Contents in This Month's Issue
Every year, we get so excited for the Art Deco Society's Gatsby Summer Afternoon at the Dunsmuir-Hellman historic estate. After all, summer just isn't summer without a picnic or two—and a picnic with a 1920s-30s theme is just the bee's knees.
If you're eager to be there but feel some trepidation about assembling an era-appropriate ensemble, never fear! Attend How to Gatsby on August 14 and listen to lectures on that very topic, get some advice, and shop some vintage vendors!
But that's not all we're excited for. Very soon, we'll be having a few classes perfect for all you Jane Austen fans and Victorian Era-loving folks. On Saturday, August 6, Catherine Scholar will return to show you how to make your very own Regency Reticule, and on Saturday, September 24, Lynn McMasters will reveal the secrets of the Hinge Gate Purse!
Coinciding nicely with the recent release of a new adaptation of Persuasion is our Regency Reticule workshop. No matter how you might feel about this recent Netflix production (and the prevailing feelings seem to be quite... intense), any new Jane Austen movie gives us historic costume fanatics a chance to geek out and feast our eyes on new interpretations of early 19th c. styles.
If you look closely, you'll see that the small purple object dangling from Anne Elliot's hand (Dakota Johnson) is, in fact, a reticule! That's essentially the purse of the era—and that's what Catherine Scholar will be showing you how to make! Hers is a round reticule, with a bit more capacity (thank goodness) than the one pictured here.
This striking photo of Dakota Johnson as Anne Elliot (Nick Wall/Netflix) rounded out Vogue's First Look at this new Persuasion.
Here's a historic example of the circular reticule, more like the kind we'll be making with Catherine Scholar—it's an American specimen from the early 19th c., and it lives at the Met.
As for the Hinged Gate Purse, as you can see from Lynn McMasters's photos below, this device represents the next stage of evolution for the simple drawstring bag. Its mouth is made from an intricately articulated metal mechanism. First, you lift the round hinged lid—then the opening expands and contracts in a most satisfying accordion movement. You know you want to come and make one of these with us—just look at how beautiful Lynn's own examples are!
Explore Lynn's repairs and remedies for antique hinge gate purses on her website, and see other historic purses with hinges!
PS: The model you see left plumbing the depths of her hinge gate purse is actually Breanna Bayba, a former Lacis Museum staff member—a talented seamstress herself, she's made costumes in over a dozen SF Opera productions!
Olivia's Heart Crochet Tote
We love it when our talented Lacis visitors are working on a project and show us a photo, or even bring in the project itself! Inspiration abounds in this place, and that's in no small part thanks to you. Read our Customer of the Month section for even more amazing work done by our Lacis friends.
Olivia, a recent high school graduate with only two years' crocheting experience, made this adorable tote bag in under a week!
She free-handed it, completely without a pattern. It was Olivia's older sibling—they came into Lacis together, in fact—who first taught them how to crochet. We love that! (Olive also crocheted this strawberry hat modeled by her friend's cat, Luna, and we simply could not be more delighted.)
Follow Olivia's crochet adventures on Instagram—they're OliveBugCrochet.
Sarah Royce Makes a Tallit
For her nephew's Bar Mitzvah, Sarah Royce collaborated with her sister to created this fantastic Jewish tallit, or prayer shawl. We were very pleased to help her in this meaningful project as she sourced the embroidery floss and silk satin ribbons for its stripes from Lacis. "Over several visits to the store, my patient and expert friends at Lacis provided super helpful advice and support. I couldn't have done this project without Lacis!"
"The Sharp-shinned Hawk on the tallit bag," she informs us, "is a reproduction of a friend's painting which I quilted and embroidered." This original painting, by the accomplished wildlife artist James Coe, was published in "Eastern Birds, 2nd ed." from St. Martin's Press, 2001. Sarah executed it in thread, along with the feather motifs on the tallit. (Talk about Birds in the Textile Arts...!)
Thank you for sharing the results of your splendid project with us, Sarah. We love it when the textile elements we offer here in our shop can become part of such a significant family event!
Congratulations to the young man joining his community as an adult—and congratulations to Sarah for a job well done, too.
Grace's Neon Tatted Lace Bookmark
You guys, we absolutely CANNOT get enough of Grace's tatting skills!! Feast your eyes on this sweet little bookmark she's working on. Its candy-color palette is so electrifying—all the better to find your page with.
This project represents a new challenge for Grace: she's now graduated to working with a finer-weight thread. Thanks for sharing with us, Grace. Your aesthetic—not to mention your focus!—is such an inspiration, and we love to see it.
Even Grace's tatting shuttles fit the color scheme! Perfect!
Mary Beth Jacobs's Wool Appliqué Menagerie
We could stare at this piece for hours. What whimsy and color! We love the simplified animal forms—they take us right back to our childhood.
Mary Beth, who's still working on this piece (she has another row or two to go yet) said she was "making this for me. It was started in a class; actually, it started as a Sue Spargo pattern, but I don't follow it exactly." The animals are wool appliquéd on indigo-dyed cotton.
We can't wait to see this when it's completed! Thank you so much for sharing it with us, Mary Beth—such an appliqué tour de force!
Detail from "6 Fighting Birds on a Buddhist Shawl" 
The bird in literature and on canvas has long held its place through all civilizations and all times.
The bird captured in thread and textiles is more obscure and less defined. Depicted by a single thread, a bountiful palette of threads, a thread following a hook or threads flowing in harmony through the bobbins of lace, the bird is captured by the hands of the creator.
This amazing presentation captures this spirit from Pre-Columbian Peru to the earliest of laces to a world of unbound wealth of thread, color and needle.
For Katherine Bond of Berkeley, the exhibit was, in her words, "Spectacular!" She was "speechless at the display of time, quality, variety and geography of the works."
Visitor Virginia Davis was similarly floored, enthusing that it was "totally FABULOUS."
Paula and Rob Patterson, who came to visit all the way from Colorado, said that, "As birders, we so appreciated this exhibit. Thank you!"
Lacis Museum member Blair Van Tassel felt the same way: "Beyond amazing details," she agreed.
If you find you're still hankering for birds after a tour of our Bird in the Textile Arts exhibit, then be sure to take a look at these beauties, too.
These beautiful examples of Mola are representative of a recent donation from Carolyn Stratton Darby Gragg, of Piedmont. They were obtained—literally—in the waters of Panama:
"We spent quite a bit of time there visiting while we were on our sailboat in 2008. We bartered for some of them with fishing gear, i.e. hooks, lines, buckets and with sewing and school supplies."
The Kuna people would navigate their small boats (dugout canoes called ulu) out into the bay of the archipelago, where Carolyn's own vessel was anchored, to make these trades.
A traditional art form of the Kuna people of Panama on the San Blas Islands, the Mola panels are part of their traditional costume, with matching panels worn on the front and back of a blouse.
The distinctive Mola employs a reverse-applique base using multiple layers of colorful fabric, with surface embroidery embellishments that complement the designs.
Themes range from the purely organic to geometric, with the colorful local bird population as an obvious subject—a fitting tie-in to our newly-opened exhibit, The Bird in the Textile Arts. When you get a chance, drop into the Museum Shop to see eight of Carolyn's gorgeous Mola panels on display!
Can't get enough of these electrifying colors, and tales of ocean voyages, exploration and adventure? Blogger Mira Nencheva of The Life Nomadik extensively documented her time among the Kuna people, in writing and photographs—including about their aforementioned style of nautical trading and their Mola-making tradition. The University of Oregon's Museum of Natural and Cultural History has some nice Molas available to look at online, too.
Sections of the Shetland Lace Sampler of Cathy Adair-Clark
This generous donation of decorative textile artworks from Cathy Adair-Clark is a tour de force of talent and devotion to the world of needlework, specifically her world of knitting and Shetland yarns: "I fell in love with Shetland sheep and their fleeces, and that has ruled my life since 2007."
The magnificent Shetland lace sampler she constructed in 2012 is 8 feet by 6½ feet, comprising 67 different fleeces of yarn, all hand-spun by Cathy herself. We also have her personally compiled tome of sketches available for your perusal, with each motif and its pattern, along with sources and progress reports, all passionately and fastidiously documented.
We're glad so many of you took advantage of last month's 4th of July sale! Among other things recently shipped off to all corners of the globe, we sold (clockwise from top):
A pair of wedge-heeled (Candie's!) sandals topped with an oh-so-perfect-for-summer red leather knotted strap
A 1950s peach satin bedjacket
1980s red satin stiletto pumps (these went to a certain costume department for a television show that we really love...!)
A sweet filet lace collar with rose motifs
A 1905 pleated ivory summer wool dress set (center)
We warmly thank all our Lacis friends, donors, and customers for your support. It's your collective generosity that sustains us, after all. It's your creative energies and creative vision. And it's our shared appreciation for objects crafted with skill and care. The world is full of textile treasures, growing older, falling apart, sometimes forgotten, sometimes recovered—and connecting the right ones with the right people who will love them, restore and conserve them, repurpose them and reinfuse them with life, is a great pleasure and an honor.
August 1 is Herman Melville's birthday! He was born in 1819 in New York City, and at the age of 32, he would write what would later become recognized as one of the first great American novels.
And seeing as we are all lovers of old quilts and woven coverlets—especially of the East Coast sort, in blue and white—we thought we'd share some fun facts about the counterpane.
What's a counterpane, you ask? As the Seattle-based Moby Dick blogger The Beige Moth (Robin VanGilder) states so succinctly, it's "an old fashioned word that simply means 'blanket' or 'quilt'."
This incredible wool coverlet was made in New England in 1879—while Melville was still alive! Its woven indigo and cream pattern is known as "The Walls of Jericho." We have this "wounded bird" available on our shop floor... ask to see it if you're curious, or looking for an ambitious mending project!
In 1930, Rockwell Kent produced an incredible series of woodcut illustrations for a limited-edition run of Moby Dick that led to a huge resurgence in the book's popularity. According to Eye on Design's Design History 101, by that time, "Herman Melville's 1851 novel was virtually forgotten." Here's the sweet image of our slumbering sailors that accompanied Chapter 4: The Counterpane.
And the connection to Melville? Remember early on in Moby Dick, in Chapter 4, titled "The Counterpane"? (You can read The Beige Moth's recap of events, if your memory's rusty!)
It opens with Ishmael groggily awakening to a scene redolent of quaint domesticity. Slowly he comes to realize he is being snuggled by Queequeg, his new boon companion. ("You had almost thought I had been his wife"!) Melville writes: "The counterpane was of patchwork, full of odd little parti-colored squares and triangles"—which Ishmael found totally indistinguishable from Queequegs' tattooed arm in the dawning light of morning.
The Beige Moth was succinct in their explanation of the meaning of "counterpane," but now let's wade into the etymological weeds!
The word "counterpane" has a very old history in Modern English, as it dates back to the early 1600s. It started out as "counterpoint," from the Old French contrepointe, which in turn came from the medieval Latin culcitra puncta. This was a quilted mattress, puncta literally meaning—just like it sounds!—"pricked."
"The change in the ending," according to Oxford Languages, "was due to association with pane in an obsolete sense 'cloth'." Until the mid-13th century, "pane" meant a "garment, cloak, mantle," or part of a garment; pan in Old French referred to a section or panel, and pannum was Latin for a piece of cloth or garment.
This particularly stunning 1930s "counterpane" is available in our Etsy shop!
Don't forget, Lacis Museum Members receive 20% off of books purchased in our Museum shop
by Tina Ignell
From Trafalgar Square Books: 60 Patterns for Mastering the Basic Technique.
"The latest from Tina Ignell: a comprehensive study of 2-shaft stripes, plaids, color effects, and so much more.
"Renowned weaving expert Tina Ignell (Favorite Scandinavian Projects to Weave, Favorite Rag Rugs, Simple Weaves) turns her attention to the deceptively simple and endlessly adaptable category of plain weaves, in this exhaustive overview of techniques, sample projects, and inspirational possibilities. Combine a wide variety of materials, setts, beats, and other effects with just two shafts—though sometimes four is preferred for the sake of space—and you'll be astounded by the technical complexity, visual and textural effects, and stunning pattern styles you can achieve."
Project photographs as close to "actual size" as possible, to allow a true-to-life look at pattern structure and threading
Descriptions, instructions, and tips for dyeing, finishing, specialty techniques—everything necessary to master plain weave from start to finish
Variations including open rep with weft showing, using a fan reed, weaving in pleats and other textures, ikat and other patterned dyeing techniques, knotted paper yarn, and more
Just so you know, the Lacis "Kliot Tapestry Loom" [LF11]—a 2-harness loom with variable warp capability—can explore all the patterns offered in this book!
From Sarah Hibbert Quilts: "Learn how to create stunning paper collages from on-hand materials and accurately transpose those designs into a fabulous quilt.
"I like to find inspiration in everyday objects to create fun paper art using recyclable materials from wrappers, pages from magazines, and even canned food labels. I use these collages for initial design to springboard to a full-sized a fabric quilt. Collage to Quilt is the first craft book of its kind, combining the disciplines of paper collage and quilting. Rather than using a collage of fabric pieces, you will discover how to take readily available paper that you to hand and execute one-of-a-kind designs for your home.
"In collaboration with the publisher, Lucky Spool, and together with stunning photographs taken in my home and in locations both in Hatfield and London, I feel I have created a unique book showcasing my work and sharing with you my quilt journey from Rod Stewart to Quiltcon!
"In the book, you will find 14 projects to make, both collages and quilts; the book even includes the paper materials needed to complete one of the collage projects. Together with stunning photographs, this book will sit happily on any coffee table as a source of inspiration and creativity."
Lucy Arai visited Lacis wearing her very own showstopper of a pale blue cotton shrawl—that's a versatile asymmetrical garment that combines a shrug with a shawl—that she had embroidered in white with her own original sashiko treatment.
We were so struck by the design! As you can see, it's stylized waves (also reminiscent of kelp or seaweed, though) foregrounded with a couple of designs set within circles. The smaller circles contain a motif called asa-no-ha; in the West, we might call it a compass rose or a nautical star, but in Japan, this represents the leaf of the hemp plant!
The real focal point, however, is a set of three interlocking rings, inside of which Lucy created a little sampler of patterns. The top center ring contains the pattern called bishamon-kikkō which is a tortoise shell pattern; proceeding clockwise to the bottom right, hishi seigaiha (diamond waves); and finally, seigaiha, also known as the "blue ocean wave" pattern.
A bit of background: when she was 15, Lucy's parents sent her to school in Japan to reconnect with her heritage. Although she didn't speak the language, art gave her the means to connect with her family there: "Instead of communicating with words, Arai and her uncle began interacting through art as he taught her sashiko... More than three decades later, Arai's work continues to carry on its own wordless conversation." (KQED Spark*)
We urge you to see Lucy's stunning mixed media pieces at the Ren Brown Collection Gallery. They're stunningly, hauntingly beautiful, combining sashiko, sumi ink, abacá washi (abacá is a traditional Philippine fiber also known as manilla hemp, and washi is paper — paper made from this material is extremely heavy and durable). They practically writhe with life, power and grace, like landscapes of the imagination, moments captured from dreams. A warning: once you begin to examine a piece, it will become tremendously difficult to look away again. And you may not be the same afterward.
A Regency Circular Reticule
with Catherine Scholar
Saturday, August 6, 2022 — 12:30 PM to 4:30 PM
One of the hallmarks of early 19th-century accessories was the plethora of chic and innovative handbags, called reticules. The circular style, involving a central round medallion surrounded by a gathered strip of fabric, is especially attractive and practical. Following period instructions, we will hand-sew our own circular reticules. Feel free to embellish your circular medallions before class: you will need two 4" circles PLUS 1/2" seam allowance all the way around.
with Kevin Baum
Saturday, August 13, 2022 — 12:30 PM to 4 PM
Have you admired tatting and wondered if you could be able to tat? Only a few stitches need to be mastered in order to create beautiful tatted works of art. This beginner classes will get you on track for shuttle tatting by teaching you the tools and technique.
You will concentrate on learning the double stitch, which all shuttle tatting is based on. Once the double stitch has been mastered, will learn to make rings and picots. The goal of these classes is to create, with practice, a simple edging of connected rings and picots.
Hinge Gate Purse
with Lynn McMasters
Saturday, September 24, 2022 — 10:00 PM to 5:30 PM
$45 + $10 kit fee (payable to instructor)
In this class, you will learn how to create a hinge gate purse that should be able to contain all your modern trappings (cell phone, etc) in one delightful vintage-styled package.
The hinge gate purse frame first came into vogue during the 1880s. Constructed of a metal folding gate collar and round flip top, the frame expanded when open. The body was usually made of silk, velvet or tapestry. To close the bag, the metal gate is pushed back together and the flip top snapped back into place. Cloth or chain handles were attached for hand carrying.
with Patrice Krems
Saturday, October 1, 2022 — 12:30 PM to 5:00 PM
$55 + $20 kit fee (payable to instructor)
You will be most familiar with the Sunburst Rosette Cockades on military tricorne hats in the Revolutionary War and cloche hats and dresses in the 1920s.The Sunburst Rosette Cockade is a vintage style favorite that can be modified in countless different ways and give you every opportunity to display or wear your ingenuity.
Among the techniques you will learn is how to make beaded stamens. This vintage-style cockade can be also be transformed into delightful dangling flowers twirling like whimsical ballerinas from the ends of the gimp stems.
The cockade flowers look best made out of French wired ombré ribbon, while the Sunburst Rosette Cockade is traditionally made out of grosgrain ribbon. The sample in the picture is also made from French wired ombré ribbon.
The Gatsby Summer Afternoon is the Art Deco Society of California's annual 1920s/30s garden party and picnic! Travel back in time and enjoy an afternoon of snacking and sipping al fresco, music and dancing, and friendship.
And, before you go, don't miss How to Gatsby for tips on vintage styling—and shopping! (August 14)
The Lacis Museum of Lace and Textiles is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. We are a unique legacy museum located in Berkeley, California. We host a wide range of hands-on workshops, several galleries of rotating exhibits, and our Museum Shop carries an extensive supply of vintage goods, craft- and costume-related books, and needlework supplies.
Our purpose is to:
• Preserve lace and textiles of all cultures from all periods
• Provide a resource center for research and documentation of these objects
• Educate and disseminate knowledge of lace and textiles
For just $25.00, you can become an official, card-carrying Lacis Museum Member for a year—and enjoy exclusive benefits! Get your membership via our Etsy shop, or alternatively, contact us in a number of other ways to join this vitally important circle of Lacis friends. We thank you for your support!
• 10% discount at our Etsy shop for purchases over $50
• 20% off books purchased at the Lacis Museum shop
• Free museum admission for you and up to (4) guests
• Special invitation to show openings
• Class discounts
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The Lacis Museum of Lace & Textiles
2982 Adeline St.
Berkeley, CA 94703