Friday, March 15, 2013

A funny thing happened...

Every once in a while I have to run away from home and such a thing happened this weekend.  After being woken up at 5am for 3 out of 4 mornings to let people in at work because of a faulty piece of software, I told my boss I was taking today off and running away from home. 

OK, well maybe I didn't go into the running away from home thing with him but on the rest of it, I'm solid.  And I'm in Chicago for the LACE group meeting tomorrow.

It gave me time this morning (in between the phone call from work to turn something off) to get my workout done, pack up and run some errands before I hit the road.  Because I wasn't in a rush, I was free to stop at antique malls along the way.  The one I always look forward to on the way to Chicago is the 2nd Time Around Antiques north of Bloomington-Normal.  It's a proper antique shop, not a mall, and they always have beautiful, clean stuff at what I think are really reasonable prices.

Today I stopped by, wandered through and was ready to leave when I happened to look up.  You'll never believe what I saw.
You know I see lots of spinning wheels in places like this.  For some reason most antique mall stall owners way, way over price them.  I've seen broken spinning wheels with missing parts tagged $350-400.  Where I've found them in good shape, I've sometimes been tempted.  But the second I saw this one and reached to take it down off the cabinet it was on, I knew I couldn't pass it up.  Not only was it reasonably priced, if not underpriced, I got it for $50 less than it was tagged for.

It was marked as a "primitive spinning wheel" and that fits it perfectly.  I believe the wood is walnut.  It's chunky and solid with some lovely decorative touches to it without being prissy.  Certainly the person who made it was a top-notch craftsman. 

Everything is there, the wheel is straight and it has a jumbo flyer.  Most of these old spinning wheels have dinky little bobbins.  Not this one, though!

So I'm in love but the problem is that, for once, I came away from home with no spinning fiber!  Yikes, what a day to leave the house without fiber!!!!!!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Fabulous Weekend

I've spent many hours (probably 40-50) since January preparing for my first bobbin lace class so I was a little nervous, although feeling as prepared as I could be.  I've taught a lot of classes on things like knitting and spinning, both crafts that I felt like I had a degree of mastery over.  This was a completely different prospect. 

With bobbin lace, I felt like I at least knew more than people who'd never touched bobbins and that was the basis on which I agreed to do the class.  Of course, the fact that the Tat Man was originally going to teach the class couldn't have added any pressure. (cough, cough).

With 5 students who did an amazing job all weekend and who were are fun as they could be, we ended up have a wonderful weekend.  It wasn't nearly enough time but each student was able to learn the basic stitches, main terms and supplies needed to be successful with bobbin lace.  I always have a hope when I teach a class that there will be people there who will take the craft on and exceed anything I could do - I definitely think that's going to be the case here.  We ran out of time so I didn't get any photos of the samples done in class but those who will be at the Prairie Weavers Guild meeting on Tuesday will be able to see what we did.

Part of the fun for me was the boxes of old bobbin lace equipment, supplies, prickings and books that several students brought to share.  Some of the stuff had been acquired at auctions, others given to them.  There were old pillows that only need to be re-covered and wonderful, beautiful bobbins, old, old, old prickings from which lace had been made for many decades.  So much fun!

I have had a project I've been wanting to do for quite a while and the pricking has been sitting on the pillow for a number of months.  I just never got the wherewithal to figure out the number of bobbins I would need and get them wound with thread.  I got so inspired by what the students did on Saturday that I came home that night and got it going.
I don't know if I've got it right but I'm going to work a strip or it and evaluate whether I need to use a heavier thread.  I'm excited to get it started...finally!