Still more work on Topsy..

Sleeve Lace

Sleeve Lace

Report Number Three, including a hiatus or two…

The choice of this lace pattern is teaching me to use two gimp threads and to create a honeycomb effect – training me for the more complicated lace for the edge of the dress. I had a bit of a problem with this as I have the designated pairs of 15 bobbins plus the gimp and seem to be one pair short in the ground. After taking it out three or four times, changing where I hung the bobbin pairs to see if that made things right, the problem didn’t disappear so I developed my own fudge which seems to work!

(Inset: I even asked for help on Twitter, and everyone was as flummoxed as we were!)

Embroidery For Dress

Embroidery For Dress

Despite the complications above, I completed the first stretch of fudged lace for the sleeve in two weeks! I think that is because I am now lace-oriented, so that instructions are more readable, need less working out! Obviously, I’ve misread something, or I wouldn’t have to fudge – maybe the second piece of lace will resolve the matter. This project is taking less time than I thought it would, though I can see the final stretch of lace for the dress itself taking a lot longer.

While I was working on the lace for the dress, I made and embroidered it. Topsy’s long dress is embroidered across the skirt and on the sleeves. I kept the embroidery on the dress simple. Blue is my favourite colour and it goes very well with her dark skin. The design is built up of small transfers arranged to give a pleasing flow – and the stitching not too varied. As she is a baby doll, a light touch in the design and in the stitching seems appropriate.

Sleeve Embroidery

Sleeve Embroidery

So, the larger flowers are either Blanket Stitch or Reverse Blanket Stitch, the smaller ones suggested in Lazy Daisy, as are some of the leaves. The larger leaves are in Feather Stitch. The main stem is, not surprisingly, in Stem stitch while the thinner ones are Backstitched.

Long-standing readers may recognise the flower forms from the Flowered Blouse I embroidered using transfers from one of my issues of “The Needlewoman” inherited from Grandmama….!


  1. Penny Baugh says:

    This is lovely – all of it!! I certainly don’t think anyone else will notice your ‘fudge’ — I know I wouldn’t. This color scheme is perfect for this overly warm summer!

  2. Lin says:

    Very pretty stitchery and the lace is beautiful. xx

  3. Sue Jones says:

    Pretty lace and the dress embroidery is very delicate and most appropriate. Lucky little Topsy!
    Never forget that printed instructions are Not Always Right – sometimes you just have to do it your own way. If you are familiar with a craft, you can spot mistakes in instructions and take appropriate action. Newcomers, and those who don’t have enough confidence in their skills, tend to think ‘it must be me!’ which can be discouraging and offputting – a pity when the real culprit is a simple typo or a lack of clarity. There are people who are too ready to ‘blame the book’ for their own careless mistakes, but many more blame themselves unnecessarily. Layout editors chop lines off instructions to fit around their photos, everyone misses a few errors, authors ‘know what they mean’ and proofreaders often don’t understand the subject they are checking (if they do know, they may also know what the author means, too, even if the inexperienced reader will be baffled). And then there are spill chequers…. It’s amazing what can end up in print. In fact, it’s probably amazing that any set of needlework instructions ends up usable.

  4. Cynthia says:

    The embroidery is simple, but very nice. I agree with Sue, I’m in a tatting group and you should see the mistakes we’ve found in old patterns. I can’t imagine learning bobbin lace, although I know a lace teacher who says she can teach very young children to make lace.

  5. Dima says:

    The pattern for the dress looks lovely.

  6. jenclair says:

    The lace is beautiful, and I love the delicate look of the embroidery

  7. Carolyn says:

    I often think I would like to learn lace making and then stop myself. But I do envy you your dedication. My daughter-in-law’s mother is a wonderful lace maker. She started as a child in Holland and I love to hear those shuttles clicking away. Your lace is lovely as is your embroidery.

  8. Cant believe you’re now making lace! There is no end to your skills! I watched the lace-makers in Bruges doing this and just stood in awe of their dexterity – and most of them looked about 100 years old! Just love the little pin-cushion too – all the heathery colours are beautiful! xCathy

  9. lovely embroidery. the lace looks beautiful.

  10. The embroidery is lovely, and I am in awe of the lacemaking – I haven’t yet summoned the courage to try it, as I am sure I would simply end up with a tangle of knots!!

  11. Lady Fi says:

    How simply lovely.

  12. Anita says:

    a pretty lace and beautiful embroidery ! patterns from old magazines are simple and beautiful.

  13. Susan says:

    The embroidery is beautiful, but that lace! I’m in awe of your talent. All I have to do is look at bobbin lace patterns set up with bobbins everywhere, and I’m lost. That is gorgeous lace!