Friday, 28 November 2008


I've been looking for ways to add texture and 3-D-ness to my embellisher work.  I came across the concept of 'stumpwork' during my internet research - I had never heard of it before, and was intrigued by the name, so I bought this book.   Apparently there's a lot of stumpwork in the Bayeux Tapestry, which I remember going to see as a child on a family holiday to France - a totally amazing piece of work.

The book also gives a basic introduction to a technique called needlelace, which is a cross between sewing, embroidery, tatting and lace-making.  I decided to try to learn how to do it, using the book as a guide.  The instructions were really clear, and it all made sense to me, amazingly (usually my spatial awareness is pretty awful - hence the lack of knitting skills!) - so I've been practising this new technique, hoping to add some needlelace pieces into the fibre works I'm making for Christmas presents.

To make a piece of needlelace, you need to have a firm boundary, which you couch down, and you need to work out the final shape first.  I started with an easy rectangle!

You work on a 'pad' of fabric, with waxed paper on the top to form a tough surface to work against.  Once you've finished the lace part, you sew buttonhole stitch all around the border, and then cut off the couching threads to release the piece.
I tried a piece with space-dyed threads too, which seem to work quite well:

And finally, I realised I have been very remiss in not yet posting any pictures of my crafting partners-in-crime.  Well I say partners, more thwarters really.  Particularly if it involves eating, hiding, or sitting on what I am trying to work on!  This one is Rubedo, or Mr McGruber as he is more commonly known.


Myfanwy said...

Hmm... Needlelace in silver wire might be interesting.....!

The crafty Kaeru said...

Oooh, good idea, Myfanwy! I was just recently thinking about having another go with wire for kumihimo... but wire with needlelace is certainly an interesting prospect. Thanks for the inspiration!