A Little Lace Goes a Long Way

I have this stash of lace from my mom, that I keep in the basement, well-protected.  I never know what to do with it, but it’s always in the back of my mind as a resource.

The other day I purchased a (very) cheap sweat-shirty looking top on sale at a discount store where I normally buy groceries. So you know the price was right.

I wore it a few times before I started to get an idea to “cuten” it up a bit.

I ran downstairs to my stash of lace and found something perfect. I added it around the bottom of the shirt.

This took MAYBE half an hour.

It’s cute, right?

That’s when I got out the ruffler and decided to try ruffling the lace a bit to create a flower pin to wear on this shirt (or any other for that matter). I adjusted the ruffler to take a small “bite” so that the ruffle was soft.

You can see that it forms a natural curve and so I then proceeded to sew it onto a piece of wool I had around.

Really, this is very easy and fun stuff if you have the right tools.

I added a button and hot-glued a pin-back onto the back.  Pin-backs are widely available in places like JoAnn’s, Michael’s, etc.

To summarize, everything that’s needed for a project like this:

  • Lace
  • Ruffler foot (or needle and thread if you gather by hand)
  • Basic sewing supplies
  • A round piece of felt
  • A button or another cute center (silk flower?)
  • Pin back
  • Glue gun

This looks adorable on a handbag, a headband, a jean jacket, anywhere! You can also ruffle some fabric and create another look.

Have some fun…I highly recommend a ruffler foot for your machine.  They haven’t changed in years, and I wrote about it here.

So take a break from quilt blocks and try something new!

Vintage and Ribbons and Lace…Oh My!

I seem to be the curator of all the textiles in our family (and also the antique photos and other historical family memorabilia.  Please don’t ask me why I have Grandpa’s tax files from 1968.  I truly don’t know.  Furthermore, I don’t know why I keep them.)

This blog is not about my mother-in-law who in her own right was a spectacular quilter and craftsperson/artist. I do have some of her quilts and have already informed my 13-year-old son that if he ever decides to get married, if his bride-to-be does not lovingly cherish family quilts and heirlooms, then she’s simply not the girl for him.  No pressure.  My first-ever blog post was about my mother-in-law.

The cedar chest in our bedroom holds treasures from the beautiful, meticulous and patient artist-women who came before me — the women who taught me to use my hands to make things.

samplingI literally have hefty-size bags full of handmade doilies, table runners and dresser runners.  Grandma was the expert, but my mom made them as well

A friend of mine referred to it as tatting.  I don’t think it’s exactly the same, as my family never ever referred to tatting…they worked exclusively with a teensy crochet hook for hours, days, months, years.  I believe tatting sometimes requires something called a shuttle.  A word of caution:  when you google tatting, you can expect to learn about the tattoo process. Oops.  Try lace tatting instead.

Anyway, the most impressive piece I own — to me,at least — is the tablecloth handmade by my grandmother.

tablecloth wholeIt fits the standard kitchen table.  But that’s not the most endearing part.  It comes complete with a few gravy stains I can’t seem to remove.  But that’s not my favorite part either.  My favorite part is that at one point she apparently ran out of one thread color and finished it in another.  Mom told me that Grandma finished the last bit of it in white, which you can clearly see in some of the photos.

I love this.

Upon closer examination, I think she started in white.  And then changed her mind about the color, just judging by the way it is assembled. She switched to a taupe — apparently she had a lot more of that thread. Or maybe she really did run out at the very end.  If you are a craftsperson, you know this feeling. For heaven’s sake, I’m almost done, who cares, this is fine.

tablecloth detail2I’m so glad this happened, because I’m not sure I would have believed that a human being actually created this.  It is meticulously stitched in some of the tiniest little crochet stitches I have ever seen.  And I am trained enough to recognize crochet stitches.  Of course, I saw Grandma working on things like this, but when you’re a teen, it hardly makes it onto your radar.

grandmas tablecloth detailThese days, I’m awestruck by its beauty.

My mom made beautiful works of art in yarn. She was a master knitter, at least until she had a stroke 15 years ago. While I love the yarn, I have no space for all that, so my sister will have to pick through it.

I, however, poured over her sewing notions.

In the last few years, she made little homey decorations for the kitchen.

mom's decsThe trim says charming things like “You are the apple of God’s eye,” and “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”

moms decs 2ribbons and laceI’m not ready to let any of this go.  The women who came before us had real lives of creation, sharing, loving and giving. We honor them by appreciating their handiwork. All handmade. All the time.

grandmas crochetgrandmas doily1