Diane sent me this picture of a block and asked..
." I want to do CQJP2014 with pictures of family members as children on very embellished lace encrusted series of blocks, and it doesn't come easily to me to add chunks of lace in a decent way! I have made up my first block and added some lace, but I need some guidance on what to do next. I'm hoping that you would address this on Block Talk."
(In response to a comment... After the block is constructed my FIRST step is adding laces. For me steps to block construction is basically this order...Sewing patches, adding laces, then trims, seam embellishment and motifs, and finally beads.)
Since lace is a special love of mine I will happily do this.... First a few things to always remember.
1. Don't be a "LACE SNOB" Embrace all kinds of laces...old, new. nylon, cotton, hand-made, machine made, ecru, white, colored, large and small.etc... Love it all..
2. Lace is really your friend.... Lace not only adds interest to a block.. It also adds texture, contrast, depth. and color among other things... It can make a problem spot disappear, move the eye around the block and also draw attention to a focal point.
3. Don't be afraid to cut it up... You will find uses for all the leftover bits...
4. The main to remember to have a lace encrusted block is very simple....LAYER, LAYER, LAYER... not just laces but laces, ribbons, and trims....then bead it.
This is the cover for my stitch journal and if you really looked closely I'm sure you will find about 15 different laces... Rather than a muslin for a foundation for this cover I used a special kind of lace.... filigree. This piece was a place mat. It's easy to overlook this kind of lace..
Here is a valance I bought at a thrift store just this week... $1.99. It is machine made, nothing memorable. I will probably use the top and bottom and maybe even the duck/geese? but I really bought it just for the filigree.
This was a very long valance and as you can see most of it was this... This type of lace is easily found and cheap. It is a work horse. It covers problem areas, works as a base for motifs, and supports areas of layered lace.
I find it invaluable... and using this cheap lace is the first step in overcoming being a lace snob...
The next step is being extravagant in layering all types of lace.
This is a lovely edging of hand crocheted lace and only needs a good pressing.
This is a good quality piece of machine made lace..
And this is a poorly made piece of machine lace and you can tell by looking at the material
it is attached to. None of these three pieces would make a big impact on a block by themselves.... BUT
layer them and WOW!! Even Martha Pullen would be proud... I layer laces whenever I can and as many laces as I can... It is a win-win situation because they always enhance each other.
Here is another of example showing the effects of combining not only various kinds of lace, but various shades and hues as well. a fine soft knitted lace, a firm geometric crocheted lace and a beautifully dyed lace edging motif.
I use a lot of trims and ribbons on seams for a couple reasons... the main one is I can add lace to BOTH sides of the ribbon and they don't even have to be matching laces. If I run a cord or narrow braid down the ribbon I can do a different seam treatment on either side...plus beading. This may be only a 5" seam but I have added 7+ (counting seam treatments) elements to it and maybe more.
So since the cottage blocks are easily at hand I took a few photos for examples on the ways I use lace. I have a passion for velvet ribbon and love to combine it with lace and beads.
This bunny motif is resting on a background of two entirely different, very cheap, machine made lace. It provides him with a much better background than just plain fabric.
I have included this photo because I want you to notice the pink scalloped edge just above the ribbon. It would be great combined with lace. It is an edging from an infant dress. I find that infant and toddlers dresses in thrift stores a great source of delicate lace and edgings, not to mention fine prints.
Upper left here is a layered combination of machine lace and a handmade filigree...a nice contrast. On the right handmade lace is combined with a blue cotton eyelet.
On occasion I have a truly lovely piece if very old lace and I showcase it rather than layer it...and that is the case here. But I did add the tiny pink picot lace at the bottom.
The trim is covering a cut edge on the lace.. Ribbon, trims and even another lace with an edge will keep cut lace from unraveling..
Notice the scalloped lace under the velvet ribbon here... It provides a foundation for the intricate seam treatment. Above by the bees is a tiny remnant of hand tatted lace. I never discard any piece of tatting and find odd spots to use it.
Again this is a precious piece of lace and I used it to cover this patch and used a light seam treatment..
This was a cheap piece of pink cotton lace but a great spot to use that teeny tiny blue lace flowered edging.
There a few things to note here... The lace on top had been cut up repeatedly and there were no salvageable edges so the velvet ribbon conceals all the ragged edges. Then I layered a narrow piece of lace seam binding over the ribbon.
So with the help of photoshop I have added a few photoed pieces to Diane's block... I moved the sequin motif to the lace doily... Even a section of filigree lace would be nice under that doily. All the seams need more ribbon and layered laces... AND the round patch at the bottom screams for another round doily and what a perfect base for a ribbon floral motif.
Before and after
Hoping this post helps to justify all the accumulation of lace in your stash..