines of the pattern onto card.
However, before you start printing every pattern in your collection out on card, check that your printer ink is waterproof by rubbing a damp finger over it.
If the ink comes off, then it is likely that it will leech onto your work and discolour it.
This is why traditionally, mapping ink or permanent markers were used to add in the lines.
Going back to a more traditional way, taking a photocopy of the pattern, rubbing beeswax over it to ease the pricking, then pricking through onto your card and adding in the lines with a fine liner is still one of the better ways to learn a pattern whilst being more ecologically minded. Then you can take the photocopy and compost it.
And just like that, your pillow becomes a harlequin dressed in magical bobbins, creating the most beautiful lace.
Back in May 1999, Professor Ralph E Griswold began a project to create a home for scanned documents relating to weaving, including lacemaking. This came about due to his retirement. He started to research the mathematical aspects of weaving and through this the on-line database was launched.
Professor Griswold was part of the computing team at the University of Arizona. The on-line Digital Archive was housed on the UAZ servers.
The first document added was Cyrus Uhler's Draught and Cording, made from scans done at Lebanon Valley College Library. The first document scanned locally was de Lantsheere's Trésor de L'Art Dentellier from a dilapidated original purchased at a sale at the University of Arizona Library.
The key requirement was for the material to be either out of copyright or for the author to have given permission for the work to be added.
As of today, there are over 9k pdfs available, including 4.7k articles and 9.1k pdf documents, of which over 470 are books that you can download.
The lace world came to know of this project and help with it through the work of Tess Palmer on the Arachne mail lists.
Tess began her partnership with the Professor as a willing partner to scan lace documents and a great partnership began.
She would keep us informed on how the work was going, seek out contributors and put translators in touch with the Professor. Over the next few years, we became used to seeing emails about Tess & the Professor in our feeds telling us about new uploads and searches for out of copyright material to be added.
As lacemaking became a major focus in the archive, it was promoted to it's own section.
In order to make choosing a document to download easier, low res sample pages were added to many of the documents so you could 'try before you buy'.
These days, that seems a strange thing to do but when the archive was created, many were still on dial up so downloading a pdf could take 15 - 30 minutes and then to find out it didn't contain what you were looking for was a shock.
Sadly, Professor Griswold passed away on 4th October, 2006. His pioneering work in computer science reached out far further than Arizona. His impact for lacemakers through the archive has been a wonderful memorial to this great man.
So, what do you need to think about?
So, what are your options?
Why not try out the book blog for some inspiration. I've even added in a wedding category. Just click on the button below.
18/8/2021 1 Comment
Think of it as the difference between trying to read a newspaper in another language and having to use either a dictionary or google translate compared to being fluent in that language.
One of the key things that, as a teacher, I have experienced, is that it gives false confidence. I have had people come to me who have made an intermediate piece that came with instructions and now want to try a similar piece that has none and it is a real shock that they have no understanding on how to make the lace.
I will break down the techniques in the pattern they want to make and together we will choose 3 or 4 pieces that will them them the knowledge and confidence to attempt the piece they want to make. I will never tell a student that they can't make a piece, I will always show them how to gain the skills to make it.
So why are these patterns without instructions 'so expensive'?
That is an easy answer.
You are relating cost to the number of pages that you get.
Whereas, for most designers, the price reflects the time and knowledge it took to create the design.
So, what should I get when I buy a pattern?
Simple answer - the pattern. Anything else is a bonus.
So, down to the nitty gritty ...
1) Is this book 'desirable'?
Often booklets or self published books were limited print runs. But, if no one wants the book then just because a book was a limited run, doesn't make it worth a vast amount of money.
In the book blog, I've annotated each entry as to whether or not it's still in print. If you can't find the book that you are looking for then remember, it's a work in progress. Fill out my contact form with details of the book and if I have it in the library I'll push the entry to the top of the list for you.
2) Is this book still in print?
3) What is this book worth?
Some books though, remain very highly priced regardless of trends.
And finally ...
If the book has prickings in it on a separate sheet, always confirm whether or not that sheet is included. Nothing worse than buying a book to find out you can't make the patterns because they are missing.
8/8/2021 2 Comments
Over the years, it has become increasingly difficult to obtain good quality brass pins. As the industry declined, many lacemakers have moved to using stainless steel or nickel plated brass
You can tell that a pin has steel in it because it can be picked up by a magnet (that is the iron that the magnet is reacting to).
Our hands, the air, even straw or sawdust pillows naturally have moisture in them. For short periods of time, a few weeks or so, the pins will be fine in the pillow. However, the issue starts when the pins are left in the pillow for extended periods of time.
The first indication will be that the pins don't want to come out of the pillow easily, then you start to see spots on the pins finally, spotting on the lace.
So far, so good?
Not really, because when I learnt, cloth and whole stitch were interchangable as terms and Cloth Stich & Twist was described as Cloth Stitch & Twist or Whole Stitch and Twist.
Now, there were a number of reasons that the International System didn't take off and the main one was limitations on printing.
During the resurgence of lacemaking in the 70s and 80s, colour printing was exceptionally expensive. Most designers would only have a colour cover and maybe one or two colour plates in their books. This wasn't an issue for looking at the lace patterns and finished articles because most, if not all the lace was made in the traditional white or black and the prickings were black dots.
Around the mid 90s, dual colour because easier to do so we started to see the addition of blue into the printing of a number of books, most noticably Pamela Nottingham's later books. This was followed by tri colour printing and we started to see red included in Geraldine Stott's and Bridget Cook's later books.
With the opening of the EuroTunnel in 1990, it now became easy for lacemakers in the UK to take a train to Belgium and holiday in Bruges, giving access to the Kant Centrum and attend OIDFA events in Europe.
Towards the end of the 90s, access to international books was also becoming much easier in the UK due to international lace suppliers attending events like the National Lacemaker's Fair at the NEC and teaching at summer schools.
Interest in books from outside the UK grew and UK lace suppliers found it easier to obtain books from publishers such as Barbara Vey.
It was around this time that multicoloured printing took off and we started to see the International Colour Code being used more and more in books and people started to realise that terminology isn't global. So, the use of C and T became the international language on many of the newsgroups such as Arachne so that lacemakers could talk to each other and understand what was being discussed.
Having just picked up some lovely bone bobbins on ebay, I thought it might be time to offers some advice about buying second hand modern bobbins.
So here are my top tips on buying second hand on eBay (and elsewhere)
1) Is this bobbin still available from the original turner / painter at a reasonable price?
Supporting our artisans is good karma, but obviously if it's a bargain then you are going to buy the pre-loved bobbin. Don't forget to check out 'find the maker' if you want to identify the maker is
2) Is the bobbin good value?
If you have a budget, then set your limit according when bidding. It's really easy to get carried away and bid way over the top
3) Is this a private seller or a dealer?
Always check out the other bobbins that the seller has on sale. There are starting to be a number of sellers who are effectively dealers, but pretending to be private sellers. They buy new bobbins from current artisans and then put them straight on to eBay with a markup. I don't believe in Caveat emptor - Buyer beware.
If you then unsure about a purchase talk with one of the most experience lacemakers in the lace Facebook groups.
You are more than welcome to message me.
4) Take a good look at the photos.
Fuzzy photos may be someone who isn't good at taking them or it may be an attempt to cover up a less than wonderful bobbin that has a fault.
There is nothing stopping you contacting the seller to ask for more photos, or information, if you are really interested
In the past, I have had people borrow a book and not return it. So, I now simply say no. Many of my books are out of print and irreplaceable. I use them as a resource for my students to look through and loosing such books would impact them as much as me.
So, what about just copying a pattern from one of my books or single patterns?
The answer is still no.
What about out of print patterns and books that you can't get hold of? Well, they are covered by copyright.
Now here is my disclaimer about what I'm going to say next.
NAL - I am Not A Lawyer. I'm someone who respects UK copyright and am offering suggestions below as to resources that may help others. I am specifically discussing UK law here, however, if the book or pattern was published in the UK, or you are based in the UK, then UK law takes precedent. So, if your home country says that the law is more lax, unfortunately, the higher rules in the UK trump your home laws. As with anything pertaining to the law, if in doubt, seek advices from a professional.
For any book or pattern published in the UK or sold in the UK, then copyright extends for the life of the author plus 75 years.
But I just want a copy of one pattern
Doesn't matter. If it's covered by copyright then making a copy and giving it you breaks copyright. You are stealing the intellectual property of the person who designed it.
But you can copy up to 10% without breaking copyright
No you can't. That is a common quote that people say that has no basis in copyright law. If copying is permitted, it is stated in the UK and US for example as 'fair usage' which is commonly taken to mean no more than 10% but I fact this refers to quoting a book in academic work.
But you are allowed to copy the patterns from a book to make them yourself, why can't you make a copy for me?
The designer grants the book owner permission to copy the patterns for personal use, so that you can make the lace. It would be rather difficult to buy a book of patterns and not be able to copy them and make prickings.
What the designer did not give permission for, is for you or me to copy the patterns and give them away to other people.
I'm not charging anyone for the copy so that's ok then?
No it's not. Paying or not, it doesn't matter. You are prohibited from passing on copies. Just because you don't profit from the copy doesn't make it ok. You are still effectively stealing someone else's intellectual property by passing on unlawful copies
I can't get the pattern I want, but I've got a great photograph of it so I'll just make my own pattern by working the photo or creating my own pricking and it will then be my pricking.
You can and you can't.
Working from the design to learn the pattern .. That's ok, you are allowed to do that under educational purposes, however you cannot share the pattern you have created or sell the lace you have made because they are covered by the copyright of the original pattern. The pattern and the images of that pattern are covered by copyright. You can't just go and nick someone else's work. It is stealing!
If I change 10% of the pattern, then I'm not breaking copyright and it's now my new pattern
That would be a nope, nope, nope. This 10% thing is terrible and keeps being rolled out. There is nothing that says changing a bit revokes copyright.
So, here is a quick summary of the top ten myths on copyright
From time to time I post on different groups and wanted to collect some of the advice that I give in one places.