Sunday, 28 February 2010

Angela's Start - Patterns 21, 32, 7, 12, 13, 14

I asked Ang to give me a little bit on how she met Ruskin Lace and here's what she's cooked up:

In 1993 I started embroidery classes at Harraby School with Irene Coulthard, to learn Hardanger.
While there, Irene was also teaching Ruskin Lace to two other ladies. I was really interested in it, so I booked a weekend course at Higham Hall with Elizabeth Prickett, and started my first piece, a traycloth. This seems to have patterns 7, 12, 13 and a variation on 14 in it. Corrections, Ang?

I was soon hooked, and continued (in fact, continue) to go to Higham Hall at least twice a year since then.
I also continued classes with Irene at Harraby for another 2-3 years (until they stopped) and completed the framed wall hanging under her guidance. Looks like this might have patterns 21 and 32 customised....Ang? Correction?

Whilst attending courses at Higham Hall, I also met and became friends with Bridget Rylands, who was a member of York Minster Broiderers. She is an amazing embroiderer and teaches all kinds of embroidery, including Ruskin Lace in the Whitby Area of Yorkshire (although I have never done Ruskin with her).

Irene Coulthard also teaches "Calico Gardens" and has written the definitive book on the subject, "Hand Embroidered Calico Gardens".
(hmm, Misha says to herself, as she has no idea what Calico Gardens are....and may have to have a peek at this book of Ang's!)

Karen Quickfall Pattern No. 65

This is a photo of one of Karen Quickfall's boxes. Yes, take a second, it's stunning, isn't it?

Let me put another closer photo of it for you:

I think Karen has done Pattern 65 here. Karen.....corrections are welcome!

You can see why she teaches!

One of her best tips (and might be the best tips of others, too) is to use red as a background, it shows off the lace beautifully! I think you'll agree!

:) misha

What do you need?

I'm trying to think of helpful bits of information for those that might stumble upon this looking for a new needlework challenge.

What do you NEED to make Ruskin Lace (well, besides some help?)? Here's what will keep you busy:

1. & 2. Elizabeth's Book and DVD (I'd say these were vital...and I do mean vital! - I've been doing it for only two years and honestly can't do a damned thing without the book to look at).

3. Glenshee Linen. Why, oh, why? It's strong. It's an even weave. It's nice, and can handle what you are going to do to it. Could you use something else? Probably.......but, I have my doubts it would hold up properly.......and I wouldn't recommend it.

4. Linen thread.....different weights, but you could use many different brands here, though I have the one I use, which I will post more about in the future...with photos.

5. Sharp embroidery scissors....with a fine point.

6. A tapestry needle.

7. A sharps needle.

8. A thimble.

9. A tape measure that measures to a 1/16" (that's a 1/16th inch for you Europeans!).

That's it. Not loads.....and most embroiderers will have at least five of these already. The linen is a bit tricky, but I lucked into a beautiful eBay moment one day when I found a huge amount of it on sale for the envy of the other Ruskin lace team!

So - how do you start? Look at this blog as it might think it looks a bit rough initially......but it might just linger in your mind. Look at the samples that are and will be posted, to see what you think.

See if you know anyone who does it (doubtful if you are out of Northern England).....sink the dough into the book and DVD.....and watch the not read the book first....except for the history part. It can be a bit much. If it still intrigues you ...start small. Pick one of the easy patterns and start the challenge.

Let us have a photo of your work with your name! Email me......if you've us a photo and we'll see if we can help 'right' you over the 'net. You never know....stranger things have happened over the 'net!

Ang is headed to another Ruskin Lace Weekend at Higham Hall (without me the big jerk!). She is going to share our little adventure with them, and hopefully get the other ladies on board with their photos and samples.

For those of you working on Ruskin......if, as we go along, don't have a photo up of one of the patterns that you are struggling with, let me know and I'll check the photos I have in waiting to see if any of the patterns are there....and we'll get them up. It is really helpful to see a real worked piece, and we know it!

We want this to be a place we can all use. The only drawback is you have to send stuff to me....and I might not always deal with it quickly, but I promise to try.

Welcome everyone!

:) misha

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

So, Where Did Ruskin Lace Come From?

My suggestion here is to read Elizabeth's book. I'm afraid I'll say that loads.

I don't want to put what she put in her book, as that's not right, so I'll give you the real short version:

John Ruskin (strange historical guy) knew a woman who started it all by stitching embroidery to linen to sell more linen and keep everyone working. She was Marion Twelves. And it took off!

It is native to the beautiful Lake District of Northern England and Keswick in particular.

There's a historical part at the beginning of Elizabeth's book that is much more expansive than what I've given, check it out!

It's a craft that needs to spread its wings a come on over to our side and become a lacemaker!

:) misha

Sunday, 21 February 2010

How did I get interested in Ruskin Lace?

Well......I blame Angela Winter. She's in my quilting group and she was bragging about some Ruskin lace one day. She brought some in and my first thought when I looked at it was.....well, that looks rough. It's not the light, lacy lace of petticoats and little girls''s sturdy, complicated and beautiful.

I went home and couldn't get it out of my mind. I'm a keen needleworker and this was a mountain I hadn't yet climbed! I was hooked.

Ang has patiently (lie) taught me from scratch how to do it, and I think I've fared very photos will come later and you can decide.

Where did Ang get involved with it? I'm not sure, I'll ask her. But her teacher was Elizabeth Prickett, you can see her website here:

Apparently Elizabeth was a wonderful teacher (she has retired from teaching now), but very concise in her instructions....which everyone who has purchased one of her books will know. You can see a copy here: The book is intensively instructive....which is both a massive bonus and also very hard to follow. So, we thought we'd make this blog to help with following the patterns.

We've found that seeing an actual piece done is extremely valuable, and helps us work the pattern in a way that the drawings don't.

If you are interested in Ruskin Lace, it's not impossible to learn, and if you are a needleworker, you will love the challenge. At the link above is a DVD that Elizabeth did before she retired. It is worth every single penny. And I mean EVERY SINGLE PENNY!!! My suggestion for newbies is to buy both the book and the DVD. And I don't say this lightly. I can't do any of the patterns without the's not the kind of thing you can take notes on from someone else. I use the book all the time when working just one pattern! The DVD is extremely well shot - though you will feel inferior when you can't make yours look as nice as hers....just remember she's had loads of practice!

So.....I'm going to populate this blog with as much information as I manage to get my hands on.....but within time constraints I don't be thinking there will be new stuff all the time! Sheesh!

Ang also had an excellent teacher named Bridget Rylands, who I have loads of photos of her work, too. I don't know much about her, but will get Ang to fill us all in.

We both now have instruction (me admittedly not as much as Ang) with Karen Quickfall, who is a hired gun for instruction should you be so keen. She teaches at Higham Hall and also to a Ruskin Lace Group that meets in Keswick throughout Autumn and Winter. She doesn't do the web thing so much, so if you need to contact her, let me know and I'll get you to her.

So, let the fun begin....and if you are a Ruskin Lace-r...and want your stuff on here, we are all for it!

:) misha

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Ladies - Presenting our First Photo!

This is a collection of Angela Winter's work.....we'll get close ups later on!!

This Begins!

Hiya Everyone,

Angela and I had the idea that having a reference page where students and lacemakers could go to for an easy reference guide - and bragging spot would be a good idea.

This is the beginning!!!

If you have anything you'd like to add to the site, what we'd like is good photos, if you know which pattern it is you have worked, any tips or measurements you think are important when working the pattern, and lastly.....your contact information if you are willing to share it with others (it's ok if you don't....we just need to know one way or the other).

Let's get this party started!

:) misha & ang