PLG Newsletter Summer/Fall 1997

Message From the President

Treat, treat, treat….
No, I’m not talking about Halloween, since I personally do not celebrate it, but I am talking about treats we got by being a member of the Pittsburgh Lace Group. In May, we were invited by the Five Rivers Lace Group to their dinner/lecture with Pamela Notingham. We demonstrated lacemaking at the Pittsburgh Folk Festival on Memorial Day weekend. We were asked to participate at the Monroeville Arts Festival sponsored by the Monroeville Chamber of Commerce. They gave us an indoor setup with cool air conditioning while it was steaming outside. It was an art exhibition and craft show and a lot of people appreciated our lacemaking. We had a lacemaking mini workshop in July with Louise Chuha. In September, our Fall Lace Day with Holly van Sciver’s lecture and workshop was a great success. Our group demonstrated lacemaking at the Youghtoberfest ’97 sponsored by the MonYough Trail Council. Some of us attended the Finger Lakes Lace Convention in Ithaca in October. Lastly, our wonderful trip to the Lacemaker in Warren, Ohio, was in November. With all these lace happenings within our group we enriched, supported, and shared our experience amongst ourselves. I feel that we are blessed. Thanks to all of you who made all of this possible.

One more treat, this newsletter is featuring a double issue of Summer and Fall 1997, so sit back and enjoy.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Andy and Robin have photographed the ornaments and most of them have information. We are still planning to put together the Christmas ornament booklet.

This year, the Pittsburgh Lace Group will again be part of the Festivities at the Cathedral of Leaning, University of Pittsburgh. We will decorate a tree in the Croghan Schenley room with our lace ornaments on Saturday, November 22, 1997, from 9:30-11:00 AM. On Sunday, December 7, there will be a Holiday Open House with many different activities, dances, music, and shows from noon to 4 PM. The Pittsburgh Lace Group will demonstrate lacemaking. The event is very well-attended every year and there were. hundreds of people, many wearing, colorful Holiday National costumes. Please call Amy if you are able to demonstrate.

We have a collection of books in our Library which will eventually be housed in the Grace Reformed Presbyterian Church, where we meet every month. Our collection has crown with several more books and patterns purchased by the folks who come Thursday evenings. These books are securely placed in our new filing cabinet. If you would like to inquire about a certain book that our group might have, please call Linda Hartman, our librarian.


Blessed are they that have hard pillows for they shall produce good work

Blessed are they that use cover cloths for their work will be spotless

Blessed are they that prick all their patters’ holes vertically for they shall have accurate designs

Blessed are they that have accurate prickings for their work will be perfect in the eyes of man

Blessed are they that lay not a finger upon their threads for their lace will be pristine

Blessed are they that do not jerk their bobbins for they shall have no holes in their lace

Blessed are they that move their bobbins across their pillow for they shall have even lace

Blessed are they that slant their pins outwards for their tension shall be perfect

Blessed are they that do not break threads and use knots for their work will be smooth

Blessed are all teachers for maintaining infinite patience amid all trials for they shall have transmitted their enthusiasm to others

reprinted from Susan Retter’s file

As one way to get to know our members better, from time to time our editor would like to include a story about one or two of our members. An article about a personal experience such as travel is also suitable for submission. This time we’d like to turn our spotlight on Louise Chuha. The article included here is copied with permission from “Successful people…” in SUCCESS. the Pittsburgh Blind Association 1996 Annual Report.


November 22 Saturday — Decorating Christmas tree at the Cathedral ofLeaning (9:30 – 11:00 AM)
December 13 Holiday Gathering at Amy Gibbon’s house in lieu of our regular monthly meeting. We will celebrate St. Catherine Day, Christmas and New Year. (Begins at 3:00 PM)
January No meeting
February Regular meeting followed by a mini-workshop on making a Christmas ornament with recycled Christmas cards. Save your cards for this workshop.
March Regular meeting followed by a workshop (tatting or netting?)
April Annual Business Meeting Election of officers

In article 2 of our bylaws, “The Group shall be a not-for-profit educational organization whose purpose is to foster and promote interest in lacemaking by providing a means for members to meet and exchange ideas and information, by offering, demonstrations of lacemaking and exhibit to the general public, and by providing programs and workshops on all aspects of lace, lacemaking and related topics of interest to the members.”

In this day and age, one of the ways to get more information and reach more people is by taking advantage of advanced technology, nominally computers. Our Group consulted Mark Kintigh’s (Cassandra’s husband) to help us get started with our very own Home Page. The Board has given some thought to the matter and at our last meeting Robin Panza agreed to assist us with items related to the web. In previous editions of our newsletter, we always saw Robin’s contributions in ‘Notes from the Net’ and she is also familiar with how the Web works. Cassandra and Dewi will help Robin.. If any of you would like to help, please let us know. This World Wide Web business is new to most of us, therefore if you have say questions, ideas, information, or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We will try to work it out, and if we don’t have the answer we will find other means. We will announce the address as soon as the Web pages ready. The Group will have its own e-mail address, too. Currently, .all of this is under construction.

It is the Board’s hope that with this feature, our members will be able to get more information and reach more people in the interest of lacemaking.

The first Saturday of January is to close to the New Year, so we will not meet that month. That leaves February and March to worry about. Last year, we had a telephone tree, which fortunately Was not needed. In the event of heavy snowfall on our scheduled meeting day, Dewi will call the board members, who will then call a few members each for meeting cancellation.

We lacemakers have an ongoing commitment to keep the art alive by doing group demonstrations as well as individual ones.

Ana Marie Fiori demonstrated lacemaking at the Italian American Heritage Cultural Society with Virginia and Claire Suplee on June 1, 1997. Louise Chuha, Amy Gibbons, Rashell Resetar (Amy’s 7th grade student), Dewi Wong, Dorothy Kokal, Virginia Suplee, Margot Barbour, Sonia Hanzcar, and Suzanne Potter were at the last Folk Festival. Lee Uptegraff and the Knoxville Lacers demonstrated that Friday during the Folk Festival, for school children. Joan Trimble, Dewi, Margot, Amy, and Suzanne were at the Monroeville Arts Festival. Esther Loprieno and Margot were at the Youghtoberfest. If there are names that were inadvertently omitted, please let us know.

The Thursday night lass at the church has picked up a new student, from the Folk Festival. Her name is Peggy Yountz. She comes when her work allows. Thursday night is also open to all members who want to complete any workshops or individual projects.

The beginners’ sixth grade class at Cheswick Christian Academy started last year after Amy’s demonstration. Tbis class has turned into a Seventh Grade Elective. During the summer between, about for or five girls met every Tuesday night at Amy’s house to make lace.

Projects completed include the Rainbow from Christine Springett; the Flower from Gillian Dye; Snake and Candle bookmarks from Christine Spingett. They have learned the basic stitches and how to do spiders and fans and are having a great time. A great deal of desire has been shown on the part of the girls and patience on the part of their parents. They are looking forward to a school year with lots of exciting new projects.

Hello! My name is Picker. I am a virtual member of the Pittsburgh Lace Group. I am also a common hedgehog, known to scientists as Erinaceus europaeus. Surely you’ve heard of and seen those virtual pets. Well, I’m better than those! You don’t have to feed me, nor pet me, nor play with me, and I don’t make a mess. (Plus, I’m a lot cuter!)

So, I’ll just be at all your events, quietly observing you, yes YOU, making face and doing your group meetings, and even being a stowaway on road trips! So watch out, because Pricker will be taking notes on what’s going on!

The first meeting which I attended was the meeting where Louise taught a workshop called “lacemaking without looking.” Louise had two monitors, Andy and Joanne, who would assist anyone who could not find their tools — because they forgot where they put them! See, you have to remember where things are. The group was doing pretty well at hanging the bobbins and starting the headers and footers. Only, there was a great temptation to cheat. I liked watching people’s reactions when they get their threads tangled. Luckily Andy always came to the rescue.

The next major event that I was invited to was the Fall Lace Day. Boy, I’ve never seen so many people come to the church before. I scurried downstairs before people noticed me, and I really had to behave myself because we had visitors from the Five Rivers group. Holly came with large suitcases, I wonder what was in them? She must have been the star of the evening, because I saw a big cake decorated with lace and bobbin icing with a welcome message just for her. I leaned so much about Buckspoint lace at the lecture and the workshop the next day, but my favorite part was going to d’Imperios restaurant following the workshop. The menu was in a foreign language and it was fun to try to guess what the fare really was.

On the field trip to the Lacemakers, I tagged along, too. It was wet and dreary, but these brave souls were determined to hit the road. Amy’s van just rolled joyfully with all the PLG Members occupying every seat available in it. Luckily, no one sat next to me because it would have messed up my hairdo and they would not have appreciated my impressing lace prickings on their skin. Halfway between Monroeville’s entrance of the Turnpike and the Ohio’s, Margot announced that it was time for a little something and she distributed a yummy treat of specially seasoned oyster crackers in palm-sized ziplock bags. It really hit the spot. (I want the recipe!) At the Lacemakers, Sonia was already there — I wonder how she could have been ahead of us?? My eyes were bigger than my pockets and I ran all over the place, excited by seeing all the goodies. There was a lacemaking class going on at the time, so I tried to quiet down a bit. After the shopping spree I tailed the big people to the restaurant across the street. We got a very nice table on the back porch, just big enough to fit all of us at one table. It looked like we were outdoors, but were really indoors. But those windows and the railings really convinced us that we were outdoors. Anyhow, maybe we were in between. We managed to confuse the pretty waiter with our orders, not to mention the minestrone soup exchange across the table. The food was delicious and it sustained us all the way to back to Pittsburgh. On our trip back I just looked all around, sometimes stretching my neck to see the pretty pictures as people passed around the books or magazines they had bought at the Lacemakers. I know they, can’t wait to make alt the pretty lace. I want to go again sometime…it was really fun. As for now, I think it’s time to hibernate.

See you in the springtime!

Our “bimonthly” newsletter is experiencing severe downsizing and is under an extreme slimming regiment. Unless we are all contributing articles, stories, patterns, recipes, tips, tidbits, anecdotes, etc. it is dangerously becoming a semiannual newsletter. We won’t let that happen, now won’t -we? The Thursday night folks will take the initiative to get the newsletter going for a quarterly publication. They will be the newsletter committee gathering the submissions. Margot Barbour and Gretchen Baudoux will be the editors with Angeline Wong as a helper.

Perhaps we can even name our newsletter the PLG JOURNAL, a quarterly publication by the Pittsburgh Lace Group, similar to what we used to have in the eighties.

The next submissions will be for the Winter 1998. The deadline is January 15, 1998. Please send your entries in early to avoid disappointment.

By Dewi Wong

I recently visited the “Pittsburgh Revealed” exhibition which just opened at the Carnegie Museum of Art. It was an interesting show and truly was a window to the past through the art of photography — My favorite part of the exhibition was the “Cabinet Cards” display. Some time ago I had purchased an old picture by a Pittsburgh photographer. I had no idea what kind of and from what era the picture was. I picked one picture from many available because it was a picture of a woman that could be an “instant relative.” I am so fond of the look on her face, she looked very serene and ladylike. Her hair was neatly styled and she wore beautiful lace on the upper bodice of her dress. From time to time, I see old lace pieces that resemble vests, but the sides are not sewn and I try to picture them in my mind , that if the sides were connected they would be really small, almost the size of a child’s vest. From this photograph, I learned that the lace piece is supposed to be mounted as decoration on the upper bodice and does not go around and connect below the arms. From the show at the Carnegie, I learned that Cabinet Cards were popular until 1890. Below is the description of what a Cabinet Card is:

CABINET CARDS were like cartes-de-visite, except they were larger and of heavier paper stock. A paper photograph, usually a portrait, was mounted on the face of the cards. Like the cartes-de-visite, the photographer’s name and address appeared on the back, usually with a flowery display of promotional information.

Speaking about a view from the past, on the cover of the last issue of our newsletter was a picture from the May 1907 issue of a French Women’s handicraft magazine. It contained an article about various laces and had some photographs of these. The article also mentioned about the cost of lace, which was considerably expensive. If anybody would like to translate this article from French to English we could have an interesting story. Anyone?

Loprieno, Esther M.
42 Dolly Ave., Jeannette, PA 15644

Louise Chuha’s mother did not coddle her, even though Louise was born blind. She learned to do the same things as her 3 sighted sisters. Her mother started Louise on the road to independence at an early age and perhaps those early lessons in self-reliance helped lead Louise towards her career in rehabilitation teaching. She became a provider of services for persons who were blind or vision-impaired.

Louise first came to PBA some 28 years ago and taught Braille, typing, home-management, leisure time activities, such as knitting, Bingo, craft, classes, dancing – anything that would maintain the lifestyle for persons with vision impairment or blindness.

Louise’s rehabilitation teaching skills took her into their homes where she assisted with in-house orientation and cooking skills, helping them to learn how to make an independent and safe environment for themselves. The people Louise worked with were no doubt encouraged by the fact that their teacher, who was totally blind herself, had traveled to their home independently by bus. She was a role model they could relate to.

Since leaving PBAs employ a number of years ago, Louise has continued to enrich her life and the lives of others through her volunteer work. For the past 20 years she has had an affiliation with Radio Information Services where she serves as the Chairman of the Program Committee and co-anchors a radio program called “Home-Rap”; she volunteers as the “unofficial” librarian in the Access Technology Center at the Greater Pittsburgh Guild for the Blind; serves as a cantor at her church and is able to transcribe words and notes into Braille enabling her to read her own music. She also teaches a weekly knitting class at PBA, and in her spare time Louise has mastered the art of doing bobbin lace, an intricate and delicate craft that would create a challenge for most sighted persons.

“When there’s something that I want to do,” says Louise, “challenge is not my main incentive for doing it. It’s more the motivation and the desire that makes me want to succeed!” And for Louise, her life continues to be an ongoing series of successes.

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