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I have questions about:
Lace and Lacemaking
"The Tangled Web" Website
Contacting Lara the Lacemaker

Lace and Lacemaking
Q: What's up with all the spiders?
A: I used spider images throughout my website both because the spider is associated with lacemaking and lacemakers and also as a play on the term "website." I also collect spider charms and beads that I use to decorate my lacemaking tools and bobbins.
Spider Spangle The spider is one of the creatures symbolic to lacemakers for several reasons. The legend of Arachne, who boasted she was so skilled at weaving that she ended up competing with the goddess Athena and depending on which version of the legend you read, either won and was turned into a spider by the goddess in a fit of pique, or lost and hanged herself in despair but was "rescued" by the goddess changing her into a spider. Whichever motive you prefer to ascribe to Athena, the idea was that as a spider Arachne would spend her life weaving beautiful creations. (The scientific name for spiders, arachnid, is also based on this legend!)
Another lacemaking legend of more recent date is that a young girl was in a garden weeping because she had no way to provide for her aged mother, when a spiderweb landed on her black skirt. Entranced by the delicate structure of the web, she began to lay threads across it to try to replicate it, and when the threads became tangled, she wound them on twigs to use as bobbins. (A spider-free variation on this legend is that the girl received a gift of "Mermaid's Fan" coral from her lover and tried to copy that in thread, and when her threads tangled, it was her lover who suggested using something to wind the threads on.)

Q: Are other animals linked with lacemakers?
A: Yes, interestingly enough, hedgehogs have come to be associated with lacemaking, although I'm not sure why. Perhaps it is due to the bristles that make them resemble pincushions!

Q: Do you give bobbin lace lessons? A: Yes, I teach basic bobbin lacemaking by appointment, however I am located in California's Central Coast and do not travel much outside the area. If you are in that area and interested, you can contact me using the info at the bottom of this page.

Q: Do you sell your lace?
A: From time to time I do sell some of my Art lace pieces, or more rarely, some of my collected antique lace. However, because hand made lace takes so long to create, it is difficult to make money at it, especially when lace imported from China and other countries and machine made lace is so inexpensive.

Q: How long does it take to make a piece of lace?
A: That depends on the size of the piece and complexity of the pattern (and how much practice I've had recently). A handerkercheif border using perhaps fifty or so bobbins, can take 40 hours or more. (You can see why it would be hard to make money at this, even at $10 per hour, lace for handkercheif would cost at least $400!)

Q: What kind of thread do you use?
A: I use Linen most of the time because I love the crisp '"hand" of the finished lace, but I also use cotton and sometimes silk threads. I have used DMC and Krenik Metallics also, usually as accents, but they are a bit harder to work with. I use fairly fine to super fine threads, the coarsest being perle cottons and the finest Egyptian gassed cotton. Other lacemakers have used lace knitting thread, twine and novelty threads. I even read about a lacemaker who did a *huge* piece that hung from a second floor balcony using rope!

Q: Do you make other types of lace?
A: Yes, although bobbin lace is my favorite, especially Torchon, I also can make tatted lace, knitted lace, crocheted lace, needle lace, and drawnwork lace.

Q: Do you ever demontrate lacemaking at places other than the Central Coast Renaissance Festival?
A: I am available to do lace demos in the San Luis Obispo county area only. I usually work with non-profit and/or educational groups, but if you have a venue you'd like me to consider, you can e-mail me.
(I used to travel and demo at the Vahalla Faire and the now defunct Santa Barbara Faire, but unfortunately can no longer afford to do so. I do not get any compensation from faires, other than waiving the admission and/or fees, if that, and I am not a vendor so it actually costs me money to provide demonstrations.)

Q: Where can I buy supplies and equipment for making lace?
A: I have several links to suppliers on my links page. You can also make quite a bit of your own equipment using the instructions and information on my website's Lace pages.

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Q: What materials do you use for your Blackwork?
A: I use several different types of even weave fabric and mostly cotton thread (DMC). Although I find it easist to do blackwork on 32 count or coarser fabric, I have also worked by "eye" on finely woven fabrics. Lately I have been working on linen with black silk to make a sampler of reversible Blackwork patterns to display at my demos.

Q: Where did you find your examples on your sampler page?
A: The samples are all stitched by me. Some of the images are pretty primitive due the technology I had access to way back when I first made a website, so I hope to be able to upload nicer ones someday.

Q: Where can I find Blackwork patterns?
A: I have several Blackwork books I recommend on on my Book List page, as well as links to downloadable charted patterns from my Links page to explore.

Q: Where can I find supplies and equipment to do Blackwork?
A: Almost any fabric store or hobby shop has what you need to get started. Specialty threads, such as silk, can be purchase at needlework shops or on the web from the same suppliers for lacemaking.

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Q: Do you teach how to make the costume projects on your site?
A: Yes. I have sewing workshops in my home that focus on helping those inexperienced with sewing in costume creation. You can get more information on the Facebook page for the Central Coast Renaissance Festival.

Q: Do you sell costumes?
A: I don't sell anything ready made "off the rack" but I can be commissioned to make a custom costume. I also make custom wedding gowns. You can e-mail me for more information.

Q: Where can I get ready made costumes?
My links page has some resources, or you can use a search engine such as Google to find sources on the web. Also there are many fine vendors at renfaires that can help you. That way you can try on garb before you buy it. Lots of those vendors also have websites available.

Q: Where do you get supplies for costuming?
A: Your local fabric shops have a lot of what you need and the internet is a great help in locating the more hard to find items. There are a few links on my Links page to some suppliers, too.

Q: I'm having problems following your instructions on garb making, can you help me?
A: I am happy to help answer any questions or clarify my instructions, just send me an e-mail.

Q: Why are your instructions so long?
A: I write and illustrate with the idea that the person reading about how to make garb has very little experience in sewing, not just needing info specifically on costuming. Therefore I often explain things that those with more sewing experience may find obvious.
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"The Tangled Web" Web Pages

Q: Can I link to your site?
A: Yes, you are welcome to link to my site, one of the great things about the world wide web is the way sites interconnect to allow others to visit and share information and interests.

Q: I found a "broken" link or another problem on your website. How do I tell you about it?
A: You can let me know of any problems with this site via e-mail. Please be specific about the nature of the problem. It is also helpful to know what browser you are using, such as Internet Explorer or Firefox.

Q: Would you add a link to my site?
A: I try to keep my links page limited to the same topics covered in my web pages, but if you feel that your site is related, please contact me and let me know so I can check out your web space.

Q: Who designed your website?
A: I did! I am a self-taught HTML coder and started designing back when 14K modems were standard. Now I have recently redesigned the site for the much faster modern speeds of the 21st century. I also have made most of the graphics used on this site.

Q: Can I use your work on my website?
A: Because so much of my stuff is my original writing and artwork, I prefer that it not be used without my permission. If there is anything you want to inquire about using, please contact me. You may link to my site, however!

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Contacting Lara the Lacemaker

Q: I have something I want to ask you about, how do I reach you?
A: If you have further questions or comments about my website or the various subjects I cover on its pages, you can send an e-mail to: Lara(underscore)the(underscore)Lacemaker(at)hotmail(dot)com by clicking here: or you can type the address in your e-mail program, replacing the (terms) with the appropriate symbols. Please do not send junk mail.

Q: Are you on Facebook?
A: Yes I am, and you can send me messages that way, but I usually don't "Friend" anyone I don't know in "real life." I am also a member of the facebook group for the Central Coast Renaissance Festival and that is another way to contact me.

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