As lacemakers, we all belong to a lacemaking family of some kind – whether it is a local group or a modern online community. My lacemaking family is the ladies of Bridge Lacemakers in New Zealand.
The members of our group are spread across a wide area of the North Island and we meet regularly, alternating between Auckland and Cambridge, a town further south.
I usually go to the Cambridge meetings, as it is closest to my hometown. Cambridge – also known as The Town of Trees and Champions – is set in rich farming countryside on the banks of the Waikato River. The town has an old English charm and is memorable for its leafy streets, heritage buildings, antique shops, thoroughbred horse studs, and world champion rowers.
The members of our group range from very experienced lacemakers to complete beginners and everything in between. And as families go, this is where I had my first lessons in the do’s and don’ts, the how to’s and the how not to’s of lacemaking.
I will forever be grateful to my Bridge lace family who took the time and effort to point out all the lacemaking basics to me.
One of the very first lace lessons I was taught as a novice was a bit embarrassing at the time, but in hindsight, one of the best tips ever. It happened at one of the first workshops that I attended.
After a long and stressful morning of beginner’s lace making I was thrilled to escape my lace pillow when lunch was finally announced. But I soon had egg on my face when I was tapped on my shoulder, marched back to my lace pillow and unceremoniously told off for not having covered my lace with a cover cloth.
And that is how I learnt about the importance of using a cover cloth.
The point was reinforced one Saturday morning not too long ago when I was working on a bookmark. My trusty lacemaking companion, Leila the Persian cat, occupied her usual spot next to my lace pillow.
I stepped away from my pillow for 5 minutes to go and make a cup of tea, and when I got back, this is what I found:
Leila had made herself comfortable on top of my lace pillow – undeterred by all the pins in the lace!
I have developed quite a thing for cover cloths over the years, and I am always on the look out for that special fabric for my collection. On a recent visit to the Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival, I found some beautiful blue woven fabric that works very well as a cover cloth.
My collection of cover cloths in the tin also tells the story of my lacemaking history. From the very first cover cloth that I bought at a lace meeting to all the cover cloths that I received over the years as gifts at various lace meetings and workshops.
For me, every cover cloth that I own conjures up a memory of a meeting, a lace occasion or a lacemaker. So here’s a big thank you to all the lacemakers who make and gift cover cloths.