These are instructions on how to embroider and some ideas on how to use the designs from the FSL Battenberg Lace Snowflake Christmas Tree Ornament Set.
Stabilizers: We recommend to use water-soluble mesh, such as Vilene. Vilene D0102 is a non-woven dissolvable stabilizer which is imported into the US, is sold in large rolls and is sometimes packaged under different brand names. Some of these brand names are Fabri-Solvy by Sulky, Avalon Plus by Madeira, Wash-Away, and Aqua Magic.
Film-like water soluble stabilizers, such as Solvy by Sulky, Avalon by Madeira and Badge Master are not suitable for Free-Standing Lace embroidery.
Threads: The thinner the thread, the finer the final product will be. That is why for this project we recommend machine quilting cotton thread, which gives bulk to the lace and makes it look hand-made.
Embroidery polyester thread will make very fine web-like lace.
Embroidery rayon thread is too soft, it does not keep its shape and often its color will fades under the influence of chemicals from the water-soluble mesh.
You can use 40-, 50- or even 60-weight cotton, you can use it both in the bobbin and in the needle. If you use 40-weight cotton thread for the needle, you can use 50- or 60-weight cotton in the bobbin.
We used Signature machine quilting cotton thread both in the needle and in the bobbin, but similar threads from other companies should work just as well.
The drawback of the cotton thread is lint. Please don't forget to clean the machine with a soft bruch or compressed air after each stitch-out.
To get two-sided embroidery, use threads of the same color in the needle and in the bobbin.
Needles: We use size 80/12 embroidery needles and 80/12 metallic needles. Our experience shows that cotton thread used with metallic needles gives less lint. The needles should be sharp, so it's advisable to change them often.
Most Importantly: ALWAYS make a test stitch-out and wash away the stabilizer. This helps you to select the threads, needles, stabilizers and settings of your machine correctly. It's very important to select the correct thread tension!
Rinsing away the stabilizer is an important step, because the lace can be stretched or distorted if this is done incorrectly. We recommend to use a foam board and stainless pins.
Cut away the excess stabilizer close to the stitches. Take your time and carefully pin every single loop on the lace's outer edge to the board.
Now place the board into a bowl with luke-warm water for a couple of minites until the stabilizer disappears. For the decorative items shown on the page you do not need the lace to be soft. So do not change the water and rinze the lace several times.
Take the board out of the water and leave to air dry. Do not unpin the lace until it's completely dry.
Making the Ball:
Besides threads and water soluble stabilizer, you will need a balloon and a setting agent (optional). We used "Petal Porcelain", but you can also make your own, which we will explain in a second.
To make the ball, you need to embroider file A one time and file B 11 times. Cut away the excess stabilizer. If you are going to make your own setting agent, save this extra stabilizer. Wash away the stabilizer from the stitch-outs and let the parts dry.
To assemble the upper half, you need to place the stitch-out of part A in the center and sew 5 stitch-outs of part B to its five sides. Sew the parts by hand, using the same thread with which you made the embroidery. Then connect the picots on the edges of the neighboring parts.
Connect the picots of the parts as shown on the diagram below:
To assemble the lower part, you need 6 stitch-outs of part B. Sew them together as shown in the diagram below:
Then sew together the lower and the upper parts - connect the picots on the lace edges with the same thread with which you made the embroidery.
Insert the balloon into the assembled sphere through the hole in part A. Inflate it slightly to get rid of all creases. Wet the working piece with a damp paper towel or spray bottle if needed.
If you do not have a setting agent, place the left over pieces of the watersoluble stabilizer in a bowl and add a few table spoons of water to get a thick solution. Use a paint brush to coat the ball with this solution. Alternately, you can put the solution in a spray bottle and use that to spray down the ball.
If you have a ready made setting agent, apply it per the manufacturer's directions. "Petal Porcelain" is simply sprayed on.
Leave to air dry.
When the ball is dry, let the air out of the balloon. Attach a loop and use it as a Christmas tree ball. You can also attach several of the lace balls to a garland of LED Christmas lights. We recommend LED lights because incandescents get much warmer and can present a fire hazard.
The diameter of the finished ball is about 6 1/2" (16 cm).
Other Items You Can Make
You can assemble a bowl, using 6 stitch-outs of the file B. Assemble them as shown on the diagram for the lower part of the ball.
You can make a Christmas ornament using 12 stitch-outs of file B. Assemble 2 bowls as described above and sew them together. Attach a loop.