Saturday, April 28, 2012


I'm having to alter the lace pattern for this week. It's going very slowly :-/ I will probably miss my deadline. I started the lace already, and didn't like how it was coming out, so I'm starting over. How frustrating! Someday I want to draft my own patterns, so this is good experience, but it's also a bit painful--my brain hurts!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Lace 10

Wow. This pattern was so hard! This is the first one that doesn't tell you how to proceed or where to twist. In other words, the training wheels were OFF. I figured it out after a few repeats, but still made plenty of mistakes. That's OK. I have to start somewhere, and although I prefer it, I don't have to be perfect at everything.

The dolls are trudging along. I have plenty of excuses, but do they really matter? I'm getting close and I'm getting scared. Every day I have a different plan to get closer, and I do get closer, just not close enough. Know that I am still working, and I still want to be finished in time for Alienore's birthday on May 21.

In the meantime, I will continue to work on my lace. It makes me happy. The next one is due next Thursday.

Saturday, April 21, 2012


This lace pattern is SO HARD!

A Little Success

My plan for a back and front head press mold worked! This head came out much better than the first because I really mashed it into the mold. There are still places that need to filled in, though, and I can fix it to look nice. These pictures are awkward because I took them myself.

Now I have 14 pair of bobbins to wind. I've already done 14 this morning. Huge project! Due date Thursday.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Flesh Tones?

I started dyeing this morning to get some more Caucasian skin tone like I made last time. I used too much dye and it came out too dark, so I tossed it. Life is too short to hang on to failed dye attempts. I did, however, try three other colors, wondering if they might make good skin tones. This is what I got:

 I feel like tatting today, not bobbin lace, so I'm not going to force it. I've made so many mistakes on it since I started it so long ago, but I'm trying to just be OK with it. It's a little impossible to undo some tatting situations. Oh well, maybe I'll get my magnifying glasses and try.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Lace 9

I finished lesson 9 ahead of schedule! I will spend that extra day reading, tatting, and working on the doll. This is as far as I got in the book when I worked in it before. I think this is a pretty pattern and I worked 35 inches of it before. Now I just want to move through the book, so I'm not doing any extra.

I am slowly learning how to start and end on the square. The instructions for doing this are not very helpful. The next lace pattern has a beginning and an end, but on the next lesson, I will chart out the endings and maybe I'll get it right.

For the sake of completeness, here are lessons 1-8. You can see how it started out very simple and has steadily increased in techniques.

Success! Almost...

The head came out the right size without shrinking! I thought that if I left it in longer, it would have to cling to the mold longer and not be able to shrink. The only problem is that I didn't press into the mold firmly enough and it needs to be done over.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Yes, my energy has waned. I'm not ALWAYS Pollyanna. Yesterday my sewing didn't turn out right, and I didn't have enough dyed fabric to start again. I will have to dye more fabric and then re-draft some pattern pieces. Today I still feel the discouragement and feel like doing nothing, not even my lace. I just want to sit in the comfy chair and tat. Which is probably what I'll do. I deserve a day off, right?

One thing turned out. The body is difficult to stuff because there is an internal shaft for standing that needs to be centered. I got that part right at least. I just hope the newly dyed fabric (which won't be dyed today!) matches what I have already.

This part is personal life, which I try to keep on Facebook. I've recently switched from vegetarianism to veganism. I wanted a muffin from Starbucks this morning and realized I could eat nothing there. I really wanted that blueberry muffin! So I will bake vegan muffins today, and freeze them, so I won't eat all of them at once. I see at least three batches, all different kinds. Blueberry, coffee-chip, and pumpkin-walnut.

So! Tatting and baking today, and that's IT. And maybe I'll make another latte.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Papillon Bleu UK: Birthday Party Invitation and...a GIVEAWAY!

Papillon Bleu UK: Birthday Party Invitation and...a GIVEAWAY!


This is what lacemaking looks like. For this pattern, I have 21 pairs. The next project uses 32! I have no idea how I will manage that!

I usually use a bolster pillow if I'm going to make a length of lace, but for these short pieces, I'm using an inexpensive foam pillow. You're supposed to cover them in a dark, solid color cloth, usually navy blue. But I've had this paisley around for a while, and I like it, so I used that. It hasn't strained my eyes to use it, either, so tell THAT to the purists! I also use square, continental bobbins instead of the English spangled bobbins usually used for this kind of lace. I think they're fussy, too expensive, and take up too much space. Square bobbins take up less space and don't roll. They're perfect. I only wish they had had the slim ones when I bought these.

I want to make fancy square bobbins, a project for when the woodworking classes are over.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Pattern Making

I have a couple pics for Rhissanna. The first shows the pattern and technique I use to make feet. Part two would be taking another piece of cardboard the same shape, lacing a piece of fabric over it, and slip stitching it to the foot.

The second shows how I make my body patterns. I sculpt the form I want and then STRETCH my fabric over it to make a pattern. It's not exact, but it's close enough to satisfy me, and it's quicker than just guessing. I do guess with the arms and thighs, though.

I use the techniques found in this pattern:

Here are the pics:

Friday, April 13, 2012

Lace Tracing

Yes, another three post day.

I have the Lace Dealer's Pattern Book. It's full of lace samples that were being made in the area at some point. I should read the introduction. Only a very few designs are duplicated, the majority are unique. You could probably trace a sample back to the woman who made it. And in another place, you may find a garment from that time period with a piece of lace on it made by that same woman. It just struck me. How amazing is that?

A Cunning Plan...

I think I just came up with a very good solution to the stops and starts on my lace. I could do half an inch of point ground and then pick up the design at a wide point in the pattern. I think this can work...

Oh, and I've spent an hour and a half preparing my pattern (actually called a pricking), I haven't finished, and I still have to get the bobbins ready. I bet I won't get any stitches put in today.

My Work Space Today

I was up at 2:30 and had every intention to start making a body pattern for my 12-year-old doll. But for some reason, I got distracted by hands. I spent a couple hours trying to turn fingers, and it just wasn't working. Back when I "made" cloth dolls (I say "made" because I probably only finished six), I made the tiniest fingers of everyone. My mistake this morning was not using the right TOOLS. I found the tools and I just did one, with the separate thumb, and it came out fine. The fingers are not the right lengths yet, but I'll fix that when I get to the doll.

I also made made two triple lattes this morning and now I never want to see another coffee for as long as I live. Or at least until tomorrow morning.

And I guess I'll put away my sewing and start the new lace.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Lace 8

I met my Thursday deadline! I gave myself just four days to work on this one, since it is pretty simple and I didn't really have other plans this week. This week is mold drying :-/

Anyway, I tried the straight start and end. This ground is called Kat Stitch. Later on, there are some gorgeous advanced lace patterns based on Kat Stitch, but this one is very simple. I don't have a lot of experience with this kind of ground, so the straight start was even more difficult. The instructions were impossible, but I think I know how to do it now. The top one looks like it needs fewer twists, and the bottom one just looks like a disaster, lol. I'll try, try again.

The larger sample is from when I worked this book before in 1996. This is the normal size of the lace patterns. The color difference is between white and optic white.

I've given myself a full week for the next pattern. It's a much more interesting pattern, and it's the last one I worked in 1996--never went further in the book. I made over a yard of it, though, and will probably use it on a doll, even though it is coarser than what I'm doing now. There are about 36 patterns total that I will try to finish this year, and then I'm on my own!

I will pour the second half of the mold today, even though the first half isn't dry yet. Nefer Kane said I could "bake" them in the oven to speed drying time, but I've got to get the clay out first! I made an ear mold but can't get the clay out of it! I may put it in the fridge to harden the clay and try again. Or I may bake it to let the clay melt out. I like the idea of never again sculpting a six-year-old's ear.

Finally got out my good camera to take the photo, instead of my phone.

Oh, and I didn't draft any patterns. I think I'm dreading it.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Too Many Variables

Well, I just poured my two molds. sigh. There are so many variables involved in this finished head coming out right. I use oil clay, then plaster, then Premier. Last time I tried this size head, the Premier version was too small, presumably because it shrank too much, so I made a new sculpt in a larger size. That head was too big, but didn't seem to shrink at all. So now I'm back to the first size.

The first time, the plaster was not of a high quality, and I bought the Premier, if it was even Premier that I used, at Hobby Lobby. I begin to think that I may have used La Doll for the first one. Maybe even PaperClay. It's all so frustrating. The size of the head is very important to me. The whole proportion of the doll is important to me. It is important to me that these dolls be precisely one third life size. Please don't make this so difficult!

If this one comes out right, and I won't know for a week, I'll do five heads at once so I don't end up mixing too much plaster, like I've done the last three times. Until then, I suppose I have quite a bit of pattern drafting to do, and the ever present lace projects. This week's lace is not so interesting, but I will keep working on it until Thursday, unless I finish the length before then. I will start the drafting process tomorrow. I have four more body patterns to make. I'll try to do one a day, but it will probably take two days. Sure. I have plenty of time anyway. The only deadline I make for myself is for the lace, because I want to finish the book by the end of the year. But I would really like to finish a doll.

This will be an antsy time for me. But on the bright side, you won't have to hear from me three times a day, because I won't have anything to post about!

Sculpting Aid

Philippe Faraut is an amazing sculptor and has even sculpted dolls before for the home porcelain doll industry. He has some great dvds, books, and sculpting aids. I have this one and it is a huge help. It has children's features in a step-by-step progression. I'm about to use it to make EARS. I am not an ear fan.

Monday, April 9, 2012

First Sculpt?

I'm going to go ahead and make a mold of this head tomorrow. I think it will be easier to clean up and smooth out in Premier. The ball bearing eyes make her look crazy! I'm going to make the ears separate so I only have to make them ONCE!

Lace continues as well. I've given myself until Thursday to finish the current one.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Lace Comparison

Three posts in one day?!! I promise I'm signing off soon. No, really. I just had to post this picture. It appears that my lace is actually finer than my extra fancy Vals machine lace! Makes me feel so much better about failing at the sewings.

Lace Square

Well, I gave up on the sewing. The thread is too fine to hook with the tiniest crochet hook in the world. Don't look too close at this--there are mistakes! I think I'm happy with the thread weights. I wish the ground were lighter, and I could accomplish that by making the pattern bigger, but I like the smallness of it.

I will endeavor to finish the lace in a manner that would be appropriate for doll use. One of the reasons I gave up on connecting the two edges was that there isn't really this sort of application for my dolls. If this were going to be a collar, there would be an opening in the back. So in this case, I could have finished the two ends like the footside with the thick line. Next time, next time. I think next time starts tomorrow. Today I will read a book!

Transitioning from Facebook

I've decided that I post way too much on Facebook about dolls and lace, so I'm going to try to move that stuff over here to my blog.

I decided not to follow up on the tatting. It takes a long time to get any length on it, and I would rather read in the evenings. I have a whole stack of brand new "new age" books just waiting to fill me with healing energy and boost my creative mind, lol. I think the tatting is beautiful and would look great on my dolls, but my eyes aren't really good enough for it anymore (and bobbin lace is?), I was only working on it in the evenings, and like I said, it was taking all the time I would have spent on reading. I can't work on work ALL the time.

I finished that mold and made an impression. It was too big for ALL my doll bodies. Turns out Premier doesn't shrink much at all. So I can go back to the first heads I made, work them over, and use those. I have one that looks pretty good, actually, and it fits the body I've made already, which is great! I'll finish her up this week and try to start the mold before next weekend.

I made forms for all the doll ages I'm going to work with: 4, 6, 8, 10, 12. I made a base from Apoxie Sculpt, because I have it and I need to use it, plus it saves my Premier. Then I sculpted the features in Premier over that. Basically, I sculpt half of the body and then use the form to drape a body pattern. It's the only way I can get the precision I want in a pattern. Other people can just do this in their heads--I have to do it this way.

Anyway, the body forms are ready and I will work on making the patterns this week when I'm not practicing my bobbin lace. I may be able to do one a day, and I've already done the 6-year-old (and have a head almost finished for her!).

So I'm working from a bobbin lace how-to book, called A Visual Introduction to Bucks Point Lacemaking by Geraldine Stott. I got it when it first came out for a reasonable price. If you want it now, you can get it on Amazon for $179. But it's the best book and I have to recommend it to anyone who wants to learn Bucks Point. I've gone through the manual, decided how much time to devote to each lesson, and mapped it out in my calendar. I can finish the book easily by the end of the year. Then I can make any lace pattern I want for my dolls. What I like is called Floral Bucks. I may only be able to finish one doll a year with hand made lace, but it will be worth it to me to see my vision in a form I can touch and share with people.

I'm using the finest thread now and really like it. Another thing about tatting is that I'm already using the finest thread, so I can't really scale it to the dolls.

I have lots of ideas for lace. I would like to design my own after I learn everything. There is even a lace software package, but I don't know if it works for Bucks Point. I want to learn to make bobbins (special bobbins!) and to make custom lace pillows. And I want to make doll furniture to suit my dolls and maybe even custom furniture to fit other dolls. Did I mention I going to start taking woodworking classes this fall?

I'm filled with ideas right now and it's very exciting! I'll finish a little piece of lace tomorrow and I'll post a photo. It's my first piece with corners and with a sewing (finishing the ends). I'm a little scared of the sewing, but I'll tackle it tomorrow morning. Then hopefully I'll do some sculpting!