Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Teneriffe work Doily

Last Sunday I went to the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney to see the Narnia exhibition with my grandsons. In Nov last year I went to a lace exhibition here which was marvellous in the true sense of the word. I found a tiny room tucked away on the second floor called the Lace Research Centre. There are wonders there! Recently I bought this very beautiful doily from Vinnies (= Goodwill USA and Oxfam Egland) for 50 cents. It just has a couple of little holes in it. It has puzzled me greatly because I couldn't figure out how it was made. The leaves of the little flowers looked woven to me. I knew it wasn't bobbin lace or tatting. I threw it into a plastic bag before we left for the museum and rolled up at the Lace Research Centre to see if anyone knew anything about it.

The centre is manned by doughty senior women who clearly know their stuff in terms of lace. The woman in the handknitted beanie recognised it immediately as "Teneriffe" work : (also known as Nanduti). She gave me a book to describe the technique which I read immediately.

 It is done traditionally on a leather topped pincushion studded around the edges with pins which are used to make a radial (spiderweblike ) framework for the lace. The lace is woven on the framework. Now that I know something about how this beautiful doily was made I will treasure it even more. I don't want to make lace myself but am fascinated with the different techniques people have used down the ages to beautify their lives with textiles.

Monday, May 7, 2012

This is how history feels

One of the vintage fabric pieces I bought in Tokyo was a small roll of silk. When I unrolled it, it turned out to be the sleeve of a kimono lined with soft silk with a pink edge. I wanted to use it immediately but realised the sleeve was still stitched together. I remembered being told that kimonos were stored flat in pieces. They were stitched together in such a way that the stitches were easy to undo to store and to launder the pieces.  I examined the piece thoroughly before I started with  the seam ripper. What a treasure trove. There were tiny running stitches, ladder stitch, larger running stitches all beautifully even. Someone had very carefully stitched this sleeve together. I wondered who she was. Maybe a servant of the rich person who owned this beautiful silk kimono. I wondered if she had enough to eat, what her name was. I knew that she was the last person to touch the silk thread. The photo shows some of the stitching she did on the lining and some of the gorgeous kimono fabric. I  thought that despite our cultural differences, I could empathise with this woman who, many years ago, placed these stitches. I pay my respects to her now, unpicking the seams by hand.


Here is the memory quilt I was making for my "Show-and-Tell" in Japan. Each of the participants had to come to the tour with a story to tell and something they  had made themselves to show the others. I decided to tie the two together and so this memory quilt echoes the story I had to tell about two families and how they enriched on another's lives. It's not quite finished yet as I need to embroider the name of the quilt on the dark pink border. I will give this to Margaret Wilcock in memory of the close association over many year between our two families. Last year I made quilts for most of the Wilcock women (still have one or two to go though). I have  Natima to thank for generously helping me to get the photos onto the fabric. Shes very experienced at doing this!

Vintage silk from Japan

I've been playing with the beautiful fabrics i bought in Japan. I have decided I cannot bear to cut this one  and so am faced with "What will I make from it?" I have decided to quilt it as is for a table topper. If you have any better suggestions please  - I'm wanting some! It's too fragile to make a bag from it. The beautiful design is too big to cut up. I think I will free quilt it by hand around the flowers and leaves first, then maybe do the red bits in a kind of contour quilting. What do you reckon?