Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Needles and Pins and Fine Old Laces

In yesterday's post, I shared the end product. Today I thought I'd share some of the shots I took throughout the creative process.
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To the right is the pin cushion that I designed [earlier this year] to fit my old, but very faithful, Singer sewing machine. I found it rather tiresome having to either look for where I last laid my little scissors, or pick them up from the floor after having brushed them off the table top.
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I used sticky-backed hook and loop tape to secure the removable cushion to the small ledge at the front of the machine. It's quite handy and I always know where those particular scissors are!
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After auditioning several laces from my hatbox stash, to make the pin cushion for my Husqvarna Viking, I settled on this scrumptuous piece of vintage lace.
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My father came home after one of his many long weekends of scouting antiques [many years ago now], and gave me several pieces of old lace that he sorted out from a lumped together, boxed up purchase.
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I have another one of those finds that I'm going to work into an art quilt. But, I'll be working from the same piece of forest green organza as the background. More on that later.
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I read somewhere that if you wanted a permanent ink, use coffee. I took that to hold true with hand-dying as well, so-- I fired up the studio coffee pot and dropped the smallest piece into a coffee dye bath.
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It drank in the dye and the coloring is quite beautiful. And, do they even make lace like this these days?
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In the meantime [while waiting for the laces to dry], I finished the construction of the body of the pin cushion. Of which is made entirely of tightly rolled strips of wool. I then covered it with the above-mentioned organza.
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At this point, though, I'm still auditioning the skirting lace. Once I decided on the floral edging, I ran a gathering cord, not only to see how it would look, but how much bulk it would add to the bottom edge of the vintage lace.
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As I worked with it, I wondered how it would look after bathed in java. No sooner was it thought--- and I had a fresh pot of coffee abrewin'.
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When I pulled it out, to transfer to the bowl with a vinegar rinse, I wasn't so sure I'd made the right decision. It looked mottled. And all too quick, I hated thinking I'd made a mistake, having just ruined a very nice piece of lace. But as it dried, I could see that it merely took the dye differently; front to back. Meaning-- the right side of the lace looks richer than the back side. So all was good.
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While this piece of lace dried, I still had to determine where and how best to affix the corresponding pieces of hook and loop tape.
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Plus, there was still a matter of which coloration of the vintage top lace to use. Dyed or un-dyed. I hadn't made a firm choice.
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I really, really liked the muted and the more subtle contrast of the dyed swatch. But, as I shared yesterday, I opted to use the untouched lace.
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That will definitely change, though, when I tackle the free-standing design. I fully intend to use the coffee dyed lace; which-- is hanging to dry [along with several others] as I write!
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Before I made any cuts, I worked with said virgin lace, molding, stretching, and pinning it to form, in order to determine the least possible amount of waste.
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I should also state, at some point, this pin cushion was made entirely by hand. No machine sewing whatsoever. I used both straight and curved upholstery needles.
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The finished cushion has a felted bottom [for that I used a piece of double-sided adhesive webbing], and the corresponding strip of tape secured to the back side.
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Yes. This is the Cliff Notes version of the process, and I'm trusting right now, that it's not too confusing.
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I need to take a break from this chair. It's taken me the better part of ALL DAY to write this piece, and my back is screaming!
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[Added 9-30-09] As I stated above, this short little piece took me all day to put together. Reloading the pictures from CDs, resizing them, drafting, editing, etc. ... I should also indicate that prior to my ending up on LTD, this project would have been completed in a weekend's time. Instead, it took a couple of weeks from start to finish. I need many breaks in between sewing sessions. Not only from sitting in a wrong position, but from the carpal tunnel in both hands, and FM in the shoulders. And then there's times when my concentration is challenged! It gets very frustrating, but-- I am pleased with the final result; even though some of my stitches aren't as perfect as they used to be.
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Blessings
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~If you have any questions about this project, please do not hesitate to ask!

2 comments:

Judi B said...

I think you might be a kindred spirit! I also love working with vintage lace. It was fun to take a little tour with you -- I'm visiting from the Open Studio Tour of which I am also a part today. Thanks for sharing!

Rose Garden said...

I love your creation... I am just curious as to what "stuffing" you use for the pin cushion? I once heard that sand sharpens the needles, but you do no mention what you use. Please tell. Thank you for the inspiration, just so happens I have some beautiful lace to work with AND I happen to be a coffee drinker. I do like the stick on velcro idea as well. Fully appreciate.