Tuesday, November 29, 2011

New thoughts...

Do your projects ever speak to you?

I've been getting some increasingly clear messages from my second piece of lacis.

It doesn't feel like a fan. It doesn't want to be a fan!

It wants to be...

a bag!


Sunday, November 27, 2011


The second lacis piece is all stitched up at last. I'm still pondering my fall-back treatment for the stick...maybe carved and painted?

Anyway, I expect the lacis partlet to be a long term project. Just making the netting is gonna take a while so it will probably be a while before you see more lacis from me (after this fan is done, of course.)

Not to worry, I have lots of other projects to work on!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Just another case of belated cleverness

So today I finally got to the store and bought the thread I need to finish my 2nd lacis fan (and the proposed lacis partlet too, btw) and while I was there I bought sculpty in several colors to try making an 'ivory' fan.

Mixing canes of various colors was looking pretty good for the ivory so I took out my 3/8" dowel, cut in some grooves for the fan's wire frame to run in, and started covering it with the plastic clay...only to discover that it was going to turn out way too thick. OK, plan 2! I took out my 1/8" dowel and started covering *it* with the plastic clay...looking pretty good...I only have to sculpt and bake it....

Oh...wait minute...

I have to bake it...in the oven...rats!

I've tested it out and there is no way a 3' length of dowel is going to fit in my current oven. (Sigh, I really miss my fancy stove which is back in New York state.) I've decided to keep the 'ivory' and try it out a fan with a shorter handle so it's back to the drawing board for the stick treatment for this fan. I guess it's good that I still have some stitching left to do!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I've run out of thread

for my second fan so I'm stalled on that project until I can get to the store. (Sigh. So close too!)

The good part of that situation is that I now have time to wander around on the internet looking at cool stuff. I've found plenty of info on ways to make faux ivory out of fimo or other similar materials so my current plan is to make the stick for this fan out of a wooden dowel (it's a bigger fan so I think I will go for a full 3' length in the stick) covered and sculpted in faux ivory.

They say I should bake the fimo stuff on a wooden or even cardboard surface so I don't think baking the dowel will be a problem. I hope it works because I already have ideas about an 'ivory' wax tablet...I guess we'll see!

The possibly bad part of wandering around on the net is that I learn about other new a different cool stuff. Like the Scroll Blank Challenge which is going on in the Midrealm (aka my new Kingdom.) I have been thinking about trying my hand at the scribal arts and now could be the time. I have until early February to make a donation so I'm sure I will at least be able to make a scroll case for the concurrently running Scroll Case Challenge.

Scribal Arts..what fun!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Ideas about the Palo/Lotto partlet

The lovely big picture of this partlet at Web Gallery of Art pretty much makes it possible to count the threads so I have been counting, and pondering, and doing some on-line investigating and have come up with a theory regarding it's possible construction.

I think it may be a double weave (which basically means to weave two layers of fabric at once) which is joined together at the curvy diamond shapes (the lighter threads at the back layer brought forward to make the pattern) the flowers (the warp of the back layer pulled forward and held around a dowel to form loops) and the knots. (I'm calling them knots for lack of a better term but I think they are actually more loops which have been woven in again after several rows.)

I think I could get the loops at the edges just by leaving some extra thread at the edge at each pass--possibly held by another dowel for consistency of size and tension.

Mind you, I haven't actually woven a thing since high school, and even then it was never this complicated, but I think the theory is sound and worth trying. I guess my next step would be to investigate looms...

Friday, November 18, 2011

Lace fan#2 - More Progress

Stitch, stitch stitch....

Hmmm...Looks WARM!

Portrait of Laura da Palo, Lorenzo Lotto 1544 (Detail)

I swear this lady looks like she is wearing a variation on a potholder/trivet thingy one of my Mom's friends had in the 1970's. It was of string-ish yarn, thick, with loops on the edges much like this partlet and caul.

I have no idea what the technique is called but if I can figure it out I may have to make a set for myself. Warm would be nice.

Any ideas?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Lace Fan #2 - in progress

Having finally finished the net for my second lacis fan I've stitched it into a temporary stretcher frame and begun working the pattern. I had to make another stretcher since this piece is larger than the last one. I'm including a picture for those who are curious about the process details. (I just bent some wire into approximately the right shape and stiched the net on with some waste thread.)

I'm using a period pattern but I graphed it onto a piece of graph paper for my reference while working so here is a picture of what I am going for...

Pretty, huh?

I have been trying to learn something new with each project I take on so this project I'm learning new stitches, and maybe I'll try making faux ivory in fimo for the stick.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Um, help?

I'm having one of those days.

When I was looking for a pattern to work in lacis for my Idle Hands Challenge flag fan I kept seeing period patterns which I think may be for lacis partlets.

They were shaped vaguely like a diamond with the top tip cut off which left a flat top for the neck opening, slanted top sides for the shoulder seams, and a long point going down to the waistline in the back. (Or at least that is how I envision it working.) But now that I have formed the ambition to make such a partlet for my IRCC outfit can I find a pattern? Nope!

If any of my readers happens to recognize this description and knows where the patterns may be found I would really appreciate a hint. Thanks!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Gear Queen goes shopping

One of the things I like most about our new home is the surprises.

Last weekend we found the most wonderful retro diner--Arnold's Drive-In--in Decatur, IN, and last week I found these

at my corner hardware store!

Apparently they are a kind of hand drill called gimlets. My new set is made by a company called Robert Larson. I can hardly wait to work on a project which requires holes...I can now drill them guilt free!

(By the way, if you are ever at Arnold's and wondering if you should get the apple dumplings with cinnamon ice cream, the answer is unequivocally YES! They are amazing.)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Feverish! The IHC deadline is over...results?...

I've been nearly exploding with desire to see what everyone has wrought for the Idle Hands Challenge. In fact, the pressure has gotten so bad that I decided I have to at least post about what *I* did or I may well POP! So...

Fan #1 - Feather



I already blogged about most of the process I used to create this fan so I'll just say that I'm proud of the techinical parts of this fan.

The wooden base I assembled is very stable and provides a lot of strength/support to the feathers. Drilling holes thru the base and sewing the feathers into place worked well as a temporary hold while I glued everything into position and waited for the glue to dry. It also let me make corrections before I glued it all up. (NOTE TO SELF: Ostrich feathers go on--front and back--FIRST!) Finally, I used two layers of ostrich feathers, one on both the front and back of the fan base, and found they completely obscured the wooden base which made it easy to decoratively finish the fan without worrying about hiding the inner workings.

I made my fan to approximate the narrower shape which is often seen in paintings but rarely found 'in life.' It moves air well, and seems to me to be much easier to carry and use than a rounder fan. I'll be interested to see how I feel about it after an event.

In my next fan I'm going to work harder at getting a proper curl on all of the feathers. I did curl them all but they seem to lose body and curl to the side. I'd like to try splitting two feathers--keeping the barbs on one half of each--and attaching them together to make each plume. I think that may get a better result when replicating the distinct, full plumes of the feathers in many period portraits.

Fan #2 - Lacis Flag Fan



I made that. :) !!!!

It was very interesting to me to note how the fan gradually became more useful as the net was embroidered. Net on it's own was absolutely useless as a fan but as the lacis pattern was filled in it became more and more effective. The bottom line is, it works great!

I've already started the netting for a second fan. This time I'll carve the chanels for the wire entirely seperately from any decorative carving on the stick. I also hope to do more carving on this one...and maybe even some painting and/or gilding...

Yeah, I thnk I have a thing for fans.