Back to childhood.

I wrote before about going to learn to make lace again and I had forgotten how , I wouldn’t say simple, but easy it was to pick up again. I have had two lessons so far and am embarking on a bookmark at the moment. Sitting for too long is a trial for me  but I can do this in short bursts and still have a great deal of satisfaction in what I have done. I don’t want to talk about lace making though, lovely as it is, more about all the bits you need to go with it.

I have a lovely set of wooden bobbins turned by a gentleman who did woodturning as a hobby. He was the caretaker of the school we lived and worked at and unfortunately is long gone to his maker. The bobbins are beautiful to work with, smooth, heavy and I think there is always something wonderful about wood, especially when turned in such wonderful wood as ebony, tigerwood or cherry. They are more wonderful knowing they were turned especially for me. When making lace the bobbins need to stay in the correct place and not roll around so that is where the spangling comes in. Sounds wonderful doesn’t it? All it means is that a little circle of beads are connected to the bottom of the bobbin to stop them rolling around during lacemaking.

My bobbins needed a small hole drilled in the bobbly bit at the end and I had no way of doing it nor knew anyone who could do it so bless Harry he went out and bought a miniature drill kit, just make these holes.  What should have been a simple little job cost a hundred pounds worth of equipment because the manufacturers seem to be able to make sure the exact piece you need just happens to need a connector not included in the kit. Anyway Harry drilled these tiny holes for me and all I had to do was thread them with beads.

 I had long lost all my beads so what better an excuse to buy some more? I ordered some pretty glass beads one late afternoon which amazed me by arriving early the following morning. I spent the next few evenings making the spangles and wiring them onto the bobbins. It was so satisfying watching the little pieces of wood transform into beautiful workable tools. It reminded me of the little beads, or precious stones as we called them, of my childhood. I think there is a collector in all of us but I seem to be more of a squirrel than anyone I know. Having also bought all the little pliers and so forth to make them I decided to respangle every one, I think it was about fifty or so… I must post some pictures, sticky note to remind me for tomorrow…

So now having collected all the bits and pieces my collecting turned to the prickings or patterns. I brought a book from the library and set about making my own. Thin card, sticky back plastic and many hours pricking hundreds of holes in little lengths of plastic coated card. A trip to Hobbycraft was such a good idea… I managed to get the special pins and some thread too, oh and a box to keep it all in. I already had ribbon and the lady teaching me has lent me a pillow. But that is my next task. I am going to try and make myself a lace pillow by squashing an old feather pillow into a tight sausage and fastening and covering it.  There is of course many other little things to be collected that make this hobby more interesting, bobbin winders, patterns, new bobbins… they can be a collectors item too and there are bobbins from all overe the world as well as antique ones to collect. Hmmm now there’s a thing.

Collecting all these bits and sorting them into little boxes takes me right back to my childhood and I hope if my granddaughter comes to stay, she might like to learn lacemaking too, or maybe patchwork or cross stitch. If not she is also an artist and we shall paint together which is really nice.

Even though I have many craft type hobbies I am also a neat freak and sorting beads and gathering bits into boxes fitted my desire to keep things in neat and tidy boxes. A bit like my mind I guess. Sewing things in the sewing box, lovingly made for my mother in law by my father in law out of an old oak radiogramme manyyears ago, knitting needles, crochet hooks in little cases, wool and knitting projects in the basket my only untidy place is my corner of the study. I suppose I do have rather a lot of stuff, my writing stuff and well I have favourite pens and pencils and my brushes must be kept in the right pots , art bits in their box, paints, canvases, easels where does it end? OK a job for when I can find a moment will be to reorder it all so I can at least fnd it.

I think my habit of collecting does come from my childhood, not because I was the same then but rather because I had a lack of things to collect. Being the eldest in a large poor family, personal possessions weren’t high on the priority of things so now as an adult I am able to indulge. It is really nice to produce hand crafted gifts for special people too. Whether they are appreciated or not, the love that goes into making and giving them satisfies something in me and I shall carry on unless I am told to stop. Who knows they might be heirlooms one day.  My plan for tomorrow then is to schedule the task of re-organising my workspace so that I can find things easily…. after I have made my lace pillow of course. I might even get round to doing some lacemaking.

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