Flanders and Binche have a way of messing with my head. More so than any other type of bobbin lace. But then I discovered how modern technology can undo the mess in my head. And I cannot wait to share this with you.
But let’s start at the beginning.
There is no real rhyme or reason to Flanders or Binche. It doesn’t have the same mathematical precision and symmetric sensibility of Torchon. The workers become passives and the passives become workers. They change direction unexpectedly, and the cloth stitch motifs require a lot of shaping and tensioning – with lots of pairs continually entering and exiting the motifs.
Keeping track of where exactly you are in the pattern is quite challenging. And because the thread is so fine and the pins are so incredibly close together it is really difficult to see where exactly you are. Especially if you only work on the lace intermittently.
About three years ago I wrote a blog post about how I overcame this problem. That method served me really well and I used it for all my Binche and Flanders until earlier this year.
But then I started on a gorgeous Flanders pattern – Strikjes designed by Kumiko Nakazaki. A handkerchief edging with a beautiful motif of a bow and curved ribbons, with three different types of Flanders ground and some delicate Binche snowflake fillings.
The working diagram only shows one half of one side of the handkerchief edging. So, I had to use technology to flip the working diagram so that it shows the other half of the one side of the handkerchief edging.
This was easy enough – I simply scanned the working diagram, saved it in .pdf format on my desktop computer and then flipped the .pdf image. Problem solved. Only to realise that I had another problem. I did not have a colour printer, and you really, really, really need this particular working diagram to be in colour – you will understand why if you work this pattern! And there was no way I was getting in my car and driving down to Warehouse Stationery to go and make a colour photocopy – it was way too cold and wet outside.
And then I had a lightbulb moment – necessity really is the mother of invention! I synced both of the .pdf working diagrams to my iPad and imported it into the Photos app. So now I have electronic working diagrams that I can draw on with an iPencil to show exactly where I am on the working diagram.
I can use different colours for my markings, enlarge as needed and it is super easy to undo if I make an incorrect marking. And once I am done for the day, I simply save it and the next day I can easily retrieve it on the iPad to continue on with my bobbin lace.
Don’t you just love how technology can make our lacemaking easier?
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