Hello all,

I could use some suggestions/advice. My local lace guild is organizing "round robins".

How this works in general: A group of people sign up to participate (probably 5 or 6 people per round robin). Each person starts a piece of lace, then passes their piece to the next person in the group. That person then designs and works the next round or portion of the lace piece. It then gets passed on to the next person in the group who designs and works the next bit, and so on, until it arrives back with the originator of the lace piece who gets to keep this unique and interesting work!

We are doing one group of people for each of these lace types: needle lace, tatting and crochet. I have experience with tatting round robins, but I am having a hard time picturing how to work logistically with a needle lace round robin. How do I set up my foundation to allow each person to easily add on to the original piece when it comes to their turn?

I usually work with a few layers of cloth with my contact paper covered paper pattern basted onto it. Should I start with a larger piece of cloth that is big enough for the finished project, then just put my small starting piece where I would like to begin? Should I start with a larger empty "pattern" (blank sheet of paper covered with contact paper) on the cloth rather than ending up with a bunch of smaller patterns tacked on? Other ideas?

I should add that there is no restriction to the type of needle lace that each person can do. So the "way of working" needs to be able to accommodate various styles that my guild members are familiar with (Tenerife, Romanian Point Lace, Armenian, Gros Point, etc, etc.)

So does anyone have any general advice for how to work with a group contributing to the same needle lace piece? Or perhaps some historical knowledge when it was more common to have a group of people contributing to a finished work? (but I would imagine, in that case, the pieces were worked individually and combined later rather than being passed around)

I'm really looking forward to seeing how this is going to work out, especially with the needle lace group (I will also work on the tatting round robin, but I know what to expect there!). It will be a great opportunity for everyone to expand their design skills and to create some really unique pieces!

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Hi Amy, this idea is a super way to kick start this lace year. I have no experience of 'round robins' but I know there are plenty of members who do have this experience and I'm sure they will be pleased to advise.

I've been mulling this over for a few hours now and have a few ideas:

Firstly, the construction of the Needlelace is of paramount importance and I personally would start my decision making with this aspect. If the finished article is to be done in 3-d then various components can be mounted separately for each individual and constructed at completion. If the preference is to work the piece flat, I would work it in one piece and then pass it around to the next person.

Secondly, whoever gets the finished article, I'd be inclined to make the design personal to the individual taking into account all the relevant Needlelace disciplines available. For example, a plate design could work well. Tenerife perhaps in the centre, and other laces working outwards from there etc. You may have a friend who is particularly good at ground work etc and another who does Gros Point, though this is best worked last. Size, complexity and available time would need to be factored in too.

Thirdly, in addition to the inspiration available here, Pinterest may also be another avenue to explore for the design.

You are very fortunate to have a lace circle whereby there is so much NL talent and interest. There is nothing to equal the thrill of talking NL with another lacer and it is so encouraging and 'infectious'.

I hope you are able to post a photo of finished article here for everyone to enjoy. Regards Teri

Personally, I wouldn't include Romanian Point in your needle lace project. The reason is that the structure and construction are so very different.  And the scale is typically vastly different, too.

Getting a good solid foundation of laid threads to start would be the essential thing, I think. Make your design, keeping it simple with fairly large sub-units.  Then lay the entire paired foundation threads. Let each participant fill each segment as she wishes.  Armenian and puncetto could be accomodated, and even teneriffe (actually nanduti is better with odd shapes).

It is an interesting idea.  I would love to see the finished result.

Thanks to Lorelei and Teri for your suggestions! Our group found them very helpful! 

The six participants met yesterday to plan what we will all do, and we are going to try a variety of ways of working.

  • 3 are laying the entire foundation and have the participants fill the segments as they wish. They had ideas for what they wanted as finished pieces (a long bell pull, hexagon doily, rectangular panel to be framed)
  • 1 is laying the foundation outer outline and the center portion, and will complete the center herself, and leave the remainder of the inside for us all to add what we would like (including additional foundation threads as needed). She is making a collar she can wear for lace demonstrations so the overall shape and size is important.
  • 2 are completing the center but leaving a large empty area around it for people to add their own designs (the centers are a heart with flowers inside, and a reticella style square)

Some plan to send threads along with their project because they want it a certain color, others will let each person decide (with best judgment to coordinate with what has been done so far).

Each person will also get a form that will circulate with the piece where we can add our own wishes/instructions (colors, thread size, styles, etc.), then as each person works their portion, they will add the details for what they did, threads they used, etc. so there is a total record of the piece when complete.

We have a variety of levels of expertise in the group, from near beginner to, well...whatever I am...not an expert or advanced, but beyond beginner :-) so we are all looking forward to expanding our skills and trying new things.

We have to bring our piece to pass on to the first partner at our March guild meeting, so everything above may change before then since there is still time to change our minds!

Hi Amy, I should imagine everyone went home buzzing with ideas and enthusiasm for these project pieces. It sounds as though your working group is just the right size to carry this off successfully and everyone has something individual to them at completion - Fantastic!! Do keep us updated as and when you can. Kind Regards Teri.

Our Round Robins have begun!

We will be posting updated photos each month on our guild site as the pieces pass from person to person at our meetings. My needle lace project is a bit ambitious--I expect to do quite a bit of work still at the end--but I like how the initial design turned out and I'm really looking forward to seeing how my fellow lacemakers will add to it!

I'm a little late with my tatted center--that will be done this weekend and the picture sent to the webmaster to add to that page as well.

The first photos are posted here:

Minnesota Lace Society Round Robin Page

Very interesting. Especially the needle lace.

Hi Amy, Ive just had a look-see at your "round robin" project and it is developing quite successfully. Regards. Teri

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