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The "OUT of AFRICA" bobbin set

Greta nagged nagging me for a long time to produce a set of Midland bobbins in what I considered to be the best African hardwoods available. I finally chose 10 woods, all strong, dense, capable of taking an exceptional smooth finish and, most important, all markedly different in colour, grain, etc. Initially the idea was to have them engraved with the individual wood names and Greta's name on the opposite side. However after finishing the turning, they looked so good that I decided to give the set a name and "Out of Africa" sounded perfect. Greta agreed and accepted that her name would be replaced with "Out of Africa".

Needless to say, she was extremely pleased with the finished product and set about spangling them straight away. The side beads are all the same, but each bobbin has a different semi precious center bead. The final product looked so good that I decided to make this a standard set and be available to those lace makers who would like to own ten exclusive and individually turned Midland bobbins in these beautiful and rare woods. Like the Colebrooke pairs, the sets were numbered and registered.

It was imperative that a set like this required a presentation box and after many quotes from various manufacturers of cardboard boxes as well as printers for an attractive label, Greta came up with the idea of rather making a suitable bobbin roll. Material with a distinctive African motif was found and Greta made the rolls herself. The image shows the inside pocket section of the roll. The faint vertical stripes that can be seen on the image are the pockets. The outside shows two elephants. There is no tying ribbon, but an elastic band which goes over a specially turned African Blackwood toggle stitched to the outside material. Each set was accompanies by a note which paired up the name of the wood with its centre bead. Unfortunately after 118 sets, the centre beads were no longer available in South Africa - as was the roll material and I had no choice but to discontinue making the sets.

From left to right:Wild Olive, Bubinga, Mopani, Candlewood, African Blackwood, Red Ivory, Leadwood, Tamboti, Cape Ironwood & Kamassi.
The set shown here is set number 2. It is owned by Mimi Dillman, who also did the spangling

I have always shied away from spangling my bobbins as I believe that the lace maker, by doing the spangling herself, not only puts the final touch to the bobbin, but gives it a bit of her own character. However, with this set I decided that it was imperative that all the sets be exactly the same and they were therefore spangled as in the image above. On the opposite side of the wood names, each bobbin was engraved with "Out of Africa" and "Set (number)".