PLG Newsletter Fall 2003

President’s Message

Amy Gibbons

It hardly seems like yesterday that I was putting the last newsletter together and eagerly awaiting the Tatting Workshop. Now we are awaiting Guenvor’s arrival. The crimson tide is in again and the roaster is on the porch full of tomatoes at least twice a week. Instead of making lace in the evenings, I am cleaning elderberries and my hands are purple. How did I get so far behind? I know most of us are in the same boat. Too much to do and to little time. I am grateful for the support of my lace friends and wonder if this was part of what our grandmothers felt when they met to quilt or sew. Thursday night is a time to share what is happening on our pillows and in our life. I look forward to the lace events that are in our future and encourage you to think about participating. If you have missed classes, come back and laugh with us. There is always room for one more. The newsletter is full of articles about what we have been doing and what is happening in our future.

From the Web
-courtesy Robin Panza

As many of you heard while you were at IOLI, a wonderful new resource for lacemakers and lace historians is being established at Sweet Briar College in Virginia. The J. Margaret Barber-Jane Connin Lace Study Collection is going to be joining the Sweet Briar Collection this weekend, when Elizabeth Kurella brings down over 100 pieces of lace of all sorts and descriptions.
Mrs. Barber collected her lace during the early part of the 20th century, and it was her wish that others would come to love and appreciate fine lace through this collection. The vision shared by Elizabeth Kurella and Jane Connin (Mrs. Barber’s granddaughter) is ambitious! It is hoped that there will soon be a CD available which catalogs the collection, that summer institutes can be conducted at the college for the benefit of museum curators and conservation specialists, and that lacemakers will have an accessible place in which to study antique lace. Needless to say, the collection will be a valuable addition to the College’s ongoing Decorative Arts program.
The first opportunity for lacemakers to see the collection will be during the North Carolina Regional Lacemaker’s Fall Lace Day, scheduled for October 11, 2003. Christian Carr, Director of the Museum, will present the program, “Introducing the Barber-Connin Lace Collection”. The event will take place
at the Elston Inn and Conference Center on the campus of Sweet Briar College.
We’d love to have you join us for this event, and I encourage anyone who is interested in coming to contact me privately for more information. Clay Blackwell

Calendar of Future Events

Saturday & Sunday, September 13 & 14 Demonstrate at Phipps Conservatory
Wednesday, October 1, 11:30 to 8:00 International Lacemaker’s Day at Pittsburgh Knit and Bead
Thursday, October 2, 7:00 P.M. Regular Monthly Meeting at Grace Reformed Presbyterian Church
Saturday & Sunday, October 3 &4 Demonstrate at Youghtoberfest
Friday – Sunday, October 17 to 19 Tonder Workshop with Guenvor Jorgensen at Churchill Borough Bldg.
Thursday, November 6, 7:00 P.M. Regular Monthly Meeting at Grace Reformed Presbyterian Church
Thursday, October 16 and Thursday, November 27, no classes

Lewis & Clark
by Gretchen Baudoux

I demonstrated lacemaking at the Lewis & Clark Corps of Discovery’s Bicentennial Commemeration at McKee”s point Marina on August 28. My contact there was Norma Werner, a lady who devotes much of her time to volunteering at The Elizabeth Township Historical Society and the DAR.
The weather was beautiful, and the time went quickly. I shared a booth with Edie, a weaver. We got the usual “grandmother made lace, I still have some of her doilies” stories. One helpful man who was an engineer, but didn’t know anything about weaving, fixed Edie’s loom. Two people were interested in learning to make bobbin lace . It was a lovely day.

Buckeye Bobbins Lace Day and Tea
by Robin Panza

Several PLG members attended the 10th Annual Lace Day and Tea sponsored by Buckeye Bobbins. Robin and Amy made the one-day Tea into a weekend event, thanks to Tracy’s hospitality. We drove to Warren on Saturday, and had a lovely afternoon at “The Lacemaker”–always fun, but always dangerous to the wallet! Tracy and Marjorie were busy making costumes for the Pennsic Wars medieval reenactment, while Robin and Amy shopped for themselves and various PLG members. We eventually retired to Tracy’s house for a delicious dinner and a fun evening of lace books and magazines and lots of laughter.
The next morning bright and early (well, early anyway-some of us are not terribly bright at that hour), we (Robin and Amy, Tracy and Barb P., Marjorie and Melinda) trooped on up to Akron. There was some delay finding a key to the building, but then everyone swooped in and quickly got organized.
Tracy and Kathy Kirchner set up several tables each, and there were commemorative bobbins for sale. There was a lot of good food, much of it chocolate but healthy food, too! We also had a great raffle, with an impressive array of prizes ranging from gift certificates to model outhouses.
Kathy taught a workshop on adding beads to tatting. That was fun! She showed us several ways to incorporate beads into the picots and a row of beads instead of chains (that’s great for those of us who know how to do rings but not chains). She had a variety of projects for us to look at, with creative uses for beads in tatting. Amy busied herself with a new knitted lace book while Robin took the workshop. After a fun day at the Tea, Robin and Amy headed back to Pittsburgh and the other PLG members returned to their homes near and far. Thanks to Ginny Berringer and the Buckeye Bobbins for a great day of lace making and lace

IOLI from Amy

It is hard to add much to what Dewi so ably described. It was especially nice to see the teachers who have been here . They asked after everyone. It was also nice to touch base with the teachers who are coming in the future.. Surprisingly, Dewi and I selected the same classes, without knowing it. Even more surprising is that we are still the best of friends. One of the interesting things that happened is that Ann from the Knitting
Class came over Wednesday before the Lace Museum Tour and we discovered that she was also Robin’s Ann from the Oya class. That class was exceptional because there were several people who were left handed in the class and Gretchen Algier got so used to teaching the left handers, that she had trouble with the right handed techniques. There are always good memories from convention. So much to see and to buy. The display room was as big as the room at the church, full of tables with lace on them that was beautiful. The Sales Room is always incredible. More vendors than you can imagine.

Tatting Tales

July 12th was the day. I had been waiting for this all summer long. It was the day that I would learn to tat. I could feel it.
Oh, sure. I’d tried to learn to tat before. Even took a couple of classes that frustrated the teachers even more than they frustrated me. The hands just couldn’t do it. The threads just wouldn’t jump. But this time was going to be different. Marjorie had said it was so. And I trusted her.
We sat down. Marjorie passed out books. Threads. I had a shuttle–one of those old-fashioned ones with the pop-out bobbin. It was quickly deemed to be worthless. Not by Marjorie, but by me. I traded it in for a shiny, streamlined Boye shuttle that had potential. I could make a tablecloth in just a few hours with a shuttle like that. I knew it.
Marjorie showed us how to do the first part of the knot. No sweat. It was all coming back to me. Then the second part. The threads jumped just like they should have. I had a knot! I made a few more. This was a snap. I pulled the thread tight. I had a RING!! The possibilities were endless.
I moved my fingers further along the thread and went through the process again. Under, over, around, through. I had a second ring! I did it again. I scoffed at the others–I had three rings. It was picot time.
OK, you’re close now. Don’t blow it. Two knots, then leave a long space. Then another knot. Push it up — PICOT! OK. Two more knots. Leave another space as long as the first. Steady. Uh, picot. Kind of. OK, not a problem.
Try again. Knots. Space. Picot?
Anyway, to make a long story short, the class was a blast. And I learned something from it. I can tat. Not well. That takes time. And as Marjorie pointed out, it takes practice and desire. So that’s what I’m going to work on. That and picots.
Thanks, Marjorie. I owe you one. by Joan Trimble

Did you know that “Shuttles are from Venus, bobbins are from Mars?” You do if you attended Marjorie Preece’s tatting workshop on July 12 & if you didn’t, you’ll just have to figure it out.
We all know that lacemakers love to collect tools of the trade; there was no exception when it came to tatting shuttles. Many of us had a collection of shuttles even though we didn’t know much about tatting. Some of them were quite old. Marjorie brought samples with her of different designs made with different threads that were lovely. I can’t imagine my tatting ever being that pretty. We were each given a little book of instructions with lots of pictures that we can refer back to even when we forget whatever we learned
at the workshop. We had an absolutely scrumptious potluck lunch. How is it that lacemaking & good food seem to go together. Marjorie is a delightful lady with a terrific sense of humor, which made a day that was delightful as well as instructive. by Louise Chuha

Tatting if you can or not. Well, I think I can, a little. My fingers didn’t always work right.
My artheritis didn’t help either, but I enjoyed taking the class with Marjorie. She was a fun teacher. I will even take another tatting class, with her. Everybody had a fun time with her. She’s fun. A good teacher and she has patience……. by Barb Lis

The Pittsburgh Lace Group is blessed with members who are so kind and willing to share their knowledge of various needlecraft techniques we all cherish. At a recent tatting workshop led by Marjorie Preece, I learned
to relax my thread so that the knot transferred with ease to the correct side of the thread. I’ve always wanted to learn how to tat properly because I could never tat beyond my initial circle when I taught myself to
tat. When I took my first tatting workshop from Becky Hollenbaugh, I learned that the knot has to transfer to the other thread in order for the motive to be built up with the next circle. In 2000, I took a wire tatting class with Carolyn Regnier at the IOLI convention in Indianapolis, Indiana. Tatting with wire felt quite different than tatting with thread, although the technique is exactly the same. At Marjorie’s workshop, I got
the chance to practice and to look at the method a different way. This experience gave me confidence to participate in the “TAT-OFF” at the recent IOLI convention. Actually, it was quite intimidating to see so
many tatters all seated in a circle. When the whistle blew, all the tatters’ hands were busily moving to produce the assigned patterns for beginners and for advanced tatters. Speed was everything in this game. I
was so nervous and couldn’t make the knot correctly. I had to cut off my thread twice! Then I remembered Marjorie’s words to relax and to do it again. This time, I relaxed the thread and just enjoyed the event. At
the end, the winners were selected for the most motive done from both categories and I was surprised that I won second place in the beginner’s category, thanks to Marjorie’s instruction! by Dewi Wong

Weeelllll, once again the forces of tatting have tried to win me over to the dark side. Fortunately ( or unfortunately, Majorie and Melinda), the C.O.O.L. has been able to vanquish them. (C.O.O.L.= Cranky, Old, Obstinate Lacemaker) My attempts at the little half hitch thingiies refused to flip after about three hitches and collapsed into a tangle. I had fun trying under Majorie’s tutelage, but will have to stay with “the way of the bobbins.” by Suzanne Potter

I learned many things in the workshop. I learned that I have arthritis in my left hand and will have to do stretching exercises before I find my hand curled up. I learned that there are leaps that my brain cannot make. Tatting couldn’t penetrate, but everyone said I should put this recipe in the newsletter. by Amy Gibbons
Ada’s Cream Puff Recipe
Bring to a boil 1 cup water and a stick of margarine. Turn off the heat and stir in 1 cup of flour.
Let cool 2 minutes. Add 4 eggs, mixing well after each addition with a spoon.
Bake at 400 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes, but check after 25 minutes.
3 small pkgs. of vanilla instant pudding; 8 oz. cream cheese; 4 cups milk
Beat Cream cheese until smooth. Add puddings and milk alternately, mix after each box.
Spread over cooled pastry. Top with Cool Whip and then drizzle with Chocolate Sauce

Random Notes
Welcome Back
We are pleased to see Esther Lopriano on Thursday nights again. Her humor and her adventure stories are a nice addition to the stories of our kids, as they go to college, and our parents as they try to make us crazy.

Day Change Question Results
Suzanne waited patiently by her phone and checked her e-mail faithfully. I regret to tell you that there was only one person who wanted to change the night from Thursday to another night. We are always willing to entertain a different night at a later date.

50th Anniversary IOLI
by Dewi Wong

I am so fortunate to be one of the lace cousin trio in the Lace Cousin Adventures to the Convention. Except for Amy, who is ahead of us by one, this was the second IOLI convention for both Robin and me. This year’s
conference in Hasbrouck Heights, NJ, marked a half century of organization for these lace makers from all over the world, which started as doll makers club.
It was quite an experience to attend such an event. We were all pampered with favors and goodies especially made for the attendees, from the moment we arrived at the registration desk to the closing banquet, not to mention the friendliness of the organizers and the volunteers.
It was nice to see some friends from the Pittsburgh area, such as members from Five Rivers Bobbin Lacemaking, friends from Ohio, the Finger Lake Lace, Great Lake Lace, New England Lace Guilds and some familiar vendors like Kathy Kirchner, Tracy from the Lacemaker, Holly van Sciver, and George and Diane Grandstaff. The food at the welcome reception, the luncheon, the ice cream social, and the closing banquet were excellent. The staff of the Hilton Hotel did their utmost service for the convention.
The custom ice sculpture with the IOLI logo and the anniversary cake with lacemaking tools were beautiful.
I took a class from Jana Novak on beginning and invisible ending techniques and a beginner class in lace knitting with Diane Willett. I learned so much from both classes.
In the middle of the week, we got a chance to take a break from the four-day classes. Robin and I went to the
Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and Amy went to the Lace Factory/Museum in New Jersey. Devon Thein, a volunteer at the Met and member of the sponsoring guild of the IOLI convention, kindly prepared a list of the paintings and objects with lace displayed in the museum. My group went “behind the scenes” of the costume section. We saw beautiful antique lace dresses, lace shawls, lace shoes, etc. Next, we went to the Ratti Textile Center within the museum to view their collection of lace.
Each was spread out with information labels and there were magnifiers available nearby. Prints of digital images of any particular lace were also available upon request.
The slide lectures during the convention were absolutely wonderful. One, by Elizabeth Kurella, was about matching the museum to a donor’s collection of lace. The story was fascinating and the collection was superb. The other lecture was by Ulrike Lohr, on the progression of her lace making. I admire her lace designs, creativity, and technique. One word I can offer to describe it all is “Amazing!”
The shopping opportunities will make you feel like a little child in a candy store. The lace show from members and competition entries was enjoyable. The best part of the convention is making lace and making friends. You have plenty of chances to meet new friends from all over who share your enthusiasm of lace making. What else could be better? I encourage all of Pittsburgh Lace Group members to consider attending the convention in the future. I hope to see you next year when the convention will be held close to home in Harrisburg, PA.

October 1 – International Lace Making Day

I.O.L.I. has designated the above and we are fortunate to have been invited to demonstrate lacemaking at Pittsburgh Knit and Bead. At 1708 Shady Avenue. Tanya , the owner has asked especially that we do something at 1:00 and 6:30p.m. For some of us this will be a chance to explore a new store.. It is especially interesting because she said that on Wednesday nights they have a “knit and bitch.” If you are planning to be there, please let me know. Amy Gibbons


Please see the flyer on the back page of the newsletter. For those who don’t know Tonder is a traditional point ground lace. If you have questions about it, you may check out the books in our library. Guenvor has a wonderful slide presentation and we should have an interesting evening. As usual you are all requested to bring some finger foods (cookies etc.) to share with whoever comes. The bad news is that Kathy Kirchner is unable to be with us. The good news is that while at convention I met Mayra and she has agreed to come from New Jersey. Although she will not be taking the workshop, since Guenvor was her original teacher and she has her close by all the time, she will leave her things up Saturday and may even go to dinner with us. Her catalogue will be available to look at most Thursday nights. She has many of the things that are called for in Jana Novak’s books, including some starch that really works well on lace. Tracy Jackson will again be with us. She has some new things to tempt our eyes and wallets. We have invited George Grandstaff to bring his bobbins, but have not actually heard that he is available. Eric Stevenson has said that he would send the bobbin boards. A consignment table is a possibility. We hope to bring some antique Swedish prickings that have been given to the group. It should be a nice weekend to make lace. Guenvor is an excellent teacher.

“The Laces of Ipswich”
by Amy Gibbons

Through connections with the Great Lakes Lace Group we obtained a signed copy of this book. Judy Zeiss hand delivered it at convention. Marta Cotterell Raffel has studied the Ipswich Lace Industry in America for several years, funded in part by a grant from G.L.L.G. Suzie Johnson is mentioned by the author as having helped with the examination of the lace samples that have survived. In an area of writing where it is so easy to turn out something dull, this book stands out as interesting, and well researched.
The Ipswich Lace Industry began before the American Revolution and continued as late as 1880. The book contains pictures of pillows, bobbins, prickings, letters and lace. It points out interesting ways to tell when men took over the lace industry. It includes ideas about the blending of lace techniques as people from different areas arrive. It also talks about sloppy lace makers who have knots in their lace Now that it is in our library, you can check it out..
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, stores
vacations. ideas pictures send ’em and keep ’em coming!
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