The Endeavourers Reveal Day 8 – Dreams

Last year, at a big church garage sale, I saw a packet of lace-making bobbins for a ridiculously low price, but I told myself, “No!  You can not take up one more craft!!” and I passed them up.  But of course I should have gotten them, because I needed them for this piece.

I am in an online art quilt group called The Endeavourers.  Our theme for this quarter was “Dreams,” and I wanted to portray the aspirational side of that topic (as opposed to the nighttime mental journeys side).

Although usually I am very happy just taking other people’s unwanted materials and turning them into something useful, I also have grandiose aspirations:

  • going through one of those gigantic old needlework books like Thérèse de Dillmont’s classic, and trying every single technique
  • using all the beautiful fabrics and threads I have acquired
  • creating multi-layered pieces that invite contemplation of color and texture interplay
  • paying homage to some favorite artists — Hundertwasser, Dale Chihuly (especially his Textiles on Glass cylinders), and Diane Itter.  Hundertwasser was an artist who valued organic shapes and lines, and signs of the human touch, over geometric precision.  Diane Itter created detailed and colorful designs from linen thread, leaving long fringes of the thread combed out on the edges.  Chihuly too, portrays the warp and weft threads individually, not just where they meet to create cloth.

For some time, I had been wanting to create the effect of a net of colors floating over a quilt, so that was my goal for this project.  I wanted small colorful squares connected by individual threads, in both the warp and weft directions (lengthwise and crosswise).  I could think of several techniques that could achieve that effect – in weaving, cutwork, or macramé — but they all had their difficulties, so in the end I chose this bobbin lace pattern from Lace in the Making by Margaret L. Brooke.

“Chessboard in Linen-stitch” from Lace in the Making.

I have never made bobbin lace before, but the illustrations in Brooke’s book gave me the basics.  I used a board made for pin weaving, and anchored the thread pairs with T-pins.  Those bobbins I passed up would have come in handy, but I made do.

board with pins and yarn making a lace pattern

Large-scale lace in progress.

lace squares in progress

Detail showing the twisting and weaving of the threads.

The beauty of the twisted pairs of threads is that they stabilized the little squares, and kept all the threads where I wanted them.  The technique wasn’t difficult, but it was time-consuming.  Each one-inch square with its twisted sidebars took me at least half an hour.

With so much time put into creating the net of colors, I didn’t see how I could also make a new quilt as a bottom layer.  So I decided to use the small quilt I had made for our February challenge as the base.  It had felt incomplete to me, and I thought this new overlay of thread lace would enhance it, but still fit its theme of Texture.

Tussah and Taffeta, for the Endeavourers’ texture theme.


The layered piece.

I like it turned 90 degrees too.

This light shows the dimensionality better.


Another view.

I love the interplay of colors with the lace net over the silk quilt.

Detail showing the threads.

This was one of the those quilts that just told me what the next step should be, so after I stitched down the bobbin lace, I also added silk strips in a basic plain weave pattern, beads, and couching.

I am going to have to live with this quilt a while before I know if I like it better now.  I loved every minute of working on it, and I like it inch by inch, but I am not sure yet if I like the effect of the whole piece.  It may need more stitching and beadwork before I feel it is really complete.

But I achieved my aspirations for the process, and for that, I am very happy.

Here is the list of participants, and here is the website for The Endeavourers.

Catherine –
Janine –
Nancy –
Carol –
Ruth –
Gwen –
Martha –
Maureen –
Kay –
Fiona –
Paula –
Wendy –