Thursday, April 24, 2008

I blame Therese de Dillmont

When I was little I spent hours and hours poring over a copy of Therese de Dillmont's Encyclopedia of Needlework. It is (I still have it) a very small but fat book with gold on the edges of the paper, and glossy coloured illustrations of fantastic things. There is hardanger and tatting and netting and berlin woolwork and macrame and embroidery on white materials and darning and just plain mending. Plus knitting and crochet. The plain black and white illustrations showed lovely pairs of hands with strange implements making lace and embroideries of all kinds. I was fascinated, and loved looking at it. I taught myself how to tat from that book so the instructions MUST be good.

I blame Therese for my obsessions. Do I need another craft? I already knit, tat, crochet, cross-stitch, play with beads. I have tried macrame (in the seventies.) The chapter on netting always fascinated me. When I saw this website offering kits on filet lace making, I knew I had to try it. I asked my lovely sister for one of the kits for my birthday, and she sent it to me.

I brought it with me to Honolulu, as I thought I would have the time and focus to really get moving with it (while not going to luaus or snorkelling on the reef or lying in warm sand or looking into expensive shop windows at Ala Moana Mall).

I did. First I assembled the frame, then I thumbtacked the netting to it. Then I started to practice diagramming the patterns, and finally got going with the needle and thread. It is such fun! It is quick, and effective. The book says it shrinks a lot and that this is good, because the filled meshes all pack in and fill the space really well. There is going to be more of this. Just what I needed - another craft. A worthwhile day spent in Hawaii.

More on our luau adventure later.

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