This week’s theme for A Playful Day’s Love Your Blog Challenge is “ugly”. It got me thinking about how ugly gets sidelined in favour of beauty. Beauty is lovely. Beauty got itself connected with truth and honesty and all kinds of great stuff. We like beauty – we stick pictures of pretty things on Pinterest and make sure we only upload the more flattering photos of ourselves to social media sites, and post nice pictures of perfectly finished craft projects.
I’m guilty of this. We’re all a little too guilty of this.
So today I’m going to share all kinds of ugly. Specifically, my sad attempts at learning how to make bobbin lace.
Karl got me a lace-making kit for Christmas. I had visions of me sitting pertly upright, making perfect, snowy drifts of lace. There would be classical music. And a soft-voiced person would read excerpts of charming Victorian novels to me as I worked. I would be like this lady only more elegant and less squinted. And with better hair.
And for once in my crafting life, I was sensible. I decided to made the lace flower described in the kit and not go all ambitious dilettante like I normally do with craft projects.
The first piece of lace I made was a piece of cake. A little finicky to get started, certainly, but I got the hang of it easily enough. One pair of workers, four pairs of passives, same stitch across and back, over and over. Simple. OK, it doesn’t look like much but I think it’s a pretty passable sepal for the flower.
The next piece of lace I attempted was…well…see for yourself.
It’s a hot mess. I don’t know if lace-makers have an equivalent of the knitters’ term ‘frogging’. But I frogged this. Over and over. Five times I got about four lines into it, got hopelessly tangled, pulled out the pins and then spent the guts of an hour trying to find which bit of thread belonged to which bobbin.
After industrial amounts of tea and television, I felt like I might be able to face the lace again.
This sixth (seventh?) attempt is better – a little – the top edge of this piece is still really, really ugly. All I can see are the mistakes.
But I’m going to finish my ugly flower and make it into a brooch. Maybe the finished thing will be more than the sum of its parts. Maybe it won’t. But that’s OK too. Because lovely isn’t everything.
 I’m the kind of fool who goes straight to the back of the ‘learn to…’ books to get to the good stuff. None of those boring beginner’s projects for me, no ma’am.
 No exaggeration, the neighbours will attest to the violence and volume of the swearing…