Lace Threads Winter 2004

President’s Message
Last year, when we demonstrated at the Nationality rooms, we put up our tree with beautiful lace ornaments. I said I wanted to make at least one new ornament for the tree. Well, here we are. One month before Christmas and less than a week before we demonstrate once again at the Nationality rooms. I am still working on my first ornament for our tree. Where does the time go? I love to look at the groups ornaments on the tree and I will add one this year. So much beauty and creativity is in each ornament. I am so lucky to be part of a group that inspires such creativity. The lace group is working on a Nativity scene for under the tree. Many in our group have been working hard to get this project completed. Once again our group has inspired and helped one another through this project. I for one look forward to seeing the Nativity under our tree. I would like to thank Amy for all her help love and support. Thanks to everyone that took the time to make one of the figures. I look forward seeing you at the Nationality Rooms on December 5, 2004. Theresa Troyan

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Dues are Due Again

It is again the time of year to pay annual dues and renew subscriptions. At the last Annual Meeting the membership decided to increase dues for the first time. The cost of membership is now $15.00. Please send the form on the last page of the newsletter along with your check, made payable to Pittsburgh Lace Group to Joan Trimble, a.k.a. The Treasury goddess. Her address is, 3822 Greensburg Pike, Pittsburgh, PA 15221. We should have a great year ahead.

Calendar of Future Events
Thursday night classes cancelled on December 23 & 30, January 6th and March 23rd
Saturday, January 1, 2005 Dues for 2005 are $15.00
Saturday, January 8, 2005 10:00A.M. – 4:00P.M. Christmas Party and Meeting at the Grace Reformed Church
Snow Date for the above event is Sunday, January 9th 2:00P.M. – 6:00P.M.
Thursday, February 3, 2005 7:00 P.M. Regular Monthly Meeting at Grace Reformed Presbyterian Church
Thursday, March 3, 2005 7:00 P.M. Regular Monthly Meeting at Grace Reformed Presbyterian Church
Saturday, April 2, 2005 Annual Meeting and Election of Officers

Recent Appearances

Silk Threads by Joanie Trimble
September 2, 2004, found the PLG holding its monthly meeting at Silk Threads in Pittsburgh’s thriving South Side. The shop, owned by Carol Kirchbaum and Louise Silk (get it), was celebrating its first anniversary that day. The PLG members including, Robin Panza, Amy Gibbons, Dewi Wong, Suzanne Potter and Joanie Trimble, were all agog at the eclectic, original mix of yarns, fabrics, beads and gifts. In fact, the September business meeting was hastily thrown over in favor of shopping! There were lovely vibrant wool and chenille yarns to drool over, unique kits ranging from needlepoint pillows, to knit backpacks, and electric quilt fabrics to fantasize about. The members left with happy smiles and lightened pocketbooks and planned to come and enjoy Silk Threadsagain.
International Lace Making Day by Suzanne Potter & Amy Gibbons
October 1 was International Lace Day as decreed by I.O.L.I. and all good lacemakers are to go out and demonstrate (darn it, where is that placard “unfair to…”). Some members of PLG met at Silk Threads to celebrate the occasion. The “usual suspects ” (see above) with the addition of our president, Theresa Troyan were there. We were joined by some knitters who frequent the store. An enjoyable time was had by all and once again we departed with lightened purses and shopping bags full. –

Phipps Conservatory by Theresa Troyan
What a beautiful place to be on a rainy fall weekend, and rain it did that week. Our demo at Phipps occurred after the great flood of 2004(September 18 –19). Many people spent Friday night cleaning water out of basements or sitting in the dark due to power outages. I was lucky to have power but we sure had a lot of water in our basement. My husband and children spent Saturday cleaning the basement. I was lucky to go to Phipps for a wonderful weekend. Because of the flood, we did not have as many visitors as normal. But, Dewi and I talked to about a dozen people that Saturday. Some were very surprised we still make lace in this day and age. I had a great time making lace and talking about lace to people and walking around seeing all the beautiful plants and flowers. Phipps is truly a wonder at any time of year. On Sunday Amy, Suzanne, Robin and I demonstrated. People must have been taking a break from cleaning Sunday because we had more visitors. I let a couple of very young girls use the demo pillow. Hopefully they will become our future lace makers. I look forward returning in the spring.

Debbie Beever Workshop by Betsy Sykes
It had been four years since Debbie was here and we were happy to welcome her back! The “Honiton Big and Bold workshop” really began on Friday evening, October 15, with a sales room featuring Tracy Jackson of The Lace Maker who, along with Bill, made the trip to Pittsburgh to be with us for the evening, then had to drive back to Ohio for a wedding the next day. Kathy Kirchner’s intrepid husband Steve, is the ultimate good sport; he made the trip to Pittsburgh without Kathy, who had to work at her other job as musician. George Grandstaff (who made our beautiful workshop commemorative bobbins) and Eric Stevenson both had lovely bobbins for sale, and Melissa Booritch graciously represented Jeri’s Gifts in Jeri’s absence as Jeri, too, had to work. Debbie brought wonderful wares from her shop, including many things we had never seen before, such as the wooden tool holders that pin right into lacemaking pillows. We sincerely thank all our vendors for truly going the “extra mile” for us even though life’s duties called some of them elsewhere. Their generous contributions of door prizes were all but one, mysteriously won by Robin Panza
Following our shopping spree, Debbie presented a lecture and slide show on “Lace Italia” from her trip to Italy. Seeing and learning about the Italian pillows that look so foreign to out eyes was a delight, as was the gorgeous lace that Debbie showed us both in slides and in the samples of lace she brought from her collection.
On Saturday and Sunday we learned a lot about Honiton! Debbie gave us the choice of using either heavy thread (much easier to on the eyes) or traditional fine thread to work on our Honiton projects, which included basics and beyond. Some of us are still plugging away, but Amy finished her tap leaf which she worked in gorgeous fall colors. Barb also chose to work in color and Theresa chose (under duress) to do a picot edge on her piece of lace. The rest of us chose a variety of projects, all very pretty. And the best news is that Robin (also known as Robin, The Queen of Unfinished Projects) finished her Honiton flower! I promise that I am not making this up, I saw it with my own eyes! (editors note – Robin began that flower at the previous workshop with Debbie Beever)
Debbie is a great teacher and we learned a lot in the workshop. There was an ill passenger on board Debbie’s flight home so the plane turned around and came back to Pittsburgh, making Debbie miss her connecting flight! She eventually got home safely and we hope she will come to Pittsburgh again soon, despite her airline adventure.

Russian Style Twisted Gimp By Robin Panza
There was recently an interesting discussion on the internet lace group Arachne. We were talking about what to do when you have the perfect color/fiber for a gimp, but it’s just too thin for the ground thread. That’s when I found out about a method used in Russia for torchon patterns, using a double gimp (two bobbins) in a manner similar to the raised twisted gimp running down the center of Russian tape laces. When the gimp has to cross a ground pair, treat the ground pair as a single bobbin. Lift the right bobbin of the gimp pair, pass both ground threads across, and place the gimp bobbin to the left of the one that stayed on the pillow. In other words, twist the gimp pair between every passage of the ground threads. Not only is the twisted double thread thicker than a regular, single gimp, there are no ground threads crossing over (and covering) the gimp.

Call for Contributions!
As always, any and all contributions to this newsletter are most welcome. Any news about members, other lacemakers, bobbins, threads, patterns, books, ideas pictures send ’em and keep ’em coming!

Future Events

Christmas Party by Amy Gibbons
As last year, we are fortunate to have Russ Groff, of Robin and Russ Handweavers bringing his books for our Christmas Party. It will be Saturday, January 8, 2005, from 10:00A.M. to 4:00P.M. at the Grace Reformed Presbyterian Church on Hochburg Road (with a snow date of Sunday, January 9th from 2:00P.M. to 6:00P.M.). If the weather is uncertain you can check to see if we have opted for the snow date at 412-680-1330. Russ has offered us a special one time only 50% discount on all purchases. He is now 80 years old and has decided to sell the business. If there is anything special that you would like him to bring please let him know. His web site is There is a catalogue on line, or at the church. The e-mail address is and the telephone number is 1 800-932-8391. Requests should reach him by December 10th.
Come along and bring your Christmas money to spend. Bring your favorite Christmas food and maybe your most interesting present to share. Please invite your friends, especially those with textile talents to join us. The tree will be up with it’s new nativity beneath it. We will have the meeting at 3:00P.M. Anyone who would like to help carry books in or out is more than welcome to volunteer by coming at 9:00A.M. or by staying to help carry things out for Russ. For many of us who spend the whole day, it is a nice time to sit and look at books and visit. ,,
Thursday Classes Cancelled Be sure that you don’t come to class on the Thursday nights, before
Christmas, New Years, our Christmas Party and way in the future, Easter.

Annual Meeting and Future Workshops
The Annual Meeting will be Saturday, April 2nd beginning at 10:00A.M. at the Grace Reformed Presbyterian Church on Hochberg Road. It will be time to elect a new vice president and secretary. Our current vice president, Dewi Wong, is hard at work deciding on the program for after the meeting. Suggestions for workshops are always welcome.
Pompi Parry will be here April 15th through the 17th for our Sspring workshop. Details will be available in the next newsletter.

She’s Gone
Robin has moved to California. After many changes of plans, she departed Pittsburgh on December 1st and made it as far as Warren, where she discovered some “yard” dragon flies had stowed away in her car. She planned to visit Tracy’s shop and then begin the long drive to California. Her new address is Robin Panza, 23369 Sandalwood St., West Hills, CA 91307. When Suzanne wrote about “the usual suspects” Robin was one of those she meant. Robin has been a mainstay of the Pittsburgh Lace Group and she will be missed greatly, when we wonder if the group’s constitution has any application to what we want to do, when we are scheduled to demonstrate at any site, or when we have a lace problem that we can’t work out. Her knowledge and willingness to share were a blessing to the group. The lace group in California who is getting her as a member, is most fortunate. She hopes to come back for the Pompi Parry workshop and there is some talk of having her come to teach a workshop in the future

Book Reviews

“Teneriffe Lace” edited by Jules and Kaehte Kliot by Suzanne Potter
This is a republication of portions of four manuals from early in the 20th centurys. It includes basic techniques and a brief history of teneriffe. It has many designs to work. Those who attended the mini workshop with Robin Panza will find this a usefull addition to the PLG Library

“STRAIGHT LACED Fine Torchon Insertions”, by Gretchen Baudeaux
12 new designs by Beryl Gorse
A collection of a nice variety of Torchon insertions with corners, worked in Retors D’alsace #50. The patterns are repeated on a larger scale to be worked in Cordonnet #60 or Fils a Dentelles #70 for household linens. She includes large, easy to follow working diagrams that indicate the starting lines and instructions for techniques.
Beryl Gorse’s A NOSEGAY of HANKIES Fine Torchon Edgings can also be found in the PLG Library.

“Chrysanthemum Lace” by Suzanne Potter
I don’t know about you, but when I have a sewing, I just dig in and grab whatever thread I can. After studying the technical explanation in Cathleen Belleville’s “Chrysanthemum Lace” (one of the books we bought at I.O.L.I.), I realize there is a proper way to do it ! The lace instructions are accompanied by extensive technical explanations and many detailed illustrations. The lace combines elements of Russian and Milanese laces and is quite attractive. Belleville has a good command of her subject and could be a fine workshop instructor in the future. Hint, hint

“The Connoisseur’s Guide to Honiton Lace” by Betsy Sykes
Written by Elizabeth Kurella, this book was recommended to us by Debbie Beever, so we decided to add this pretty little book to our library. Ms. Kurella packs a lot of information and beautiful pictures into just 68 pages. The contents lists six sections: Why Collect Honiton Lace – Evolution of the Honiton Lace Industry – How Homiton Lace is Made – Design Elements in Honiton – The Critical Collector – and Honiton Study Guide. For those who love to make and collect Honiton lace, this book is a valuable reference. For those who just love to look at lace, this book is full of eye candy, such as a photograph of Queen Victoria in her jubilee photo wearing her Honiton wedding lace which was commissioned in 1840, flounces, fans, flora and fauna and much more.

“La Dentelle be Bayeux” by Joan Trimble
Written by Mick Fouriscot and Mylene Salvader. Oui, Oui! Tres bien! Ooo la la! C’est magnifique! C’est perfect! Editors note – I think it might be an intelligence test.

“Confessions of a Knitting Heretic” by Amy Gibbons
Written by Annie Modesitt, this book covers the basics and affirms your knitting style, even if you knit “wrong.” Her fresh, non judgmental approach enables her to explain what works and what doesn’t. The narrative of her experiences is a pleasure to read even if you don’t knit. The techniques are all there. It is the second knitting book that I have found that I recommend for everyone

More I.O.L.I. Stories
Conserving Our Laces – New information by Chris Brill-Packard
Reprinted from Lace Lines the Case Wetern Reserve News Letter, by permission of the author
Joy Gardiner—Textile Conservator at Winterthur shared her findings in developing a method to conserve a recent lace collection donated to Winterthur.
Ms. Gardiner shared a listing of vendors for materials for conserving our laces (See attached list). The first listing is “Archivart”, which supplies acid-free boxes with trays inside the boxes. They come in multiple sizes. The box that Joy showed us allowed for laying larger pieces of lace flat with acid-free paper in-between, while they had the upper tray filled with rolled tape laces.
Joy shared in excellent method to conserve our tape laces.
Take a sheet of Mylar plastic and cut it to a specific width ( she had all of her the same size about 5 inches). Roll the Mylar into a roll. Cut surgical stocking , cover the Mylar plastic with the surgical stocking—sticking the ends of the stocking into both ends. Roll the tape lace the surgical stocking. Now, cover the lace with another sheet of Mylar plastic and tie shut with a piece of ribbon. Place your roll into the tray.
This method allows you to see your laces in the tray. I thought this was a great idea for those of us who have made a great deal of lace for a special occasion but not ready to use. This method is also great for the lace collector who like to look at the types of lace collected or to show at an exhibit without pulling everything out.
Acid-Free Paper is not all the same!
Ms. Gardiner shared her chemistry expertise when speaking how to best conserve our lace. She spoke of “buffered” and “non-buffered” acid-free paper. Buffered acid-free paper is probably what most of us have in our boxes. “Buffered” acid-free paper visually is opaque—you can not see your hand outline underneath the paper. “Non-Buffered” acid-free paper is more transparent and you can see your hand outline through the paper. “Buffered” acid-free paper has calcium carbonate within the paper fibers. Joy explained that silk thread has a molecular structure that has a free-standing hydrogen molecule. Silks’ molecular structure will react to the calcium carbonate in the “buffered” acid-free paper thereby causing the lace or items with silk thread to break down very quickly over time—destroying the item.
Ms. Gardiner suggested that we switch to all “non-buffered” acid free paper, which will not react to any fiber type—cotton, silk, linen or wools. Using only the non-buffered acid free paper will allow us to store all types of items even when we may not know all of the fiber types used in the item.
Everyone needs to know that all laces should never be folded. If you have a large piece, roll it or create acid free paper rolls in-between so the lace is not folded.
For anyone traveling to Winterthur, you can make an appointment to view their lace collection. They do ask that you give as much notice. There is no guarantee that they can fit your appointment into their schedule, but they will try with enough notice. There are only two employees in the department. Call Winterthur at 800-448-3883 or 302-888-4612 and ask for the Conservatory. Chris has given me a list of suppliers if you are interested please ask – Amy Gibbons

More I.O.L.I. Stories continued
LACE CONVENTION 2004 by Betsy Sykes
Dear Husband Roy and I had been making plans to go to IOLI Convention in Harrisburg for what seemed like years! Got our reservation in early. Chose my classes with great care, made sure I had the proper size pins, pillows, tools, and all the “stuff” we lacemakers feel we must have for workshops. The car was loaded!
Honiton has been my favorite lace from the first time I set eyes on it years and years ago. The only trouble is, I didn’t know much about making it! I’d had a wonderful class with Debbie Beever a few years ago and loved it. At convention I had been looking forward to taking an intensive four-day Honiton class, hoping to learn everything there is to learn – as if that were possible in four days!
Well, you’ve heard the old saying “Man plans, God laughs”.
A couple of weeks before convention I recevived a phone call telling me that the first two days of the Honiton class were cancelled. I was disappointed until I realized there were many other really good classes from which to choose.
I jumped at the chance to take a Brugge Bloemwerk class on Monday and Tuesday with Judy Zeiss of Michigan and loved every minute of it! I worked with heavy 60/2 colored linen thread to make a large flower.
On Wednesday I chose “Looking at Lace” with Jean Leader of Scotland. We viewed a lot of really gorgeous lace, learned how to store and handle lace, and tried not to drool on the lace! I loved every minute ot it!
On Thursday and Friday I had the long-awaited Honiton class with Carol Lee of England. I went from using heavy thread earlier in the week to using fine thread. What an adjustment! What excitement! The class was pure delight and I loved every minute of it! I learned a lot – mostly that Honiton is still my favorite lace. I worked with fine cotton thread to make a tiny flower.
Saturday I was in the Ipswich Lace class with Sheryl DeJong of Virginia. The class was partly history of the town of Ipswich, Massachusetts and the fascinating lacemaking industry that was there early in our country’s history, and partly lacemaking from copies of original patterns that have survived from the 1700s. I chose a pattern from 1790 and used luscious black silk thread to make a sample. I loved every minute of it!
I went to Convention to learn, and learn I did! As you can see, I had very diverse classes and learned three different types of lace with three different types of thread and looked at and learned about laces, lacemaking, and lacemakers both modern and of the past. Guess what? I loved every minute of it.

Shock” . or .. ‘The I.O.L.I. ConventionSales Room
by Betsy Sykes
You’ll have to take my word for it: “Ferret Shock” is what you get when you show a ferret a bright, spinning object. The ferret’s eyes glaze over and it can’t function.
The IOLI Convention Sales room is guaranteed to put any lacemaker into “Ferret Shock” for the first few minutes! Wow! Books, threads, pins, pinchusions, shiny stuff, lamps, magnifiers, cover cloths, shiny stuff, pillows, tables, antique laces, patterns, pictures, and more shiny stuff to look at and feel and covet and make difficult decisions on what to buy from whom! Oh, wait. I forgot to mention bobbins! I saw more bobbins in one room than I’ve ever seen before!
Too many choices, too little money. I came home with a new Honiton pillow and lots of other shiny lacemaking stuff that I didn’t know I needed until I saw it! What fun!
IOLI Convention is not all about shopping, though. I got to be in the company of other lacemakers who love to look at, talk about, and learn about the same things that I love. It was truly a wonderful week full of lovely memories and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to attend.

A SUMMER ADVENTURE (Continued) by Sonya Hancsar
I decided to go anyway. I had all of my bus and plane tickets and the group still had the reservations for the hotel Aerostar where we were to meet before boarding a train for an overnight ride, Monday night, to the
Volga River and our connections with our riverboat cruiser, the M/S President. I had been in Moscow for a month’s stay in 1970 with the University of Pittsburgh School of International Studies when I was studying foreign languages, including Russian, with the hopes of becoming a translator. I was interested in how things might have changed since I had been there years ago. I was worried, though, that things might have changed SO much that I would have a difficult time getting around. I finished stuffing my suitcases and making certain that I could still carry them, being especially careful in packing the four tubes of cookies-with-flags-on-them that I had baked to take along for our Fourth of July party. I didn’t even know if we would still HAVE a Fourth of July party, but I decided to lug my decorations and cookies with me, anyway. I, also, definitely decided NOT to carry my instrument, my balalaika, with me. It’s awkward to carry, plus, it wasn’t likely that I would be using it very much with the schedule being so up-in-the-air. The time came to leave Thursday night when, just before midnight, my bus was scheduled to leave Pittsburgh for New York City. I left about an hour before the departure time as recommended. My parents dropped me off at the Greyhound bus station. We had said our “good-byes” before we left home so I grabbed my bags and hurried into the bus station. It was PACKED, wall-to-wall people. I had purchased my tickets in advance but did I really want to go on this trip that badly? I got in line and waited to get my tickets OK’d and my bags checked in. Finally, I found the end of the line for the gate to the bus for New York City. It snaked all over the station along with several other lines for buses that were going to several other cities and waited some more. After what seemed an eternity, I was finally able to board the bus. There were so many people going to New York City that they added 2 EXTRA buses. I was in the first extra bus and we became an express to New York. I was originally scheduled to stop in Philadelphia but with so many people traveling to New York City, the stop wasn’t needed. It was about 1:30 AM when we finally left Pittsburgh. I could still change my mind and not go. I was so excited I couldn’t sleep very much. We stopped at a rest area just east of Harrisburg. The sky was turning a beautiful light pink for sunrise. The air was a little cool. I arrived in New York City in the morning as I had planned. I had until 3:30 PM to get to JFK Airport. On the internet, I had looked up the information about the shuttle bus to the airports; the prices, schedules, etc., so I had my money ready to buy my ticket. Should I buy round-trip or not? If I buy a round-trip ticket, then I have to worry about carrying it around and maybe losing it. I dragged my suitcases out of the Greyhound terminal into the main part of the building. It was the main bus and train terminal for New York City. I checked the maps on the wall for the building and located the office for the airport bus shuttles. I bought a round-trip ticket and was told that it was about an hour’s ride to the airport and another bus would be leaving in about half-an-hour to forty-five minutes. I decided to wait for the shuttle on the street. Just outside the door were several vendors. I bought a croissant for breakfast, then went to the curb to wait for the shuttle. It was fun watching the goings-on in the street. It was almost like being in Pittsburgh but a little more crowded. I caught the shuttle to the airport. I had to change buses in the middle of town. That was a little confusing but eventually I made it to the airport. I found the Finnair gate but I was quite a few hours early. The problem was that there were no CHAIRS. They had chairs in the lounge area but I couldn’t get in to the lounge until I was checked in but that wouldn’t be for several hours – so I wandered the hallway. Of course, I could still change my mind and go home. To be continued..

Silk Thread News at 1415 East Carson Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15203 Phone: 412.481.1666
Store Hours: Tuesday through Saturday 11:00A.M. through 7:00P.M.
open Sundays 11:00A.M. to 5:00P.M. until Christmas
UFO Night
Speaking of flowers…Bring “bits” of yarn and, on December 11th – from 5:00pm to 8:00pm (i.e., whenever you get here, though we’re out of here by 8:00pm), I’ll share some flower power. Bring your hats, scarves or whatever you want to adorn with flowers and we’ll do it!
Fee:$10.00; SilkClub members, no charge. Please call, if you plan to attend
If you’re thinking about what to get for that knitter, crocheter, quilter or general-all-round fiber artist, besides Gift Certificates (which are always appreciated), think about buying someone a membership in SilkClub. The benefits are yearlong: 10% off of all purchases, on sale or not; significant discounts on class fees; and more. The annual membership fee is $30.00.

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