PLG Newsletter Summer 2003

President’s Message

Amy Gibbons

Surprise, surprise, another newsletter! Was that cheers I heard? The original plan had been to have the next newsletter include information about our workshop in October, but the conversation about Marjorie?s Tatting Workshop at The Great Race was so inspiring that we decided to have her teach us in July. In order to give everyone time to sign up, another newsletter was necessary. I meant to tell you about how wonderful my brother is, because he calls The Lacemaker to order gifts for Christmas and my birthday.
There is plenty of interesting things in the newsletter so enjoy it. You can see the first completed project from Betty MacDonald?s workshop workshop. Tracy Jackson completed a Paisley or paisel from Betty MacDonald?s Workshop. It is lovely in shades of blue and copper. Cudos to Tracy for her completion of a beautiful piece of lace. I look forward to seeing you all at the tatting workshop.
Calendar of Future Events

Sunday, June 22 Demonstrate at Tournesol, 632 Washington Road, Mt. Lebanon
Saturday, July 12, 10:00 A.M. Tatting Workshop & Regular Monthly Meeting at Grace Reformed Church**
August 3 thru 9 I.O.L.I. Convention in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey
Thursday, August 14,, 7:00 P.M. Regular Monthly Meeting at Grace Reformed Church **
Thursday September 4, 7:00 P.M. Regular Monthly Meeting at Grace Reformed Church
Saturday & Sunday, September 13 & 14 Demonstrate at Phipps Conservatory
Thursday, October 2, 7:00 P.M. Regular Monthly Meeting at Grace Reformed Presbyterian Church
**please notice the date**
Day Change Question

There has been some discussion at the Thursday Night Class about changing the day. Monday or Tuesday are available at the church. If you are interested in changing the day and willing to commit to being at the church regularly on that day, please inform Suzanne Potter, who will bring the results to the July meeting.

Folk Festival

by Amy Gibbons

After a one year sabbatical, Pittsburgh lace Group was again represented at the Folk Festival, May 23, 24 and 25. This year it was located at a new to us, site – The Great Hall at Heinze Field. Friday night Suzanne Potter, Sonya Hanczar and Dewi Wong opened the show and watched the rain pour down outside and seep in at the edges. Suzanne found a couple who have a Slovakian store up by Grove City. They had some Salt Mine Lace with them and the neatest Easter Eggs.
Saturday Sonya and I had a wonderful time talking with everyone and looking around at the booths and eating of course. Mary Gato from Five Rivers Lace Group was present making lace in one of the nationality booths. Two more people were there demonstrating Palm Weaving – No, not waving like ?by by.? Weaving, like turning the palm branch you get on Palm Sunday into a cross. Anna Marie Fiore was joined by Virginia Suplee teaching this special craft. I really enjoyed seeing them and their work was truly beautiful. Dewi came to give Sonya and I a break in the evening. The time seemed to fly by.
Sunday was another exciting day for me, with Robin Panza. We were set up in the most prominent spot in the demonstration area. It was the first thing that people saw when they came in the gate. Imagine our surprise when we heard those familiar words, ?That?s Tatting.? followed by a giggle. Linda and Andy Hartman and their three year old daughter were there. It was so nice to see them. We had a really great time demonstrating, looking at the Great Hall and the new stadium. I was especially taken with Frenchie?s cape. The try it pillow got a good work out and we kept meeting people. Dorothy Kokal?s Slovenian teacher came by and talked to us. People that I hadn?t seen in years seemed to be every where. What a great way to spend my birthday. Oh did I mention that we debuted a new flyer for the Lace Group? It is based on a flyer that Margot put together and the lace was made by Suzanne. Potter. Here it is.

Betty MacDonald Workshop Notes

Everyone who took Betty?s workshop was asked to write something to describe the experience. I was surprised to receive two pictures of completed projects from Ohio, which I have included, and articles of varying lengths. Robin was going to write the article about Friday evening, with the drawing results, and so so forth. She is out of town so I will try to fill in. The drawing made $101.00 for PLG. Louise Chuha did win the coveted red heart shaped pin cushion. Some members of Five Rivers came, as well as some complete strangers, who had seen an article in the newspaper and were curious. The cookies were excellent and of course fed us for the rest of the weekend. Seeing the lace that had been made by our members Friday night was impressive. There were even pieces that Robin completed and mounted! Kathy Kirchner and The Lacemaker provided their usual selection of goodies. Everyone seemed to make it to the different location without trouble, but we will be happy to return to The Churchill Borough Building, with no steps, enough heat, and no singing lessons in the background.
On a personal level, I have been collecting thread and pictures for at least two years, to make fireworks. I was glad to have Betty come to give me ideas on how to work out some problems. I have been distracted lately by a different lace project and am only now getting back to work. on the fireworks. The bridge is done and the palm trees started. Betty encouraged me to use a fuzzy thread that I would never have tried and the effect was just right. She arrived at the church with an amazing bin of different kinds of threads. It was nice to be able to try a yard or two of thread, without ending up with thread which I probably won?t need again. She was pretty low key, walking around to lend a hand or idea, whenever it was needed. She realized early on that we weren?t really rigid about starting times, and that seemed to be all right. Her experience and encouragement helped me to figure out how to meet the challenges of a project that I have been contemplating for a long time.
Amy Gibbons

I liked Betty?s sweet, careful way of teaching, making sure we all had her attention when we needed her. I never felt uncomfortable or hurried as she explained a step or problem in my pattern. Also I enjoyed having her at my house during the work shop days. Dorothy Kokal

Last April’s workshop was a change of pace for me. I usually stick to a pattern and don’t like to stray far. In the Betty McDonald workshop, I had to choose a picture of something to interpret through lace, choose colors and threads and decide what type of lace to use. The Great Blue Heron looks very realistic (thanks Robin) and has been “interesting” to work. I don’t know if I’ll ever try anything like that again, but its been fun to spread my wings for once. Suzanne Potter

I?m making a rose with many shades of red. I am putting gold in the petal. Of course, it?s not completed yet. The class was fun and I learned about making lace using your own patterns.
Guess who won the pig? (Kathy Kirchner donated a glass pig filled with spools of thread for the drawings) Me! Was that a lucky guess, I also got ?Making Lace With Little Gray Rabbit? and ?Introduction to Bobbin Lace Stitches. It was a good workshop Barb Lis

At Betty McDonald’s workshop, “Finger Loose and Fancy Free,” I worked on a design adapted from an actual stained glass window in a small church in Treasure Lake, DuBois, Pennsylvania. Since the first time I visited this church many years ago, I have always wanted to do the adaptation of the window in bobbin lace. The theme is the Good Shepherd, showing Jesus reaching to a little lamb. When I heard that Betty was coming to do the free lace workshop with our group, I thought there is no reason for me to delay working on something like this.
My daughter, Angeline, took a digital photograph of the window and I made a pattern out of it. I started the lines at the beginning of the workshop and worked on a few sections with many different colors. At the end of the three-day workshop I got only a very small part of the whole project done. After the workshop, I rethought the working method and started the whole process once again because I completely changed the working sequence. This time it went faster, thanks to the idea exchanges I had with Betty. At the time this article was written, I have completed the Jesus image. Next will be the lamb and then the rest is hopefully a breeze. It was a great workshop and it was also inspiring to look at everyone’s fancy works.
What I need now is uninterrupted time to work on my lace, which will be possible since I will be car-less for about three months. With nowhere to go in the evening I look forward to working on it. DewiWong

It couldn’t have been worse timing for me. I mean, the chance to take this wonderful lace design workshop occurred right in the middle of Prom Gown Altering Season. This was the last thing I needed to do–I had eight sequined, beaded, ruched, crinolined headaches waiting for me at home (along with a real migraine), all needing hems, strap, and bodice alterations, and in one case, repositioning of an invisible zipper so that the
gown would be a size 2 instead of a size 6! And they had to be finished within two weeks. I certainly didn’t feel like putting forth the energy to be creative.
But, I also couldn’t pass this chance by! So, armed with a line drawing of a dragonfly from one of the books at our school library, off I went. And I’m so glad I did. Betty is a wonderful teacher, who gently guides her students to discover techniques on their own. She gave me many ideas on how to complete my dragonfly, and offered great suggestions. So far, I have completed the body of
the dragonfly in a black tatting cotton, with a metallic multicolored gimp that outlines the segments of the insect’s thorax. I chose oval blue 6mm beads with an AB finish for the eyes. I will use either more of the gimp thread or a turquoise metallic for the wings. To make the wings stiffer, I plan to work wire along the edges.
Betty’s open-minded philosophy of lacemaking is that there is no right or wrong way to complete a project, but the technique used is based on the vision in the mind of the lacemaker. She offers suggestions, but has her students keep in mind that the projects are their own design, and they have to choose how to complete them. She has a laid-back approach to design and lacemaking that I find refreshing. She encouraged each of us to try new combinations of colors and stitches to achieve the effect we were thinking of. It was great to have a teacher with whom we could joke around and who did not take herself too seriously.
Of course, few members of the PLG take themselves too seriously. There were moments in the course of the workshop that were strictly PLG
moments. Thanks to Kathy Kirchner, we had a visit from our mentor Mr. T in his various manifestations: first as a cabbage-patch munchkin in Jimmy Buffet shoes, then as a disembodied head to which we gave offerings. Thanks to Robin Panza, there were green army men. There was a stegosaurus who roared his approval or disapproval (and also parachuted). We sang. We ate. Even Theresa Troyan started to get feisty. This is what happens when we have a great workshop.
Prom Gown Altering Season is over. Graduation Season is almost over. And soon I will be returning to work on the dragonfly that I began at Betty’s workshop. I have some new ideas on additions to the pattern. But most importantly, I plan to actually FINISH this dragonfly (scoff if you will, Thursday Night Lacers)! And maybe I’ll even do another one. Thanks, Betty! I had a great time.
I won a gift certificate from The lacemaker and Hazel the Hedgehog book Joanie Trimble

I enjoyed the design class, and I did finish my project. 🙂 The workshop gave me an opportunity to”think outside the box” and I tried several techniques on “the spur of the moment”. What I learned most from the
class is, that for me, if I am going to “think outside the box”, I still need a “game plan”. About half way through my project I thought of all the things I could have done differently.
While I enjoyed making my piece, it will definitely be”one-of-a-kind”. I would recommend the class to anyone. Betty MacDonald has a really comfortable style of
teaching and provided us with a very
encouraging atmosphere.
Marjorie Preece

I enjoyed the class. Betty certainly knew howTo encourage creativity and adventure in the Art of making lace. Her suggestions and encouragement were invaluable. It is not something that I plan on doing often,
but I am glad I took the class. I also enjoyed the feline ambiance at the Gibbons Bed and Breakfast. Kathy was smitten with ?poor Savannah? the lone dog in a world of cats. I am still trying to figure out how to sneak the blue cat home.Tracy Jackson

Dorothy Kokal is making a menorah
Robin Panza began an Iguana
Kathy Kirchner began a Peacock
Theresa Troyan began a cross
Amy Gibbons is making fireworks
Tatting News and Our Kids
A Visit to Harrisburg

Becky Hollenbaugh

On Saturday, March 1,2003, the Keystone Lace guild sponsored the first annual Gathering of Central PA Fiber & Needlework Guilds and Crafters Market. This all-day gathering was held in the Swatara Church of God in Harrisburg. Ten groups or guilds were present, offering displays of the art or craft, membership information, etc.
A highlight of the gathering was the series of ten classes offered throughout the day, many of them offered several times at different hours. Each class cost only $3.00, which included the kit or materials to make the item. Bookmarks were the most popular, being offered in knitting, bargello, Bobbin lace and darning. Butterflies were made in needle and shuttle tatting. Other items were a small pouch, a sheep ornament, a needle felted Easter egg and a woven paper heart ornament.
The American Sewing Guild had several machines set up and was demonstrating the making of a type of soft cap for cancer patients. The Conestoga Stitchers had some lovely smocking to display and was demonstrating, as well. The Keystone Lace Guild had a large display of a variety of traditional lace techniques, as well as demonstrators. The Llama and Fiber Friends and the South Cumberland Fiber Guild both had raw wool as well as finished items, and demonstrated various techniques, as did the Plain & Fancy Knitting Guild. Perhaps the most numerous were the Embroidery groups, such as the PA Heartland EGA, the Susquehanna Chapter EGA, the Thimbles and Thread EGA, and the White Rose EGA, All of whom had wonderful items for display and for purchase, plus a few really special works in progress.
A flea market area provided used items. Such as magazines, pattern books, odds and ends of yarn, material and thread, and old pieces of lace of various types. The church ladies provided a simple but satisfying lunch at a moderate cost, and had a table of home-baked items for sale. Several door prizes were handed out.
The Gathering was, in my mind, very worth the travel to attend. I could wish that the Keystone
Guild have more active demonstrations at their next annual Gathering. I am certainly planning to attend it, and hopefully the IOLI convention in 2004, which the Guild will be sponsoring.

Classes Offered

Sonya Hanczar will be teaching tatting at Michaels, Plaza at the Pointe, 120 Quinn Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15275. The classes are on two consecutive Thursday nights June 12 and `19, from8:30P.M. and cost $15.00 plus supplies. For more information contact Sonya or you may telephone Michaels at (412) 490-0440.

Our Kids

Angelina Wong -The Pittsburgh Lace Group’s former newsletter editor/little assistant (she was just in ninth grade then) is now a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University and is doing an internship at Convergys in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is a tatter, mommy’s pattern pricker, and is always interested in with what is going on with Pittsburgh Lace Group. She will be going to Oxford, England in October for a one-year Master’s program and Dewi hopes to have an opportunity to see lace activities there.

Four High School Graduates will be heading off to college. Theresa Troyan?s son. Robert is going to Indiana University; Suzanne Potter?s son, Andrew is going to Cornell; Joan Trimble?s son, Jeremy is going to Penn State; and Amy Gibbons? son, John is going to CCAC. Congratulations guys!!
Books donated by the Estate of Margot Barbour

In addition to the books which we had at the Betty MacDonald workshop, the following books were added to the PLG Library by their generous donation from Margot?s niece Emily Barbour. In addition to the books there is a large box of patterns and notebooks in my kitchen which will get moved to the church as soon as we figure out where to put it. As I demonstrated at the Folk Festival, and as I go to class on Thursday nights, there is an empty seat, that only Margot could fill. The box in the kitchen is full of treasures. Thank you for the books and for the memories.Amy Gibbons

The Art of Lacemaking, Ann Collier
The Basic Techniques of Bobbin Lace, ed. by Kit Pyman
Beginning Bobbin Lace, Gillian Dye
Bobbin Lacemaking, Pamela Nottingham
Bobbin Lacemaking, Dorothy Southard
Bobbin Lacemaking for Beginners, Amy Dawson
Complete Book of English Bobbin Lace, Pamela Nottingham
Filet Lace Patterns, Pauline Knight
Gozo Lace, Consiglia Azzopardi
History of Lace, Mrs. Bury Palliser
Lace and Lacemaking, Alice-May Bullock
New Ideas for Miniature Bobbin Lace, Roz Snowden
Old Time Tools &Toys of Needlework, Gertrude Whiting
Pillow or Bobbin Lace, Mincoff &Marriage
Threads of Lace, From Source to Sink, Pat Earnshaw
Treasury of Designs for Lace Net Embroidery, ed. by Rita Weiss
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!
e-mail to

Comments are closed.