PLG Newsletter Spring/Summer 2003

President’s Message

– Amy Gibbons
I am now in the odd position of being both the editor and the president. I am blessed with an article that has been waiting since last fall from Vanessa Richardson, which I hope you will enjoy as we approach summer vacations and help in writing from a large number of members.
As president I want to thank Dewi Wong for volunteering to be vice-president for two years. With Dewi?s talent for working with people, I am sure that she will do a wonderful job of setting up workshops and programs for our future. I also want to be sure that everyone knows how grateful we are for Betsy Sykes’ excellent two years as vice president.
Selfishly, I want all of you to bring your finished Lace pieces on Friday April 25th. So often I get to see works that are in progress, but rarely get to see them when they are completed. Dewi has promised to bring ?Around the Town and The Eye of Midas. These two pieces of art shouldn?t be missed. As always we have no way of knowing how many lace makers and non lacemakers will come, but it should be an interesting evening. If you want to be daring and take a stab at designing free lace, contact Joanie. Betty has said that we could have more people in her workshop than are registered.
To everyone who demonstrated at Phipps, or at Ronald MacDonald House, thank you. If you have a place that would like to have the lace group demonstrate, let me know. If anyone is actually reading this e-mail me. Also a thank you to everyone who contributed articles to the newsletter. I am most grateful to Marjorie Preece for her great work on the Annual Meeting Program and to Robin Panza for the Needle Lace Workshop. We look forward to having them as teachers again. Robin has volunteered to coordinate help for the 2004 I.O.L.I. Convention in Harrisburg. The patterns for 50?s for this years I.O.L.I. Convention are included for those who are looking for something interesting to do.
The Lace Group continues to thrive. What a surprise that our newest member did so well in the Lace Race. I think we all have to watch out for her. Our Lace Group is in a unique position. Some of you will remember when John and Jeremy were babies. Not only do Joanie and I have sons that are graduating from High School, but Suzanne Potter and Theresa Troyan also have sons who are graduating. Time sure flies when you are making lace.

Calendar of Future Events

Thursday, April 17 and 24 Classes will NOT be held at Grace Reformed Presbyterian Church
Friday thru Sunday, April 25 – 27, 9:00 A.M. – 5:00 P.M. – Betty MacDonald Workshop in Aspinwall
Friday, April 25, 7:00 – 9:00 P.M. Our Members Display, Discussion, Shopping and Drawings in Aspinwall
Thursday, May 1, 7:00 P.M. Regular Monthly Meeting at Grace Reformed Church
Thursday, June 5, 7:00 P.M. Regular Monthly Meeting at Grace Reformed Church
Thursday, July 10, 7:00 P.M. Regular Monthly Meeting at Grace Reformed Church **Please notice the date**
August 3 thru 9 I.O.L.I. Convention in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey

Just in case you run out of Projects

Christmas Ornaments are always welcome for the PLG Tree. Give your contributions to Amy or Suzanne .
We have also been asked to contribute ?50?s for this years IOLI Convention. The shapes are below. They need to be done in gold and/or white thread. They should be sent to Gunvor Jorgensen, 366 Bradley Ave. Northvale, NJ 07647-1609. She will be the visiting teacher this coming fall.
Fingers Loose & Fancy Free
It is time for all of us to get ready for Betty MacDonald?s visit on April 25, 26 and 27. This time the workshop and Friday Evening Frolic will be in Aspinwall. For those of you who are Pittsburghers, it means that even though it is on the other side of the Allegheny River than usual, you can make it.

What we need from you – A dozen cookies or finger foods of some kind.
We will be displaying completed works of lace, or works in progress. Please contact Barbara Lis, phone 412/-242-5238, with information about the pieces that you will be bringing. There are lots of tables, with plenty of cloths, so let Barb know so we can plan and have cards available describing your work – thread type, pattern source, or whatever.
Your presence. We have a chance to just get together to shop and to chat.
What you will get
On Friday evening from 7:00 to 9:00 P.M. we will have a special chance to show off our lace, to shop with Kathy Kirchner and The Lacemaker, as well as Eric Stevenson. If you have something that you feel a need to sell at this event, please contact Joanie Trimble 412/-731-2095 to make arrangements. This is also an opportunity to explain Lace making to any unsuspecting public who turn up. There is no program this year and therefore no admission charge.

Special Drawing

The estate of Margot Barbour has given the Lace Group a number of books, papers and two pin cushions.
The pincushions and the duplicates of those books that we have in the library will be available for drawings.
The drawings to begin at 8:30P.M. The list is elswhere in the newsletter.

Directions to the Community United Methodist Church:

Coming across the Highland Park Bridge from Washington Blvd., be in the right lane and take the first right at the end of the bridge (To Aspinwall). Go to the second light and turn left onto Center . The church is on the far right hand corner of Fourth and Center. Fourth Street is one way coming towards you.
Coming south on Route 28, get into the left lane after the Fox Chapel exit and take the Highland Park Bridge Exit (to the left). Immediately merge to the right following the sign for Sharpsburg/Aspinwall Exit. At the stop sign turn left and come under the bridge to the second light and turn left onto Center (see above).
Coming north on Route 28, take the Highland Park Bridge Exit, stay to the right and take the Sharpsburg/Aspinwall Exit. At the stop sign turn left and come under the bridge to the second light and turn left onto Center (see above).
Some comfort about the one way signs – The streets are laid out in squares, but not all are one way. Please be aware that Friday morning there is street sweeping on Fourth Street. The door to enter Friday night is beside a play yard on Fourth street. After you enter, come down the stairs to the right. Friday morning we may enter through the court yard on Center.
The phone number at the church is 412/-781-6951. Any questions you can call or e-mail Amy Gibbons –

If you would like to take the class, please contact Joan Trimble. The cost of the workshop is $70.00.

Recent Events

Needle Lace Workshop by Diane Olay
On Saturday, March 22, eight lovely (but sometimes loony) lace ladies gathered at the Grace Reformed Church. To participate in spontaneous singing, jokes, stories, great food! We had a wonderful time and in the process learned how to make needle lace by following Robin Panza?s excellent instructions.
Needle lace, like bobbin lace, is based on just two stitches: buttonhole and braided buttonhole. A blunt tipped needle is used in lieu of bobbins. No pricking, but there is a pattern and that pattern is outlined with a couched thread. No pins. The bolster is used to support the pattern. The bolster isn?t necessary as the pattern can be folded over your finger while stitching, but by using the bolster both hands are free to sew. Confused?
Needle lace is a loose lace, meaning it is made by attaching buttonhole stitches to previously formed stitches. You do not sew through the pattern. After completing several rows, you can slide your finger under your work.
We started off by learning (or re-learning!) how to do the buttonhole stitch. After practicing our stitches, we heard those dreaded words: pick a pattern. But that didn?t mean here are some designs; pick one, Robin meant create your own pattern. <moaning and groaning>! So we drew our patterns on purple paper, covered them with clear contact paper (sound familiar?), basted them to several thickness of muslin and then couched an outline thread around the main elements of the design. Pinned (okay, there are a few pins!) the pattern to the bolster. Next: buttonholes! Lots of them, over and over. Row after row worked over the pattern by looping one stitch through another and then attaching at row-end to the couched outline.
After the pattern is filled with buttonhole stitch the couching thread is covered with stitches, too. The pattern-holding basting stitches are clipped and the thread used to couch the outline thread is removed from the back of the pattern. Done!
Robin brought a number of needle lace books for show and tell and then kindly donated a Needle Lace book by Pat Earnshaw to the library. Take a peek at the book—nice colored pictures and how-to.
Thanks, Robin, for a great class!
Barbara Lis brought a cake to the Workshop which was a big hit and agreed to share the recipe.

Apple Cake Recipe by Barbara Lis
2 cups flour1 cup brown sugar packed
2 t. cinnamon½ lb. Unsalted butter
5 lbs. tart apples2 T. lemon juice
Combine flour, sugar and 1 t. cinnamon in a large bowl. Divide butter into 8 pieces and cut into the flour until it forms pea sized pieces. Press 2/3 of the mixture into the bottom and 1 inch up the sides of a 9 inch springform pan. Preheat oven to 350.
Peel apples and cut into thin slices. Drain any liquid and toss with remaining cinnamon and lemon juice. Put into lined pan and press down gently. Sprinkle with remaining crumbs. Put the pan on a foil lined baking sheet and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes., or until golden brown. Run a knife around the edge of the pan and let cool in the pan to set. Serve at room temperature.

Phipps Conservatory
by Barbara Lis & Amy Gibbons
It?s Springtime at Phipps conservatory. We needed the breath of Spring, with all the cold weather this year. Phipps had a unique floral design this year. Recycled tires of all different sizes were used as planters to hold a large variety of flowers. The treads of the tires were painted in a rainbow of bright colors and fooled one of us, who was shocked when she discovered that they were indeed tires. We were in the palm court so everyone who came to Phipps had a chance to watch on their way into and out of the displays.
On Saturday Barbara Lis, Amy and Dewi, held down the fort, answering questions and on Sunday Robin, Suzanne, Amy, Sonya and Becky made lace and chatted away . On Sunday a lady from Sweden, whose mother makes and lace talked with us. One lady came by and said, ?Look. Real women, making real lace!? Another, said ?Oh look. They are tangling threads around pins.? It was a lovely place to make lace. We will return in September
by Theresa Troyan
The Lace Race was held on April 5, 2003 at Grace Reformed Presbyterian Church. The class was taught by Marjorie Preece from Ohio. And what a race it was! Everyone had a wonderful time learning, laughing and of course eating. The ?Chicken Run? was a race to see who could do whole stitch, half stitch and cloth stitch the fastest, not the neatest. I am the newest member in the group and I was a little nervous getting started. I finally got in the rhythm of cross, twist, cross, twist and really started to work. Soon Marjorie announced time was up. Gretchen Baudoux came in first place with twenty pins. I could not understand how she could work so fast. To my amazement Marjorie said I came in second place with seventeen pins. I did not believe I could cross twist so fast, but then I do have an excellent teacher and a wonderful supportive lace group. After the ?Chicken Run? race, we had a delicious lunch. Not only can this group make lace, but also they sure can cook!!
We started the afternoon by making the ?Ground Round,? a circle of lace with four different grounds. I thought this looked complicated and would take a long time. But, Marjorie is an excellent, funny teacher and explained how to work the circle and it was easy. We almost finished the wheel by the end of a very funny, relaxing day. Everyone left with a gift of chocolate, and a commemorative bobbin and a promise that we will do another workshop soon. I know I will be the first to sign up for another fun filled day.

Annual Meeting
By Amy Gibbons
It is always interesting to see who will come to the annual meeting. It is always the first Saturday in April. This year there were two important pieces of business, the amendment and the election of the vice president and secretary. The slate of Dewi Wong for vice president and Suzanne Potter for secretary was elected by acclamation. The amendment passed after enough discussion to make sure that everyone understood what the amendment said. The Lace Group is grateful to Betsy Sykes for her excellent service as vice president and to Dewi Wong for her willingness to take on this difficult position. The meeting was relatively brief, and full of good humor. We were all anxious to start our bobbins for The Great Lace Race.

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!

Margot?s Page

MARGOT’S MEMORIAL – a celebration of her life
By Louise Chuha
On a Sunday in late February, many of us from the Pittsburgh Lace Group gathered at the Ronald McDonald House to celebrate the memory of our friend and fellow member Margot Barbour. We each brought some kind of lace to make. There was Margo memorabilia everywhere. The Lace Group?s Christmas tree with many of her lace ornaments in the kitchen; the skirt and jacket she had decorated with lace in the entry; and samples of water colors, temari and other artistic things she had created scattered all around.
We got to speak with many of her family and friends and shared many memories. Margo’s brother Henry, who is a food broker, provided most intriguing refreshments, including ostrich burgers & buffalo burgers. I didn’t get to taste the ostrich, but the buffalo burgers were very good. Hot spiced cider was available to quench everyone’s thirst.
I spent a few minutes talking with Henry as I was leaving, who told some wonderful stories about their growing up years. The whole afternoon was a touching & beautiful tribute to Margo, and I want to thank her family for arranging such a lovely afternoon. It was indeed a celebration of Margot’s life.

Thank You Emily Briston
Dear Pittsburgh Lace Group,
We were deeply touched by your presence at my Aunt Margaret?s memorial. It was great to
meet the wonderful people who were her lace-making friends. Your kind donation of time
and effort made her memorial unique and special for all of us.
Thank you.
Emily Briston and the rest of the Barbour Family

Donation from the Barbour Estate

Margot?s niece Emily has donated a number of books, papers and two pin cushions to The Lace Group. The books that are duplicates of those in our library are listed below. They will be available for a drawing at the Betty MacDonald workshop, Friday evening.

Malmesbury Lace, by Joan Blanchard
Hardback, B.T.Batsford 1990, out of print,123 pages, photos and drawings.
A history of malmesbury lace plus 30 previously unpublished prickings and working diagrams.
A Manual of Bedfordshire Lace, by Pam Robinson
Paperback, Ruth Bean 1985, out of print, 74 pages plus a 24 page booklet of working notes for the patterns in the book. A graduated course in Beds from beginning level to advanced. Mint condition.
Bedfordshire Lace Patterns, by Margaret Turner
Paperback, Ruth Bean 1986, out of print, 98 pages plus prickings, photos and drawings.
Many fine examples from pupils and friends of author.
Making Lace with Little Gray Rabbit, by Dorothy Cox
Small paperback, self-published 1983, 58 pages, photos and drawings signed by author.
27 patterns that are mostly adaptations of traditional designs. They are suitable for beginners. In mint condition.
Plants & Flowers in Lace, edited by Bridget M. Cook
Paperback, B.T.Batsford 1995, 48 pages, photos and drawings signed by author.
Patterns are made with a variety of techniques and range from mats to hanky edgings.
International Lace Dictionary, Spee, van den Kieboom, Coene
Spiral bound, Voorbehouden 1987, 128 pages. Languages include English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and others. Very useful in translating lace instructions.
Introduction to Honiton Lace, by Suzanne Thompson
Hardback, Robin & Russ Handweavers 1985,120 pages drawings and prickings. This introduction is aimed at both the beginning lacemaker and those with experience, but new to Honiton.
The pincushions are large, heart shaped and filled with pins. One is burgundy, trimmed with a heart bead; the other is blue, trimmed with a pale blue ribbon. They would be treasures to have from a dear friend.

My Summer Vacation

(as told by Vanessa Richards? lace pillow)
I heard my lacemaker talking about going on vacation for weeks, but I didn?t know how I would tell that it was time to go. However, about 3:00 a.m. one Saturday morning, I knew the time must have arrived since my lacemaker always puts me away by midnight. She carefully fastened all my bobbins down, and pinned a cover cloth over them. Then she got an old white sheet, which she tucked, folded and pinned over the whole pillow. I didn?t look very fancy, but at least I wouldn?t get dirty or lose a bobbin.

At 6:00 a.m., my lacemaker?s husband started loading the coolers and last minute items into the back of the van. More and more stuff kept getting jammed in every nook and cranny, and I wondered if we were leaving modern civilization forever! At last, my lacemaker sat me gently on top of everything else, since I am fragile and delicate. Finally, the two boys, my lacemaker and her husband got in the van, and we were off.

We headed north and east, going through Pennsylvania and into New York on our way to Canada. Our destination was a small town named Lakefield, where we would be staying in a rustic cabin (without television or telephone, but including running water and electricity). My lacemaker heaved a sigh of relief once we got through customs without having to unpack any of the stuff in the back. After about 9 hours of traveling, we stopped and I was immediately carried into the cabin and placed gently on a spare bed. It soon got crowded, as my lacemaker added a stack of 20 books, and several boxes of beading and needlework projects. As I looked around, I could see she must have thought she was staying for several years instead of 2 weeks.

The next morning, my lacemaker bade her sons and husband a fond farewell as they set off to fish the treacherous Stony Lake. She pretended to be sad to see them go, but I know she was looking forward to some uninterrupted, quality lace time. I heard the sounds of John Denver coming from the CD player, and soon I was on the kitchen table with my bobbins set free. The twisting and crossing began, interrupted occasionally by words that didn?t appear on my pricking, so I don?t know what they meant.

My lacemaker kept me there until lunchtime, when the hunter-gatherers came back from their excursion with bass, perch and bluegill for the noon meal While my lacemaker fixed lunch and did the dishes (this is a family vacation, not a fantasy!), I went back to my place on the spare bed. My lacemaker then went outside, taking one of those other insignificant hobby items with her, while I sat quietly in the cabin. This continued for 12 days, with my lacemaker adding an impressive number of pins to the fan she was making.

I knew the vacation was over when my lacemaker got out the bobbin fasteners and the old sheet before she went to bed one night. In the morning, I could hear lots of thumping and bumping as things were carried out and stowed in the van and boat and good-byes were said to both old friends and new. I heard my lacemaker ask her husband if he had checked all the rooms, to which he replied ?of course?. Now, my lacemaker has been married for nearly 20 years, and knows that her husband has very keen powers of observation. However, she also knows that his skills are limited in their application. He can spot a groundhog peering over a blade of grass 300 yards in the distance, or a spy a deer hiding in an impenetrable thicket in the woods, but tends not to notice the full milk carton left on the kitchen table or the big clods of mud falling off his boots onto the clean floor. A few moments later, I heard the key turn in the lock, and things got very quiet – too quiet. I started to get nervous. Was my lacemaker leaving me here all alone? Did she not want to take me back home and finish this project? I waited patiently, thinking my lacemaker would be back soon, but hours passed and no one came.

Eventually, to my great relief, I heard some voices, but I soon realized that this was not my lacemaker – it was the cleaning staff. Since I was wrapped in an old white sheet, and sitting on an old white bedspread, they didn?t notice me at first. Once they
did, they unwrapped me, realized I had probably
been left by accident and took me to the office to
stay until such time as my lacemaker realized she
had left me in a foreign country all alone!

The next morning, I heard the owner speaking to someone who was surely my lacemaker. She assured the unseen person that she had her ?needlework? safely in the office, and would gladly mail it back. My lacemaker must have decided that it was too dangerous for me to travel that way, and asked the owner if any other guests were residents of Ohio and would be willing to bring it back with them. There was a nice couple from Solon who agreed to carry me back to Ohio when they left the following week, but they planned to spend another 7 days traveling after they left Canada. My lacemaker agreed, so I had to patiently wait for two weeks in a stranger?s care, tipped on my side in a vehicle.

I arrived back in Ohio, still wrapped in my sheet, with an added layer of cardboard formed into a partial box. After a decent interval (minutes after the couple got home), my lacemaker called and made arrangements to have her husband drive to my rescuers? home and retrieve me 2 days hence. He did so willingly, and after thanking the couple graciously, brought me back to my lacemaker. She immediately removed the box, unpinned the sheet and inspected the entire pillow. The bobbins were slightly tangled, but no threads or bobbins were broken. (I later heard my lacemaker say that she realized that I was missing about 11:00 p.m. the day that she left me, and barely slept a wink, wondering if I would get thrown in with the dirty linens or come to some other violent end.)

My lacemaker learned a valuable lesson from this vacation. She knows that unless she makes a carrier bag out of deerhide or groundhog fur, she must always perform the last check of the rooms, no matter whether her husband swears he has scoured every inch of the place or not!

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