In which I sort of master Needlelace

So thankfully this technique didn’t leave my face stinging with hot tears of frustration like the Bullion knot, but still no cupcake.

I wanted this texture in the top portion of the stem (I believe it’s called a stipe) to have the lacy, delicate texture that you sometimes see in fungi. After reading the RSC Stumpwork book I wanted to learn Needlelace techniques and Single Brussels Stitch was the right one for this piece. I was also taking advice from the RSC Crewelwork book and had planned each section of the piece to be stitched in the order to which they would appear in the front, i.e. the front-most pieces will come last, to make sure they stand out in relief from the prior.

To this end, I realised after finishing the Bullion knot gills, and seeing how raised they were, I needed to first pad the section with some taupe coloured felt to make sure the needlelace stood more proudly than the gills. This wasn’t the simplest thing as I couldn’t easily or accurately trace the shape I needed onto the felt having embroidered around it already, so it was a bit of guesswork, but not too bad.

Fighting against my instincts as always to just bloody well do it, I used my practice hoop to work a few rows. I was using the RSC Stumpwork book as my guide, and I have to say, although the step by step instructions are very clear, it could have done with some extra tips, like the fact that when you start creating the buttonhole stitches of which the lace is constructed, it totes looks like you’ve got it all wrong.

Ignoring this instinct, I carried on and realised I could just make my stitches a bit wider to give myself enough space to find the loops in which to weave into, and resulted in a  more open texture. This technique is only attached to the back fabric on the edges, the rest of it created by knotting and looping into itself back and forth. I was using a blunt tapestry needle.

So, I sort of mastered it. I’m sure that some of the loops weren’t actually picked up or got split. But whatevs. I think it’s pretty.